Summer is here! If you are looking for a great place to spend your summer vacation with your family… keep reading! In August of 2016, Rusty and I set out to plan the ultimate summer vacation with our then 5 year old, McKenzie and our 6-month-old baby, Maven. Looking back on it now I think we were sipping the Kool-Aid when we decided to travel with a new born baby that had severe reflux and was on two different medications that had to stay refrigerated at all times (for the love of god) but we did it! I kind of wear this trip like a badge of honor along with giving birth with no drugs. Trust me don’t try that.
Here is a synopsis of our Maine vacation. We were away for a total of 8 days and it was perfect. By perfect, I mean we were all still slightly sane by the time we arrived home.
First stop: Portland Maine
Hotel: Hyatt Place (great location close to shops and restaurants) we used points so it was free. You got to love that!
Highlights: Eating as many lobster rolls as we could consume. Oh man, they are so good. I feel my mouth watering now. The Lobster Shack in Cape Elizabeth (just outside of Portland) had the best lobster rolls in the area.
Mackworth Island was the perfect hike. We put Maven in our Lille Baby carrier (if you don’t have one you need one) and off we went. It was a short 1-mile loop hike with a fun build your own fairy house spot. McKenzie loved it.
Portland Headlight lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth. The scenery here is breathtaking. The hills are steep but worth climbing. Venture out on the rocks for a spectacular view of the Lighthouse and the ocean. We brought a blanket and had a little picnic at the park.
The best breakfast in town was at the Bayside American Café. McKenzie had the most delicious berry pancakes and the lobster eggs benedict was to die for. Yummy cappuccino’s too. This restaurant is packed with charm and worth the wait.
2nd Stop: Camden, Maine
After three days in Portland we were ready to pack up the mini van and venture off to find new places. Renting a mini van is one of McKenzie’s favorite parts about going on vacation. I do have to agree with her they are so convenient but it goes against my core wannabe bad-ass to buy one. Nothing against anyone that has one, I get it! But I just can’t do it. Nope. Just can’t. Anywho, off we went to Camden. It was a beautiful drive and the small, quaint city of Camden was straight out of a storybook, a picturesque little downtown area. We had lunch and then stopped to get ice cream at Camden Cone. We walked the art show and bought used books at the book fair for 50 cents! McKenzie was entertained for hours in the car. Everyone was so friendly; it was the quintessential feel good town that transported us into the good ol’ days. After spending the day in Camden we were back on our road trip to Bar Harbor. We had fun playing eye spy and counting American flags on the way there.
3rd Stop: Bar Harbor
Highlights: This was our favorite part of the trip. We fell in love with Acadia National Park. Jordan Pond was one of the most peaceful places I have ever been to. This is a must see! We went to the Jordan Pond house for popovers, salad and wine. The view from the lawn was beautiful. Beware there are a lot of bees, eat quickly. LOL
Cadillac Mountain was an easy drive to the top and has the best views of the coastline. It’s really windy at the top so be prepared.
Thunder Hole was a unique experience where you get to watch the power of the ocean and the enchantment of nature’s creations. Walk out on the rocks to hear the thunder of the waves hitting the rocks. Make sure to go at high tide for the best experience.
Downtown Bar Harbor is a great place to eat and indulge in whoopee pies. Go to the Pink Pastry Shop. They were soooo good. We might have gone back several times for more. I have to admit this was my first experience with a whoopee pie and it was love at first bite.
Bar Island Sand Bar. This is also a must do. You have to go at low tide. Check out the tide chart for the best time to go. We found little creatures and the most amazing starfish! This was a first for all of us. We had so much fun searching for them and holding them. They were so pretty. Beware if you go too far and the tide comes in you better know how to swim or have a boat in your back pocket.
On our drive back towards Portland we stopped at C-Ray Lobster. OMG. THE. BEST. LOBSTER. ROLL. EVER. Order two at least and the soup was fresh and so delish. Go there. Thank me later. We stopped at Sweet Season Farm in Washington, Maine for blueberry and raspberry picking. McKenzie said this was a highlight for her. We had the whole place to ourselves. We picked pounds of blueberries and had the chance to taste and pick several different varietals of raspberries that we hadn’t had before. After picking, we had ice cream from the market and the most refreshing Maine root beer.
Maine will always have a special place in my heart. The first vacation we went on with our completed little family. I’ll never forget pumping in the airport bathroom and freaking out because we couldn’t find hot water to heat up Maven’s bottle that had to be a certain temp for the thickener to dissolve. But we made it, sometimes we wanted to cry but for the most part we laughed. We made memories as a family and really what could mean more than that? No matter how old your kids are or what challenges you may face, just go, you will be glad you did!