Show of hands. Who has "Travel More" on their list of New Year's Resolutions?
I'm a big believer in spending money on experiences, not things, and will always jump at the chance to travel. Last year, I took advantage of low hotel fares and fewer crowds by traveling to Portland, Maine in the month of February. It was a weekend of great food, photography and exploring.
Where I explored:
1. Old Orchard Beach - A short drive South of Portland, it's hard not to take a good photo at this historic pier. I woke up early to catch the sunrise and wasn't disappointed. TravelTip: Bring hand warmers. Temps were frigid at best and shooting was tough.
2. Bailey Island — This area was visually stunning. There are lots of different coves to explore and the architecture is quintessential Maine. TravelTip - make sure you have a full tank of gas, a few snacks, and a map. Cell service is weak at best. I came close to running out of gas and getting lost. Also, check ahead of time to see which restaurants are open. Many are closed in the off season.
3. Old Port - Located in downtown Portland, it's easy to spend to hours here. Cobblestone streets, shops, and restaurants make a fun spot to spend time in. TravelTip: Wear shoes that fair well in ice and snow. Cobblestone can be slick. Leave the cute shoes at home.
3. Cape Elizabeth - I'll never tire of seeing Portland Head light. Every angle is stunning and I'm already looking forward to visiting again. I have a few new spots I want to photograph. This particular shot made my 2020 Sue by the Sea Calendar.
Where I stayed: The Hampton Inn Portland-Airport has great rates in the month of February ($78 - $96 per night ) and included an impressive breakfast which kept the costs of my trip low. The location also made it easy to jump on the highway.
If you're looking to poke around downtown Portland, there are great choices there as well. But, as with any downtown, parking is limited, and driving can be congested.
Where I Ate: You basically can't go wrong with any Maine seafood, but my absolute favorite place, hands-down, was J's Oyster located in downtown Portland. This is an understated eatery with the most delicious seafood - I highly recommend the Combo Seafood Cocktail. So delicious and keeps your calorie count in check so you can enjoy some of their homemade desserts.
If the cake gods are kind to you, there will be homemade
mint-chocolate cake on the menu. I'm still obsessing about it.
Do you have a favorite winter destination? Comment or share below.