Escape the Texas heat with a weekend retreat to Maine
The best way to beat the Texas heat is to get out of town and head for cooler, crisper temperatures. Forget Aspen; make the trek to the Northeast for a long weekend in scenic Maine. Relish the relaxed city life in Portland, then head to the picturesque small town of Kennebunkport.
Pack a light jacket or sweater — and a swimsuit if you dare to take a dip in the chilly Atlantic. Be sure to rent a car in Portland for your escape to Kennebunkport.
5 pm: Take it easy
Arrive at Portland International Airport. Then retrieve your rental car and drive to Portland Harbor Hotel and check in. The hotel is centrally located, so you can walk to the best shops and restaurants or take a stroll along the harbor.
8 pm: Dinnertime
Walk to Fore Street Restaurant and order the oven-fired mussels to start and any fish as a main. The menu changes daily to ensure the freshest, seasonal food on every plate. Make a reservation ahead of time, because this is one of the best restaurants in the city. After dinner, take a walk around the harbor.
Noon: Light bite
Although the name suggests otherwise, it’s possible to have a light lunch at Duckfat. Try a tuna melt panino, chopped Brussels sprouts salad, and craft mint and lime soda.
2 pm: Historic stop
Grab a slice of mixed berry pie and a whoopie pie to go from Two Fat Cats Bakery before heading to Cape Elizabeth to visit the historic Portland Head Light lighthouse. Picnic with your pies on the adjacent lawn at Fort Williams Park.
5 pm: Pre-dinner drink
Head back to the hotel to change for a night on the town. Before dinner, visit the hotel bar, Eve’s at the Garden, and order a dry vodka martini.
7 pm: Supper time
Walk to Street & Co. for your dinner reservation. Order the manchego with membrillo fig cake and organic mesclun salad with house-cured duck for starters, followed by grilled lobster with butter and garlic, mussels marinara with linguini, or blackened arctic char. Skip dessert here — but save room for it later.
9 pm: Sweet ending
Because you’re in prime dairy land, Beal’s Ice Cream is a must-stop for a scoop (or two) of black raspberry and blueberry.
9 am: Hit the road
Drive to Kennebunkport, a charming town about 40 minutes away from Portland. Park your car (you won’t need it) and check in at Kennebunkport Inn. Pack a towel and tote, then head to the Kennebunkport Farmers Market for some fresh berries, goat cheese, bread and jam for an afternoon at the beach.
Noon: Lunchtime lobster
According to the Wall Street Journal, The Clam Shak has some of the best lobster rolls in Maine, and it’s reported to be a favorite of the Bush family, who vacation in Kennebunkport. No trip to Maine is complete without indulging in (at least) one lobster roll, especially right off the scenic dock.
1 pm: Explore the town
Within walking distance from your now-favorite lunch spot is a cluster of boutiques and restaurants. Purchase some pretty pottery from the husband-and-wife-owned store Good Earth, and stop by Rococo Artisan Ice Cream for a scoop of heaven. We can still taste the goat cheese-blackberry-Chambord flavor.
3 pm: Beach time
Hop on the Intown Trolley, which takes you to all the great beaches (and you can check out all the exquisite beach homes). Hop on and off as you please, because your fare is good for the entire day. Don’t forget to eat your stowed-away snacks.
7 pm: Dine in
Stay in and eat dinner at One Dock, the restaurant at Kennebunkport Inn. Order a few small plates, rather than a main entrée. We suggest the Maine lobster mac and cheese, fresh shucked local oysters, Maine crab cakes, and goat cheese and mesclun salad.
10 am: Stock up
Today is a big day. First, drop by H.B. Provisions, the town’s luxury general store, and pick up some breakfast and a picnic lunch. Opt for fresh-made sandwiches, organic fruit and a large bag of your favorite chips. Be sure to grab a few bottles of water.
11 am: On the water
You want to spend your last full day outdoors. Head to Kennebunkport Marina to rent kayaks, canoes or a powerboat to go fishing. Soak in the sun and breathe in the fresh air. Canoes and kayaks are available to rent up to a half-day; you can rent a powerboat for a full day.
5 pm: An early night
After washing up, head to Old Vines Wine Bar. Toast to a fabulous trip while dining on small plates of cheese, cured meats and — one last time — fresh Maine seafood. If you can’t resist, go back to Rococo’s for one more scoop of ice cream.
9 am: Departure
Get on the road back to Portland and head straight for the airport. Say goodbye to the cool, crisp air.