A 8-day adventure by Sarah
  • Day6

    Day 6 - Windowgate & Kennebunkport

    June 15 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 64 °F

    Continuing our strict family fitness regimen, we began our day yesterday by sharing a half dozen potato donuts from The Holy Donut. The varied glazings, from maple bacon to a flavor described as “margarita mix” were delicious, although the ensuing sugar high made us all pretty jumpy. We also again played host to our dear friends outside the window who watched us eat said donuts.

    Shortly after, we left Alex to his code and headed to Kennebunkport via a supersized antique store where Curtis added a number of vinyl records to a budding collection. After touring the town’s art galleries we had a great stroke of luck and found a last-minute booth for lunch at Allison’s, the best sports bar in town, just as the Euro 2020 Portugal-Hungary game was getting back from half time. We were unfortunately forced to watch Ronaldo continue his winning streak, but delicious mussels and sandwiches helped dull that pain.

    The art galleries in Kennebunkport were surprisingly varied, with the highlight being a handcrafted kaleidoscope shop. We later stopped in Ogunquit which was beautiful, with white sandy beaches and a charming seaside walk that reminded us of our old Scottish stomping ground, the Fire Coastal Path. We also witnessed the Creation of Lobster (pictured) and kayak surfers who were out in force. On the way home we also discovered a new writing retreat for Dad (pictured).

    The day wrapped up with the usual nightly game of cribbage and another win for the kids! Overall, a great day on the coast of Maine.
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  • Day5

    Day 5 - Lighthouses

    June 14 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 64 °F

    Staying in an apartment in the Old Port is super convenient and an early morning walk on the Eastern Promenade was an attempt to shed some of the accumulating vacation pounds. This scenic waterfront trail parallels an old railway. Not sure 4 miles was enough to address the expanding waistline, but after all, this is a vacation, right?

    One of Edward Hopper's well-known paintings"The Lighthouse at Two Lights," depicts one of Maine’s oldest lighthouses. This was a must-see tourist stop for us! We were lucky the rain held off so we could appreciate Portland Head Light and understand why it’s one of the most photographed lighthouses in the U.S.

    Apartment update: The window washers have been replaced by painters... at least Alex won’t feel lonely while he’s working during the day. Never a dull moment here in Portland!

    A couple of galleries filled out the afternoon, both conveniently across the street from our apartment. A couple of interesting pieces, but nothing to match the Addison Gallery in Orleans!

    Dinner out featured deviled egg appetizers (famous here in Portland) and several unusual mixed drinks; Emergency Margarita anyone?
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  • Day4

    Day 4 - Bargain hunters in Freeport

    June 13 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 75 °F

    The only thing this family likes more than chocolate is a great bargain! Sixty and seventy percent off? We’re there! And since Alex has to work the rest of the week, we opted for a visit to the iconic LLBean store and Freeport outlets even though the weather was perfect for another outdoor adventure.
    Around noon the majority voted
    to skip lunch and keep shopping! However, by 2:30 this decision was a clear fail since a slightly different majority was in full HANGRY (though happy with their purchases).

    Still in search of lobster we headed back to Portland only to encounter a 45-minute wait for a table at Highroller Lobster. When we finally ordered, Curtis was the only person ordering the elusive crustacean. Go figure.

    Doorgate was resolved by the attentive support staff who assured us the 12’ door would not fall off again in the middle of the night but the Fawlty Towers moments continue with window washers randomly appearing outside our windows (see photos below!)

    We were treated to a late Spanish dinner in the apartment (thanks Curtis!) Parents reigned at cribbage but are still down a game after a skunking the previous night.
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  • Day3

    Day 3 - Peaks Island and Lobsterless

    June 12 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 63 °F

    Well today was a great travel adventure, a beautiful day on Casco Bay culminating in two scandals, Lobstergate and
    Doorgate, but more on this later.

    We began with a ferry ride to Peakes Island, which is about four miles around. The highlight was the charming old windjammers under full sail. The plan was to rent a golf cart and drive around the island, but all the golf carts had been reserved by hordes of clever day trippers. So we defaulted to walking the ring road, which turned out just great, with super views of the rocky coast. After returning to Portland late afternoon we decided to knock off another must-do item and have a lobster dinner at The Porthole, one of the most popular spots in town, on a pier with live music. When we got there, a bit late and without a reservation, the place was packed. We walked through the bar/dance floor and signed up for a table. We sampled four different craft beers among us to kill the 45 minute wait. We then got seated pier side and could see that there were only two waitresses for maybe 100 people. Ours was quite sweet but her message was not: lobsters were running low. After taking our order she disappeared to the kitchen, only to return with the bad news: there was only one lobster left! Definitely a first world problem, but something is wrong when you can’t get a lobster in Portland Maine in June. Anyway after a few competitive glances around the table it would be in the best interest of family tranquility if none of us had the last lobster, which we figured probably had one claw left anyway. So we stiffened our upper lip and ordered a plate of nachos and fish tacos all around. About 45 minutes later none of the above had arrived. I watched furtively as our neighbors grilled the waitress as to why their table was bare. By now it was past 9pm. I then asked our waitress about the fate of the nachos and she returned a few minutes later to apologize, as our order had apparently “slipped past the kitchen.” Oh no. Emergency procedures were put in place. Curtís called around and found a late table on a neighboring pier-but with a 30 minute wait. We were discussing the merits of abandoning ship when our nachos arrived, looking as if they had already made a ferry ride around Casco Bay. Two minutes later we were inundated with tacos. The waitress comped the nachos and the beer, taking the sting out of Lobstergate.
    But the day was not over. That night around 1am I went to open our bedroom door. This was a very large and heavy barn-style door that slid sideways on two rails. I couldn’t move it. It had somehow come off its rails, trapping us in the bedroom. So I gave it a good shove and the entire door fell free from the wall and crashed onto the hallway wall, with me holding on for dear life. Curtís was awoken by the clamor and came out to push on the other side and get the whole slab upright. This Lobstergate was succeeded by Doorgate. The repairman just left.
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  • Day2

    Day 2 - Art and Treasures in Portland

    June 11 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 59 °F

    Portland has an amazing amount of “Culchah”, as the Bostonians put it, given its mere 65000 people. We started with Art. Since Alex was working the rest of us went to the Portland Art Museum and thought it was a decent collection. Paul’s favorite was an Orientalist painting (of course) and Sarah liked a nice Braque. Unfortunately only one Hopper, and an early one, was on display, but we all fell for Andrew Wyeth. We then went over to the Flea Market, an indoor antique shop, and Paul bought an early Escher print that he was using in his book. Endless food options narrowed to a bistro where we followed Curtis’ recommendation to try poutine for the first time. Think French fries, gravy, cheese and bacon. We had another culinary adventure that night when we all went to Slab, a Sicilian place where we also sampled some amazing craft beer from Allagash (great craft beer is EVERYWHERE here).Read more

  • Day1

    Day 1 - Cape Cod to Portland, ME

    June 10 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 59 °F

    The Stilescon II road trip to Portland, Maine kicked off with traffic outside of Boston but was saved by a scenic picnic lunch in Newburyport. Once outside of Boston, we rarely tapped the brakes. We are happy with our rental in downtown Portland; it should be a great base for the next 6 days. Alex joined us for a late dinner in our apartment, taking a train up from Boston after work. We toasted to being reunited as a family after 18 months of separation due to COVID-19. Dinner was topped off with a late night adventure in which we walked a mile in the dark to track down Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to a collective craving.Read more