Portsmouth, New Hampshire
We will begin our adventure on the drive up from Boston to Kennebunkport stopping along the New Hampshire coast in Portsmouth. Tree lined streets surrounded the city square as Fall decorations graced most storefronts and cafes. This historically beautiful town felt all the more festive and welcoming with its tasteful decor. We felt like we stepped into Stars Hollow itself (Gilmore Girls anyone?) Portsmouth was a perfect mix of quaint charm meets hipster. Clearly, this little port city is a hot spot to live on the east coast right now.
A beautiful white steeple anchors the center of town.
We escaped the cold and enjoyed hot apple turnovers and lattes inside Popovers located at the center of the town square. With bellies and hearts full and happy we continued our journey up to Maine.
We crossed the stateline to Maine only miles after leaving Portsmouth. Once you arrive in Kennebunkport you get the smaller cozy feel of a seaside village.
Mothers Beach was the first stretch of shoreline we came upon in Kennebunkport. The brilliance of the afternoon sun over the Atlantic was breathtaking.
Renowned for its stunning estates (see above), which dot the coast line of Kennebunkport, this darling quaint beach town remains most noted for holding the vacation home of President George H.W. Bush.
WHERE WE STAYED: The Lodge on the Cove Kennebunkport
Fall leaves scattered the grounds of this darling boutique lodge in the heart of Kennebunkport. The charm, cleanliness, and overall landscape of this hotel were so impressive.
Recently renovated, the lodge offers a wonderful gathering area with a modern but cozy feel, perfect for early morning coffee.
WHERE WE ATE: Earth at Hidden Pond. Farm to table deliciousness by James Beard award winner Ken Oringer served up in the most whimsical setting. Open only from May to October the warmth, taste, and smell of this heavenly place will haunt you long after the doors close for the winter months. (We barely made it in!)
I am obsessed over the interiors of this restaurant. Even the bathrooms were awe inspiring. All of it was so magical that I find it so hard to express just how brilliant it looked lit up at night.
The quilted leather couch sits in front of a gorgeous hearth and is hands down the most coveted seat in the restaurant. #seatgoals
Craving Italian? In the heart of town Cucina Italiana, Ports of Italy in The Kennebunks offers homemade pasta made from fresh local ingredients chosen daily. We had a delicious meal crafted beautifully by celebrated chef German Lucarelli.
St. Anns church is just one of the breath taking highlights on the scenic drive along Ocean Avenue.
Favorite Sweet Discovery: Artisan Candy from Poorboy Candy
The Fleur De Sel Caramel is unreal. Hands down the most delicious caramel I have ever had. I have already placed my order for Christmas through their online store. Next up on our travels was:
So yeah, we ate a lot. The Holy Donut: Rated Number #9 in Fodors Top 10 Best Doughnut Shops in the U.S. What makes The Holy Donut unique is that their donuts are made from Maine potatoes. Yep, you heard me right! Featuring gourmet flavors like ginger glazed sweet potato, Dark Chocolate Sea salt, and Bacon Cheddar. It's no wonder they are a national fave.
While its true that I believe all sea food is meant for cats, my hubby and sis disagree. In their humble opinions the Lobster Roll from Portland Lobster Company was, in their words, "insane." No wonder it won the Best Seafood and Best Lobster Roll from the Portland Phoenix's Best of Portland 2015.
Unique to Portland Maine was Venas Fizz House: A Natural Soda Bar & Mixology Shop. As their website states: Try your favorite cocktail or mocktail, either way you will have a unique experience. The best part is you can shop their unique syrups, infusions, and bitters online. Click HERE.
Impress your friends at your holiday party with a "homemade" infused spirit. Order it HERE.
We will end our Fall travels in the historic city where we began: Boston, Mass. Pavement Coffee on Newbury is a must. I highly recommend their Cinnamon Fig Latte as their syrup is made in house...mmmm.. :)
The quintessential tourist shot, taken as we passed Old City Hall while walking The Freedom Trail. If you are unfamiliar with The Freedom Trail it is a simple 2.5 miles walk through Boston following a red dotted line around the city which takes you to 16 historically significant sites.
Seth and I developed quite the appetite after walking the trail so we decided to try out the pastrami sandwich over at Sam LaGrassas after reading several positive reviews on it. Um, would you look at that thing? It was the most delicious gut bomb :) Highly recommended!
Newbury street is a gorgeous tree lined street with 19th century brownstones that hold hundreds of shops and restaurants in their first floor. The perfect street to for people watching, shopping, or grabbing a coffee or bite to eat. Newbury street is a must for anyone visiting Boston.
I love the juxtaposition of the old buildings against the new in Boston.
Open Tables Diner's Choice award for 2015 Lucca Back Bay offers classic Italian dining with a modern twist. Seth and I hit up their dollar menu available from (5-7pm) in their relaxing lounge. We enjoyed half orders of homemade beet fettucini, stuffed peppers, and rigatoni bolognese.
Five Horses Tavern | South End was our first destination in Boston. Do you ever have one of those nights where a local's referral leads you to the exact restaurant, and dining experience you were hoping to find? Five Horses was that for us. Stuffed full of college students, wood paneled, and in a charming corner location, this place was complete with a collection of terrible early 2000 chart toppers blaring in the background. This spot was the exact Boston experience we were hoping to find. Plus, it was jammed packed on a Wednesday night so we knew it would be good. Ambience was just a bonus as the food was incredible. I had the Mac and Cheese with bacon, although I think they used pork belly by accident. Seth had the tavern burger. My order was the winner of the night, however, as the mac and cheese beat out my former-fave from The Cafeteria in New York City's Hudson Hotel.
Now you can't visit Boston without seeing Harvard... well not if you are a bit nerdy like us. The college was amazing; it's history and prestige unparalleled. The restaurant, Alden & Harlow in Harvard Square just made us love the area all the more. Rated one of the 50 Best New Restaurants in 2014 by Bon Appetit Magazine, this hip subterranean space was designed beautifully with white subway tile, exposed wood beams, and a garden wall. This place is the epitome of cool which is why it is virtually overflowing with college students, businessmen, and the other Harvard-smarties.
Surprising design elements are discovered around each corner of this space.
One last stop at Black Ink Boston for souvenirs to bring home to our littles. Unusual cool gifts abound in this wonderland of curiosities. Be sure to stop by if you are in the area or check them out online at http://www.blackinkboston.com/store
Well that concludes this adventure! Thank you so much for stopping by Of Beauty & Grace. I hope that you experienced a taste of Fall and are encouraged to add a New England Fall experience to your bucket list.
Special thanks to my sis and Kelly for being the best hostesses and travel companions. Time with you both was the absolute highlight for us.
** In an effort to give you a visual diary, I supplemented with many photos that were not my own. Please refer to the restaurant or store website for references.