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A week in Portland Maine

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It's been awhile since I have written up a week of travel.. Rolling with a solid crew of 4, we drove up to Portland Maine and hung out for about a week.  We did some side trips before heading down to Providence Rhode Island where we dropped off one of our favorite kids..   This will be a documentation of the trip for my memories.. I will then, if I have the time or the interest, make separate threads for the restaurants we stopped in at... 


We left Saturday morning around 11 oclock with Maine in our GPS.   It was a beautiful sunny day with surprisingly no traffic.. The two in the back were drawing and coloring and there was lots of singing.. Miss K got  Jax into Japanimation and Anime this summer.. They are both rabid fans of Hatsune Miku.. If you do not know who this is, I applaud you.. Basically, she is a fictitious hologram pop singer.  She puts on live stage shows with a live band.. She is currently touring Asia.. While you would think the beauty of having a hologram star is that she could perform around the globe simultaneously, the creators have decided to treat her like a real person and go on a real tour with a live band.. So, we will have to wait a year or so until she comes to New York.. The last concert I went to, i was shocked to see the majority of the concert attendees were not teenage girls like my daughter but, pale, creepy looking 30 something year old adults who most likely all had sweaty hands and love pillows... It was 10 times more creepy than a Furry convention in which I have had the pleasure of attending multiple ones.. But, I digress.. The mood of the car was lovely, there was singing and joy.. All was great..  Jax has aspirations of being a "rocker star" 


Around lunch time, we were arriving in Connecticut.. Connecticut while, inhabiting the worst fucking drivers in the entire planet, happens to have some incredible food places.. Hot dogs, Lobster Rolls, Pizza, steamed burgers, there is really no road food Connecticut does not excel at.. That is with the exception of the actual people on the road.. For these people, the left lane is actually the slow lane.. The middle lane is the middle lane and the right lane is the fast lane.. It is also the lane often left completely empty by people who do not know how to merge..  I have driven by myself for a half a mile, while people are stalled in traffic,or merging while there is still a full lane just sitting unused.. It is the most aggravating state to drive in.  And, truly, when you see a person with Connecticut plates outside of their own state, they do not disappoint..   Maryland being the second worst.   But, again I digress..   So it was a beautiful day and well, as I mentioned spirits were high... So, we pulled off and headed down route 1.


We decided  that The Place, in Guilford would be the most fun place to stop.. We get to sit on tree stumps, we can stop at the local liquor store for a bottle of wine, Jax can watch the fires and run around with kids and well, it's so low key and chill, what better way to start a vacation... Sure there is Lenny and joe's for lobster rolls, there is Johnny Ad's for fried clams, there is Ted's for steamed burgers but, yeh, sit outside and take it all in.. 



They have this raging fire and a custom made grill.. They have these logs cut to spec.  They are about the length of the grill and they throw them in every so often.. It's a smokey fire and lots of smoke gets imparted in the various dishes.. I would say the most unique or dish that is most synonymous with the Place is, their roasted clams.. I have made these many times since first going here.  They are roasted clams with cocktail sauce and butter.. But, the smoke really shines in this dish.. They aren't the best in the world but, they are sure fun to eat.. 





some boiled or steamed shrimp:





grilled and butter dunked corn:




a couple of lobsters:  (note: its soft shell lobster season so, the prices are a little stupid at this place.. I mean, fresh direct is selling lobstes for 7.99 a lb.  I much prefer hard to soft shell lobsters.. This was ok but, yeh, not the best. 




Salmon for Miss K:





A water color Miss K painted while we sat 




Jax was super happy.. He ate shrimp and fish and corn:





it was a fun first stop.. Not earth shattering but, its like a communal backyard bbq.. We like it.   So, it was back on the road and we made it all the way up to Kittery for the night...  

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We arrived in Kittery Maine around dinner time.. We were driving by and noticed a place called Robert's.. .It had great reviews and well the menu read well... Not to mention, they had a great beer list. Again, being soft shell lobster season, i was not super excited about eating so much lobster but, oysters, oysters all day every day... We can eat a couple of dozen before appetizers... Miss K eats them, Jax does not... We had a couple of beers and a lot of oysters to start:






ranking our favorites:




At this point I am such a picky dick. Nothing moves me, I hate most people's cooking and most restaurants anger me to no end.. I am officially old.. I remember when I dated this Italian Girl.. Her last name was translated to “” or something like that.. She was hard core italian on both sides.. Going out to dinner with her consisted of us only going out to Italian Restaurants and the entire time, the family just complained about the food and said how much better their mothers food was than this slop. The mother stoically sat their absorbing all the adulation the way a plant takes sunlight. I swear, every time it was like this... I have never identified more with a person in my life... The mother, not the daughter.


Anyway, fried platters of seafood.. I think I am almost over them.. I mean, sure, i can eat them, sometimes they are good but, never get a combo plate.. Obviously everything has different cook times and then it's just piled high on a plate and it all just steams.. It's like those people that go crazy over those large Korean Pots of seafood or anything where you have lots of different things, it's just a lot of average food..


Spot the lie: You have haddock, you have scallops, shrimp, clams, onion rings.. Whatever, fried scallops? If they were that good, they should be raw of barely cooked.. Who the hell wants to deep fry a beautiful scallop... Maybe fry the corral? I did not see one scallop shell in maine.. I often have issue with fried fish because the fish itself is often tasteless.. i really have no interest in further investigating fried fish but, a marinade might be a good idea. Maybe larding some fish might be fun.





We ended the day driving a bit to find a Day's Inn.. A 200 dollar a night days in that should have been 40 bucks... We were missing something so, I decided to call the front desk: It was right on the border of maine and New Hampshire so, I took a really long and wonerful walk to Portsmouth in the morning..




Perhaps it was a wireless phone:




after looking behind the table top for a chord, I came across some disgusting stains and decided to stop looking before I found something:



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So, I wake up the next day... Apparently, we were staying next to the ice machine.  The Days Inn is one of those drive up hotels.. I think there is a lobby area but, you can just pull up to your room and park right out front.  The night before, Miss A was just running in to random hotels until they would take us. So, i didn't get to interact much with the staff..  When we arrived there were some people with their doors open and their lights and curtains open.. They were sort of tailgating and extending their hotel rooms out to their cars, almost like an outdoor living room.. Spreading out, in a professional and experienced way..  Their trunks were open, or the back of their vans or something.. There was lots of activities and nylon furniture.   


Well, so, yeh, they are all like half camping, very experienced outdoor living kind of folks.. So, as we were staying by the ice machine, it appears ice is very integral to  to life on the road with my fellow lodgers.. Whether they had just shot a deer and needed to keep the butchered parts in various coolers, or they all had stolen someones kidney the night before and had to leave the victim in a tub of ice, or they may have all been starting a roadside snow cone making business, I do not know.. But, it sounded like someone was filming a gang bang by the ice machine at 6 in the morning.. And with the constant use of the machine  and the machine working it's hardest to produce more ice, it was more noisy than Fulton Street in Brooklyn..   I had visions of going outside in my underwear and screaming in tongues at these people but, I was on vacation.. I was in a new place, with new people and I just drew the shitty room card.. So, I did the opposite of my natural instincts... I went outside and took a walk.. 


It was a beautiful walk.. I was aware of how close we were staying to Portsmouth, it was just about a mile or two away.. We had driven over the bridge the prior evening and since it was a beautiful morning, why not.   There is always something cool about being able to walk into another state... While walking, i ran into a young woman who was walking in the same direction.. Needless to say, me trying to say hello and make small talk ended with her crossing the street and essentially running away from me.. So, that was fun... 


Here is the view:  Gorgeous Day:   I walked close to 2.5 hours before heading back to the hotel and waking up my family. 




After telling my family tales of a cute town just over this bridge and of course wanting to show off the distance I traveled, we headed towards Portsmouth.. At this point I am an expert on Portsmouth being that I spent an extra hour in the place than the rest of them.. We came upon a submarine I walked by earlier..   It was the USS Albacore.. It was a museum with a gift shop and an old guy who told us things.. He was friendly and we paid him and he let us go on the sub.. 



Submarines are hellish.. I never considered them.. I can't watch movies that take place on ships, or subs, or aircraft.. I get too claustrophobic.. Like, the idea of watching Hunt for Red October made me very uncomfortable.. Alien, all those movies.. It's too confining.. But yeh, the real thing, even worse.. I couldnt imagine being stuck with a bunch of guys under the water in these tiny conditions for months at a time.. It's insane.. 


Would you want to sleep here?  These were some of the larger accommodations..  Three guys would share one bed in 8 hour shifts.. 




This is a 4 year old for perspective 






This is one of the worst beds:




In his defense, i didn't specify which eye to close initially. 




Of course the kitchen is the only room on the sub that is normal size.. Every room on a sub is cramped and uncomfortable compared to normal life with the exception of the kitchen.  Where it is cramped and uncomfortable the world over.  





We headed in to Portsmouth shortly after and walk a bit before  finding Elephantine Bakery.. .This was a really cute little spot with fresh out of the oven rosemary foccacia.. It was still steaming and oily and crunchy and well, so damn good..  I highly recommend this place if you are ever in the area:





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Who the hell wants to deep fry a beautiful scallop... Maybe fry the corral? 


Public service announcement: Don't fry the coral, it explodes. 


Thanks for the write-up. We might be hitting NE next year, so definitely bookmarking. 

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Yes, I am sure there are exceptions but, really, more often than not frying large fish filet is not that exciting. And almost always, unless you like live on a scallop farm where all you do is eat scallops so often that you need to start getting incredibly creative, frying a scallop is not necessary... But, that is why there are more than one color underwear for sale at the store.


Well shoot, it was all fresh in my head when I was writing last week.. But, now I have been away to Chicago, i have been home sick, i have filled my head with so many other things and experiences that, well, it's all a little fuzzy.. the initial feelings have gone and now I feel like I am retelling a story I heard.. But, perhaps I will be kinder due to nostalgia than so hyper critical about most of the mediocre food that was produced with such beautiful ingredients.. 



We drove up that morning from Kittery after seeing the sub and eating some bread and we arrived at this beautiful rocky beach.. At the bottom was stone, it looked like slate, or sort of petrified wood.. People said it was shale.. but it was layered and slightly hollow, almost like the best charcoal.. it definitely felt like it was petrified wood, or slate but, yeh, shale was told to me by people with maine accents and grayer hair than mine.  







We climbed along the steep rocks much to the delight of my bride:





The name of the place was http://lobstershacktwolights.com/


Jax has been eating shrimp so, we were excited to order him the fried shrimp plate.. Out came these baby little guys with a sort of soft steamed outside.. It tasted like fried, salt, hot.. he was not a fan, they were ok:




A couple of lobsters:





Lobster roll and fried clams:







Time has passed and well, it doesn't stand out as particularly good or bad.  It was not terrible and it was not amazing.. It was good..  No matter what you do at these places, it always works out to be about 100 bucks... Nothing life changing outside of the view.. The view, walking on the rocks, standing over a little pool formed in th rocks and looking at mussels, skipping rocks on the beach with Jax, these are all the things that make this place special and worth a trip.. Really, one of the more pretty places to stop and have a meal..






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Didnt read this thread until just now. We’re staying at a friend’s place in Ocean Park, Maine for several days and had lunch there yesterday. Same lobster and lobster roll meal, same beautiful scenery, basically the same review. Today was another seafood lunch at another gorgeous place looking out at the water, but this time with steamers, peel and eat shrimp and lobster bisque. Nice.

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