Boothbay Harbor, Maine

After our 9 days in North Conway – Santa’s Village, Part 1 & Part 2 – we headed back to  Maine only this time towards Boothbay Harbor area where we’d stay for the next few nights.  Read about our previous days in Maine in Old Orchard Beach here.

Growing up in Boston, I’ve always LOVED going up to coastal Maine – especially in the summer.  Lighthouses, sea glass hunting, clapboard houses, hydrangeas in full bloom, adirondack chairs, fishing harbors, fresh lobsters & clam chowder – you get the picture.  If not, you are really missing out and it is making me want to visit Maine now! 

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As we drove from the White Mountains to our hotel in East Boothbay, we first stopped off for lunch at an old familiar spot Five Islands Lobster Co in Georgetown.

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I had to order a lobster roll without mayo – and it was soooo good!  We made a point to eat lobsters and oysters a lot during this trip! 🙂 

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Afterwards, we stopped off at a private beach nearby to play a bit in the rock pools and enjoy the fresh air and scenery.   We know a family from Boston, who owns a house there, so we figured we’d be okay for a short visit – it was fine!  

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It was this beach where the brand new New England Patriots hat and sunglasses were left behind and by the time it was realized, it was too late to go back.  Maine traffic in the summer is brutal and it was just not worth it.  If we had a boat it would be easy.  So if the tide didn’t take it out, someone has a brand new hat and sunglasses!

Smugglers Cove Inn, East Boothbay Harbor, Maine

 

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We booked 3 nights at Smugglers Cove Inn – East Boothbay Harbor – and it was a nice time and it was a very family-friendly hotel.  We had a simple room in the Anchor building – ground floor so we were looking out towards the pool and then the small beach and sunset.  The location was perfect for us to use as a base for exploring the area.  As with all our hotels, we made sure that the hotel had a pool which the kids ended up using a lot.

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There was a small, private beach with kayaks and canoes which you could check out from the office.  Nils and the kids did that for about 20 minutes – while I laughed on shore and took photos.  It was really funny to watch from shore!

One night we had a couple drinks in the 1820 House restaurant as we didn’t want to go out we had the kids have dinner there.   In looking back at my photos – I did have a lovely looking Bloody Mary 🙂

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They serve a small buffet breakfast in the dining area each morning but the coffee was terrible – it needs to be improved  – it was so weak!   The head chef was very personable and friendly.  He was from Philly but lived in the Caribbean for some years – nice guy!

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Pemaquaid Beach

One day we drove over to Pemaquaid Beach and the kids and Nils went into the water for a swim.  A bit too cold for me 🙂

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It’s a nice, clean beach and I would definitely go back another time.   Daily Entry Fee: $4.00 per person per day, cash only (children under 11 are free)

New Harbor, Maine

After our adventure at the beach, which truthfully didn’t last that long. How would it,  we only had towels?  No beach blanket, no cooler, no umbrella – no lunches or snacks.  We set off to have lunch but were specifically looking for New Harbor.  I bought two sketches at a charity shop and thought they were so pretty – after some research we discovered it was a place in Maine called New Harbor.  So we thought we’d go find it one day and have lunch there.

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To our pleasant surprise, there was Shaw’s Fish & Lobster Wharf – a simple seafood restaurant with an open deck looking out over a small fishing harbor.  I love this type of place – so easy going, laid back…   very New England.

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Downstairs there was an oyster bar which didn’t open until 2 pm, so we hung around a bit longer to be sure Soren and I could have a dozen oysters and I had a frozen margarita.  It was fine – they were fresh oysters so that was good but the woman working – well she needs a retraining session on a few things.

1) Get a frigging PERSONALITY and know what customer service is about – it was as if we were bothering her ordering drinks and oysters.  Don’t work at a bar in peak tourist seasons in coastal Maine if you don’t want to deal with tourists.

2) Get some training on how to open an oyster as a few had a lot of broken shells and lots of lost liquid.   Anyone who eats oysters doesn’t want to have to spit out a lot of broken shells in their mouth.

Like this guy – apart from me, he’s the biggest oyster fan I know 🙂

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It is from this pier where you can take various Hardy Boat cruises – I couldn’t talk anyone to going on a cruise.  Also in the movie – Message in a Bottle, the fog-bound harbor near the end is New Harbor, Maine.

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Boothbay Harbor, Maine

The next day, we decided to spend the day walking around Boothbay Harbor.  We visited some stores to find some t-shirts for Nils.  They have these shops where you can get 4 t-shirts for $20. and he did – nice ones.  One read – Boothbay Harbor – a Fishing Harbor with a drinking problem.

I had to take a photo of this cool machine located in one of the shops – it’s an old fashioned mailbox.   How cool would this be in your home or office?!

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Along the main street is Downeast Candies & Fudge Factory where the kids could see the man making the taffy and then of course, we had to buy a bit of fudge!

My sister, her husband and dogs came up to Boothbay for lunch and a walk and we took this photo in front of the famous 1000 foot bridge.  They have since moved away from Maine to South Carolina so was lucky to have this moment.

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We popped into the Wicked Whoopie Pie store but we didn’t buy anything…. as it was preferred to have an ice cream instead at the Downeast Ice Cream Factory.

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We had a great three night stay up in Maine but now it’s time to head to Boston for some days before we head back to the Netherlands!

 

Visit "home" for Thanksgiving Holiday

I was lucky enough to return to Boston (my hometown) for 10 days during the Thanksgiving holiday. It was special trip in that only I returned – as the kids were in school and it’s not celebrated here in Dublin.

To start the trip off, one of my best friends, E, who moved to Florida not that long after we left the US, came up and spent 3 nights.

After visiting a few stores, including Trader Joes – LOVE LOVE – we headed over for lunch at Friendly’s.  While no one in their right mind would want to eat a grilled cheese sandwich on sour dough bread and have a Reecees Pieces Sundae but that is all I wanted.    Hard to explain the strange American food cravings you miss when abroad.   This place is special for us as when we both lived in Boston, we’d go here often with the kids and also, before we moved away I took Soren there for a special ice cream sundae treat and we split the biggest one they had.   We drove up to Plum Island and then walked around Newburyport  – another favorite village which I will one day live – I think it’s the only village in Massachusetts in which I really want to live.

Traveling alone, she and I shared a hotel room for two nights in Salem, NH as we can be close to Windham, NH home to three other great friends, N, J and E.

That Thursday night, we had a dinner and drinks in the Margaritas restaurant in the lobby so it was perfect and everyone who was invited from the Boston area made the trip up.  We had a lot of laughs and yummy drinks.  Sadly though, my nachos sucked!  Four years of trying Nachos outside of the US has made me come to realize no matter who well the menu copy sounds, they will suck!

The next morning, we did short visit over to our friend N’s house which was beautiful, huge and decorated so nicely.  E, J, N & I spent the day up at the Merrimack Valley Outlets – NO SALES tax and a lot of great stores.  I picked up a few things for the kids but had my suitcase weight not be a factor, I would have got a bit more.   As N had a birthday part to attend and needed to leave at 2:30 pm, we opted to stay at the outlets and eat lunch there so we settled for Qdoba – yep more Mexican.   Only this time, it upset my stomach so that evening, I didn’t venture outside the hotel room.  We went over to J’s house, where we got to see her father and three children day,

Finally the last day of our trip, we didn’t have any plans.  We thought about walking around Boston for the day but instead, as it was a sunny but chilly day, we headed up towards the coast of NH starting in Hampton to Rye, Portsmouth, Wells, Ogunquit, Kittery and Kennbunkport.

Our final destination was Kennebunkport, Maine for lunch.    The photos will say it all but it’s such a cute town, which I would love to live  – or in that area.  The only negative is that it is pro-bush, pro-republican as Bush Sr. has their family compound here.  Nevertheless, it was great.  Lobster rolls and bloody mary for lunch, salted caramel chocolate fudge chunk and the company of a great friend – was a great time.

After a lovely day out, it was back to Logan airport to say goodbye to E and head on to my parents house for the rest of my time in Boston.  More about that part of the trip later …

I will add that while I had an enjoyable time, I left more confused about whether or not I would want to move back to Boston any time soon.  Part of me feels, sure I could return, the other part of me says I’m not yet ready.

Many people think repatriating is harder to deal with than moving overseas in the first place.  I’m not sure… I think many problems occur when one assumes that moving back to somewhere physically familiar – the culture, language and environment will be easy. However, life changes and while for us it’s has already been 4 years living away from the States, our home has changed, our friends and family have changed too.

People who have never lived overseas tend to not understand the new outlook on life and I know it’s not possible to expect us to pick up our lives where we left off 4+ years ago.

It was nice that some friends came from Boston for vacations and it would be even better if my parents could come visit!  Truthfully,  I want to return with the kids this summer for a family vacation.  I think it would be a big eye opener if we want to return or not.    Part of me says I could return tomorrow other parts say no way.

Jobs, schools, where to live – so much to consider!