When I was up north last month, for the Maine Coast Bosom Buddy Relay, the race was clearly the highlight of the trip. But I also had a great time exploring the stretch of coast from Kennebunkport to Portland.
Since the race was in Biddeford, I wanted to stay somewhere nearby. After a bit of searching online, I came across a little beach cottage for rent in Saco, a neighboring town.
While it wasn’t big or fancy, it worked well for our purposes. It had two bedrooms and an enclosed porch that served as a third, which more than accommodated five of us.
Plus, it was on the same block as the beach! And luckily, the weather was in the 80s for two of our four days, which gave us some much-appreciated sun time.
The Saco/Biddeford area also had some great food:
Run of the Mill Public House and Brewery: I love trying new breweries, and this was our first stop when we arrived in Maine. We sat outside and had beers and a late lunch.
The Portland Pie Co., which has some of the best pizza I’ve ever eaten outside of NYC. It was so good, we had it three times (!!!) in four days: for dinner the first night we were in Maine; at the race, where each finisher received a slice; and the day we were heading back to NYC! I highly recommend a veggie-laden pie with the beer crust.
Biscuits & Company, another restaurant that we visited multiple times. It’s a bright, airy cafe that specializes in its namesake. We had breakfast there the day before the race—delicious biscuit sandwiches that were crispy and salty on the outside, and rich and soft on the inside. And on Sunday after the race, we went back for Mother’s Day brunch.
Huot’s Seafood Restaurant: Hunt, the caretaker of our cottage, highly recommended this place, just a quick drive away. We went for dinner the evening after our race and the place was packed! The restaurant is larger and nicer than it looks from the outside, and once the food came, we could see why it was so popular. I loved the clam chowder and every bit of my whole lobster.
Portland and Cape Elizabeth
The day before the race, we drove into Portland for the sole purpose of going to Lululemon. (Yeah, I know!) I needed running pants and a wicking shirt. Plus, I’d never been to Portland.
I could easily see the appeal of the city. It’s small, walkable and has a cute downtown with stone streets. We picked up my running gear at Lulu, and then spent a few hours exploring the nearby streets. We loved Sherman’s bookstore; the Coastal Maine Popcorn Co., a place that sells popcorn in every flavor; and the Holy Donut, which features potato doughnuts. Of course, we had to try the chocolate sea salt one.
From there, we drove to Cape Elizabeth.
We grabbed lunch at the Lobster Shack.
It has the look and location of your classic New England joint: perched on a rocky shore, and decorated to the brim with fishing paraphernalia.
Yet, the lobster rolls, though pretty, didn’t blow us away.
But watching the waves crash against the shore outside the restaurant, afterwards, made the trip worth it.
Afterwards, we drove north to Portland Head Light, a beautiful lighthouse in pristine condition. I’ll admit, as we were walking up to it, I couldn’t help but think, “Oh yes—this is what a Maine lighthouse is supposed to look like!”
After the race, despite the free pizza and beer at the end, we wanted a proper celebratory seafood lunch. We opted for the Clam Shack, in Kennebunkport, which had just reopened for the season.
This was my favorite lobster roll of the trip. The meat was so fresh and sweet.
Kennebunkport is a cute little tourist town, but by the time we’d finished lunch, we were zonked—getting up early for the race caught up with us. We were too tired to explore, but we mustered up enough energy to go to Rococo, an amazing ice cream parlor with flavors like goat cheese and blackberry chambord swirl, honey vanilla and whoopie pie.
It was worth it—as was running a road race just to have a good excuse to travel!