Spring drive thru the New England Coast

Discussion created by erc on May 18, 2014
Latest reply on May 19, 2014 by jakeal
United has excellent fares from Dulles to Boston throughout the year. Since even I, the Marriott pricing grid gnome struggle to find a Boston room for less than a mortgage, I decided last fall to fly to Boston this spring and head north (I follow a similar strategy with Buffalo - great airfares, then drive to Niagara on the Lake, Toronto, and beyond, deeper into Canada).

Landed at Logan on an early morning flight and drove to Portland Maine arriving prior to noon. Confident I could absorb the 'feel' of Portland in a day (I've visited before), I bypassed the very nice downtown Residence Inn and snagged the Fairfield Inn down the road already on the way back to New Hampshire, which resulted in substantial savings. The Fairfield featured friendly staff, 24 hour coffee (refreshed), an excellent breakfast, and something new, to me at least, a Fairfield manager's reception at dinner, with excellent soup and a caesar salad with real chicken in it, tasty.  Portland was quite enjoyable for walking around and an easy drive covering all the streets, the impressive waterviews (Eastern Promenade) and even attending a festival (they have cruises also). Loads of breweries (with tours) and brewpubs and several pleasant restaurants on the waterfront where we sampled the craft beers, ciders, and wines. They also had a Cabot (as in cheese) Store with samples just like Vermont, mmmm samples, and scores of interesting shops.

The next morning we had an excellent breakfast, just beating a Canadian soccer team down for a tournament (I enjoy talking to the kids and coaches, if I have already eaten!), which highlights why booking early often snags a good rate, because most all Marriotts will fill that sucker eventually either with weddings, quinceaneras, tournaments, greeks, etc,  - my m.o. which serves me well; book early/eat early and go shoulder season. We drove along the coast of Maine seeing the towns and ocean, very pleasant and easy going (this was the first weekend in May, 60 degrees) stopping at the Cape Arundel Inn in Kennebunkport and having a delicious meal across the inlet from the Bush compound, then headed into the delightful town and had closed on some terrific pre-season sales (for these prices, I'll gladly wear W's last year fashion). We kept driving the towns on down to Portsmouth New Hampshire where we stayed at the Wentworth as recommended by superchief, jerrycoin and other Insider travel pros.

The Wentworth reminded me of the former Marriott in Absecon NJ, the Seaview. Nicely situated on the harbor (the folks gave us a wonderful harbor view room) it's a pleasant enough property with friendly personnel, nice grounds and marina to walk around, and a marvelous restaurant, Salt Kitchen and Bar. They've also opened a new restaurant at the marina Latitudes, which given the quality of Salt, should be another excellent option. Portsmouth had a downtown similar to Portland easy to walk, and yes, loads of brewpubs (and a Red Hook Brewery out in the burbs) with solid food choices. We had another tasty lobster roll at The Beach Plum. Kittery Maine just across the river, was also a nice drive including some outlet stores with good outerwear deals like Orvis, Eddie Bauer, and Barbour (for that waxed cotton coat).

Back to Logan where I enjoyed the brand new terminal B for United along with the very nice club lounge and yes, a few final local brews and a lobster roll at the Legal Seafood restaurant. A fun time had by all.

So, this combined with painedplatinum's excellent writeup of  Maine...Downeast and Mid Coast, helps cover the coast. Now with ongoing inland insights from profchiara and sledchick, we've got the area covered.

Our first stop in Portland. Mike the young (30ish) owner won me when he
argued with the lone dissenter on TripAdvisor - it was as good as he said.
The first of many lobster rolls and clam chowders, and a twist, a lobster
BLT - delish. Caught that morning, it was an enjoyable lunch.
Kittery Maine looking back across the harbor toward Portsmouth NH. A lot of
interesting (and new to me) history.
Several old mills in Maine were successfully converted into office/retail spots.
It must be the cold winters, because every 50 feet it seemed there was another
brewpub - all that I tried (and I tried several) were great. This one, The Thirsty Moose
in Portsmouth, had 116 taps - they actually needed a 'beer runner' between the two
ends of the bar - yeah baby.

Sat here right next to distributors for Smuttynose - a great afternoon of good talk and cheer.
Just down the road from Fairfield in Scarborough Me. - good times.

Love those off season tables, deals, and service. Ocean Restaurant at the
Cape Arundel Inn (to the left of the Mrs. is George's summer hangout).

Picture of the Bush Compound from the porch of Cape Arundel Inn.
The new United Club Lounge in the new Terminal B at Logan. Enough to make
kharada, iahflyr, ssindc, and other aviation geeks get misty eyed.

Since it's considered the most photographed house in Maine, I didn't bother. But I swear, since I got back, no fewer than four neighbors asked if I took a photo of it - so, if any Insiders feel the same, here's one for you of The Wedding Cake House in Kennebunk.