Our Trip To Maine
The best summer family vacation…
Much like our trip to NYC last December, I wanted to document our time in Maine on the blog for both the memories and also to encourage you! Traveling with a little one (Laurens is 16 months!) isn’t always a walk in the park, but it’s *always* worth it. And our Maine vacation was so wonderful and the memories we made as a little family of three were ones we will never ever forget.
Our hope is to take a larger family vacation each year somewhere new where we totally unplug from our computers… something extra special besides our frequent trips we take each year for work or to see family. We’ve visited New York, Blue Ridge, Palm Beach, and Charleston recently and this year we landed on Kennebunkport, Maine.
Once we decided on the dates, we thought through what mattered to us most: making this trip as easy as possible. And after much back and forth it truly came down to three goals: we wanted this trip to be in the same time-zone for bedtime/schedule purposes; I wanted to go somewhere cute (duh!); we (yes, we) wanted to be able to wear sweaters and shorts. No lie, that was our criteria for this trip… which in retrospect is kind of laughable to be honest. But it is what it is and it meant we only had one way to go, UP.
Neither Ryan nor I had been on a Maine vacation so it felt like the right option and flying into Portland was easy and the drive to Kennebunkport was also easy! So done and done.
The only downside to this trip is that we fell in love with Maine and never wanted to come home. And next year, instead of going somewhere new, I want to go back. It’s magical. The people are lovely, the summer is beautiful, the food is amazing, it’s adorable. Truly a 10/10 vacation! But trust me when I also say that so many things went wrong (like it was actually laughable) on this trip, starting with us missing our alarms by over an hour and almost missing our flights, but a million things went *really* right. It ended up being a 10/10 vacation.
Our Travel Essentials
We’ve done a ton of road trips with Laurens (here are all of our road trip essentials for toddler), but only one other flight when he was seven months old, which was a TOTALLY different situation than flying with a 16 month old! So I asked one of my girlfriends to give me all the tips and she set us up for success. We bought this carseat for travel because it’s only 12 pounds and fits in an economy plane seat. Laurens loved it and was happy to sit in his little seat for the majority of our flights (we had four!), plus it was also perfect for the rental car. We brought our travel stroller which was AWESOME because it folds up so small that it fits into the overhead compartment. This also meant Laurens was contained in his stroller in the airport and not running everywhere! And of course we brought the SlumberPod. Truly we don’t leave home for any overnight without it. (I also pop this travel noise machine in there to drown out Ryan and I chatting away after his bedtime!)
Side Note: If you have a baby or smaller toddler the Doona is amazing. Part carseat, part stroller, it’s an all-in-one is genius. FIVE STARS! I was so sad when Laurens outgrew it!
Where We Stayed
We looked at so many places to stay for our Maine vacation, and everything seemed so lovely, but ultimately landed on Hidden Pond… my goodness, what an actual treat. Hidden Pond is a luxury resort with private cabins nestled in 60-acres of the most beautiful forest. It honestly felt like a very grownup Summer Camp with all the activities and amenities you could dream up.
Our little cabin ended up being one of our favorite spots during our trip. With a little living room, kitchen, separate bedroom, and outdoor (and indoor!) shower, we felt so cozy in our home away from home. Most days we came back to our cabin for Laurens’ afternoon nap (in the SlumberPod!) and Ryan and I would snuggle up by the fire with our books, make coffee in our little kitchen, or take naps ourselves. And most evenings after Laurens went to bed we sat out on our screened in porch with takeout and wine.
Truly it was heavenly. Since we are at the toddler stage where we are taking long afternoon naps and going to bed before the sun is down, enjoying where we stayed was just such a treat because we spent so much time in that cabin!
Every morning they would deliver a thermos of hot coffee and freshly baked homemade treats! They even made me gf/df muffins each morning which was UNREAL. We looked forward to this each morning. (We knew then the restaurant had to be something and it was! More below.)
The other thing that just really made my heart so happy… on the property garden they provided vases and gardening sheers for you to cut your own flowers (!!!) for your cabin. As you can imagine, this alone had me wanting to book our stay!
The entire experience was casual luxury at its finest. Truly so lovely.
What We Did
We honestly planned absolutely nothing for this trip. I think my major takeaway for traveling with little people is to hold everything very loosely! I am not into forcing fun and if everyone isn’t feeling it, then we are just as happy to roll around in the grass, which, by the way, we did on more than one occasion. All of that to say, this is by no means a travel guide, ha! We really just did what felt right. (But if you want a true Kennebunkport-area travel guide start here!)
The only thing I really wanted to make happen this trip was flying a kite. Which by the way ended up being one of our favorite things… and Laurens, too! He thought we were hysterical trying to get that thing up in the air. So if low expectations are the name of this game you will always come out on top! But here are a few things we did do…
The Boat House — This is the first place we ate when we arrived in Kennebunkport and it was lovely. We kept planning on going back, but never quite made it. We sat outside and it made Laurens’ life… he’s currently so obsessed with boats and OMG, he lost his mind. The entire dinner he kept yelling “BOW!!” and pointing! It was so cute.
Cape Porpoise Kitchen — This little tucked away gourmet deli became one of our favorite places to pick up dinner. We’d get lobster rolls, sandwiches, and salads to take back to our cabin! We did this a few nights and it was lovely.
Musette — We became regulars at Musette! The breakfast was lovely, simple, and affordable. We ate there most mornings and really looked forward to it. The staff was also so wonderful to Laurens.
Earth at Hidden Pond — This was by far our favorite meal of the trip. Make reservations if you can! We got really lucky and were there *right* when it opened for the evening. A last-minute cancellation had just popped up so the table was ours! And oh my gosh, it was incredible. This was our one fancy meal of the trip and it did not disappoint.
Public Libraries — I was blown away by the sweet little libraries in town. We had the best time just browsing. The downtown Kennebunkport Library has an amazing children’s floor… highly recommend!
Tides Beach Club — We had heard such great things about Tides and I am so glad we made it there for dinner early one evening. If you go, try to make it around golden hour. After dinner we walked the beach and we were all smiling ear to ear. It felt like a fairytale!
Ryan had a list of lighthouses always pulled up on his phone so if we were near one or up for a drive to discover one we were ready. This was so much fun and I am really glad he was on the lookout!
Goat Island Light House — One afternoon we were just driving around looking at the gorgeous coastal homes (while Laurens napped in the car) when we spotted this light house! We got out and watched the boats go by for a bit. Such a lovely little stop!
Nubble Light House — This lighthouse was about a 40-minute drive from where we were staying but so worth the drive. The views were amazing and it was so much fun. Also the local beach was lovely with a wonderful playground and cute little shops. We made a whole day trip out of it and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Portland Head Light House — Again, this was about a 40-minute drive into Portland, but such a lovely drive. We loved this day because the weather was amazing and perfect for kite flying. There was lots of open grass to play and the views were incredible. We also picked up sandwiches and had a little picnic. Such an easy day.
Like I said above, we were there for five nights and it was truly so low key. We spent a lot of our days just playing in the grass, flying kites, and reading books… which was exactly what we had hoped for!
Side Note: We found an amazing local nanny who came highly recommended so Ryan and I were able to sneak out for one little date night at Earth. She was such a blessing and I REALLY wished she lived closer, I truly adored her and so did Laurens. I could have sat up just chatting with her all night!
Before we left on this trip I asked so many of my toddler mom friends their best advice on travel and they gave me so much confidence for our Maine vacation getaway. So hopefully this post will do that for you, too. You can do it!
P.S. Here’s a post I did on all of our camera gear, if you are going to make some memories… make sure you capture a few while there!