Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring Road Trip: Hitting the Road to Portland, Maine and Back



For Spring Break this year, we hit the road for Portland, Maine. Some may say that we were crazy--especially given the late winter. Why not go south? Well, we have been working intently on our bucket list and so we decided to visit some of the states on our list this year. When opportunity arose, we decided to go out to Maine. We drove through the states to get there and came back to Chicagoland via Canada. So, we saw a lot on this trip and had a blast! We hit quite a few cities on our trip and I will be providing you with a little peek into each over the next couple of weeks. If you are looking for a road trip idea for the coming warmer months, this is one that will not disappoint!


For our series, I thought that I would start with Portland. We spent an evening there and loved the charming seaside town. Being a shorebird myself, I really felt at home. The raw, natural beauty of this part of Maine captivated us and we are sure we will be back to visit the state. Even though we were only in Portland for a short time, we were able to enjoy some of the eateries. On my husband's bucket list was to try a lobster roll. He is not a seafood kind of a guy. But, when in Maine....

There were several recommended restaurants in the area. A few were closed for the season. We settled on J's Oyster Bar which is right down on a pier. J's is in a small, non-assuming building. But, when we entered the restaurant was definitely abuzz with happy patrons. We could easily tell it is a favorite! When we were seated, we noticed that our place was set with paper place mats decorated with lobsters. Totally like the places I frequented growing up in New Jersey! The menu was plentiful and well priced. My husband ordered the coveted lobster roll and we all enjoyed it. I think my daughter surprisingly may have liked it best!


For my meal, I had a cup of clam chowder and shrimp cocktail. My clam chowder was hearty and creamy--just lovely. My shrimp was fresh--a departure from what I usually get here in Chicago. We loved J's and wouldn't hesitate to return.



After J's, we walked over to Dobra Tea which is a couple of blocks away. Dobra Tea is a pleasant little haven where you can truly relax and sip tea. I actually ended up not taking any pictures there because that atmosphere was so sedate that I feared spoiling the mood for other patrons! The decor is very tranquil and there is even an area where you can sit on cushions to enjoy your tea. The tea menu is expansive. The menu also sports some nibbles. We tried the Pita Zataar plate which is pita served with feta in olive oil with zataar seasoning. We also tried a lavender tea biscuit. We enjoyed both but were quickly addicted to the feta! Another gem to visit in Portland!

After our short stint in Portland, we learned that it is a city we would like to visit again--maybe in a warmer month! However, more adventures awaited us during this recent trip. Our journey would have us visiting Waterbury and Burlington in Vermont and Montreal and Toronto in Canada. Over the next weeks, I will be revealing all of our finds for you!

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