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Visiting #41

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Trip Reports' started by westie, Jul 4, 2017.

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  1. westie

    westie VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
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    Location:
    Kensington, CT
    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    My Trip Report

    Visiting #41

    June 26-29, 2017





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    This trip was originally planned for early autumn, but was rerouted after I was informed that my remaining Marriott points were set to expire in July. I tapped my medial temporal lobe for places to visit within easy driving distance and came up with southern Maine after consulting with my better half.



    Monday, June 26 – we dropped Brody off at Beaverbrook Animal Hospital and set our compass for north by northeast. On entering the Massachusetts Turnpike I was surprised to discover the toll booths had been eliminated. We do not have an E-Z Pass transponder so I became concerned that we were going to be charged an outrageous amount on exiting, but later read a sign indicating not to worry, we will bill you. When any government entity states don’t worry, I worry.



    Shortly after we connected to 495 North we decided it was time to eat so I exited for Westford, MA. We immediately came upon a large shopping center, Cornerston Square, home to a number of chain restaurants. We chose Panera Bread with Ann opting for bowls of bistro French onion soup and I the garden vegetable with pesto. Both were very good. ($12.49, 3 Forks)



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    We joined Willie and got back on the road again headed for New Castle, New Hampshire where we made our way to the Great Island Common. This 32 acre town-owned park offers a small beach, picnic area, playground and, most importantly, restroom facilities. We enjoyed walking around the park before settling in on a bench to watch the harbor traffic. ($4, 2.5 Claps)



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    Tonight’s lodging was provided by the Residence Inn Downtown/Waterfront Portsmouth which is located downtown though only waterfront in the unlikely occurrence of a hurricane coinciding with a tsunami. The room was free, the nightly parking $25 and valet parking mandatory.



    Though the official check-in time was 4PM, arriving early did not prove to be a problem. Our nicely appointed suite on the second floor included a small kitchen, separate living area and a bedroom with a king sized bed.



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    Since it was still early and our gas tanks still registering half full, we took a walk around town ending up at Prescott Park. This 10 acre municipal park, situated on the banks of the Piscataqua River, includes lawns, gardens, walkways and docks.



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    Our pedometers registered 1.5 miles by the time we returned to the hotel though it seemed like more.



    On Monday-Wednesdays Residence Inns offer a get together for their guests called Mix which involves free bar bites and, better still, free wine so we made our way to the bar/lounge area in the early evening. This night’s bites included 2 types of flatbread, coconut popcorn, canned fruit, juice and sliced olives. This night’s wine choices were red or white though the labels may have indicated cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay.



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    We, actually me, grabbed a trio of chocolate chip cookies for dessert later in the evening prior to departing.



    Ann’s legs were a bit cranky after our long afternoon walk so we decided discretion was indeed the better part of valor and canceled our original plans for tapas and paella in favor of dinner at Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro & Bar located about 100 feet from the Residence Inn entrance. Ann chose the mango curry bowl - tofu, mango, onion, peppers, tomato and lima beans topped with pea shoots that were accompanied by jasmine brown rice.



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    I told the waitress I was having my last meal and asked what should I order. She suggested the Siamese dream curry noodles – rice noodles, snow peas, carrots, red peppers, tofu, soy-meat, fried shallots, cashews and spinach in a thick coconut curry soup. ($41.97, 3.5 Forks)



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    On exiting we walked a couple of city blocks, took a left before walking 2 more city blocks, another left and 2 more city blocks and, surprise, we were back at our hotel after walking 1.5 city blocks.



    We could not in good conscience let those 3 chocolate chip cookies go stale so they were consumed shortly after our return. (3 Forks)



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    Tuesday, June 27 – I was up at around 5AM and headed directly to the hotel’s micro sized business center where I checked my emails and otherwise killed time until the computer crashed. I then took to the streets finding the Olde Towne section to be an eminently walk-able with much to see.



    My route led me past:



    North Church (not Paul Revere’s)

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    Aldrich Park

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    William Pitt Tavern

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    Strawberry Banke

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    Prescott Park

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    Wentworth Lear historic homes

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    World War Memorial bridge

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    and the waterfront.

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    Breakfast was included so we headed to the lounge area again. I attempted to make waffles, but they stuck to the griddle and were soon found in the trash can. I fared better with a bowl of fruit and yogurt plus scrambled eggs and chorizo which soon found their way into my belly. (2.5 Forks)



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    We also tried a sliver of apple crumb cake that was the consistency of bread pudding – that’s good!

    (4 Forks)



    Minutes after departing Portsmouth, we crossed a bridge into Maine and found ourselves at a visitors center where I made a new friend.



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    Next stop was in York where we parked in front of the Hartley Mason Reservation Park and followed the Cliff Walk until we came across a danger sign where we turned around.



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    After retracing our steps we drove to nearby Sohier Park to view the historic Nubble Light at Cape Neddick. The lighthouse, built in 1879 on Nubble Island, is one of the most photographed in Maine.



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    We also stopped in the gift shop for a postcard before heading off to the almost world famous Flo’s Hot Dogs, Cape Neddick, York for a pair of steamed hot dogs.



    This rundown restaurant has been in the family since Bobby Darin topped the charts with Mack The Knife in 1959. After standing in line for several minutes, we took the advise of the locals and ordered them with Flo’s special sauce, mayo and celery seed. There were few parking spots and even fewer booths so we decided to dine al fresco at an outside picnic table. Though initially an assault to our palates, we discovered the more we ate, the better the hot dogs tasted. ($5.50, 2.5 Forks)



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    Feeling energized we drove to the summit of Mount Agamentis, a former alpine ski area, and walked the recently constructed 1 mile, universal access Big A loop trail. The trail affords 360 degree, distant views of the surrounding area.



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    We continued driving north following the heavy traffic through Ogunquit and Kennebunkport before arriving at The Lodge at Turbat’s Creek, our home for the next 3 nights thanks to a Groupon.



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    The desk attendant was very helpful providing us with a map and lots of advise. After a short nap, we headed downtown to David’s KPT located waterside in the Boathouse Waterfront Hotel. Parking is at a premium so once again we ended up using valet parking.



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    The bar area overlooking the Kennebunk River river is very attractive though the view this evening was diminished to by rain. Though we were tempted to sample a few small bites from the happy hour menu, we showed a modicum restraint by limiting ourselves to glasses of the house wine.

    ($22.92, 3 Sips)



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    Dinner was at Ports of Italy in Kennebunk, directly across the water from David’s. We dined at its sister location in Boothbay Harbor 3 years ago. We were served a very dry ciabatta bread with a dipping sauce. Our shared barbabietola e feta salad (chick pea hummus, roasted beets, corn, pistachios, and cilantro with warm feta cheese) was amazing.



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    And then we waited and waited for our entrees to make an appearance. After noting a few tables that came in after us being served, I was just about to hire Dog The Bounty Hunter to search for our entrees when our plates finally arrived.



    Ann’s entree of homemade taglierini all vongole – clams and angel hair type pasta in a white wine, garlic and oil sauce was delicious. My porchetta, slow roasted suckling pig served with herb potatoes and roasted vegetables, was a disappointment. The combination of too much fat and dried out pig may seem to be hard to accomplish, so kudos are extended to the chef if that was his intention.

    ($76.96, 2.5 Forks)



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    Next stop was highly touted Rococo Artisan Ice Cream where we stood in a line and each sampled a different flavor, agreeing neither offered much in the way creaminess or flavor so we departed coneless.



    Wednesday, June 28 – I was up and out the door at 5:30AM on my way to Ocean Avenue where I stopped to take a dozen lousy photos of Walker's Point. Though I knew in my heart that HW and Barbara were probably still asleep, I still waved to them as I passed by.



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    I then drove out to Biddeford Pool returning with an interim stop at Cape Porpoise



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    Though a continental breakfast is included with our room, we limited ourselves to some orange juice, fruit and yogurt before heading downtown for Salt & Honey. The restaurant was closed so we made the short walk to Dock Square Coffee House where we ordered scones, blueberry for the lady and cranberry for the gent. Since it was obvious these were not made in-house, I was expecting them to be dry – wrong. Each was moist with ample fruit though lacking in what I call “scone” flavor. Ann’s coffee was excellent. ($8.86, 3 Forks)



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    We then drove to Ocean Avenue where we parked across from the Colony Hotel and followed Parson’s Way with an intermediate stop at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church.



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    Continuing on our trek we passed several beautiful summer homes and overlooks.



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    We continued as far as the overlook for Walker’s Point and I again waved to HW and Barbara to no avail though we did see one of their great grandchildren riding a Segway.



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    On returning to the car from the 1.8 roundtrip walk, we headed to Cape Porpoise for lunch at the Cape Pier Chowderhouse where we dined on bowls of New England clam chowder on the deck. The chowder was pretty flavorful considering the absence of bivalves. ($15.05. 2.5 Spoons)



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    We walked across the parking lot, scaled a few boulders, and sat while enjoying the view of the working harbor and islands.



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    We then drove to the St. Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery on the western shore of the Kennebunk River. The original tudor style mansion (circa 1900) on 200 acres of land was purchased by the Lithuanian Franciscans after World War II. We parked and followed a wooded path around the grounds where a number of shrines have been erected for contemplation.



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    We spent what remained of the afternoon resting before heading off to Federal Jack’s in Kennebunk where we once again encountered valet parking. Jack claims to have the best view in town and we are not about to quibble since his happy hour extends to 6PM, unlike many of the others we researched, and the house wine retails for $3.50.



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    We then departed for dinner at 95 Ocean in the Nonatum Resort where there was no need for valet parking. As we were reviewing the menu, Ann began to experience double vision which we feared might be caused by a torn retina. Fortunately it cleared up during our meal though it remained a concern.



    Ann’s entree of halibut included fingerling home fries, asparagus and lobster cognac butter. Her halibut was moist, but what stood out was the flavor of the fingerling home fries.



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    I sought nutrition in the form of sea scallops with roasted garlic risotto, broccoli rabe and a pomegranate emulsion. Her entree was generously portioned while I received 3, count them, scallops.



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    Let me pull out my calculator – sure looks like I paid $10 per scallop. On our return home Stew Leonard’s had fresh native sea scallops for $12.95 per pound. Color me red with rage though admittedly they were delicious. ($71.60, 4 Forks)



    Thursday, June 29 – my early morning travels included a trip to downtown Kennebunk and walking around Kennebunkport. I returned to the motel via Ocean Avenue, another wave, no response from HW or Barbara though I know they are in residence because the Texas flag was flying. I realized then that they probably were ducking me because I dropped them off my Christmas card list last year.



    Our original plans for the day called for breakfast at Boulangier, visiting Perkins Cove, walking along the Marginal Way, viewing the exhibits at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, stopping by the Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm, viewing the Wedding Cake House, drinking sangria during happy hour and having paella at Toroso.



    What we actually did was grab a quick breakfast at the motel, checked out of our room, notified Beaverbrook that Brody was going home a day early, called the eye doctor for an appointment, drove to Connecticut, picked Brody up, slices of pizza from Chimirri’s Italian Pastry Shop for lunch, dropped Brody off at home, eye appointment and dinner at home.



    The cause of Ann’s double vision is currently unknown, but she has a few tests scheduled.



    Anyone planning to visit the Ogunquit area this year and who would like a Groupon good for admission for 2 at the Ogunquit Musuem of American Art can send me a private message and I will send it off to them.



    “Never ask anyone over 70 how they feel. They’ll tell you.”

    ------George H. W. Bush------
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
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  2. Tarstarkas

    Tarstarkas High-Roller

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2017
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    moved to Maine
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    Love southern Maine!! I miss Flo's dogs and sauce. Will be there next month. Luv traveling rt. 1 up the coast. Next time hit up the Maine Diner.
     
  3. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

    Joined:
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    Pretty, but I always pictured there'd be more Bushes up there...:D

    Thanks for sharing your great report, westie!
    As usual, excellent pics! :thumbsup:

    RICHARD
     
  4. westie

    westie VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
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    Location:
    Kensington, CT
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    I had the diner on my list, but the timing was wrong.
     
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