Sunday, October 3, 2010

Memorial Day Adventures in Maine 2008-2010

I'm going to start out my updates with a review of our Memorial Day trips Maine. We have made Maine our Memorial Day destination for the past three years, staying in Ogunquit, Portland and Kennebunkport respectively. I will rate all three, seeing as we have experienced them all with a child.

1) Ogunquit, ME (2008): We chose this destination based on a trip a cousin took a few years prior. She and her husband came up from TN to have a kids-free get away. I think they had the right idea as this is not the most kid-friendly area on the Maine coast. We stayed in the Meadowmere Resort, which is a wonderful hotel. We had a private balcony, free breakfast, restaurant downstairs and both an indoor and outdoor pool. The location is just south of downtown, but easily walkable within 5 minutes (does have a small sidewalk to town). Ogunquit is better suited for adults, but they do have a few attractions for the kiddos. Of course there is the beach, but additionally there is a Ben & Jerry's, a toy store and a neat general store just downtown. Other than that you will find mostly upscale restaurants, antique stores and bars. We found we were out of place and spent most of our time driving around to other towns to find things to do.

It was on this trip that we first stumbled across Kennebunkport. A local suggested we check out their Memorial Day parade since George H.W. Bush sometimes shows up to give a speech. We thought it would be a neat experience to see a president so off we went! We ate a very early breakfast at The Maine Diner, (just off Rt. 1 and very VERY good), and then drove into town. We were able to find parking with no problem and set up shop downtown. The parade was great...marching bands, army tanks, scout troops...just what any small town parade should be. Bush didn't show that year, but it was still worth our time.

Budget Rating: 7/10 (Hotel was reasonable, did have to eat lunch and dinner out which cost a bit)
Child Rating: 2/10 (Not at all suited for parents with small children)
Time Spent: Three Days, two nights

2) Portland, ME (2009): This was the trip in search of the perfect lobster roll. Brandon literally ate one for lunch and dinner EVERY day. Good thing we were in Maine and lobster is plentiful, (and not too expensive!) We stayed at the Embassy Suites in Portland and found the accommodations well suited to our needs. Patrick was 15 months old, so we needed to find somewhere with a large room, indoor pool and a free breakfast. (Breakfast was varied enough to satisfy a picky toddler's appetite). The location was next to the airport, so we had to drive anywhere we wanted to go, but for the price it was worth it.

The first day we explored downtown Portland. It's a beautiful old town, but signs of the recent recession were everywhere. We noticed many empty store fronts that appeared to be freshly vacant. We walked around downtown and felt very safe in the areas we chose to explore. Our first stop was the Portland Children's Museum. It is nice, but small. Patrick was just the right age to really enjoy it. They had an area full of padded benches and ramps for the little ones to climb all over. This is where we spent most of our time. I wouldn't go back now, given Patrick's current age. That said, if you find yourself in Portland with one under 2 it's worth your time and money. We chose to eat downtown the first evening, and found our options limited. Again we were faced with establishments better suited for adults. We found a casual pub, (Dry Dock Restaurant and Tavern), but found ourselves eyed with disdain as soon as we walked in. Patrick was not the best behaved, but for a 15 month old he was OK. We chose to eat early, around 4:30pm but were still hit with a crowd ready to be kids-free.

The second day we chose to drive around Portland and take it easy. On a whim we decided to drive up to Boothbay and check it out. Friends of ours visit often and we wanted to see what all the fuss was about. We visited the Botanical Gardens and it was amazing! It did rain on us so we had to cut our visit short. I recommend a visit if you happen to be up that way. Plenty of space for the kiddos to run around and gorgeous exhibits. Most of Bootbay is closed at this time of year, but we enjoyed our time there anyway. We walked around on the waterfront and found ourselves at a seafood restaurant for dinner.

We decided not to try the parade in Kennebunkport that year because Patrick was going through a super wiggly phase. We knew it would be impossible for him to sit still through a parade. We chose to drive to Cape Elizabeth, again in search of the perfect lobster roll. I had visited the Two Lights Lobster Pound two years prior to this trip with a friend and her husband who were up in New England for a visit. I remembered how good it was, so off we went! Brandon was not disappointed. The Two Lights Lobster Pound is on the edge of Two Lights State Park. There is an area inside to eat, but I don't recommend it because the scenery outside is breathtaking. They have several picnic tables set up outside with views looking out over the Atlantic. Talk about picturesque! The coast is rocky, so I suggest you avoid it with small children. That said, there is enough room for little ones to wiggle outside.

Budget Rating: 8/10
Child Rating: 6/10
Time Spent: Three days, two nights

3) Kennebunkport, ME (2010): This year decided to actually stay in Kennebunkport. We chose to stay at the Kings Port Inn because of the price and location. DO NOT STAY HERE!! The beds were so hard it was like sleeping on concrete, I kid you not! We again found we had chosen an area better suited for adults. We spent most of our time driving around trying to find playgrounds. We did find one which we visited twice...but it's in the middle of a residential area and we felt a bit out of place. One night we tried to eat at the Arundel Wharf which was another dinnertime disaster. It took about 20 minutes to be seated, (it was not busy), and by that time Patrick was ready to go. We sat down ordered appetizers immediately but after waiting 20 more minutes we had to leave. We cancelled our orders and walked over to the Clam Shack. The Clam Shack is a walk-up and take-out place which specializes in fried seafood. We were surprised how good the seafood was, given the appearance of the place. That said, sadly our first theory was supported later that evening. We both got a stomach bug and spent the second night miserably tired (from the rock bed) and cranky (from being sick). We did attend the parade on Memorial Day and the whole trip was saved. George and Barbara showed up!! We happened to be right across from the speaking podium, so we were able to see them up close. Mission accomplished. We also found that the Kennebunk beach has a small playground right on the sand. It's old so you MUST watch your children at all times as there are gaps in the equipment which little ones could slip through.

Now that we have experienced all we set out to in Maine we are looking for other Memorial Day spots for 2011. It seems there's just not a good spot suited for our vacation needs.

Budget Rating: 6/10
Child Rating: 4/10
Time Spent: Three days, two nights

No comments:

Post a Comment