The second day of our road trip got off to an early start as we unexpectedly woke up in time to see the sunrise from my sister’s house. She is fortunate enough to live right on Casco Bay and have great views of both the sunrise and the sunset! We hauled ourselves outside just in time to see the mellow colors reflect off the bay through the fog that had followed us up the coast.
While my sister and her family went for a run, I was antsy to go for a bike ride in the morning. My cycling skills are remedial at best, but my in-laws bought me a great red mountain bike for Christmas so I couldn’t wait to try riding it in another state! We took a morning jaunt through my sister’s neighborhood, out on the Casco Bay Bridge and onto the Mackworth Island causeway just down the bay.
When we returned from our ride, my sister was whipping up some “wicked good” (ah, the Maine dialect) smoothies and bagels for breakfast. I haven’t ever been much of a breakfast eater, but those smoothies were sooo tasty. Her self proclaimed secret is the addition of almond meal.
After a leisurely breakfast on the porch, we headed off to Portland for some daytime sightseeing. We walked through the downtown and along the waterfront, pausing to see some of the awesome boutiques that lined the streets. Portland was a really interesting city, with only 66,000 residents (8,000 less than Bethlehem!!!) but the feel of a much larger locale. My sister informed us that it has more restaurants per capita than any city other than San Francisco. My husband and I ventured to guess that the metropolitan vibe has a lot to do with the cruise ships that enter the port almost every day. In late morning, we stopped into East End Cupcakes to sample the pretty bites. I split a coconut lime one with my sister (I was still full from breakfast!) and Kevin tried a maple bacon cupcake. Both were tasty and looked fantastic!
Near the working fish market on the water, my sister showed us an awesome store called Sea Bags, where people bring in worn out boat sails to recycle and either get credit towards a wide variety of products made from the cloth or donate towards charity. The bags were made right in the store!
Our walk through Portland ended at the Shipyard Brewing Company, where we watched a video about the beer (the brewery sits where Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s house once stood!) and tasted 6 varieties. We picked up a 12-pack of the spicy Pumpkinhead to take back to my sister’s house.
Dang, writing that, it seems like we had a full day already, but that’s just before lunch!!!
After our trip to the brewery, we all headed to Cape Elizabeth to try the famed Lobster Shack lobster rolls. My friend Molly had suggested we head there, and the shack was featured on Man vs. Food. The location was fantastic—Perched atop a rocky shore, in view of a lighthouse. And the lobster was amazing! It was the first fresh lobster I’ve eaten. De-freaking-licious! I wish I had some right now.
We walked off our meal (unsuccessfully) searching for a geocache with my nephew. We told him we were searching for treasure and he showed us several rocks, sticks and shells he saw as gold. I think he had fun. 🙂
In Maine, it seems there is always another lighthouse to see, so we trekked off to Portland Head Light, the most photographed lighthouse in the world. It was quite picturesque! The museum was closed, but the grounds were pretty and we got to watch an en plein air painter capturing the scene.
We already knew Longfellow was from the Portland area since our trip to Shipyard, and it was neat to think about how we were walking in his footsteps as we saw a plaque at the lighthouse reading:
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow often walked from Portland to visit this Lighthouse. The Keepers were his friends, and it is believed he sat here for inspiration for his poem “The Lighthouse.”
“Sail on; Sail on ye stately ships;
And with your floating bridge
the ocean span;
Be mine to guard this light
from all eclipse
Be yours to bring man near
Growing up with classic poetry as bedtime stories, I’m always attracted to the knowledge that I am in the presence of the inspiration for the greats of history.
After our lighthouse expeditions, my brother-in-law dropped my sister off with us on Mackworth Island for an evening walk around the perimeter. The island was beautiful and we spent quite some time collecting snail shells and observing the scenery before walking back to my sister’s house in the sunset.
At the end of a long day of sightseeing, we relaxed at my sister’s home over dinner, Pumpkinhead and a batch of fudgy brownies made by my brother-in-law and nephew to celebrate my sister’s birthday.