Biddeford + Saco
Photographs + stories by Maine + Maine Home+Design magazine staff
On my first 48HRS assignment I meet my travel companion, my mom, in Portland and we excitedly venture south. I moved from Manhattan home to Maine one month ago, and I am beyond thrilled to be exploring these towns of southern Maine. Traffic on Interstate 295 proves I’m not the only one happy to be here.
Friday 6:00 p.m. Biddeford Pool
We drive over the small bridge that connects to the peninsula known as the Pool and immediately get hit with a wave of salty air. There’s something about this place: I feel at ease already.
6:15 p.m. @ the Lodge at Biddeford Pool
In a white washed oceanfront cottage, Jill Norton, the innkeeper, has the sweetly named Yellow Room ready for our arrival. We have a clear view of the busy pool, which is dotted with boats and buoys. We drop our bags and agree it’s time for dinner.
7:00 p.m. @ Buffleheads Restaurant
Near the end of Hills Beach Road, Buffleheads has an amazing view across the channel to Biddeford Pool. We breeze past a garden in back, which supplies the restaurant with fresh herbs and vegetables. We are greeted by friendly hellos and heavenly smells. New owner and chef Josh Cunningham visits our table and it is clear he is passionate about his Biddeford Pool gem.
9:15 p.m. @ Fortunes Rocks Beach
With the top down in our convertible Saab, we cruise back to the Pool, where the tide is low. You might cringe or crave it, but to me the smell of clam flats is a reminder of home. Down at Fortunes Rocks Beach homes are aglow. Families are playing cards at the table or cleaning up from dinner. We head back to the Lodge, I shut off the car, and we gaze up at the clear, starry canvas above before turning in for the night.
Saturday 6:30 a.m. @ the Lodge at Biddeford Pool
I wake up to the sound of waves lapping the shore and a soft hum of motorboats right outside our window. We get dressed and head out into the warm morning light.
6:45 a.m. @ East Point Sanctuary
We walk along the main road toward the sea, then veer off onto a lush path full of greenery and birds. The dirt trail follows the perimeter of the peninsula and leads us to a stunning view of Wood Island Lighthouse.
9:00 a.m. @ Biscuits & Company
Having worked up an appetite, we drive into downtown Biddeford. Our destination is a highly recommended breakfast spot that is cute and contemporary. We split a housemade pecan and cinnamon biscuit and wait on two big breakfast sandwiches. The classic egg and cheese option is updated with a special sweet red pepper relish and a most delectable biscuit base. We are happy and full—it’s time to shop.
10:00 a.m. @ Suger
Our first stop is next door at Suger. The artful window displays pull us in, but the beautifully curated assortment of jewelry, home goods, and apparel keeps us shopping. The store is the retail outlet for the Angelrox line of clothing, manufactured right here in Biddeford. I leave with a new addition to my bracelet collection, an engraved cuff that reads “choose joy.”
11:30 a.m. @ Engine
Over on Main Street I am excited to meet Tammy Ackerman, the cofounder and executive director of the nonprofit arts organization, Engine. There is an audition taking place with local students, but she gives us a tour of the newly acquired space. In the back there is a 3D-printing area next to a shared creative workspace. We walk through the current exhibit, Ode to Letters, which celebrates the shapes of the alphabet. It is clear that Ackerman is creating something very innovative in the heart of Biddeford.
12:00 p.m. @ Elements
We walk further along Main Street and stop into Elements, the popular cafe, bookstore, and bar, for iced teas. I walk upstairs to Caleb Johnson Architects and Builders. I had noticed a renovation in Biddeford Pool with their sign in the yard so I’m curious to see more. Although the office is closed, I admire the elegant space and images of the firm’s incredible work.
12:15 p.m. @ Trillium
Down the street we stop into a cute gift shop that specializes in “home, self, soul.” The owners are redesigning the window displays and greet us with big smiles. I select a tea I know my grandmother will love.
12:45 p.m. @ Dreaming Tree Vintage
A short drive over the bridge to Saco leads me to a thrifter’s heaven at Dreaming Tree Vintage. The owner, Kristin Furrow, and I connect right away. The store is extremely well organized with an extensive collection of clothing from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Kristin knows her inventory and pulls some pieces for me. I leave with a 1960s lemon-yellow house coat and chocolate brown suede overalls.
1:30 p.m. @ F.O. Goldthwaite’s & Pool Lobster Co.
Back in Biddeford Pool we stop into the general store for a quick bite to eat. We enjoy lobster rolls and quinoa salad in Adirondack chairs overlooking the busy waterway.
2:00 p.m. @ Biddeford Pool Yacht
Club Around the corner we meet up with family friend and Biddeford Pool Yacht Club board member Mike Massey. His wife, Maureen, has joined us on the club’s launch and we head out to the Masseys’ 28-foot Cape Dory trawler, the Marion B II. Mike takes us around Wood Island Lighthouse and up the Saco River. To keep the fun going, we agree to join them for cocktails at their home in Biddeford Pool later.
4:30 p.m. @ Between the Tides
Before meeting Mike and Maureen for drinks, we swing though Maureen’s Biddeford Pool shop, Between the Tides, where we find an assortment of goods from handmade jewelry to accessories for the home and boat.
5:00 p.m. @ Biddeford Pool
We change our clothes, say a quick hi to Emma, the inn’s golden retriever, and head to the Masseys’. The grandchildren have spent the day at the beach and are showered and in their pajamas. It is clear that this home is a cherished family gathering place. We enjoy laughs and wine and bid our farewells en route to dinner.
8:00 p.m. @ Custom Deluxe
The restaurant’s facade is simple and chic. Inside the aesthetic extends to assorted vintage tableware and a minimalist menu. We start with sweet corn soup that the waiter pours over cracked kernels. The homemade simple pasta is a nest for a soft egg that I swirl into cheesy noodles. Chef and owner Thomas Malz and his fiancé Megan McVey are new to downtown Biddeford. At only three weeks old we can tell this restaurant is a special place, one that we hope to enjoy again.
Sunday 8:30 a.m. @ Biddeford Pool
We wake later than normal thanks to the Atlantic’s soothing soundtrack. We head down to the beach, where the hard-packed sand makes it easy to walk along the shoreline. We wave to residents drinking coffee on their decks overlooking the beach. I take a dip in the Atlantic before we head back to the Lodge to check out.
11:20 a.m. @ Saco Museum
Driving out of the Pool, we head over to the historic landmark on Saco’s Main Street. We walk through a mid-nineteenth- century replica room and read about the lives of New England mill girls.
12:30 p.m. @ Palace Diner
We can’t leave without grabbing a seat at the counter of Palace Diner. We start with hot coffee and a caramelized grapefruit. Mom gets a classic breakfast of over-easy eggs and the famous Palace potatoes. I opt for lunch and choose the tuna melt, which is nationally famous, and it comes topped with spicy pickles.
1:15 p.m. on Route 1
On our way home we talk excitedly about the events of the weekend. These are two towns we have been to before but are thankful to have rediscovered them together. As we head north to our home in the midcoast, I think about how lucky I am. I love this state and I am so thankful to now enjoy it everyday.