Cape Elizabeth + South Portland

Photographs + stories by Maine magazine staff:
Dr. Lisa Belisle, Wellness Editor 


Dr. Lisa Belisle, Wellness Editor




3:00 p.m. @ Inn by the Sea

Snow is forecast once again for Maine, and we are in the thick of it. It is Valentine’s Day—my youngest daughter’s thirteenth birthday—and having celebrated with her earlier in the day, we’re headed to Inn By the Sea to enjoy a part of Maine that is intimately familiar to my traveling companion; Maine magazine publisher Kevin Thomas has been raising his three sons there since 2004. I have my own history with Valentine’s Day at Inn by the Sea, having spent that holiday there two decades before when pregnant with my own son. I know it to be a special place. A gas fireplace warms the front room of our third floor suite, which looks toward the ocean, and skies that are heavy with pending snow. We enjoy takeout pad thai, peanut curry, and tom yum soup from Pom’s Thai Taste in South Portland. Then it is off to the spa.


4:40 p.m. @ the spa at the Inn by the Sea

We decide to try a few new services this weekend. KT has a hot stone massage and I am cocooned in an algae wrap. Slightly claustrophobic, I am comforted by the foot and scalp massage, and feel invigorated once the wrap is removed. The couples’ room has a large hot tub. We ruefully leave this for another day, as our Valentine’s feast awaits.


6:45 p.m. @ Sea Glass

It’s a veritable festival of love inside Sea Glass—couples sipping cocktails wait in the cozy lounge near a roaring fire. I am always happy to find vegan options on the menu, and organic food from local sources. I choose the coconut carrot soup, crispy kale, and Brussels sprouts. KT has gorgonzola-stuffed dates and grilled Faroe Island salmon over quinoa. We share a chocolate marquise for dessert, and discuss tomorrow’s adventure.




8:00 a.m. on the Beach to Beacon running route

The sun’s rays shine briefly through the ice-crusted branches of the tree outside our window, before retreating behind clouds. We begin on Route 77 just outside the Inn, and follow the route that has become well known internationally as that of the annual Beach to Beacon race. The race is held each August and was founded by Maine’s own Olympic champion, Joan Benoit Samuelson.


8:20 a.m. @ Trundy Point, Pond Cove, Fort Williams

We take a brief detour down Reef Road and run past Trundy Point, which is one of the many projects of the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust. Known as CELT, they host an annual plein air paint auction to raise money for land preservation. We pass their office as we navigate the ice-rutted Shore Road Pathway. Completed in late 2012, the pathway allows walkers and runners like ourselves to safely journey from the town center to Fort Williams. We see another running couple who call out, “We’re glad to see we’re not the only crazies out here.” Despite the craziness of running in winter, we love the views of Pond Cove, and the chance to see many of Cape’s beautiful oceanfront homes. Passing Robinson Woods (another CELT property), we continue to Fort Williams Park. Here children are sledding and tourists and photographers are snapping shots of one of Maine’s most recognizable lighthouses. By the time we return to IBTS, we have run 12 ½ miles, a distance that constitutes our regular weekend long run. Back at our room, we treat our hard-working muscles to soaks in the cavernous bathtub.


12:00 p.m. @ Local Buzz, Fiddleheads, and Ann Veronica

After breakfast at Sea Glass, and a dirty chai latte from Local Buzz, we head back for some shopping.  KT finds a baby present for a friend at Fiddleheads Flowers and Vintage Chic Gifts, and he surprises me with a jacket he has arranged to have set aside at Ann Veronica.


2:00 p.m. @ DiPietro’s, SoPoSup, Elsmere BBQ

We continue our trip down Shore Road and are soon in South Portland (affectionately known as SoPo by locals).  Stopping at DiPietro’s for some post-run liquids, we pick up cranberry juice and talk to the friendly sales staff. This long-time local market shares a neighborhood with the Portland Players theater, the SoPoSup paddleboard shop and, just down the road, Elsmere BBQ, another family favorite.


3:30 p.m. @ Otto Pizza

On a short detour down memory lane, we find the South Portland house that my mother’s family grew up in, and Holy Cross church, where my parents were married. Across the street, the parking lot for the iconic Red’s Dairy Freeze is still covered in snow. A popular spot in summer, it has been joined recently by Otto Pizza on Cottage Road. Housed in a converted garage, Otto’s offers a selection of gluten-free pizzas and salads, as well as conventional options. We choose tomato and ricotta on a gluten free crust, and a tomato cucumber salad.


4:30 p.m. @ Nonesuch Books

We’re looking forward to enjoying our fireplace back at the hotel, but first we go to Nonesuch Books in Mill Creek, where we discover a new book by Peaks Island author Scott Nash and an architectural magazine featuring the home of Maine-born actor Patrick Dempsey. I have just interviewed Patrick for our April wellness feature about the Dempsey Center, and I was impressed by his obvious love of Maine. KT is impressed with his Malibu home. We gather a few DVDs at Bull Moose Music before returning to the inn.


8:00 p.m. @ Enio’s Italian Eatery

Following a few relaxing hours on the couch, we head to Enio’s Eatery in SoPo. Snowflakes swirl outside, while inside a cozy hometown feel is created by the extensive bar seating and stools situated at tables along the window. We savor the homemade burrata and take our chocolate pots de crème and snickerdoodle to go.




8:30 a.m. @ Two Lights State Park

Today the sun is brilliant in the sky, though the storm of the night before has left lingering winds in its wake. We run a 5 1/2 mile lighthouse loop, first looping through Kettle Cove and taking the road to Two Lights. The popular Two Lights lobster shack awaits the summer crowds from under snowdrifts.


10:00 a.m. @ Sea Glass

We are joined for brunch at Sea Grass by my son (the one who joined me for Valentines weekend at Inn by the Sea while in utero, 20 years ago) and his girlfriend. We watch couples snowshoeing to Crescent Beach with their canine companions. In addition to being environmentally aware (and responsible for closely monitoring habitat for the indigenous rabbit population), this is a pet-friendly hotel.


12:00 p.m. @ Willard Beach, Spring Point Light, Bug Light

The breezes send drifts across our path, but we are undeterred. We set out for a tour of nearby beaches and lighthouses. Passing Willard Scoops (one of our favorite ice cream spots), we stop at Willard Beach and spend a few minutes bonding with the local dogs, who are allowed on the beach from October until April. Southern Maine Community College, with its sweeping views of the Casco Bay Islands, and Spring Point Light are next on our list. After a quick drive to nearby Bug Light, we stop at Joe’s Boathouse for an afternoon snack. Housed by the Spring Point Marina, this casual waterfront restaurant attracts crowds during warmer months.


7:30 p.m. @ David’s 388

We finish the weekend with dinner at David’s 388 restaurant, where we see fellow food lovers Susan and Ted Axelrod and Dana and Greg Moos. Driving home under a waning full moon, we reflect upon the Valentine’s Day weekend and the love we have for this great state in which we live. The snow has finally stopped, at least for now.

Share The Inspiration