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Boston and then Saco, Maine in mid June

Husband and I are heading to Boston for 3 days next month before heading to Saco, Maine for 9 days. We have not been to either place so suggestions are welcome! I already have hotel for Boston and airbnb for Maine. Are there any "must sees" or restaurants that we need to try? We like to explore the area, eat local cuisine, etc. We will not have a car while in Boston but will pick it up to drive to Maine. Any hiking recommendations near Saco, Maine? Thanks!

Posted by
1796 posts

In nearby York, see the Nubble Lighthouse. I like to alk the Wiggly Bridge

Posted by
1152 posts

I really loved Yankee Lobster in Boston. It's a bit off the tourist trail, maybe that's why it was so good. It blew away all the previous chowder and lobster rolls I had in Boston. Go when they open and line up - it's tiny and gets packed.

Posted by
880 posts

I never pass through Portland without stopping at Becky's. (And I pass through Portland once or twice a year.)

Portland is actually a very foodie town, so you might want to look there for a nice meal or two. Fore Street, Eventide, Duckfat, to name a few...

You could also daytrip to Peaks Island from Portland. I've always wanted to but never had the time.

Posted by
3486 posts

As you drive northeast from Boston , route your drive via Rt 128 to Rt 133 along the coast towards Essex MA . Rt 133 is the " Clam Shack Highway " where you will find Woodman's , Farnham's ,and my favorite , Essex Seafood ( there's also The Clam Box , in Ipswich ) . If you like real whole Belly clams , these are the best of the best . Rt 133 will join Rt 1 A and go north through Ipswich and cross The Merrimack River at Newburyport . Continue along the New Hampshire coast on 1 A ( it's the scenic route , you don't want Rt 1 or I - 95 ) to Portsmouth NH and over The Piscataqua River to Kittery , Maine and on up to Saco . Dawdle , if you can , along the Massachusetts coast , it is positively beautiful . The area along 133 - 1 A is a 25,000 acre salt marsh of pristine beauty , and towns like Essex and Newburyport are worth a stop .https://www.google.com/maps/place/Essex+Seafood/@42.9007952,-71.0142688,10.5z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x89e3231af1e6c8a5:0x5bffe1fe263b067f!8m2!3d42.6297531!4d-70.7542303

Posted by
21 posts

We spent a week in Boston last fall. What a great city! My favorites for the trip were the USS Constitution Museum, a tour of Fenway Park (and I’m not a baseball fan) and the Isabella Gardner museum (watch the Netflix show about the theft that took place there and has never been solved).
The Boston Tea Party ships, the aquarium and the tour of the Freedom Trail were good as well. Don’t forget to get some cannolis while you’re in town.

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks to all of you for the replies! Looks like we have some exploring to do.

Posted by
3936 posts

Check out When Pigs Fly bakery - the bread selection is divine. They have a few outlets - we visit the Kittery one. If it's still there, Stonewall Kitchen has an outlet in the Kittery area.

Posted by
394 posts

I'm in MA, but we go up to Maine several times a year. One of my favorite places in the world.

Another vote for Becky's in Portland (especially for breakfast). Portland has so many great restaurants it would be hard to name them all, but agreed on Fore Street (for a nice, sit down dinner - reservations highly recommended) and Duck Fat.

In Saco, I'd go to Run of the Mill Public House & Brewery.

Freeport is roughly 35-40 minutes north of Saco. We really enjoy hiking Wolfe's Neck Wood State Park, and in my opinion, pizza and beer at Maine Beer Company is a must! You can make reservations a few days in advance there. You may know this already, but Freeport is also home to L.L. Bean, who has a lot of free events during the summer (and shopping if you are so inclined).

Bradbury Mountain State Park is also great for a hike.

Brunswick also has a bunch of great restaurants.

Seek out Gifford's Ice Cream wherever you can.

If you have any plans to go further north of Freeport/Brunswick, send me a message. We really like the mid coast region and I have more suggestions for that area.

Posted by
2929 posts

It is unclear whether you want to take all day to Saco, if so Steven’s recommendation is fine, but only the tip of the iceberg. If it were me and I was staying in Maine, I would head straight to Maine and explore there. Save my area for a trip in itself.

I expect some of your Saco visit is to relax, so don’t over do by traveling too far if that’s what you want to do. All ideas have been OK. That being said, if you want not too far drives, my favorite and an old haunt of mine is Kennebunkport. Shops, restaurants, a pretty coastal drive and choice of large or small(Gooserocks Beach, my choice) beach. Many people I know from noncoastal Mass. flock to Ogunquit…large sandy beach, and Perkins Cove area, and coastal walk (name I am blanking on at the moment) with restaurants, shops, and art galleries. Portland, which I like but you already saw some of Boston, is a small 2nd class Boston. I wouldn’t bother unless you want to ride the ferry round trip to amid the islands…lovely bay. Peaks Island would not be my choice to explore…but partial to Great Diamond Island when it was a non tourist island.

If you want a coastal city, I would suggest heading down to Portsmouth, NH, which also has Strawberry Bank to explore a bit of old New England.

Closest to Saco is Old Orchard Beach, which is a bit if honky tonk old New England and a fun night of old carnival and people watching, etc.

Boston: 3 days isn’t much so do the Freedom Trail, eat in the Northend…more if you want but this is all the cellphone typing I care to do…maybe later from my computer. Boston needs its own post lol

Posted by
3486 posts

If you decide to stop in Oqunquit ( A very pretty place , to be sure ) look for parking at the north end of town .I first visited there around 1970 , and the place has become extremely busy over the years . The walking path Wray mentions is " The Marginal Way " and runs along the coast to the head of Perkins Cove . A great place to put your camera to use . There is a well known Lobster place there ( Barnacle Billy's ) Friends in Maine first taught me the proper way to dismember a steamed lobster there in the late sixties . If you haven't had enough seafood yet , another place is in Kennebunkport " The Clam Shack " , great fried Haddock ! two maps here - Ogunquit - https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ogunquit,+ME/@43.2388923,-70.5940936,16.25z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x89e2af5404ec5567:0x82d738a7300bc0ef!8m2!3d43.2468352!4d-70.5986223 and Kennebunkport - https://www.google.com/maps/place/The+Clam+Shack/@43.3605587,-70.4778295,16.75z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x4cb2a93de32d83e9:0xbc87d64e62c73f1f!2sKennebunkport,+ME+04046!3b1!8m2!3d43.3617327!4d-70.4767274!3m4!1s0x4cb2ab92a6439923:0x743e7ba934dbe521!8m2!3d43.3608533!4d-70.4784105 I wouldn't mention some of these places to my cardiologist .

Posted by
14 posts

steven.....

I wouldn't mention some of these places to my cardiologist .

No doubt! I'm sure we will be stuffed with all the lobster and clam chowder!

Wray.....thanks for all the info. We do tend to like the smaller towns as opposed to the larger ones. Any recs on restaurants in the North end? We are staying at the Battery Wharf Hotel. Will then head to Saco for our airbnb on the beach.

Posted by
749 posts

When driving up to Maine from Boston, our first stop has usually been Wells, to pick up a tasting range of Maine craft beers at Tully’s and to treat ouselves to Congdon Donuts nearby. Perhaps there’s a bigger selection of local IPAs elsewhere but we’ve been pleased at Tully’s. Since you’re in an Airbnb, might be worth a stop.

Posted by
2929 posts

Ginger, This is where I fail in life...I don't know names of songs, bands, restaurants, etc. I just know what I like. If someone wants directions, no street names, but..."turn left at the second antique store, right at the red barn", etc. LOL.

Bakeries in the North End on the other hand... Mike's Pastry is tooo crowded and well known. The Modern is fine, but also often crowded. These two are on Hanover Street. Pass Mike's Pastry on your left, turn left at the next street and walk to the next block. You almost walk directly into Bova's. Get your cannolis and whatever there. Bova's is on Salem Street.

We rarely eat on Hanover Street. Salem Street (pre covid) has little restaurants (as do other locations), pick one of them. They look like store fronts, but the cellar is also often used. I have a favorite one there, but, again, no name comes to mind. LOL On Salem Street, there is one I wouldn't recommend: Famiglia (It might have another word in that title as well). It is on the same side as Bova's. It's fine, but my least favorite.

And/or, in the Square where Paul Revere's house is, is Momma Maria's. It has been there for many decades. An Italian Restaurant from the past.. Good basic Italian food. I like it. It's a landmark, IMO. But we usually just pick the small restaurants. if you are in the square and facing MMs, on the left, on the corner is a small restaurant, which is good. I want to say it might be called Genovese...but I could be completely off. On the same side, but way before this restaurant, is another one that begins with L...I think. You get my point about being lousy with details (about unimportant things). My nose just takes me to places I like. I just know how to get to places. LOL. I wouldn't make a good tour guide. Let me just stress, I have never had a bad meal in the North End! NOTE: before Covid, some of the little, but delicious restaurants only took cash...so just make sure they take cards before you get too far into your meal.

As your hotel is on the harbor, I suggest you make sure you walk around Beacon Hill, but also the Back Bay. Eat Italy is in the Prudential Center if you want to bring some Italian goodies to Maine with you, but make sure you walk down Newbury Street...some cute restaurants, shops and art galleries there, and Marlboro Street is pretty for the homes, and the Mall to the Public Garden...

The Hampshire House on Beacon Street, across from the Common, has the best Bloody Marys ever...again, Pre Covid, for decades. It's the same building that they send you to the cellar for Cheers...but this is the nice bar. The bar modeled in Cheers is actually in the Quafer Club, private, above the Hampshire House. It has a beautiful rectangular bar as in the set of Cheers. I better stop... But, I also have to admit Stephanies in the Back Bay is delicious.

Posted by
14 posts

Wray....
Thank you so much! I get where you are coming from regarding names, directions etc!