Hello! If you are just now joining us, please read part one of our Maine trip to meet Michal's extended family. If you don't you will not hear the tales of why this post starts with an epic hangover for Brian. Check it out here. After waking up from our one-of-a-kind night in Portland, Maine, I decide to go grab some coffee and let Michal sleep in. All was well; waking up in this beautiful, old, New England home in a state I've never visited...that feeling vanished as soon as I stepped out of the home. There it was, the rental car sitting on its rim with a flat tire. Immediately, I called the rental agency and am put on hold.
The hold goes for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, then 20 minutes. I put the phone on speaker, set it down and decide to change the flat myself… we were only a 15 minute drive from the airport anyway. Since I was out there I got to meet some of the neighbors; a lovely couple who helped and chatted me through the whole changing tire process, all while listening to the glorious sound of hold music. Finish and head off to the airport…someone answers the phone as soon as I pulled into the rental return lane. Of course. I hang up and walk in, got some amazing customer service and am back on the road in 5 minutes. Go Avis! I stop and get coffee at a Dunkin’ donuts, because I am still a tad hung over and lacking on caffeine. Returning to the AirBNB with my beautiful new rental car, I realize that Michal is still sleeping. I wake her and she starts getting ready so I headed out again to 'Tandem Coffee and Bakery'. Tandem was amazing. The coffee was great, but the baked goods were even better! Nestled into an old 70s-esque bike shop, Tandem delivers on coffee, food and a one-of-a-kind atmosphere. Once I saw them through the clear bakery glass upon entering the place (waited in line 10 minutes), I knew I had come to the right place. I got the coffee and a couple of blueberry scones for Michal and me to enjoy upon my return. Holy crap were they good. If you find yourself in Portland, Maine and you are a bit of an early riser, Tandem Coffee and Bakery is a must stop. I also hadn't realized blueberries were a big thing in Maine so Michal filled me in and now I realize why she loves them so much!
Returning back to the AirBNB, Michal was about ready. We ate our scones, loaded up the new rental car and headed out for the quintessential Maine experience of 'The Portland Head Light.’ It was a perfect day outside, sunny but not too hot, with very light cloud cover. It was the best way to experience the spectacular views of the lighthouse and the gardens that surround it. We parked pretty far away and enjoyed the walk up the hill to the path that leads toward the Lighthouse. Everything was perfect. The way the sun hit the ocean, the illumination of the light house and the smell of the ocean. It was a spectacular day for exploring this new (to me) place. The only downside was the crowd; felt like everybody who lived within a 60 mile radius of Portland must have had the same idea.
We took the time to take it all in which sometimes we forget to do while out and about. It's pretty amazing that we got a few pictures without having a group of tourists wander in front of us. But, of course, we got a bunch of those too...which we will not share!
About 15 minutes drive away from the headlight there is a Maine state park that was a completely different experience. Almost deserted in comparison. 'Two Lights', our next stop, had sprawling rock/stone beaches, with huge outlets, jutting out into the water… we were able to walk right down to the ocean and enjoy the one-of-a kind views. Two Lights was just as great of an experience as the head light. Though a little bit more off the beaten path, it is absolutely worth a visit. Michal has very fond memories as a child and spending every 4th of July with her extended family here. Realizing how hungry we'd become, we were pretty happy to come across 'The Lobster Shack at Two Lights'. I swear, there were 10x the amount of people here than were in the entire Two Lights park. We waited in line on the edge of a rocky cliff overlooking the ocean for 20 minutes or so, before walking into a legitimate shack for our lobster rolls and crab cakes.
The lobster was good and fresh and for the first lobster roll of the trip, it did not disappoint. But, trust me, don't go here for the food only, the atmosphere was the biggest selling point to us. Amazing views from an awesome patio. It was excellent. After eating, we returned to Portland and ventured out to explore some more, this time in the daylight to check out the shops and boutiques of the city. We hit some tourist shops and then had a drink at Liquid Riot Brewing. It was a great brewery with an awesome staff. And, oddly enough, we sat right beside our bartender from Tomaso's Canteen from the night before. We had some good conversation with him before venturing further down the road to our next haunt. We headed over to The Porthole, which was an amazing water front patio right on the wharf, with live music and a rockin' crowd. It was super fun and worth the stop. After a quick drink at the Porthole, we returned to our AirBNB to get ready for the evening. We had late night reservations at the iconic 'DiMillo's On The Water'. This was classic fine dining on a yacht and was a well known restaurant to Michal's family as well as the town of Portland. I had the Lobster and Michal had the chicken dish (she doesn't like lobster!! I know, I know...). We had blueberry cobbler for desert. It was unbelievable and we could have had several more slices.
DiMillo's is must for a classic New England style date night in Portland, Maine. We headed home after our late night dinner to get some rest. We had a long day of family time and sight seeing to come and we needed to be our best. The next morning we left Portland for Augusta. If it was half as beautiful as Portland, we were in for one great treat.