Wednesday, July 13, 2016

California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine in a Day

If you thought my adventure through Maine in a day is impressive, how about being in 4 different states in a day?  Living in California now for over 20 years and rarely venturing out of NJ/NY when I lived back East for 9 years, I almost forgot how close many of the states are to each other along the Eastern Seaboard. 

CA to MA

Starting out on my flight from California, we arrived in Boston early morning via the red eye, reflective of what I probably looked like (red eyed) after almost 24 hours of no sleep.  Arriving to Boston via train and car in the past, I never realized how beautiful the descent is into the area by air, until we flew over mesmerizing greenery giving me a much needed boost of endorphins and a reminder of how much I love this city.  With only time for one stop in this super short reunion before we had to start heading up New England, we just beat the crowds at Mike’s Pastry in the North End, famous for cannolis that are still memorable thirteen years later.  With different flavors offered each day in addition to the new traditional chocolate chip (I say new traditional as the candied fruit ones were my original traditional from my East Coast days), I got almost one of each.  I was pleasantly surprised by the mint chocolate chip, could never go wrong with pistachio, but would take a pass on the Florentine.  Cannolis for breakfast after a red eye flight that I did not sleep a wink on, is a perfect way to start our New England visit. 


Although it was a bit soon to be thinking about lunch right after breakfast, I knew I had to make the most of my time here.  I have filed “try Ipswich clams” in the back of my mind as a bucket list item even before people had bucket lists.  So as soon as I found out I was going to New England, it was pulled out as one of my “must eat” items on this trip and a detour to the Clam Box in Ipswich was immediately planned.  With long lines being the norm, I wanted to arrive when it opened and just like Mike’s, the time management God was on my side again with only 2 people in front of us but after we ordered and turned around, there was that line!  After consuming 3 decadent cannolis less than 2 hours before, we both opted for the mini meal with 1 side vs. the plate that comes with 2 sides.  As I sank my teeth into my full belly Ipswich native clams, poor shellfish intolerant hubby did get a delicious consolation prize, a moist and perfectly cooked fried haddock to enjoy at the outdoor picnic tables since it was such a beautifully warm day.  Due to increased clam costs, clam plates and boxes may have an additional surcharge on top of their regular prices. 


MA to NH

We arrived into Hampton Beach, NH by early afternoon in hopes of taking a nap before dinner but alas, our luck ran out and our room was not ready.  Running low on fumes, we needed a break from the busyness and spring break like atmosphere of Hampton Beach so we proceeded to the quaint town of Portsmouth, just a 20 minute drive away.  Centered around the Market Square, it was reminiscent of Zurich but without the language barrier, making this a great place to walk around browsing the shops, restaurants, and other hidden gems. 


Ever since the first time I had popovers as the “free bread” at Tyler Florence’s Wayfare Tavern in SF, I have been obsessed with popovers so no better time than the present for my first of many planned visits to Popover on the Square.  Although my first one did not quite compare to Tyler Florence’s since the top was too hollow and therefore just crunchy on top, the maple butter served alongside made me forgive almost anything.  Fortunately it was only a one off as I later discovered. 

Naturally there were more people on the weekends in Portsmouth but without the overwhelming touristy feel that Portland, Maine has to deal with during peak season.  Surprisingly one place that was a respite for us was Prescott Park.  Even though there were others around looking at the beautiful flowers and greenery while we parked ourselves on a bench (pun intended), it exuded a sense of peacefulness and serenity, giving us a break from our action packed day. 



NH to ME

Since we did not get the call that our room was done until close to dinner time, we took advantage of Portsmouth’s close proximity and hopped across another state line, less than a 5 minute drive across the water to Kittery, Maine for an early dinner a little after 4.  Since we already had Black Birch planned for our first night dinner spot, I was a bit surprised that the menu was different than expected, only to discover upon leaving that only a light bites/bar menu is offered before 5.  No problem for us since we were not all that hungry at 4.  Two orders of deviled eggs 3 ways (Mexican corn, potato salad, and BLT), chicken liver mousse with strawberry jam and the grilled cheese and tomato soup later, we were completely satisfied eating our way through 3 states in one day. 


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