When life throws wrenches into your plans (in our case COVID-19), work around them and make the best out of your circumstance. It took us four attempts of planning our honeymoon to actually go on it. At one point, I didn’t think we would ever go. What panned out was an amazing ten-day trip to Maine and New Hampshire, exploring various towns, beaches, restaurants, breweries and scenic landmarks.
When we were planning our wedding, the last thing on my mind was to also plan a honeymoon. It’s stressful and time consuming enough to plan a wedding, so our honeymoon plans did not come to fruition until two or so months afterwards. We had settled on nine days in Aruba for March. We were packed and ready to leave, then COVID-19 hit. In the end, our honeymoon chronicles consisted of cancelling Aruba twice and cancelling Newport, RI the week before we were planned to go.
Four nights in York, ME. Two nights in Portland, ME. Three nights in Portsmouth, NH. Our honeymoon that we finally got to go on, and I couldn’t have asked for a better and more memorable time.
York, Maine, one of the first towns you hit when you enter the state, was our first stop. We booked four nights at the Union Bluff Hotel, located on Short Sands Beach. Our room was a beachfront room, where we would spend almost every night for happy hour and watching the sunset.
The first day we were so excited to be there, and our room wasn’t ready, so we ordered Bloody Mary’s from the bar and soaked in the views from the Adirondack chairs along the water. We would spend a lot of time in these chairs enjoying our mornings, sunsets and evening drinks.
Then we just plopped our chairs and cooler right on the beach and cracked open some White Claws and had ourselves a beach day.
Our first dinner was at the Inn on the Blues, an indoor/outdoor restaurant and bar. We shared appetizers and drinks and kept it a casual night. While our first day’s weather was amazing, we wouldn’t have that luck for the days to follow. BUT, this did not deter us from having a good time!
On our second day it was about 70 degrees and cloudy. We took this day to adventure around York and check out some of their staples. We started out visiting the Long Sands Beach General Store and ordered the famous “Bulkie”, a breakfast sandwich. Afterwards we visited York Harbor, the Cliff Walk and the Nubble Lighthouse.
We were in Maine, an east coast state that is known for some of the best seafood. So, our goal was to eat as much seafood as we could. We also had to of course go and get ourselves one of their famous Lobster Rolls. We walked to Fox’s Lobster House and shared a Lobster Roll and New England Clam Chowder. SO GOOD and the perfect lunch for a gloomy day. This was also located right next to the Nubble Lighthouse, so we were happy to enjoy the view again.
For dinner, we went to the Sand Dollar Bar and Grille. I had the best Blacked Ahi Tuna Sandwich while Tom enjoyed their Fish and Chips. This was definitely our favorite dinner while we stayed at York and the restaurant itself was great.
Afterwards we enjoyed drinks on our balcony (as we did almost every night), overlooking the ocean and taking in the beautiful coastal views. We really loved how the Maine beach views consisted of cliffs, rock walls and gorgeous oceanfront homes.
On the third day it was still overcast and chilly, so we decided to venture to Ogunquit, which is about 15 minutes north of York. We walked their famous Marginal Way, a trail along their coast with the best ocean views.
This trail eventually led us to Perkins Cove, a seaside village with little boutique shops, art galleries and restaurants that serve local seafood. We both loved this cute town; it was so quant and cozy. We walked the shops, admired the boats and drank bloodies at one of their well-known restaurants on the water, the Oarweed Restaurant.
While the weather wasn’t awesome, we couldn’t not check out Ogunquit’s beach. We spent a couple hours on the beach enjoying the views and ourselves.
This beach is 3.5 miles long, providing enough room for families to enjoy. There was paid parking, a public bathhouse and several restaurants and shops that are walking distance. We definitely would go back to this beach in the future.
For dinner we went back to the Inn on the Blues for a full meal this time. We started out with Steamers to share, which were so fresh and delicious. I ordered one of their burgers and Tom got the Lobster Mac and Cheese. There were no complaints to be had.
On our last full day in York, the weather was finally beautiful. So, we set up shop on the beach early and enjoyed our entire day there. We ordered lunch from the Union Bluff Hotel grill and it made me wish we had tried more of their food. Tom got the Fried Haddock Rueben and I got a Turkey BLT. For dinner, we kept it casual and ordered pizza on the beach. It was a great way to end our time in York.
We definitely plan to head back to York in the future and would stay again at the Union Bluff Hotel. It was so relaxing, and the scenes were breathtaking. Highly recommend to anyone looking for a low-key beach getaway.
Portland was Tom’s favorite stop – the city, delicious food, breweries, distilleries and scenic views were amazing. Before we got to Portland, we did stop at Old Orchard Beach to get another day in at the ocean. This beach is seven miles long and the town has a well-known pier with bars and restaurants and lots for families to do. It honestly reminded us a lot of the Jersey Shore, but if you go further out from the pier the environment does become less crowded.
We arrived at Portland around 4:00, just in time for check-in. We stayed at the Portland Harbor Hotel located in Old Port and it was the cutest hotel with a nautical theme throughout. I was obsessed with all of the decor.
The first night we walked the town and found a restaurant on the water called The Porthole. They had a massive outdoor deck with ample seating. We shared a Lobster Spinach Artichoke Dip and Fruits De Mer. The best part is we got to watch all of the boats come in to drop off all of the lobsters they had caught for the day. Dinner and a show!
Here is where I also discovered Maine Craft Distilling. As I was enjoying their canned Vodka Soda cocktail and made a mental note that we had to check this place out while we were here.
The next day we decided to adventure and experience as much of Portland as we could. We started out by ordering donuts from The Holy Donut. These potato donuts are a Portland staple, so we had to try them.
With donuts in hand, we headed to Fort Allen to take in some of the best views of Portland. This was by far my favorite spot within Portland. We walked the East Promenade Trail that ran along the waterfront of the park and it had the best views of Casco Bay.
Shortly after we took a drive to Allagash Brewing Company to check out their facility, but unfortunately due to COVID they were not allowing tastings. We did get to check out the grounds of the brewery and bought a six pack of their beer to enjoy at a later time.
For the rest of the places we wanted to check out, we could walk to them. So, we trekked on up to Shipyard Brewing as our first stop. We sat outside and each ordered a flight to try. Afterwards we walked inside to check out their store and the inside of their facility. It was a really cool place; had great beer and I’d love to go back sometime.
The next stop was Oxbow Brewing Company. Their outside setup was our favorite of the places we went to. Plus, they had the Duckfat Friteshack on premise.
This Portland staple has the best fries ever and the best part is we didn’t even have to wait in a long line for them! If you go to their restaurant, you’re guaranteed to be waiting a good amount of time to be seated.
Our last stop was Maine Craft Distilling where we spent the majority of our day. Not only were their beverages my favorite, they also had an awesome outdoor atmosphere with great music. We tried almost every cocktail offering they had in a can and shared some of their homemade nachos.
At one point it started down pouring, so it gave us even more of a reason to keep enjoying ourselves. We even got to taste some of their Cinnamon Whiskey.
Unfortunately for us, they don’t distribute in the Albany area, so we made sure to buy some of their canned cocktails so we could enjoy them at home (my favorite was the Cranberry Island Cocktail).
We ended our night with another dinner on the harbor at Boone’s Fish House and Oyster Room. This was by far Tom’s favorite meal as he indulged in their famous baked stuffed Lobster. I, on the other hand, enjoyed myself some Blackened Salmon with homemade Risotto.
On our final day in Portland we decided to go back to The Porthole to take in the awesome views and enjoy brunch before we got back on the road. The food did not disappoint, of course.
This city is such a cool place and we definitely plan on taking a trip back once things with COVID-19 settle down. We were restricted on things we could do because of the precautions that were in place, but our overall experience was great and I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys eating, drinking and exploring to check this city out.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Before we ventured down into Portsmouth, NH, we decided to take advantage of the nice weather and do another day at a Maine beach. We tried originally to go to a beach in Kennebunk, but there was no parking to be found. So, we ended up at Wells Beach.
This beach was my favorite of all of the Maine beaches. It’s a long, sandy stretch with sand dunes and sea grass. Tom and I both agreed it would be a great place to rent a house for a week and just enjoy, mainly because they’re located right on the beach. Needless to say, it was a great beach day.
After the beach, we headed down to Portsmouth and checked into our hotel, the Residence Inn Portsmouth Downtown/Waterfront. The hotel was conveniently located in the center of the city, so we were able to walk everywhere.
We ventured towards the water (of course) and found a restaurant right on the harbor, The River House. There was a wait so we grabbed a drink around the corner at this vibrant, low key place called Lazy Jacks Watering Hole in the meantime. One we got seated for dinner, I enjoyed the Crab Cake BLT and Tom got the Jambalaya. The food did not disappoint.
The next day we checked out a popular breakfast place around the corner, The Friendly Toast. Their breakfast was ah-mazing and the funky atmosphere made it even more enjoyable. It made us wish we had a joint like this near us.
The weather was 80 degrees and sunny, so I was determined to check out a NH beach. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t realize you needed to reserve parking through their parks website beforehand, because of COVID. The upside was that we got to drive the coast and soak in the amazing views. The downside was, our beach experience was not what we expected.
Ultimately, we ended up at North Hampton Beach because we were able to find metered parking. The beach was PACKED and there was limited beach to enjoy because it was high tide and a lot of seaweed. But we did make a nice day of it and we got to enjoy the nice weather.
For dinner we set up reservations at the Martingale Wharf. This was another beautiful place right on the harbor where we enjoyed our meal on the rail. We shared the Tuna Tartare, I got the Salmon BLT and Tom enjoyed the Shrimp Po’ Boy. The views, food and drinks were all so amazing.
The next day we decided to venture and check out some of Portsmouth’s history. We started out with brunch at the Hammer Pub and Grille followed by a stroll through the city. We walked through Strawberry Banke, the oldest neighborhood in Portsmouth, and the Prescott Park Gardens, a ten-plus acre waterfront park with the most beautiful flowers.
Afterwards, we ended up at the Portsmouth Brewery trying some of their handcrafted beers.
Our good friends from Boston decided to join us on the last leg of our honeymoon and booked a night in Portsmouth. They arrived shortly after we finished our drinks at the brewery, so we met up with them and headed to Cisco Brewers. They had a huge outdoor area with picnic tables and lawn for your dog to enjoy. So, we sat outside and tasted some of their brews and shared some appetizers.
After the brewery, we headed back to the hotels and got ready for dinner. I made a reservation at Moxy, a modern American tapas restaurant. After an entire week of doing full meals, it was refreshing to do shared plates so we could try an array of delicious foods.
Our meal was amazing and every tapa we ordered was better than the one we had before. The experience was fun to do with another couple and we were there for about an hour and a half. This was definitely one of my favorite dinners during our trip.
Afterwards we went to The Thirsty Moose Taphouse for some after dinner drinks. During our trip, it was hard to just sit somewhere and enjoy a drink (other than at a brewery), so it was refreshing to do so… finally.
And then it was Sunday, day ten of our honeymoon trip and time to head home. We grabbed coffee and breakfast sandwiches from The Green Room and hit the road.
Our honeymoon was relaxing, refreshing, adventurous, and everything we needed. It’s a trip we will always remember and will look back on it and reminisce about how much fun we had together. We definitely plan to visit some of these places again in the near future. Especially when COVID is over and the economy opens up again.