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Friday, August 25, 2017

Five Days in Maine + My College Travel Essentials



Hello, beautiful! I'm so excited to be back and blogging after Ryan and I's five-day adventure to Maine. While you've still gotten posts from me on vacay (hallelujah for scheduling in advance!), I truly missed interacting with you guys on social media in real-time.

However, I do admit I'm still feeling a little vacation-sick - the wanderlust is real, guys! So, I thought it would be fun to relive our trip to Maine by sharing our itinerary with you all. Plus, I've put together a collection of my all-time favorite essentials for traveling as a college girl.


This trip was a truly magical experience (so much so that Ryan and I are seriously considering moving to Maine after graduation!), so if you ever get the chance, I strongly encourage you to visit this little corner of the world! Without further ado, here's what we saw, ate and did in Maine - and why those five short days were so freakin' amazing :)





Day One


One if by land...

We drove (get it - by land!) to Maine from our little hometown of Maynard, Massachusetts, so about six hours of the first day of our trip was spent curled up in the car. In total, Ryan drove us 250+ miles all the way up to Bar Harbor - but it wasn't without stops along the way! I loved checking out the little brochures at the rest stops for more ideas for fun trips to take along the New England Coast. Plus, one rest stop we discovered in Maine even had a little craft shop full of local artisans' handmade goods. Combine those stops with the opportunity for a Subway six-inch (veggie sub with guac on wheat, please) and our little road trip was actually not so bad! 

Discovering Bar Harbor

By the time we got to our Airbnb in Bar Harbor, ME, it was nearly 4:00pm. So, rather than further exhausting ourselves, we decided to kick back in Bar Harbor instead of trekking it up to Acadia on the first day. On our first day, we discovered loads of tiny shops and restaurants that I would highly recommend. However, our first dinner was at Side Street Cafe, where I got a delicious homemade black bean burger (topped with avo, tomato and spicy mustard, of course) with the best gosh-darn roasted veggies you'll ever taste! Then we scurried on down to a little ice cream shop across from our Airbnb that served almond milk soft serve. Can you say "one chocolate with rainbow sprinkles, please"?!


Day Two


Coffee Hound Coffee Bar


Our first day in Acadia kicked off with me running (literally - I went on my morning run!) for coffee from Coffee Hound Coffee Bar in Bar Harbor. I just got a plain old coffee with almond milk (strong and smooth, just the way I like it!), but I'm sure Ryan would highly recommend their signature Cadillac Cooler, a non-alcoholic mixed drink with blueberry syrup, soda and lemon sherbert. 


Acadia National Park Visitors' Center


Our first stop in Acadia National Park? The Visitors' Center, because - fun fact I didn't know before our trip! - you need a $25.00 vehicle pass before you can drive into the park. (Frowny face.) But, the visitors' center came with a couple of sweet surprises - namely, a cute souvenir stand and a 15-minute video on the history of the park. We got a couple of ideas on where to visit from the vid, but as great as the visitors' center was, we were pretty eager to start our adventure at this point!


Jordan Pond


The worst part of visiting Acadia National Park was definitely the traffic. Our first day, we struggled to find a parking spot at the famed Jordan Pond House restaurant. But, once we did, oh. Em. Gee. Guys, this restaurant was INSANELY GOOD! I got a vegetable hummus wrap with a cup of the house's specialty tea, while Ryan got the popover sundae (Jordan Pond House is famous for their popovers). 10 out of 10 would recommend! The best part? After your meal, the Jordan Pond hiking trails are right there, so you can head out to the beautiful 3.3 mile loop to work off all those extra cals.


Thunder Hole


Finally, we wrapped up our second day in Acadia with a visit to Thunder Hole, a carved-out stretch of cliff where the tide rushes in so hard it sounds like thunder. My favorite part of Thunder Hole, however, was getting to explore by clambering across the rocky cliffs. Then, on our way back to Bar Harbor, we discovered a little beach where we collected beautiful seashells, rocks and even a few pieces of sea glass. Overall, I would say that Day Two was a huge success!


Cafe This Way


Oh, but let's not forget dinner! For dinner on Day Two, we stopped at Cafe This Way, an experimental restaurant with an upscale gastropub vibe. The menu was delicious all-around, but personally, I snacked on the sweet potato and black bean cakes for an app (which came with DELICIOUS lime guacamole) and dined on a big plate of zoodles with lentil sauce for dinner. After this meal, we were so full we could barely move! (But later on, we still made room for another scoop of that almond milk soft serve, of course.)




Day Three


Sand Beach


After another cup o' joe from Coffee Hound Coffee Bar, me and Ry adventured out to beautiful Sand Beach inside Acadia. The beach's waters were a little too chilly for swimming that day, but it was still fun to adventure across the rocks and check out all the hidden spots this place had to offer. On our way out, we even discovered another little beach hidden among the trees. This beach was covered in gorgeous pebbles and had even more cliffs to climb! (I may have been a little overeager, because I stumbled and cut my hand on the rocks - oh, well. Just another battle scar from my adventures, I guess!)


Otter Cliffs


We actually wound up finding Otter Cliffs on accident (aka, we drove by and screamed "I WANT TO CLIMB THAT!"). But, we loved wandering across the rocky ledges and searching for tidepools between the rocks. We even saw a sea urchin - which might not seem so exciting to someone more used to the ocean, but as a land-lubbin' New Englander, I was hyped to get a peep into the ocean's ecosystem! 


Route 66


We ate out for lunch instead of dinner today. While back in Bar Harbor, we dined at Route 66 restaurant, an old-timey diner unique for its MASSIVE collection of vintage 50s toys and memorabilia. I dined on their tasty hummus sandwich, but was especially impressed with their fries - as I told Ryan, I was excited to eat fries that still reminded me of actual potatoes! Meanwhile, Ryan munched on a juicy beef burger and assured me it was just as to-die-for as my sammie. 


Sunset on Cadillac Mountain


Finally, our last stop on Day Three was Cadillac Mountain at sunset. Instead of hiking, we chose to drive up the mountain to its very peak and watch the sun go down on its gorgeous view. Ryan had a great time snapping scenic pics of the gorgeous view. Meanwhile, I had fun just watching as I munched on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and attempted to keep warm (note to self: always bring a jacket from now on!).


Day Four



Morning Glory Bed & Breakfast


On the fourth day, after breakfast sandwiches at Choco Latte in Bar Harbor (kudos for the veggie sausage!), we kissed our cozy Airbnb goodbye to drive three and a half hours down to York, ME, where we stayed at the Morning Glory Bed & Breakfast. I can honestly say that this is the best place I've ever stayed in my entire life. The B&B is owned by an older couple who not only take great care of the place, but also cook a mean breakfast (plus, they were totally accommodating of my veganism, taking care to set aside a bowl of veggies sans egg for me in the morning). There were also tons of accommodations, such as a library, an ample tea and coffee station and a welcome basket in our room. I don't know how to put it better other than to say that we are 150% definitely going back here next summer! 


Kittery Outlets


Kittery, ME, located right next to York, is a tradition every year in Ryan's family. One of the things Kittery is most famous for is its massive collection of outlets. So, when we arrived too early to check into our hotel room, we knew we had to spend our time browsing the sales. Our favorites were the J. Crew Outlet and Eddie Bauer, between me and Ryan respectively, but there were plenty of other places to explore, including something for every style! 


The Deck at Dockside


On recommendation from our hosts, we headed to The Deck at Dockside for a dinner locals would love. The Deck was located right on the harbor, so it came with a gorgeous view and lovely weather - plus, the food from their outdoor food truck was absolutely divine! After chowing down on my teriyaki vegetable & quinoa bowl, we headed over to the wiggly bridge: a trail complete with an old-fashioned suspension bridge. All in all, it was the perfect way to end the perfect meal! 


Hackmatack Theatre


We ended our night with tickets to The Fantasticks by Hackamatack Theatre, a playhouse located in a renovated barn. The play was the kind of thing only a local would have known about, if not for the recommendation book in our room at the B&B - but that was exactly what we loved about it! At this show, we felt exactly like a part of the community, which only solidified our desire to move to Maine even more. 


Day Five


Nubble Lighthouse 


After kicking off day five with a delicious homemade breakfast at the B&B, we checked out and headed over to Nubble Light in York, Maine. The lighthouse is a family tradition with Ryan's kin, so of course we had to stop on our way out of good ol' ME! We had so much fun clambering on the rocks (yes, even in the rain) and snapping pics of the view - click here to see one on Instagram! 


Kittery Trading Post


Kittery Trading Post is a huge outdoor store in Kittery, ME, and always another stop on Ryan's family route through Kittery. While we were there, I bought the cutest yellow raincoat on sale for just $25 - yay! But, we also had tons of fun scoping out the camping gear (and Ryan the rifles) for future trips. We even learned that there's a local company that makes gluten-free meals for camping - some of them were even vegan! 


Yummie's Candies


Our last stop of the entire trip was Yummie's Candies, a candy store where nostalgia reigns supreme. You'll find just about every one of your childhood favorites at this one-stop-candy-shop, including everything from homemade chocolates to a jelly bean bar. Ryan splurged for some saltwater taffy and molasses chews, while I made out with some delicious dark chocolate almond bark. Maybe not the healthiest decision of our trip, but certainly one of the tastiest by far! 


My College Travel Essentials


Over the course of my travels with Ry, it quickly became clear to me which items I packed that I didn't need, and which were absolute essentials. I'm a chronic overpacker, so it's important to me that I begin to narrow down the travel essentials I just can't live without - and on this trip, I finally started to do just that!

Chances are, if you're headed back to college this fall, you'll be hopping on the plane or in the car to get there - so, I knew I wanted to share my absolute essentials for travelling as a college girl on the blog almost as soon as I thought of it! So, here are the items I couldn't live without while travelling. I hope you find them just as helpful as I did :)


College Travel Essentials


Sweatshirt


Oh, there were SO many times on my vacation I wish I would have brought my sweatshirt! No matter what the weather forecast looks like wherever you're headed, always, always, always tuck a sweater in your backpack before you leave for the day. You never know when the inside of that museum or the top of that mountain might be twenty times chillier than the summer air!

Book


I can't travel without something to do on the road. Whether it's on a plane or relaxing in my hotel room, I simply cannot sit on my phone for hours at a time! So, I'm always sure to bring a good old-fashioned book (or my Kindle) with me whenever I travel so I'm never bored, no matter how long the wait or ride.

Portable Charger


I didn't remember to charge my portable charger on this trip, but I wish I would have, because it would have saved my butt so many times... a portable charger is a great way to make sure your phone camera's alawys charged and ready to snap that once-in-a-lifetime photo-op, or that you can always hail an Uber even if a thief steals all your hard-earned cash.

Melatonin


When you're travelling, it's pretty common to feel tired and jet-lagged as you cross continents and countries. This wasn't the case on my Maine trip, because we didn't change time zones. However, taking melatonin is a great way to reset your body's internal clock in a natural way! So, whenever I travel, I'm extra-certain to take my nightly melatonin to aid my sleep and help me wake up on time to see all the sights I want.

Backpack


If you tend to travel with a suitcase or a large duffel like I do, you might find yourself in need of a smaller bag for those active days on the town. Personally, I don't like to bring my purse when I'm out -and-about travelling because it doesn't have enough room for things like snacks or souvenirs. That's why I always make sure to pack an extra bag, like a backpack or a string bag, to hold all my extra stuff on the road.

Mascara


My makeup kit tends to be extremely minimal when I travel, but mascara is non-optional as far as I'm concerned. When I'm travelling (and probably not sleeping great), I find that mascara brightens my eyes and wakes up my entire face with minimal morning effort. So, I can get those twenty extra minutes of sleep in the morning by paring down my makeup routine, but still manage to look awake and put-together throughout my day.

Coloring Book


One of my favorite ways to stay busy during a long train, plane or car ride is to color. I love adult coloring books like Enchanted Garden by Johanna Basford or The Mindfulness Coloring Book by Emma Farrarons for occupying myself during quiet moments in the hotel room or to wind down at the end of a long day. (And don't forget to stock up on some mini colored pencils or crayons like these, too!)

Polaroid Camera


My Instax mini camera is the one item that I never leave at home while travelling. As White Girlas it sounds, I just think Polaroids look better than regular old iPhone photos! But, regardless of what type of camera is your favorite, I think you should always bring a separate camera from your phone while traveling. Not only is there a chance your phone might die when you want to catch a meaningful moment on film, but the quality is also a lot better, TBH, on a real camera than on your phone.


Sunscreen


Guys, if you take away anything from this post, it should be this: ALWAYS WEAR SPF! No matter what the weather looks like, no matter how far from the equator you are, you always need that protective layer over your skin (or beneath your makeup) to shield you from the sun's harmful rays. Not only do I never travel without sunscreen, but I also never leave the house without it - and I recommend that you always strive to do the same! 


Undereye Concealer


This goes back to the inherent exhaustion that comes with travel, but I always bring concealer whenever I travel. When you're traveling, you want to pare down your beauty collection to the bare essentials to avoid overpacking (or to get through TSA) - and to me, concealer is one of those non-negotiable, ride-or-die products! I especially love NYX's Dark Circle Concealer, shown in the image above, for covering up the deep purple marks I get under my eyes (thanks, genetics) when I don't sleep as well as I normally do - i.e. when I'm traveling! 


Nike Sneakers


I swear I wasn't sponsored by Nike to say this, but Nike's running shoes honestly changed my life. Never before have I worn such comfortable sneakers for walking, running or traveling! The Nike shoes I wear for walking or travel are literally so cozy on my toes. Plus, they're super breathable, so you never find your feet too sweaty or hot (real talk guys, but let's face it: it happens!) on the road. All in all, I 10 out of 10 recommend Nike as the best brand for sneakers!

Snacks


Obviously, a girl can never hit the road without enough snacks to sustain her. I chose to picture Go Macro's protein bars above not just because I worked with them in the past (click here to check out that post, How to Stay Healthy on a Vegan Diet...and P.S. I'm not being sponsored to rave about them now!), but also because they're delicious and nutritious. Go Macro's Protein Purity bars are an especially great choice for travel because all that extra protein helps to keep you full between rest stops and meals. You can get them online or at your local health food store, but if you can't find Go Macro's bars, any vegan protein bar with a low-glycemic index (a.k.a. a low sugar-to-protein ratio) will do! 


Coconut Oil


When a lot of people travel, they love to go out at night and hit the closest bars or clubs, see the sights at night or simply explore the city they're in. For me, that usually means putting on a cute dress and a full face of makeup. However, even when I'm weary from traveling, it's still really important to me that I stick to my routine and don't just plop on the bed and fall asleep with my mascara and foundation on. So, I always bring a travel-size container of my favorite face oil to wash off my makeup at night - and for me, that happens to be plain old coconut oil! I love coconut oil as a makeup remover because I find the oils in coconut oil cling to my makeup better than a traditional water-based cleanser. My routine? I put a little melted coconut oil on a cotton pad and use like any makeup remover! Then, I follow up with a water-based cleanser and my favorite moisturizer. Simple, but it works - I promise :)

Hat


Again, sun protection is key both on the road and in your everyday life. Especially on an active vacation like our trip to Acadia, I love bringing a ball cap for a little bit of extra protection from the sun's burning rays. I do this not only because I have a burn threshold of about five minutes (as in, five minutes in the sun without sunblock until I look like a freakin' tomato), but also because it keeps me cool when we're on a long hike or other on-the-go activity.

Tinted Lip Balm


This is the last of my makeup essentials for a bare-faced llook while travelling! The best tinted lip balm, to me, has just a hint of my-lips-but-better color and at least SPF 15. Burt's Bees tinted lip balm fits that bill perfectly, in my opinion (plus, it's super affordable and available at your local drugstore!), which is why I've chosen to feature it in the image above; however, Sugar's Fresh Lip Balms are also worth mentioning, and you can always go with your personal favorite brand as well!

Coffee


Finally, my last travel essential might seem a bit blase, but I need, need, need my coffee when I'm on the road! Travel is exhausting, as I've mentioned a thousand times before in this post, so coffee gives me the energy I need to get through a busy day without chewing my travel companions' faces off. (I'm sure Ryan would agree.) As a New England girl, my typical order is a Dunkin' Donuts small iced coffee with almond milk, but Coffee Hound Coffee Bar in Bar Harbor was also a star on this particular trip for its strong, delicious brews. (And Choco Latte gets an honorable mention, too, since all their iced lattes come with a double shot of espresso!)



What's your number one travel essential when YOU go on vacation? LMK @haleymarieblog or in the comments below!





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