Travel Check : Portland, Maine

Almost three months have passed since my trip to Portland, Maine and while I still can picture the delicious food we ate (yep and yep) and beautiful views we had (Instagram again for the win), most of the details are slowly slipping away.  To be honest, I think I’m drafting this simply so I can it to my travel list.

My friend Lauren is much better at the details and will probably have a must-see and do post published in no time, even though it took us 3 months to do so. (I’m pretty sure I had drafted an email to myself with all the bucket list restaurants and then the draft disappeared…maybe it was meant to be)

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Last October, a few friends and I decided to take a trip up to Portland, Maine to explore the outdoors and eat our hearts out.  Lindsay and I are on a “need-to-do” east coast bucket list and Portland just so happened to be one of our destinations!  Sadly we didn’t make it to Acadia National Park, so I guess that’ll have to be another trip down the road.  For now, enjoy the Top Things to Eat & See in Portland, Maine!

Explorations

  • Back Cove Running Loop (sunrise photo above): A 3.6mi loop perfect for a morning stroll or jog.  Since this trip was a week before the New York Marathon, I had about 8-10 miles scheduled and wanted to build up an appetite before our day of eats.  Lauren and I rambled around Portland, around this quasi-inlet, and back through a small farmer’s market.  Our friend Abby located a local spin studio to sweat it out, which was also an excellent find.
    • As mentioned above, we didn’t get a chance to explore the Acadia National Park and subsequently missed out on all the excellent hiking Maine has to offer.  Of course, we did walk our fair share along the streets and local shops, so we’ll call this trip a Portland-dense adventure.

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  • HOLY DONUT – A VERY popular donut shop that is centered around the Maine Potato.  Open daily 8 am and features top-notch fried confections, making millions per year! {Maine Potato, Dark Chocolate, Sweet Potato, Vegan, etc}

As you can see, we went for the full sampling selection and yes, using the bottom right picture for scale, the donut is THAT BIG.

  • Silly’s – Eclectic hole-in-the-wall place that is very vegetarian-friendly and excellent for brunch carbo-loading.  The prices are prime and the portions are even better!  Highly recommend the Berry Me In It + Eganator for a sweet and salty combination.
  • The Standard Baking Co – Breads and goods make from scratch.  There should be no other way.
  • Blake Orchard Juicery – When you are in the need of a detox from brews and baked goods.

I highly recommend taking a picnic or picking up a top-notch lobster roll {Bite Into Maine}, walking/running along the water, or just sitting and staring out into the distance.  Maybe live a little and do all of the above.

  • Where there’s a brewery (or two…or three…or four), there’s a way.  We visited three different breweries for tours and tastings and had a blast!  I’m not usually the one to booze throughout the day let alone the weekend but it was fun to uber around and sample some local (and not to mention popular) hops.

Last but not least, the Maine feature – lobster rolls or as Lauren likes to say LOBSTAH.  Here at Eventide you can find one of the top lobster rolls in town (and on Eater’s 38 Essential American Restaurants).  This place is usually packed, especially on the weekends so expect to wait.  Always smart if you decide to go at 3pm like we did or are willing to stick around or even go for a walk.  They take down your cell # and give you a text when a spot is about to open up.

Do note that these rolls are different from Long Island lobster because they are served chilled and chunky.  I personally would stick to something out of NYC but that’s just my city snobbery.

With that, another travel recap in the books.  Anything you think we missed in Maine?

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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain

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Marathon Monday

A very happy Monday and happy November to you!  With Halloween on Friday, the Starbucks red cups arrival on Saturday, and the New York Marathon on Sunday, it was quite a weekend.  I honestly don’t know how people work full time and manage to throw parties and still have a packed social calendar because it can really be exhausting!  I would have been just fine lounging around with a good movie on Friday but wait, that’s what I tend to do all week 😉  So, every once in awhile I try to live a little and act my age.

IMG_6890~ Just a Spoonful of Sugar ~
Last minute costumes rarely come together for me, although our attempt to recreate Mary Poppins with a couple of penguins was quite the success if I do say so.

IMG_6891Just a little Halloween spread before heading out to the streets of the east village.  Doesn’t it look like a Snoopy Thanksgiving spread with the pretzels and popcorn adorning our small little table?

SATURDAY

One of the laziest days on record and it was amazing.  After waking up for pilates and body pump, I walked home in the rain and met Lindsay for the first Starbucks Christmas cup of the season.  Well, the first location we went to actually was running low, so Lindsay made another trip down the street to satisfy her craving. 🙂  The weather was perfectly gloomy, which meant we had no qualms about staying in and watching Captain America, football, and the latest Hunger Games movie.

SUNDAY – RACE DAY

Lindsay and I were up and out the door by 6am to make our way to the water stop.  We had volunteered with the November Project group at Mile 14 out in Queens.  Since this was my second year in the city, it the second time I was able to watch the marathon.  As a matter of fact, it was the second marathon ever that I had watched.

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Usually I find it difficult to do anything but run in a race.  Simply watching makes me wish I were running (even with current injuries) and volunteering seems fun but not as much of an accomplishment.  Then I realized that a race is not complete without these spectators and volunteers and if I value their involvement when I am running, why not give back?

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Poland Springs Oompa Loompas ready for water duty!

Here I am complete with long sleeve + fleece + sweatshirt + puffy vest, ready for one chilly day.  Lindsay is slowly adjusting to the east coast weather and is in for a real treat this winter 🙂

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There were supposed to be over 50,000 runners, which meant lining up almost 100,000 cups of water.  The elite runners would be handed water and fuel by their coaches or their own helpers, so we could just cheer them on as they passed by.

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The first wave of the race was the wheelchair crew, although due to the strong winds, they started around mile 3.  We had a November Project member in one of these packs and we were all so impressed by their muscle and speed.

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^^ All the tiny, ripped, and speedy female leaders flying by

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We saw the elite group around 10 or so and the rest of the runners pacing in around 11am.  Then, from about 11am until 2:30 there was a constant flow of traffic, which meant we were standing from 7am-3pm, handing cups out and screaming encouragements.  I did not think I had that type of energy and was left completely exhausted at the end of our shift.

IMG_6936There’s something about watching one of the most famous marathons that makes me inspired to run one.  Sure, call me crazy but I’m in love with this athletic lifestyle.   Because of our position in the race, we saw people when they were just over halfway finished.  There were some tough moments, some tight legs, but the smiles on some and determined look on others, really gave me the running bug.  Now I just have to get this lovely foot healed and I can get the ball rolling.

Have you ever run a marathon?  How was your weekend?

A Spooky Spectacular Day

Ghost, pumpkin, goblins, and chocolate.  Where could you go wrong?  As you can tell, I’m by no means the type of person who is into the super scary and creepy element of Halloween.  I’ll take happy ghosts, candy corn, and Charlie Brown any day.

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The plan today is to dress up as one of the Average Joe’s dodgeball players for November Project, throw together some cute, yet corporate approved costume for work, and head out for a short night on the town as a pair of penguins with my friend Lindsay.  We both grew up eating chili on Halloween (paired with either pigs in a blanket or cornbread), so we will be continuing this tradition on the east coast.  From there, we are hosting a small party with festive drinks and snacks of course.  New York hosts an annual Halloween parade that finishes in the West Village but I’m not so sure I’m ready for full on zombies in my face.  Maybe never.

Yesterday I took the day off (yes it was a paid time off day, not hooky – I would be a nervous wreck if I actually played hooky…too much of a goody two-shoes) and it was wonderful.  Just the time I needed after some long days sitting in front of a computer.  Because my body will not let me sleep in (heaven forbid one would sleep in on a day off…), I took a 7am spin class, wandered my way back through the hoards of people on their way to work and school, and continued my morning by watching the Today Show.

Once the good part of the Today Show was over (#sorrynotsorry I don’t like Kathy Lee & Hoda’s segment), Lindsay and I did some pilates videos off of YouTube and I watched an episode or two of Modern Family.  All of that and it was not yet 12pm.  I was quite impressed with myself.

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I had scheduled a hair appointment for 1 and it was oh so necessary.  Some people are able to go 6 months without a hair cut, but thanks to my thin hair and NY’s harsh water, I was quite overdue for a trim.  Honest to goodness I felt like a new person when I walked out of that salon (not that my hair will ever look or good as it did when the hairdresser did it, but maybe one day I’ll learn).  I treated myself to a Panera “You Pick Two” with squash soup and apple chicken salad, sat on the steps of the New York Public Library for a bit, wandered Barnes & Noble, and then went to see a taping of “Late Night with Seth Myers.”

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Excuse the poor lighting.  Since I didn’t cheer loud enough during the show and subsequently wasn’t given a t-shirt, I had to resort to this as my souvenir.

The rest of the night was spent planning the Halloween festivities, watching Charlie Brown and ABC’s #TGIT lineup.  I absolutely love my housing situation because all four of us love to get together on Thursday nights and binge watch shows together.  It’s totally the type of living I thought I would have in college.

But, today is back to work and as I slave away at my computer (kidding kidding), let’s dream about some of the fun aspects of Halloween or what I’m looking forward to this weekend (or reminiscing)

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Butternut Squash Chili by Cookie + Katie

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Last year’s work costumes at Hulu. They host an annual Huluween party for the clients and we three decided to be the three blind mice.  Maybe not the most politically correct costume but…it happened.

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls by Imma Eat That

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Tagging for this weekend’s NY MARATHON! I’ll be cheering and volunteering with the November Project and hopefully in the next couple of years running the streets of the city!

Tell me, what would be your perfect day off?

Have a fabulous weekend and good luck to all those runners this Sunday!

Spooky Spooky Splendor

Wishing everyone a spoooktacular halloween 🙂 Fall is in full swing and of course the city is alive with thoughts of Halloween.  Actually, the big kids have been partying it up since last weekend and festivities continue into tomorrow or maybe even Saturday.

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Over the years I’ve had my share of excellent costumes and if I had access to my pictures from home, I would gladly share them (ok, most of them). From Padma in Star Wars to a pumpkin, a waitress to Nancy Kerrigan (an ice-skater but of course we had to get specific), I have to thank my grandma Nance for her excellent sewing and creative skills.  Costumes started to tank when I entered junior high and it not longer was considered cool to trick or treat.  I may or may not have gone when I was in college 😉

This year I was one of the three Blind Mice for a company party.  I also planned out an outfit from Dodgeball (one of the Average Joe’s players), but nothing too extravagant.  I certainly won’t be dressed like Miley Cyrus, nor a cat, unlike the majority of Halloween-goers. Here are some good ideas for work (and ultimately age) appropriate costumes that don’t break the bank 🙂IMG_4172

I’ve actually had sort of a Halloween slump the last few years. I can’t seem to find the right crew to have a good night with.  It’s all fun and games when you are in elementary school and can wear your costume to school, run up and down the streets, and gather as many sugary laden delicacies (many of which “disappear” the next day…Mom?).  Parents gather in the streets and chat it up as kids bound from one side to the next, comparing notes on one another’s costumes and what they picked up.

313099_2527929086350_1497138066_2720857_784238944_nHere is a throwback to Barcelona fun.  I didn’t plan this out, so I just decided to look cute.  Not a problem, right? 😉

Actually, the latest episode of The Goldbergs lays it out perfectly.  What does it take to just have some good ‘ol fashioned fun? 🙂

Halloween is great because it can be celebrated for an entire week, if not month 🙂  Although, I’m not such a fan of scary things so I’d be better off with a Disney-style Halloween than Knott’s Scary Farm.  IMG_4184

Though most high schoolers avoided costumes, our cross country team had a blast dressing up.  This was from my senior year and we dressed as fairies with a Domo accent.

One year I was such a nice sister and snuck into Meghan’s room before she woke up and started to blast play “Moster Mash.”  Let me preface that my sister and I had an interesting relationship for a good 18 years.  Basically we were the typical type of siblings who fought and taunted (me doing most of it…yes, the first step is to admit you have a problem) 🙂

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Our family tradition usually consisted of starting the night with a warm cup of chili and little hot dogs or what our family calls pigs in a blanket.  Ah the flavor of hot dogs wrapped in warm pastry dough.  Certainly brings back memories of holiday events.  Then we would trick-or-treat up and down the two blocks around our house and drive up to our cousin’s house, check out the delicious spread my aunt put together (she is absolutely amazing with parties and making everything thematic), and check out the haunted house their neighbors construct annually. One day I’ll be able to have a party of my own, filled with lots of spooky looking treats. 

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I’m honestly not sure what to expect this year.  Living in a city is a whole different ball game.  Apparently kids go up and down each floor and knock on all the apartment doors.  It just seems so strange to me but I guess that’s what happens when you live so close together.

There is also the epic Halloween Parade that starts and ends south of Union Square.  I might try my luck and wander over tonight to see what the hype’s all about.  Maybe if I’m up for the challenge next year, I’ll find a dog to decorate for the Halloween Dog Parade and then bring some friends along to participate in the actual Halloween Parade. 🙂 After all, Halloween will be on a Friday next year, so no excuses!

How do you celebrate Halloween?  Either childhood memories/traditions or what are you doing this year?

Halloween Recap

So I know it is officially the first of November (scary) but I wanted to know how everyone’s Halloween went!  I hope you are all surviving, enough sleep, not too much candy 😉  We decided to go out this past weekend in full costume, but just chill out on actual Halloween.  My friends Liz, Kaite, and I all had superhero shirts with full on capes. I was a little nervous because some college students feel themselves above such festivities (basically not dress up) but wore my costume all day and actually received quite a few compliments.

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