I know I’m a little late, but I wanted to put together a quick recap of our family vacation in Maine! It’s been two very long years since Kyle and I left our loft in Lincolnville, and we’ve both been missing it like crazy. So, for Kyle’s birthday, we snuck away from work to spend a week at his all-time favorite place, his family cabin in Damariscotta. Everything about Maine, from the scenery to the restaurants to the fact that there’s virtually no decent cell service anywhere, feels foreign in the best way possible. It’s almost therapeutic. If I could give y’all one tip, though, it’d be to spend a minimum of two weeks there, especially if you’re visiting in the summer. As peaceful as it is, there’s so much to do and see, and it’s tough to satisfy both your relaxation and wanderlust fixes in one week.
Given our time crunch, we were forced to condense this year’s bucket list significantly– so much so that it A. hurt my heart and B. really made us evaluate our priorities. If you’re visiting for the first time, I’ll be creating a fun Maine bucket list printable for first timers (coming soon!), so even if you only have a few days, you’ll get a little taste of all the best parts of Maine. The first thing on our list this year? Stop for obligatory lobster rolls at Red’s Eats in Wiscasset. There’s often an outrageous line, so we also love Sprague’s, which is right across the street and rarely has a wait.
Oh, and then there’s the water. Spend as much time as you can in the warm, clean, and predator-free water. The pups got to see Maine for the first time, too, and Lake Damariscotta is officially their favorite place. Oh my gosh were they in heaven. Nala and Nellie braved the 24-hour road trip right along with us and spent virtually the entire time swimming. In fact, Nala would just swim in circles for the heck of it, even when no one else was in the water, and it made us so happy. It also made us feel super guilty when we pulled back into our driveway in Columbia! Her little kiddy pool seems so pathetic now.
If you’ve never been, Maine’s weather is perfect in the summer. It’s warm but not too hot and always has an incredible breeze by the water. We love spending time outdoors, but Maine takes our affinity for nature to a whole new level. I miss our morning hikes, mid-afternoon bird watching, and sunset boat rides. See if you can spot the bald eagle in the photo below!
Since we only had a week in Maine, we wanted to spend as much of it with Kyle’s family as possible. Ever since we moved halfway across the country, we don’t get to see them often, so Kyle and I did much less sightseeing and much more campfire chatting this time around. Neither of us would’ve wanted it any other way.
And that sunset… all the heart eyes!
One obligatory tourist stop, however, was Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. It’s one of my favorite places in the entire country. Photographers set up hours in advance to get the perfect coastline shot at sunrise and sunset.
We also spent some time hanging around downtown Damariscotta, which was nostalgic in all the right ways. When we lived in Maine two years ago, we spent a few hours every day working in coffee shops and libraries, and it all still felt so fresh, like nothing had changed. Every piece of its quaint charm (case in point: pink doors and hydrangeas) was still intact.
Oh, and we saved the best day for last. Kyle’s birthday was pretty darn perfect. It started with an early morning canoe ride to Blueberry Island, a prolific little blueberry haven on Lake Damariscotta. Y’all… you haven’t had blueberries until you’ve had Maine blueberries. There are entire cookbooks devoted to Maine blueberries, and I would know, since I bought my dad a couple for Christmas. We were a little worried that the blueberries would be scarce, since we went later in August and Kyle’s family usually picks it over pretty good by then. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find thousands of small, sweet, and delicious Maine blueberries.
And then, of course, Kyle’s cousin’s fiance, Tristan, whipped up some absolutely amazing blueberry birthday pancakes. He threw in some Maine boysenberries, too, and holy cow– they were good.
Kyle’s all-time favorite restaurant is Long Grain in Camden, so I made lunch reservations the day we got there. Seriously, Long Grain has got to be one of the best Thai restaurants in the country. Their wide noodles and beef panang are to die for, and they serve Hitachino Nest Beer, which is hands down the best Japanese beer ever brewed.
We also made an obligatory pit stop at Gifford’s Ice Cream and The Maine Dog in Camden, so I could pick up lobster and helm rope toys for the girls! Nellie still loves her lobster; she sleeps with him in her crate!
We ended up just having an intimate birthday barbecue for Kyle by the lake, followed by one final sunset canoe ride and a full night of cards. Unfortunately, Kyle didn’t win… because I did, but that’s neither here nor there. It was Kyle’s perfect birthday, and seeing him so happy made me so happy.
Seriously, y’all– before we knew it, we were packing up the pups and heading home. Our vacation came and went in a flash. Kyle, Nala, Nellie, and I are all counting down the days until next summer. If you want a more detailed Maine travel guide, I wrote about our 6-month residence here.