A Romantic Getaway Up the Rocky Coast
Get away from it all in Maine, where the rocky coast meets the ocean waves and couples can cozy up in splendid resort hotels with gorgeous views.
Nothing is more romantic than a road-trip: just the two of you rolling along, children in the trusted hands of grandma or auntie or trusted friend, and nothing but the open road stretching ahead. Wherever you're starting from, get yourself to I-95, one of America's oldest highways. It follows the eastern coastline from Florida to Maine. You'll never be far from the ocean on your trip and there are a lot of tempting attractions along the way.
Note that the itinerary suggested here is based on a trip taken in spring or summer, with their verdant landscapes and stunning views of the ocean, water sports, back-to-nature retreats, great hiking spots and many festivals and celebrations. Also, many of these attractions close on Labor Day and don't open again until spring.
Walking in the Sand, Walking Hand-in-hand
Take a break from driving and stop at Ogunquit, a tiny town with over 3 miles of sandy beach where you can freshen up with a swim and a stroll. Then head over to The Admiral's Inn (87 Main St., Ogunquit, ME), where the friendly, knowledgeable staff can recommend excellent restaurants, shopping and other nearby activities. The hotel itself offers large, clean rooms and even a porch piano bar. Not only is The Admiral's Inn a relaxed and relaxing stop on your journey, it's also reasonably priced compared to some of the other hotels and resorts along the way.
Going Organic in Kennebunkport
Next stop is Kennebunkport, probably best known as the summer residence of President George H.W. Bush and his family. Kennebunkport is also the home of the sprawling Hidden Pond Resort (354 Goose Rocks Rd., Kennebunkport, ME). Spread over 60 acres, this unique resort offers a sense of spacious, gracious living with a distinct organic vibe. Bungalows and two-bedroom cottages are available, each individually styled. The spa is set up to resemble a tree house, and an organic garden is open to visitors. There are free yoga classes as well as an outdoor bar and grill where guests can relax in chairs circling fire pits. Hidden Pond provides a shuttle to the beach, just a few minutes away. This is definitely an upscale resort, and if you decide not to splurge this time, save it for an upcoming special occasion.
If you decide to bypass Hidden Pond, stick around Kennebunkport for a while anyway for a boat tour, whale watching or just a stroll around the harbor.
Just Two Teenagers in Love
Continuing north on I-95, you'll arrive at Old Orchard Beach, where you and your sweetheart can be teenagers all over again at Palace Playland (1 Old Orchard St., Old Orchard Beach, ME), a beachfront amusement park with a large, old-fashioned arcade. There are rides, too; if you want to hug your honey and let out a playful little scream on the Galaxy Coaster, well, that's okay too.
Portland Has It All
Next on this suggested itinerary is Portland, ME, a bustling, quirky town with so much to offer you'll probably want to stay an extra day or two. It has also become a magnet for clever young millennials who are looking for a town combining a free-spirited attitude with old-fashioned New England charm. The downtown is small enough to be explorable, its streets lined with unique shops, galleries and restaurants; in this one mid-sized town are several art museums, theaters, harbor tours and historic buildings. There are even a few breweries, beer and pub tours, and culinary tours for you foodies out there.
Head from downtown to Portland's waterfront and a change of pace. You can catch a ferry out to Peaks Island, rent bicycles and take a leisurely ride around the 7-mile perimeter of the island. You'll pass by enchanting little inlets, some impressive houses and a beautiful view of nearby islands. After your bicycle ride, get some ice cream while waiting for the next ferry back to Portland.
While you're in Portland, stay at the Morrill Mansion B&B (249 Vaughan St., Portland, ME), where you'll be assured that old-style cozy B&Bs with attentive, personal service still do exist. This one is quite special and even has a parlor with a variety of teas available, a collection of DVDs and a snack table for between-meals treats. The proprietor does everything he can to make his guests comfortable and their stays as pleasant as possible.
Love and Lobsters
Of course you'll want to try some famous Maine lobster on your trek. There are places to stop all along the coast that serve lobster in its many variations. Opt for cracking open one of these red critters to discover the lusciousness that awaits inside in all its buttery, messy, finger-licking glory. What's sexier than that?
Have a wonderful trip! Allow yourselves enough time to stop at inviting little places along the way (everything from crab shacks to flea markets to antique shops) and return as starry-eyed as the night sky over the ocean.
Judith loves cats, books, and road trips with her husband. She was born in rural Indiana, studied English Literature at the University of Chicago, and has lived in Chicago, Boston, Deerfield, MA and now Louisville, KY. She owned a bookstore for several years and is a past-president of the Mass. & RI Antiquarian Booksellers. She edits novels and stories, and makes pictures which have been shown in galleries and juried shows. She loves to write, and her motto is "stay curious."