New England Diary - Part Two
From our home base at Tides Beach Club we took a quick trip up to Portland, Maine. It wasn't easy to pick from the out of a freakin' story book seaside towns to visit, but Portland was a quick 45 minutes from Kenne, so it seemed like a good choice.
Since we were only there for a few hours I tried to scope out some top spots to visit...and even one super chic hotel.
Where to Eat
I know lobster is at the top of everyone’s list when visiting the east coast, but if you need a break then visit The Corner Room Italian Kitchen and Bar. It was slightly cool and drizzly and we were in Portland for lunch and couldn't resist how quaint and cute this spot was. Located on the corner of Exchange and Federal, The Corner Room serves homemade Italian cuisine as well as brunch on the weekend. I started with melt in your mouth Arancici (thankfully I didn't have to share) and then moved on to a comforting bowl of Fettuccini Bolognese while my husband had a classic Margherita Pizza.
I always say 'if you see a line - join it' it must be leading to something good! In Portland it lead to The Holy Donut- specialty donuts made from Maine potatoes. Being a good Canadian girl I tried the maple. It was very dense and delicious. I could have probably have made a meal out of it. They also offer a wide variety of gluten free donuts...but they go fast, so get there early.
If you're looking for lobster while in Portland (sorta ridiculous to even say that) then try Portland Lobster Company with its pretty location on the waterfront. They offer both eat in and take out options for lobster rolls on the go.
Where to Stay
From our window seat at The Corner Room we spied the coolest hotel, The Press Hotel. The Press was recently name to the Conde Nast Hot list and takes inspiration from the offices of writers from the 1920's. Each suite is furnished with vintage style journalists desks and original, local artwork. This hotel is the epitome of boutique luxury. The Press boasts two restaurants, a bar, a gym and Art Gallery - I love that! This hotel is definitely on my list for an overnighter in Portland.
Boston was one of those US cities that I wanted to cross of the list. In hindsight, I wish I would have stayed in Maine longer, but now I've done Boston and I can concentrate on more Maine in the future. Boston is a great city if you're into American history (and Harvard and MIT). We took almost a full day (and we were only there for two) touring Harvard in Cambridge. I'm sure this isn't on everyones list...but it was on ours and we really loved it. Totally worth the quick train ride from our hotel in Beacon Hill.
Where To Stay
I can't lie about how I discovered the amazing Liberty Hotel in Boston. I found it on the Goop website, which I personally use a lot of for travel recommendations. The Liberty was formerly the Charles Street Jail built in 1851 and held some of Boston's most notorious criminals. Sounds a bit creepy right? But after extensive renovations and addition it's now an incredible 298 room hotel. Original cells were restored and are now part of the hotels bars and restaurants. And the 90 foot atrium makes up the incredible lobby of the hotels. Rooms are tastefully decorated with artwork reminiscent of the years the hotel was a jail. The Liberty sits on the shores of the Charles River in Beacon Hill and is within walking distance of the historic Boston Common, shopping and dining.
What To See
Boston Common and Boston Public Garden
Located in downtown Boston, the Boston Common is a public park that dates back to 1634. Much like Central Park in New York, this green space is rich in history serving as the first stop on the famous Freedom Trail walk. Today the park is used for concerts, public gatherings and family picnics. Martin Luther King Jr. and Pope John Paul II both made speeches in the Boston Common.
Shopping on Newbury Street
Even if high end shopping isn't your thing, a walk along the eight blocks of Newbury Street is lovely to experience the historic townhouse converted into Boston's high end retail. Newbury Street is home to the first Joie stand alone store I've been into, so that was pretty much worth it for me. I could have had dinner and gone home after that. ;) It's also home to the Fresh brand of beauty products. The brand started in Boston in 1991 and opened the Newbury St. store in 1994. I also happened upon a Georgetown Cupcake...totally worth the stop!
Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Steps from the waterfront is Faneuil Hall Marketplace (also known as Quincy Market). I was already exhausted from our walking tour of Harvard, but this open air market along storybook cobblestone streets was worth tipping my pedometer at 23,000 steps for the day. Street performers, musicians, shopping and dining are all part of the fun of visiting the Marketplace. If you're interested it's also home to a Cheer's restaurant outpost.