Growing up as a mostly southern girl, I learned to appreciate the natural lake setting of the northeast. With hundreds of tiny and large lakes to venture to, my family had a long standing tradition of spending our summers at our grandparent’s lake house in Harrison, Maine on Long Lake. To me, it was heaven on earth.
My summers consisted of taking a step back in time, learning about my family’s 50+ years on this lake, and exploring some of Maine’s most spectacular views. From the blue waters of these natural lakes to the mountain terrain surrounding them, Maine had a way of calming me down. It was so beautiful in its own way. So peaceful. Such large and overwhelming beauty puts life in perspective, I suppose. And it wasn’t just the lake beauty that had this effect on me. It was Maine’s vast coastline just an hour away from the lake house that did as well.
I can never forget that Maine coast smell and the memories from even when I was little when I would watch the old, rickety lobster boats come into the harbors and unload their wooden lobster traps full of lobster (which, by the way, I never grew to love the taste of – especially when I learned there this was at one time fed to prisoners in local Maine prisons). These scavengers never were a delicacy of mine, but it was fun watching my family boil the lobsters and tear the lobster claws apart just to dump each piece of juicy meat into a cup (or bowl) of melted butter. Lobster rolls were a family tradition at least once every summer. I chose to eat my famous cheese and salsa dip while sitting on our screened porch watching the sunset after a long day being out on the lake.
Since my family sold the lake house, I’ve learned to miss these little things and the daily adventures my family would have together. From the food to the smells to the views, I sometimes feel my heart yearning to go back, even just for a short trip with Blake, to take it all in, just one more time. For now, these memories are like little snapshots, picturesque photographs that fill our walls in our home. People look and they ask, “Where were these taken? I never knew Maine had such a rocky coastline. It’s so pretty. A hidden kept secret.” And before I know it, I find myself lost in the memories all over again as I show them pictures of my times out in Portland exploring the most photographed lighthouse in the world – the Portland HeadLight; eating seafood at the Twin Lights [lighthouses] on Cape Elizabeth; wandering around the best seaside path in Ogunquit; and checking out my most favorite stone church beside former Bush’s summer home at Walker Point.
It’s an understatement when I say that I am lucky to have had such a wonderful northern escape during my southern upbringing because I think I learned more about life, love, and family in those 20 something summers in Maine than I did anywhere else. All in all, it’s rather simple. Maine lived up to its motto: The Way Life Should Be.
TOP SIX PLACES TO VISIT AROUND PORTLAND, MAINE
1. The Portland Headlight – Cape Elizabeth, Maine – It’s the most photographed lighthouse in the states for a reason. If you’re visiting Maine, it’s a must-see!
2. Perkins Cove and Marginal Way – Ogunquit, Maine – Marginal Way is the perfect spot for a picnic and a nice scenic walk. Perkins Cove has a few shops and is a fun place to walk around. These two are within a half mile of each other.
3. Saint Ann’s Church and Walkers Point – Kennebunkport, Maine – The most beautiful stone church right on the water and the Bush family’s Presidential Compound is within a mile of each other and both have amazing views! Highly recommend getting pizza to go and finding a bench nearby to eat. It’s a fantastic picnic spot!
4. Downtown Portland – There’s lots of cute shops and restaurants so close to the water!
5. Cape Neddick Light – York, Maine – The most picturesque lighthouse I’ve ever seen!
6. The Lobster Shack at Two Lights – If you come to Maine…you need to eat here! Come with an empty belly because you will be stuffed afterwards. This place has fresh-off-the-boat lobster and other delicious seafood with an amazing view! I love the casual setting with a beautiful ocean backdrop. You can sit inside (limited seating) or sit at the picnic tables outside with the stunning view. Tip: try to go on a sunny day and bring a sweatshirt with you just in case.
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