Tag Archives: summer 2016

20 Hours in Portland, Maine

What better way to wrap up a week down the Cape than a weekend in Vacationland?  Or technically, 20 hours in Portland, Maine.  We were only there long enough to catch a ferry, enjoy a wedding on an island, eat a pizza, take a nap, drink a cup of coffee, buy a lighthouse postcard for a lady in Poland, and retrieve our car… but hey.  

I’m always game for a change of scenery, however short, especially if water and boats and beaches are involved.

20 hours in portland maine

20 HOURS IN PORTLAND, MAINE

Saturday, 1 PM: Check-in at The Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Waterfront

After 3-ish hours on the road from Boston (we hit a little traffic, which seems appropriate for a summer Saturday) we arrived at our hotel, The Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Waterfront.  My not-so-extensive research involved Googling the ferry line we’d be taking to the wedding, locating the closest hotel, comparing prices a bit (there are a few hotels within walking distance of the Casco Bay Ferry Lines), and checking availability.

We were really happy with the Hilton.  So, um… thanks, Google.  The night before we arrived, I was able to check-in using the Hilton Honors app and choose our room (something I’ve never seen before, making joining HH and downloading the app totally worth the 2 seconds each required).  I snagged the last room available with a water view, which felt like a triumph of sorts.  

We arrived well before check-in… but shortly before we needed to arrive at a wedding in all our “beach formal” glory, so we left our bags with the front desk staff and freshened up in the pool/fitness center area before making our way across the street to buy our ferry tickets.

20 hours in portland maine

Even the drain markers are cute.  Or whatever.

1:30 PM: Purchase ferry tickets

casco bay ferry maine

Super easy.  Round-trip tickets to the Casco Bay islands are $11.  They need to be purchased in person, however… so don’t do what I did.  (Which is spend an hour trying to figure out how to buy them online.  And another six minutes calling the terminal to ask how to buy them online.)

1:35 PM: Quick lunch at the Dry Dock

20 hours in portland maine

And by lunch, I mean… I ate onion rings and drank a Diet Coke at the bar.  That’s how I wile out on vacation.  Nick, on the other hand, had a lobster roll and an Angry Orchard. He’s my better half, and also, my more normal half.  It was relatively quiet at the bar, but there’s a bigger seating area out back, including a deck with views of the bay.  I think that’s where everyone else was.  Eating onion rings.  Or maybe an entire meal of food.  

2:00 PM: Board the ferry to Long Island

There’s a Long Island in Maine.  And that’s where we went.  I didn’t take many (any?) pictures on the ferry, but the 30 minute ride was comfortable and the views were extraordinary.  We passed several lighthouses, gorgeous sailboats and schooners, and a few smaller islands before reaching the dock and heading to the wedding.

long island maine

8:50 PM: Return ferry to Portland

long island maine sunset

The ride back to Portland took closer to an hour (the route is a loop, and so we hit more stops on the way back), but we got to enjoy the most spectacular sunset while waiting on the pier.  Once we got back to Portland, I grabbed our bags and headed up to our hotel room… while Nick picked up a veggie pizza from Bill’s Pizza on Commercial Street.  

Sunday, 8:00 AM: Breakfast at the Standard Baking Company

standard baking company portland maine

The next morning, we ventured out for a walk, but the skies opened up (and who packs an umbrella?) after a few blocks, so we headed back toward the hotel and grabbed coffee, tea and 9,000 calories worth of baked goods from the Standard Baking Company.  I highly recommend the gingerbread with lemon glaze.  And I want to go back and eat everything else they have to offer.  In the meantime, I’ve got my eye on their cookbook.

20 hours in portland maine

We stopped into a nearby shop for the aforementioned postcard (a postcrossing special request) and matching lobster pajamas for the babes before checking out and heading back to Boston.

It was a short, but sweet (extra sweet if you consider that gingerbread) visit to the Portland area.  I’m looking forward to heading back when we have a bit more time to explore and enjoy the area.

Also On Tap for Today:

Where’s your favorite Long Island quick getaway destination?

 

 

What to eat in the summer | 4 favorite salads

Most days, my meal planning (if you can call it that) goes something like this:  

  • Consider what we have on the counter, in the cabinets, in the fridge and sprouting on the deck
  • Hold baby Nick with one hand, rummage with the other hand
  • Hope something miraculously falls out and a. doesn’t hit me or Nick in the head and b. somehow lands in my mouth and c. is delicious.  Oh, and nutritious.  

Unfortunately, I’ve yet to have a perfectly made summer salad fall into my mouth.  Or onto my head, for that matter.  As with most (all?) good things, it takes a bit of work.  But not much.  This is summer, after all.  If you’re wondering what to eat in the summer, I’ve got a few (simple, delicious) ideas.

WHAT TO EAT IN THE SUMMER | 4 FAVORITE SALADS

Mixed greens with pears, bleu cheese, walnuts + dried cranberries

what to eat in summer 1

This is really as easy as slicing a pear and throwing it, along with everything else, into a bowl.  I added a drizzle of Champagne vinaigrette because I like to pretend I’m fancy.  In reality: It’s well past noon and I haven’t showered yet.  Also, I just congratulated myself on wearing my “nice” sweat pants.  

Caprese salad

what to eat in summer 2

I basically eat this breakfast, lunch and dinner… all summer long.  The heirloom tomatoes are Canadian, but the mozzarella is from Rhode Island and the basil is from South Boston (more specifically: my deck).  So… it’s mostly #eatlocal.  Or whatever.

Both babes were asleep at the same time for an entire 11 minutes last week, so I made myself an extra pretty platter from which to dine solo while Nick was traveling.  That was a long sentence.  The salad didn’t last nearly as long.

Chopped salad with sprouts

what to eat in summer 3

I tend to chop a bunch of vegetables at the beginning of the week for easy salads such as this.  Instead of the usual greens, though, I used some Earth Salad (sprouted lentils, sprouted chickpeas and alfalfa sprouts) that I picked up at Whole Foods in the South End (it’s in the cooler next to the salad greens, alongside the cooked lentils). 

Heirloom tomato, lentil and arugula salad with green goddess dressing

Speaking of cooked lentils, I keep a package or two in the fridge because I am lazy like to avoid cooking as much as possible when it’s 90 degrees out.  And because I love making this salad.  And because I’m lazy.

I’m thrilled (and grateful!) that my recipe was included in Wayfair’s Simply Summer Recipes cookbook.  The cookbook is free to download and features over 100 pages of summer recipes created by bloggers and tested by Wayfair team members.  I love that they included their own notes after testing each dish.  I hope you’ll check it out!

In the meantime, I’m off to go shower.  Or eat another salad.  Or both.  Not at the same time.  OK.  Bye.  I love you.  And I love summer.  And cheese.  Bye.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • A favorite read: Sam’s weekly meal planning posts 
  • Closest thing to a wonder drug? Try exercise from The New York Times
  • Playing with Grace’s new water table (“All day!  All day long, mummy!  All day!  And when it’s dark!”)

What’s your ideal summer meal?

 

Summer Bucket List | 2016

Memorial Day has come and gone.  Time to put on your white pants, your white shoes, your white hats…. and make a summer bucket list.

summer bucket list

We have time booked down the Cape (I’d be happy if the only item on my summer bucket list was “be at the Cape as much as possible, if not more”) and a weekend in Maine for a wedding, but the rest of our summer is free for all sorts of adventures.  Or naps.  

SUMMER BUCKET LIST | 2016

  • Yoga outside.  A few classes I have in mind: Pop Up Asana in the Seaport and M Street Park, Castle Island Beach Yoga with Radiant Yoga, Fit By the Field yoga at Patriot Place (free), Yoga on The Green at The Street in Chestnut Hill (free), Island Yoga on Spectacle Island (free with ferry ticket, requires pre-registration) and hopefully a few beach classes in Harwichport with MoveWith again this summer.
  • Mini golf.  We pass by the golf course at Franklin Park a few times a week and Grace is fascinated.  She keeps asking if Uncle Christopher will take her (and a dog… presumably Clark?) golfing.  I sort of think mini golf might be more our speed.  Holiday Hill in Dennisport is an old favorite, but there’s also McGolf closer to the city, in Dedham.
  • Take a boat somewhere.  Another special request from Grace. 
  • Swimming lessons for both babes.  We took a little hiatus when Nick was born, but he’s now old enough for class and Grace has missed taking lessons, so we’ve got them signed up for back-to-back classes.  We spend so much time near the water (we live across the street from the ocean + my parents have a pool), that focusing on water safety is sort of a non-negotiable.  Plus, lessons are fun.  And baby bathing suits are ridiculous.  
  • Visit a lighthouse.  
  • Read 5+ beach books.  I feel like I used to read 1,003 books each summer.  And if I counted how many times I’ve read Elmo Goes to the Potty, I’d probably be close already.  And it’s been less than 24 hours since Memorial Day.  But I’m talking about real, actual, normal, grown-up books.  Please let me know if you have recommendations!
  • Watch fireworks.
  • Visit Martha’s Vineyard and/or Nantucket.  Both are easy trips from the Cape… and require boat travel, thus checking off two bucket list items.  I love being efficient (mostly because it’s a very rare occurrence these days).  
  • Make a non-dangerous (if that’s possible) slip-n-slide.  Maybe get helmets.  And mouth guards.

You know me.  Safety first… (summer) fun second.  

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your summer bucket list?