Taylor and I recently got back from a week long trip to New England, where we visited New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. It was the perfect time of year to visit the Northeast, and I have to admit the cool nights and fall-like temperatures we left behind have me eager for fall. We flew into Boston and slowly made our way up our way up to Portland, with stops in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Kennebunk and Kennebunkport along the way. We spent the trip’s first 48 hours in Maine, where we stayed in an Airbnb in the East Bayside area of Portland that was within walking distance of everything the historic Old Port area had to offer.
Though our visit was quick, you’ll see that we managed to do, eat and see a lot with just 48 hours! Hopefully some of our adventures highlighted below will serve as a helpful guide if you’re planning a visit to the area anytime soon.
The Clam Shack
Thanks to a recommendation from my friend Allie of Alexandra Bee Blog, lunch at The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, Maine was the first stop of our trip. With a view overlooking the Kennebunk River, The Cham Shack has gained the national attention of a number of publications for its lobster rolls, which come served with butter and mayo. We enjoyed a lobster roll, fried whole belly clams, onion rings and fresh squeezed lemonade from the seafood-filled menu while overlooking the water and watching kayaks go by. Let’s just say there’s a reason the lobster rolls are famous here — The Clam Shack lives up to the hype. The restaurant is open daily from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Snug Harbor Farm
After our lunch at The Clam Shack, we made our way to Snug Harbor Farm, a beautiful property in Kennebunk that includes a shop, a barn, a nursery, five greenhouses and more. We spent about an hour browsing the shop and walking the grounds, admiring the paintings, gifts and succulents. There were a number of animals on the properties and it was fun to spend some time watching the chickens. The hardest part of our visit to Snug Harbor was walking away without bringing something home from the gift shop, one of the downsides to the limited packing space that comes with carry-on luggage!
On our first night in Portland, we went to Duckfat for dinner, a popular spot known for its duck fat french fries, milkshakes and pressed sandwiches. Duckfat was opened in 2005 by Nancy Pugh and Rob Evans, and in 2009 Chef Rob was named “Best Chef Northeast” by the James Beard Foundation, so we knew we were in for a treat. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, and even on a Sunday evening around 8:30 p.m. we encountered a wait, but it was well worth it for the meal that we had ahead of us.
On our visit, we shared the poutine, Belgian fries fried in duck fat topped with cheese curds, duck gravy and fresh chives, and the slow roasted pulled pork cubano panini. The dipping sauces available for the french fries are worth noting, too, with unique offerings like garlic mayo, curry mayo, horseradish mayo, Thai chili mayo and truffle ketchup. To cap off our delicious meal, we ordered a sea salted duck fat caramel milkshake to go, which was perfect for sharing. Duckfat is open everyday from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Union Bagel Company
Union Bagel Company was located right around the corner from our Airbnb, and it was the perfect place to stop for an inexpensive and quick bite to eat. The bagels here are made with organic flour before being hand-rolled, boiled and baked.
I ordered my go-to bagel sandwich, an everything bagel with scallion cream cheese, capers and red onion, while Taylor had a bagel sandwich with smoked salmon, egg and cheese. This tiny little spot is best for takeout with only one or two seats inside, so we took our bagels to go.
Allagash Brewing Company
Allagash Brewing Company is located about 15 minutes from downtown Portland, and it’s the only activity we booked ahead of arriving to Portland since the tours often fill up days or weeks in advance. Allagash offers tours seven days a week, and the tours (and the tastings that come with the tour) are free! We toured with a group of about 20 people while the brewery was in production, and it was fun to do a tasting and learn more about how Allagash beer is made. My favorite beer that we tried while at Allagash was the Farm to Face, a limited release beer that’s tart and filled with peach flavor. Every single person we encountered within the brewery was incredibly friendly, and my biggest takeaway was how much they focus on sticking to their roots as they continue to grow.
Eventide Oyster Co.
You know a place is good when there’s a line outside the door every time you walk by no matter the time of day. And my guess is that the line has been out the door since Eventide Oyster Co. was named one of Bon Apppetit’s 50 best new restaurants in 2013. That would have been enough to make me to want to try Eventide Oyster Co., but when I realized their menu offerings included a brown butter lobster roll, I knew this unique take on a New England classic was something I wanted to try. The menu is composed mostly of small plates, so we also noshed on raw and fried oysters and hand-cut potato chips dusted with nori and served with tartar sauce. The raw oysters are served with accompaniments that range from cocktail sauce to horseradish ice and pickled red onion ice.
Eventide is open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight, and they offer brunch on Sunday and Monday from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. The wait is worth it, promise.
Portland Head Light
We took a 20 minute drive to Cape Elizabeth to see the Portland Head Light, Portland’s oldest lighthouse that overlooks the coastline of Fort Williams Park. The lighthouse and the view were beautiful, and as we wandered around we both commented that this spot just felt like quintessential Maine. If you visit around a mealtime, be sure to check out Bite into Maine, a lobster roll food truck within the park that Food & Wine named one of America’s best lobster rolls.
Believe it or not, this only covers half of our adventures in the Pine Tree State! We managed to pack a lot in to our 48 hours in Maine, and you can find all the details on the second half of our time in Maine here.
Have you ever been to Maine? I’d love to hear your favorite spots in the state in the comments below!