succulent | maine, u.s.a.

Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic
— Van Morrison - Into the Mystic

Maine is adventure. It is pine trees. It is lighthouses. It is rocks. It is seafood. It is all of these things, but there is more that what we see on the 'Vacationland' postcards. 

It is the comfort + warmth of the people you meet. It is laced with history, art, + tradition. And the locals own its simplicities + oddities. Maine isn't afraid of being it's own place. And that is what makes 'Vacationland' such a magical escape. 

Maine welcomed us with a thick blue-gray blanket of clouds, a blustery whiff of the sea, a lobster roll + an Allagash White from Eventide.  Everything was beautiful from the moment our plane landed. Pure light, warm colors, + an indescribable feeling of welcome. 

We explored Portland, wandering + exploring for 8 miles our first day. Bustling local businesses line the streets of downtown decked in astounding architecture. Leaves + and rain sprinkled down on us as we explored downtown, its neighborhoods, and the arts district. We climbed the rocks at the Portland Head Lighthouse, and managed to snag some bar seats at a Portland classic, Fore Street. After stuffing ourselves full of rich mussels, succulent roasted chicken, and pan-seared sea bass, we took our stuffed selves, our takeaway chocolates + quickly passed out. 

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On Sunday, we took the Atlantic Highway, U.S. Route 1, along the mid-coast of Maine. Our foggy morning drive led us to Camden, one of the most quaint towns I've visited. Believe me when I say that their motto, "The Jewel of the Coast" is very accurate. The French architecture, the fall leaves, and ABUNDANCE of fog quickly stole my photographic heart. We grabbed a coffee at a local shop, Zoot Coffee, and walked the streets of this waterfront town. We then headed up U.S. 1 to Mount Battie where you are supposed to see the harbor + ocean below this lookout, but the cloud we were in was all we saw. In fact, we were lucky to see our hands in front of our face. Jerry was sad, but despite the unideal conditions, it was still a neat little hike that let me collect pretty leaves to my 8-year-old heart's content.

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After climbing out of the clouds, we continued North up U.S. 1 to Belfast for lobster. We traveled to Maine just 10 days after the lobster season ended, but found a lobster pound that was open year-round. We were warmly welcomed by our new friend, Nick at Young's Lobster Pound, who is from Jamaica, but comes to Maine to work the lobster season. He was a great character + a good sport with my making his portrait + photographing the lobster steaming process. He got a good laugh at me when he walked into the seating section and saw me standing on a bench to get my hero shots. 

We got a soft lobster, a hard lobster (the difference is just how old the lobster is), lobster soup, clam chowder, + fresh corn. It was a feast for some cold + hungry travelers. Jerry even enjoyed dancing with his new friend, Lobby the Lobster (named courtesy by my dear photo friend, Daniel Sircar).

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With bellies full of Lobster, tomalley, soup, + corn, we started our expedition back South on U.S. 1 on our way to Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. We stopped at a little beach during low tide to chase some seagulls and grab a few shots of the fishing boats. The skies were turning a dark gray as a storm rolled in, but the second we got to the Bristol area, the most breathtaking golden hour took over and you wouldn't know that 30 miles north was stormy. 

Pemaquid Point was truly a treasure. It waited patiently for us to arrive before the huge waves crashed upon the rocks as high tide rolled in. The sun both greeted us for the first time that day + bid its adieus in the most glorious golden hour + sunset. The linear cleaving of the rocks made for super graphical shots while little critters, seagulls, + squirrels basked in the sunshine. 

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Our last day in Maine, we ventured out to the shipbuilding town of Bath. We grabbed a bite for breakfast at the Starlight Cafe before walking their downtown. We stopped in art spaces, shops (loved The Mustard Seed Bookstore!), + explored their waterfront park. This great little community is growing and thriving with their Brooklyn-esque artisan stores.

And of course, no trip would be complete without a quick trip to Freeport to walk through the L.L. Bean store + get a picture of the biggest bean boot in the world. 

After our morning excursions to Bath + Freeport, we headed back to Portland to explore a bit more. This time, we stayed more along the harbor capturing the life, architecture, and food that flourishes along these streets before having our final meal at Duckfat, where we gorged ourselves on all things made with duck fat. I was too consumed in the food to photograph anything more than the fries that were gone in minutes. We grabbed some potato donuts from The Holy Donut to take home, which Jerry babied donuts for all of our flights (and kept the TSA agents away from them!). We headed back to the arts district to do some people watching, stopped into a retro gift shop, Pinecone+Chikadee, before grabbing some beans from Tandem Coffee Roasters to take home. 

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Maine, you were a great escape. Thanks for the succulent food, the unbelievable scenery, the sweetest people, + glorious light. You were a treat.