Cross Country Road Trip: Maine Part 1
Since the beginning of time, I've always wanted to go to Maine. People always asked me, "Why Maine? That's so random." Quite honestly, I have no idea, why. I think my whole life there's always been something about the east coast, specifically the northeast coast. It fascinates me with all the history it holds, it's natural beauty, the lifestyle, the culture, the people, and of course the food. My whole dad's side of the family is Puerto Rican in which most of them ended up residing in New York. So maybe the east coast is just in my blood? Who knows!
Now when it comes to the last couple of years, I've been wanting to go on a road trip. I've actually been wanting to go on a solo road trip as well, but this year I've been swamped with personal styling clients so I'll just have to wait until next spring or summer - Won't that be a fun blog post to write 🤩 Anywho, the husband had a ton of vacation time leftover this spring so I said, "Why don't we do something different and go on a road trip?" We've actually never been on road trip together, like a long one, and guess what? He was totally down for it!! But now the question was, where to go? We talked about driving through the southwest because it's BEAUTIFUL but I've done that drive a few times since I lived in Phoenix for about 3-4 years. However, we loved how the drive would only be about 2-3 days so we looked into locations that would take the same amount of time. We also looked in to where we haven't gone and where did we always want to go that flights were ALWAYS super expensive. That's when we decided on Maine!
In addition to being a personal stylist and interior stylist, I'm also an event planner. However, when it comes to life I stopped planning so much. We already have enough stress in our lives so why should we add more by having a "time limit" on everything? My husband on the other hand, he's super analytical so we're always trying to find a balance. We weren't always though - When we first got together, I was always planning. However, I think it changed because I've just been doing a lot of growing in the last 5 years. So long story short, I told him we could have a plan on our way out there but after we got to our first stop in Maine, we had to go with the flow...And that's exactly what happened!
Road trips sort of have a negative light on them, and we saw that when we told people we were going. They always said, "Oofdah, that's a long trip." And they said it in a way of like "That's a long drive, I wouldn't like that at all"; to each their own, of course. When you start to think about why people think negatively about road trips it's because they push themselves to get to their destination, meaning they drive 10+ hours a day. We decided we were only going to drive about 7-8 hours each day which would get us to our destination for the day in the early evening. It allowed us to check-in to our hotel, lay around for a bit, freshen up and head out to dinner to see what the city had to offer. Unlike most people, we looked at the drive as PART of the trip and didn't think of Maine AS the trip. Not a lot of people will ever get to see the random things the countryside has to offer and it's those random stops and cities that make the trip, the trip.
So what was our first stop on our way to Maine? Well, we only made it 4.5 hours before we stopped in Janesville, Wisconsin to get gas. Low and behold there was a THRIFT STORE right next door to the gas station, and guess who saw it first and pointed it out to their thrifting fanatic of a wife? My husband! What a good husband, am I right? Promoting his wife to go shopping and all 😍 The thrift store was Agrace Thrift Store. But I'll just tell you right now, I walked right out of there with nothing in my hands. I know!!!! Weird, right!?
Anyways, when we were mapping out where we would get to the first night, we looked at larger cities that had some type of attraction so we didn't just end in the middle of nowhere...we did that much planning at least! Our first stop ended up being South Bend, Indiana - Home of Notre Dame! Seeing the Notre Dame campus was intriguing so why the hell not! It's probably the most beautiful campus I have ever seen. And let me not forget to mention, how clean it was! It was beyond anything I've ever seen, especially the architecture! Too bad it wasn't college football season, that would have been a sight to see.
Now if you know me or have read my past blog posts before, you know that my husband and I love breweries. So when it comes to traveling we always make a list of breweries to stop at. With that said, we wanted to go to a place that also served food so we could kill 2 birds with 1 stone since we just got done driving all day. Very interesting, but we ended up at Crooked Ewe Brewing. I say interesting because their menu didn't have your typical brewpub food, it actually had ramen alongside pad thai and smoked meats. The husband got ramen and I got the pad thai. It was so refreshing and super light, and who doesn't like to have a little craft beer while you're at it.
Next stop was Buffalo, New York. Buffalo has always been on my bucket list (specifically for their National Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival that happens every September) as well so it just so happened to be only 7 hours from South Bend. Now it wasn't September when the festival was going on, but I still wanted to see it (part of that east coast charm I love). It's such an underrated place, in my opinion. The people were great, the charm of upstate New York is fabulous and the chicken wings...OMG, the chicken wings. We chose to get them from Thirsty Buffalo (who have the nicest bartenders ever, as a side note). The wings up there are so much more crispier! If you don't know about Buffalo, NY, it's the city that invented the buffalo wings...hence why they have a buffalo chicken wing festival. Afterwards, we went to yet another brewery called Thin Man Brewing. I had the raspberry sour which was AWESOME!! We will definitely be going back there...well, I'll have to because I have to go to the festival 😂 And yes, we did make a stop to get New York style pizza.
So after Buffalo, our route was going to get us to our first stop in Maine - Portland! Which on a side note, we had just found out that Maine had literally just lifted their quarantine policy for people traveling from out of state. That meant if we would have gone a few weeks earlier (it may had been 1 week to be honest), we would have had to quarantine for about 10-14 days after arriving + get tested. Whew! Thankfully we dodged that!
Portland though is BEAUTIFUL! It kind of reminded me of Seattle (which I have a blog post on Seattle - you can read it here). So just to give you an idea of where we were at day-wise - We had left Minneapolis on a Tuesday, got to Portland on a Thursday and planned on staying there until Sunday. After that? No idea! Meanwhile, a few places we went to while we were in Portland were: Liquid Riot Bottling Company which has an awesome back patio, Blyth and Burrows which is a cute speakeasy - if you go, just be prepared to stand in line and all the breweries which I think Lone Pine was my favorite. There are so many places to eat and drink there, it's unreal. We actually ended up finding one of the best Italian restaurants we have been to since we went to Italy in 2017 for our honeymoon - It's called Paciarino. If you go to Portland, PLEASE make sure you go here! We learned from the server that the owner is from Milan and just moved to the States 15 years ago. Wonder why it's so good!! They have THE BEST lasagna ever!! We also found this cute breakfast spot called The Sinful Kitchen. Please make sure to go there as well and sit outside and order the corned beef hash! It was fantastic!
Unfortunately while we were in Portland I didn't thrift. I think I was just too tired to do it because we had been in the car for so long. Plus, there was so much to see and do that thrifting was last on my mind. We'll be back for sure though because not only are there so many restaurants and bars to go to, but we ended up falling in love with the South Portland area when we drove around on our lighthouse tour.
So now we're at Saturday night when my husband and I look at each other and say, "We check-out of our hotel tomorrow. Where are we going?!" Yes, this is the day before we were supposed to check-out. Of course we had discussions with some locals, which they were so intrigued by our trip and had mentioned a ton of different spots. One of the places that got brought up a lot was Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, about a 3 hour drive along the northern coastline. So, that's where we went.
Now as a thrifter, going on a road trip and thrifting is probably the best thing ever! Especially if you're on a trip where you have no plan and you're just goin' with the flow. Not to mention the amount of items you can buy - it doesn't matter because you have the whole car to fill unlike a flight when you only have one suitcase. On our way up to Bar Harbor we mapped out all the thrift stores - Literally. First stop was Freeport, Maine where I shopped at Kargos. So many cute things. However, although clothes are cheaper that doesn't mean you should just buy whatever. You should still think about what you already have at home in your closet. With that being said, I walked out with one cream sweater from Loft for only $7! It definitely came in handy when we got to Bar Harbor because it was a little chilly in the morning and at night. It especially came in handy when we were hiking in higher elevation at Acadia.
Fashion Tips: First of all, it's always a good idea to bring a neutral color sweater on any trip. You never know if there's going to be a cold, windy day. Bringing a jacket can sometimes be too bulky so swapping it out for a sweater can replace that use of a jacket while saving space in your suitcase. Now of course if you're going somewhere warm during the middle of the summer, then you probably don't need a sweater 🤣
Secondly, a lot of people only think of sweaters as a 'one and done' type of piece. Yes, that's true, but it's also false. One of my favorite looks is taking a dress and throwing the sweater over it! Not only does it look like a skirt and a sweater, but it turns that dress into a fall/winter look. And that's another way you can wear a sweater - with a skirt! The key is to tuck it in. So if it's a lighter knit sweater, you're able to tuck it in all the way around. If it's a chunkier sweater like the one I'm wearing above, then do a front tuck. By tucking it in, it defines your waist. If you leave it out, you won't really have a shape 😕 So don't that.
Don't forget, too, that you can layer a sweater! One standard look you may be familiar with is a puffer vest, but if it's a lighter knit wear it under a blazer, bomber jacket, shacket, etc.!
Now if you didn't know, I opened up a branding agency earlier this summer called Branding by MH. While traveling up the coastline we were relying on Google Maps to tell us where all the thrift stores were. Most of the stores we went to WERE CLOSED even though their Google profile said they were open (and their website said they were open, mind you). It made me cringe as a branding strategist! So Kargos was the only place we were able to stop at before arriving at our motel - YES! A motel. A franchisee of Best Western bought a motel and renovated it. I have a new appreciation for motels (don't get me wrong, there are still those dumpy ones where I won't go near). As a road tripper, it was so nice to park your car right outside your door. Plus, this motel came with a full hot breakfast. So shout out to Best Western Acadia Park Inn. While staying there, we thought about actually buying a motel in a good location and renovating it ourselves since I do interior styling. My creative juices then started to flow, Let. Me. Tell. You! And now there is the show called Motel Makeover on Netflix, all the more to just do it! #Dreamer.
........And this is actually where I'm going to end this blog post so you're just going to have to come back in a few weeks to read about what else we did, where we ate and all the other thrifting adventures 😉 I'll say it again, too, if you're a thrifter I highly recommend going on a road trip. It makes the treasure hunting even more fun! 😍 In the meantime, make sure to check out my other Thrifting + Traveling blog posts! And if you ever want to have an appointment with me while I'm in your area, you can find out where I'm going to be next via my Tour Dates!