With it’s rugged coastline and charming small towns, Maine is an enchanting destination for travelers. Even in November. It’s one of those unique destinations that despite the cold, remains absolutely lovely to visit at all times of the year. The late autumn air is beautifully cool and there are significantly fewer tourists and a much quieter atmosphere.
Maine in November is a quiet season and one of my favorite to visit in. Although there are many shops closed in the smaller towns, there is a sereneess that can only exist in the winter months for these wonderful coastal towns. The seafood remains fresh and delicious and the foliage often lingers on the trees with glimpses of color and echos of the autumn. The crisp autumn air mixes beautifully with the salty fresh sea air off of the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s a great destination for a weekend escape from Boston, or the New England region. It so happened I was traveling back from a work trip so my husband picked me up at Boston Logan International Airport and we headed north for our weekend away in Maine.
Friday – Portsmouth & Boothbay Harbor
On the Friday our plan was to make a wandering journey up to Boothbay Harbor making a few stops along the way.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Only an hour north from Boston is the gorgeous town of Portsmouth in New Hampshire. This was our first stop on the Friday as we head north into Maine.
Portsmouth is a picturesque coastal city known for its rich colonial history and vibrant cultural scene. Its charming downtown area, lined with historic buildings, unique shops, and excellent restaurants, makes for a delightful stop on a road trip to Maine. The city’s scenic harbor, historic homes, and lively arts community add to its appeal, offering a blend of historical charm and modern vibrancy.
We had breakfast as the Friendly Toast, the original location for this small north east chain. It was well rated and requires a call ahead reservation, or the patience to wait for a table. We joined the call ahead waiting list during our drive and only had to wait a few minutes for our table. With an incredibly inventive and interesting menu I would highly recommend this for a breakfast stop on the way again.
Exploring Portsmouth is always a fun activity with it’s quirky ships, fantastic cafes, and charming town center. We spent a few hours wandering around the lovely town and headed down to the river front with views of the Memorial Bridge. We timed it incredibly well as we got to witness the Memorial Bridge rising to let a large tug boat pass under it.
After Portsmouth we headed north again, passing into Maine.
L.L. Bean Flagship Store in Freeport
A trip to Maine is incomplete without a visit to the LL Bean’s flagship store in Freeport. This flagship location is known for its impressive size, outdoor-themed displays, and the famous giant boot sculpture, making it a must-visit for both shopping and a memorable experience.
When we visited it was an anniversary celebration for them and they had a S’mores station outside, next to the boot, free to their patrons. Naturally I enjoyed a fresh S’more before we headed back on the road, still traveling north.
As the sun began to set we entered the charming coastal town of Boothbay Harbor, about 60 miles north of Portland. I had been once before, as a kid on a family trip, and remembered it fondly. We had booked in with the utterly charming Harborage Inn and were excited for our weekend adventure.
This time of year highlighted the town’s peaceful harbors, local shops, and the chance to enjoy fresh seafood while soaking in the crisp, coastal atmosphere.
Due to the number of seasonal closures we made sure that we had booked reservations for dinner at the Thistle Inn, a well rated restaurant in the town. We had a beautiful seafood dinner in a timber framed room with a lovely fire. It was a fantastic way to spend our first evening in Maine, cozy and with good food and drink.
Saturday – Portland
Saturday we had set aside to visit and wander around Portland. I had spent so much time in Portland as a child and teenager but hadn’t been back in several years. It’s such a fantastic city, with a wonderful vibe, and incredible food. In more recent years it’s also become well known for it’s craft beer scene.
We started with a leisurely morning in Boothbay Harbor. Our wonderful hotel provided a gourmet breakfast on the balcony overlooking the harbor. And we wandered around the town a little, browsing some of the open shops.
Portland, Maine, is a vibrant coastal city known for its historic charm, scenic waterfront, and a lively arts district. It’s a hub for outdoor enthusiasts and culture seekers alike, offering a blend of natural beauty and urban excitement. Portland’s thriving foodie and craft beer scene makes it a paradise for culinary adventurers; with its array of local seafood, farm-to-table restaurants, and numerous microbreweries.
Our first stop was Shipyard Brewery to try a flight of beer and their offering. The taproom was rustic, lively and full of energy. We tried a flight of their offerings, including from their brand Seadog. It was a great way to start the day out in Portland, but we were keen to try other beers that the city had on offer as well.
We walked through the city heading towards the piers and seafront. On the way we stopped at a few shops, picking up some souvenirs and gifts.
The Portland Beer Hub lured us in with it’s online reviews and unassuing exterior. It was packed but we managed to get seats at the small bar area. This small pub offers only local beer, even labeling the offerings based on the mileage from the pub.
For dinner we had reservations at the popular restuarant Scales located on the harbor and pier. Another highly rated restuarant with incredible views and a great offering of fresh seafood.
After dinner we headed back to our hotel in Boothbay Harbor, intending to explore the town a little more in the eveing.
We visited Footbridge Brewerey, a charming local brewery in Bootbhay Harbor. Located right next to the gorgeously lit footbridge we had great views of the harbor that evening.
Sunday – Boothbay Harbor & Portland Breweries
Our last day started with another gourmet breakfast on our balcony, enjoying the stunning views from our hotel of Boothbay Harbor.
We spent the morning wandering around again, enjoying the scenery and ocean views. We visited a few more small shops that were opened and soaked in the atmosphere of this beautifully sleepy coastal town.
We walked across the footbridge, which connects the two sides of the town across the harbor. It offered spectacular views of the town and the harbor.
We had planned to visit only Allagash Brewery, but hadn’t realized that there were 4 more breweries on the same road. If I had planned that better we would’ve had time to visit all of them. Instead we focused our time on Allagash and Definitive.
Allagash Brewery has a fantastic heated outdoor space with a food truck, and a wide variety of Belgian style beers.
The only thing we wished they had was the offerings of a flight or a 4 ounce pour. The food was fantastic and loved the atmosphere.
While we were at the Portland Beer Hub we had tried a Definitive beer on offer and chose that as the second berwery of the day.
Definitve Brewery has a fantastic taproom across the street from Allagash and with an incredible offering of beers.
The other breweries in the same area are now on my list for the next time we visit, and included:
- Foundation Brewing
- Austrin Street Brewery
- Battery Steele Brewing
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