Cape Elizabeth, South Portland + Scarborough
Photographs + stories by Maine magazine staff:
Mattie McQuinn, Account Manager
Mattie McQuinn, Account Manager
Living and working in Portland, it’s easy to forget about Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough, and South Portland. But these beautiful communities have a wealth of good dining options, scenic running paths, locally owned businesses, pristine beaches, and picture-perfect lighthouses. While many of our 48HRS trips take us far afield, this one is close to home, and made all the more special because of it. For glorious views, spa treatments, and tangy barbecue, read on.
7:30 p.m. @ The Inn by the Sea
Mac and I were so looking forward to this staycation in our very own backyard. As we finish our 15 minute drive and pull into the parking lot, we notice license plates from throughout New England—ours is the only Maine plate. Mac and I are warmly greeted by the staff of the Inn by the Sea. Mark—concierge extraordinaire—presents us with enough generous complimentary vouchers to keep us happily at the Inn all weekend. Even knowing that we just drove down from Portland, the staff lets us play tourist and shares their generous knowledge of the surrounding area. We are shown to our room, where we quickly check out the view, try out the heated bathroom floors, and change out of our work clothes for dinner.
7:45 p.m. @ David’s 388
We take a chance and show up without a reservation. The hostess squeezes us in and offers us two stools at the bar. We introduce ourselves to Didi, who quickly takes our drink order and brings over two extra-dirty martinis; we are officially in weekend mode. We drool over the menu knowing anything we order will be divine. We order veggie potstickers to start; Mac goes with the tenderloin and I go with the salmon. It is, in fact, divine.
9:30 p.m. @ Elsmere BBQ
I’m dying to try this relatively new SoPo eatery, so we stop in for a drink. The atmosphere is cool and casual; the crowd at the bar looks and feels like regulars. The kitchen is closed so we only get drinks, which is probably a good thing after a delicious and rich meal at David’s. But we do get some mouthwatering recommendations from a few regulars—we hear that the flatbread pizza is delicious, and the house salad topped with their slow-smoked and hand-pulled pork is a home run.
6:30 a.m. @ Crescent Beach State Park
We decide to start our Saturday off right with a gorgeous Maine sunrise. After basking in the early morning light, we swing by the Local Buzz for a cup of coffee on our way back to the Inn. It seems most of Cape Elizabeth stops in for their morning cup of Joe. We start to truly wake up with the first few sips of coffee.
9:30 a.m. @ Little Bigs
My mom, Holly, brings our rescue pup, Piper, and meets us at the Inn. We pile into my car and begin our adventures. First stop is the highly anticipated recommendation from our Facebook fans: Little Bigs. As I begin to open the door, I wonder if I’m in the right place, as it appears we are walking into someone’s kitchen. Indeed we are. We meet James and he talks us through each mouthwatering option. Little Bigs offers 14 different donuts, cronuts on Sundays, egg pies, and their bestseller: chicken pot pie. I want one of everything. I settle on a peanut butter and chocolate glazed donut; Mac gets the Boston almond cream and my mom goes for the mixed berry cruller. We are full and happy—but glad that this bakery is in South Portland, a safe distance from our home.
11:00 a.m. @ Lois’ Natural Marketplace
Lois’ Natural has been a longtime favorite for us—we stop here for healthy snacks and a picnic lunch on our way to the beach almost every weekend during the summer. We stop and chat with Lois herself and she lets us sample a new energizing chocolate bar. We grab some tea and a few organic doggy treats for Piper, and we are on our way!
12:00 p.m. @ Prouts Neck Cliff Walk
It’s definitely chilly, but we are anxious to walk off the treats from Little Bigs. We bundle up and brave the cold. The salty air feels good on our faces and the sun keeps us just warm enough.
1:30 p.m. @ Terra Cotta Pasta Co.
I realize I’m “away” with two pasta-loving companions, which means we have to stop by Terra Cotta Pasta Co. and grab a few delicious things to go. I grab a quart of their homemade pasta sauce and some fresh ravioli to send home with my mom.
2:15 p.m. @ The Cookie Jar
With so many delicious places on our list, I am thankful to have a little sister in college that I can buy goodies for. Mac and I pick out donuts and cookies for Carley and her roommates (and maybe a treat for us later, too).
3:00 p.m. @ Alaina Marie
We head down Ocean St. and find an intriguing storefront window that invites us in. We are welcomed by Gia, a beautiful springer spaniel, and a smiling small-business owner named Alaina. She handcrafts the most colorful and fun nautical clutches, all inspired by fishermen’s bait bags. With tons of different color combinations, it is difficult to choose my favorite, so I narrow it down to three. I immediately realize these funky clutches would make great gifts, so I buy all three.
6:00 p.m. @ Sea Glass
After a little downtime in the inn, we’re ready to walk downstairs and have an incredible meal. The dining room is cozy and warm, buzzing with quiet whispers over dinner. We order wine and say cheers to a successful day. After noticing several other diners hunched over plates of the paella, I decide to try it. We laugh, we eat, we talk about our busy day, we fantasize about our spa appointment the next morning, and before we know it we are the last two left in the dinning room.
8:00 a.m. @ Scratch Baking Co.
If there is one thing Mac and I always agree on, it’s what kind of bagel and cream cheese combo is best: everything bagel with fresh herb cream cheese. We grab four bagels to go, and barely make it to the car before pulling a warm, fresh bagel from the bag and smothering it with cream cheese. Knowing that we have another breakfast stop to make, we split just the one bagel.
9:00 a.m. @ The Good Table
We stopped into the Good Table the day before and promised the owner that we’d be back for a Sunday morning sticky bun. We enter the dinning room to find numerous runners still sporting their 5k race numbers having breakfast—adding insult to injury that we are coming from an early breakfast at Scratch. I tell Mac to remember, “Breakfast is a marathon, not a sprint.” The sticky bun is out of this world. We leave in a carb coma and return to the Inn.
10:30 a.m. @ the spa at The Inn by the Sea
We find ourselves in plush bathrobes and matching slippers gearing up for an hour of ultimate bliss. We take our time in our respective men’s and women’s sanctuaries before our incredible couples massage.
1:30 p.m. @ Scarborough Grounds
On our way out, we decide to grab a coffee and stop off at Pine Point beach. We walk the beach and recap our trip. That massage was really the icing on the cake for the entire luxurious weekend. And then, with rosy cheeks, salty ocean hair, happy hearts, and full bellies, we head home.