This is the third Christmas Chip and I have spent together as a married couple. We’re still slowly creating our own holiday traditions, but my favorite one is collecting new ornaments throughout the year. Whenever we go on a trip together, we try to always buy an ornament to take home with us. Over the first two years of our marriage, we collected ornaments in Italy on our honeymoon, an ornament from when we saw The Lion King and The Nutcracker at The Majestic here in town, our first trip to Fredericksburg. This year we were able to add a few more ornaments from our different trips. While decorating our tree the other weekend, it was fun checking out each ornament and getting to reflect on what this year has brought us. We hope that someday our tree will have only these types of ornaments that will always remind us how we’ve been blessed and all the different adventures we’ve had together.
Tuesday was the last day of our vacation on the east coast. We started the day with another amazing breakfast of Eggs Benedict over lobster at the Inn on Carleton. It was so good that it was easily one of my favorite meals of the entire trip. I’m pretty sure I would have stayed an extra day in Portland just to have breakfast at the Inn on Carleton one more time.
After breakfast, we finished packing up our things, signed the inn’s guest book and loaded up the car for our eventual trip back to Boston (our flights to get back home would leave from Boston on Wednesday morning). The first stop on our drive was the outlets in Freeport. We quickly checked out a few small gift shops before going to the real destination of our Freeport stop: the L.L. Bean outlet. This outlet was so big that it was actually divided into different stores: one for the actual traditional store, one that was for hunting, and one that was for their home furnishings. It was awesome. My big hope for the day was to get myself a pair of duck boots. Yes, I know they’re not really needed for winters in San Antonio but that doesn’t matter to me. I’ve been pinning different duck boots for months and it was time I had a pair for myself.
Turns out this was harder than I anticipated. After eagerly getting to the women’s shoe section and eye-ing the tan and blue pair I had my heart set on, I was told the smallest women’s size was a 6 and that these shoes tend to run big, so it’s recommended you get a good size and a half smaller than your usual size. News flash: I typically wear a size 5.5. I was still determined to at least try a pair on and after being given a 6 I realized they were indeed far too big… like I would need to wear four or five pairs of thick wool socks to try to get my toe to touch the end of the shoe. As pathetic as it is, I’m proud of myself for not pitching a fit and blaming the universe for this unfairness but instead walked with my head held high to the children’s shoe department. They didn’t have the colors I was looking for, but I still got a pair that I really like and can’t wait to wear (will definitely be packing them for our upcoming San Francisco trip!). Fun fact: the pair I bought is a size 3 in kids. #shortpeopleproblems
We bought a few more things at L.L. Bean, including some awesome blueberry jelly that Chip has been eating like a champ ever since we got back. We then went to the L.L. Bean home store for a bit as well as the JCrew outlet before grabbing some lunch to wrap up our time in Freeport.
The rest of the afternoon was spent slowly getting back to Boston while driving through some super cute towns. The best part was when we went to Kennebunkport and spent some time walking along the coast. The wind was strong and the ocean water was chilly. And it was all great.
After our last stop in Kennebunkport, we finished the drive to Boston and eventually got to our hotel near the airport. Why eventually? That’s because my dad kept missing the exit for our hotel and we had to do some laps on the highway. This meant we got to see Fenway a few more times, but it also meant that we were all pretty hungry and ready for dinner by the time we got to the hotel. We quickly dropped off our bags and then back in the car to head to the North End for one last meal. We called Neptune Oyster to see if we would have better luck this time, but once again they had a super long wait. And like I just mentioned, we were already hungry. A few minutes on TripAdvisor later, I had made us some quick reservations at Trattoria di Monica. This place was pretty crowded when we got there and we realized why we were seated later than our reservation time: the place is tiny. Like the guy sitting behind me would lean back in his seat and his hoodie would be on my back. Not my ideal seating arrangement, but it started to empty out a little bit by the time we ordered our appetizers so thankfully my random moments of claustrophobia didn’t kick in. The food was definitely worth the wait and our meal there was a great way to end our trip.
We all flew out Wednesday morning and I have to admit, it took me a couple of days to be content with “regular” food. After eating so many declisious meals in Boston and Maine, I was a little disappointed with our dinner options here. Thankfully I’ve gotten over this (one bowl of queso was really all I needed), but if anyone wants to fly me out to the North End for a special dinner, you are more than welcome to!
And mom, thanks for planning such a great trip!
After our busy days in Boston, we were ready to take things a little slow in Maine. As I mentioned in my last post, we got into Portland, Maine on Sunday afternoon. We got Monday started with a delicious breakfast there at the inn. We had eggs cooked in pieces of ham, while the neighbor came over to play the piano and treated us to a few tunes from Les Mis. Now that’s my kind of breakfast. Once we were done eating, my parents were off to visit the supplier my dad has worked with for a while while Chip and I set out to walk around town. We thought about taking a ferry to a nearby island based on recommendations from the staff at our bed and breakfast, but the weather was pretty drizzly and we wanted to check out what Portland was all about.
After a couple of hours, we decided to head back to the inn. Is it pathetic that I felt like I needed a nap after that great breakfast and walking a few miles? #vacationproblems My parents got back around lunch time, so we met up with them before heading out to our city and lighthouse tour for the afternoon. We realized on our tour that we had just missed some of the really cute shop-filled streets on our morning walk, but I’d like to think our bank account benefited from our mindless wandering.
The best part to the tour was definitely getting to see the lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth. A storm was starting to roll in, so it was really cool to see the lighthouse with stormy clouds behind it.
By the time our tour was over, we had about an hour before our next excursion: sailing through Casco Bay with the Portland Schooner Co. I was a little worried that our sailing would get cancelled with the rain, but the skies cleared up just in time. Before heading down to the harbor, we stopped by Aurora Provisions to get some cheese, bread, and chocolate to go with the wine we had brought with us.
I’ve never been sailing before, so I was so excited to be doing this during our time in Maine. We were on the same boat as a few other people, but otherwise it was a small group, which was really nice. The weather was perfect and we had a good amount of wind to keep us moving for the two hours we were out sailing.
After our great sailing trip, we were all pretty hungry for dinner. While in a little store earlier in the day, the owner had recommended we go try out Street and Co. for dinner. I was a little skeptical at first and wondered if she just knew the owner or something, but after looking it up on TripAdvisor, we decided to check this place out for dinner. We all wanted lobster, and Street and Co. definitely delivered. Looking at all of the meals we had during this trip, I would put this one near the top of the list.
We decided to have dessert there at Street and Co. since the food had been so good (and it was way too cold to walk to get dessert somewhere else) so we ended our Monday in Maine with some blueberry pie and panna cotta.
Stay tuned for one more post on our last day in Maine!
Picking up where I last left off, Sunday was our last day in Boston. The morning started out a little rough. While we had been hoping Chip would start feeling better with some new cold medicine, he woke up on Sunday feeling worse. After some quick Google searching, I found a 24-hour minor ER that was about a mile away from our hotel and decided it was time for Chip to see a doctor so he could get better faster. I gave them a quick call and was told we could be there around 8:30 to see the doctor. We were ready to go a little before 8:00 and since we had read this was a 24-hour place, we took a cab there a little early. Turns out that the doctor told us 8:30 for a reason. No one was there to let us in. We called the doctor back and he said he was on his way, that the 24-hour service was only in the pharmacy next door, so we had to wait about 10 minutes outside before someone else let us in the building, and then an additional 20 minutes outside the doctor’s office. He eventually got there and saw us right away, which was appreciated. We quickly got a couple of prescriptions from him and went back to the hotel so Chip could get started on the different antibiotics.
We had planned to go on the Freedom Trail Sunday morning, so after making sure Chip was feeling alright in the hotel and had taken all of the necessary medicine, I joined my parents for this tour. It was a lot of fun, due mainly to our very animated tour guide. Pretty sure no one loves Boston history more than this guy. He also has a wicked legit Boston accent. Check it out for yourselves here:
The tour lasted a couple of hours and our tour guide’s energy kept it interesting the entire time.
After the tour, we went back to the hotel to finish packing up and check out of the hotel before grabbing lunch in the North End in the rental car my dad had picked up in the morning. We decided to go to L’Osteria since they didn’t have a wait; we had tried Neptune Oyster after reading their reviews on TripAdvisor, but we weren’t willing to wait two hours for it. In the end, we had a great meal at L’Osteria to end our time in Boston together. I’m particularly glad they had such good minestrone soup since it meant Chip got to have a great meal for his sore throat. I had their lobster ravioli and ate way too much, but hey, it’s vacation.
After lunch, we drove down to the bay to get one last look of the city before having to take Alex to the airport. I’m still bummed he had to fly back on Sunday, but that’s the life in the real world and the little cub had to be back at work on Monday. With Alex at the airport, the four of us set out for part two of the trip: a couple of days in Maine. My dad has been working with a supplier out in Maine for a few years now, so since we were in the area he decided to go pay this company a visit. Chip and I agreed to tag along since we had a few extra vacation days and realized the likelihood of us ever getting to Maine another time was pretty slim.
The drive to Portland, Maine was an easy one and about two hours long. What I really liked about the drive up there was that it was Chip’s first dose of a Lopez family road trip, which means it went something like this:
Me: Mom, can you find a better radio station?
Dad: What did we just drive by? Was that a historical building?
Mom: I can’t get my map app to work….
Me: Mom, this song is pretty awful, too… next!
Mom: Wait, how do I change the station…
Dad: Did you guys see the sign for that river? What’s the name of it?
Me: Ughhh why are all of these xm stations so laaaaame….
This is where you should probably thank your lucky stars that you don’t have to road trip with the Lopez family. I love it, but it’s definitely not for everyone. For the record, my mom was never able to figure out her map so I got to provide my dad with river and town names. The radio selection was also fairly poor so I took a nap.
We got into Portland and soon found our adorable bed and breakfast for the next two days: The Inn on Carleton. This place was amazing. Everything was set up so cute and I loved the history to the building (so did my dad who was asking questions about whether or not all of the crown molding was part of the original structure or not.. answer: it is).
We got settled in and met the inn owner Buddy and got a few recommendations for where to go to for dinner. We decided to go with Local 188 and walked a few blocks to get there.
One big difference between Boston and Portland is the night life. I realize this is probably a pretty big “duh” statement, but we were really surprised with how empty the restaurant was for a weekend.
After dinner, we decided to walk around to find a place for dessert. After some time on TripAdvisor on our phones, we decided to check out Gorgeous Gelato. It was about another mile away, but after how much we had just eaten for dinner, we really needed that walk! The gelato was really good, although I have to say it was no Nantucket Juice Bar.
We walked back to the inn after dessert and called it a day! Stay tuned for our last post on this trip…