It's incredibly easy to fall in love with Boston. I have never heard anyone speak negatively about this city and it is definitely one of my favourites too. My first choice If I was forced to choose another place to live than Norway! Read more about Boston here...
This time we had other plans and continued from Boston to Bethel, Maine. (Approximately, 3.5 hours drive)
Hotel: The Bethel Inn Resort. Huge, but still cosy hotel with both SPA, fitness centre (small), bar - often with local bands playing at after-ski during wintertime and in the evenings, and a very nice restaurant! As you probably already know, Maine is famous for its lobster (approximately 80-90% of all lobsters in the United States come from Maine). If you have not yet tasted it, you have a great opportunity here at the hotel. I can also recommend both the scampi- and the scallops. Delicious! There are other choices than seafood on the menu too. Maine is a great food destination, with in fact more restaurants per capita than San Francisco.
I had been looking forward to this trip for a long time. But - as the weather here is exactly as unpredictable as home in Norway, we had a bit of bad luck. A few days before we arrived there had been a storm and the trails were now blocked by fallen trees. Our planned trip therefore got cancelled, except for a little trip around the area that could be arranged, our guide Kevin promised.
Just when I thought I had complete control, found the style and put on a big photo-smile as I stood behind the sled along with Kevin, there was a sudden bump, then a quick turn - and BLAM.....I was thrown off to the side - and the whole sled fell over!!! Fortunately it went well, both with the lady in the carriage and the two of us standing on the skids, except some grazes on the knees and swollen legs. I learned an important lesson here! It is very important to concentrate and have respect for both nature and dogs! Sometimes it goes really fast and you need to hold on tight as the paths are unpredictable. But - it's FUN! It is for sure an experience you will remember!
Find out more about the different dogsledding trips in the mountains - some even include outdoor camping in tents.
After a hot shower and maybe a change of clothes I can recommend the restaurant across the street for Bethel Inn Resort, 22 Broad Street Gideon Hastings House. Popular place with Italian food. Remember to book a table as it´s a busy place - especially on weekends www.22BroadStreet.com
It was a cool blues band playing at the hotel this evening. People of all ages - even on the dance floor. We danced into the small hours - and made lots of new friends.
The next day we got up early and drove towards Portland. A perfect stop on the way is Freeport. And why is that? Let me mention two things. Outlet stores and lobsters:) If you´re only eating lobster once in Maine, do it here! At The Harraseeket Inn - www.harraseeketinn.com. Eat as much as you want for $29. On a normal day they serve more than 1,000 freshly boiled, wonderful lobsters here. Tasty presented on big trays - divided in two. Put on a generous amount of melted butter and your choice of side dishes. It´s so good it´s impossible to describe! Many people come here once a week , the owner Rodney Gray says. It was his mother that opened the place back in 1995.
After a solid lunch like this it`s perfect to run around in the Outlet stores. Nike Store, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein. Easy to find something to fill up your suitcase:) www.stayfreeport.com
The Bethel Inn Resort - Maine
Lunch stop at Rooster’s Roadhouse. Wonderful lobsters roll in a cool, cosy local place. Website
I have only been to 2 ski resorts in the United States, Aspen and Steamboat (Colorado), but Sunday River in Maine certainly is in the same league as those two if you ask me. 5 mountain peaks - more than 70 runs! Nice weather - not too cold - a little snowfall in the morning and 6 happy ladies ready for a day on the slopes. Doesn´t get any better that that!! !
Plenty of space for everybody and rarely any queues by the lifts. If you´re lucky with the weather like us, you may not have a particular need for breaks, but live bands and several bars and restaurants around the slopes are not a bad choice either :) The ski pass is valid for the entire area and costs $ 89. Expensive yes, but lots of fun!
Sunday River Skiresort
Our handsome snowmobile guides:)
As we arrived in Portland we headed out on a Maine Foodie Tour. Web: www.mainefoodietours.com. There are many other choices too - like the Brew Bus Tour and the Oyster Trail. We started with Deans Sweets where we got to taste homemade chocolate mixed with maple syrup, vodka, stout and more. We tried locally produced cheeses from K. Horton and delightful Wild Blueberry Jam and other goodies at Stonewall. But - The Fish Market down by the harbour was definitely what made the biggest impression of them all. First of all because of all those huge, black and scary-looking lobsters, enormous scallops and other things they had for sale. But also because of the happy group of young men that worked there. They were just gorgeous! Big smiles, laughter and a welcoming, heart warming atmosphere. You´re gonna love this place!
-A lobster today Ma'am?
Not everybody is as lucky in life as us living in the Nordics. In the US, if the rent is not paid on time, you´re living on the street before you know it. Such a big difference from Oslo. We got homeless people as well, but more or less only addicts and gypsies who choose to stay outdoors themselves. Here in the US you will find lots of nice "ordinary" people like these two I met on the dock in Portland. They were both "between jobs" and experimented with cultivating herbs which they now believed was Portland’s finest. They planned to make a living out of this. The herbs could be eaten, smoked and used as spice. They invited me to sit down with them and have a taste. I did so, and I actually think it was ordinary dried herbs (of course a bit sceptic). They had many funny stories to tell, but always came back to their two favourite topics: Herbs and tattoos. I got to see all of their body paintings (did I mention that it was minus 10 degrees) - hahaha. Lovely people!
Our food tasting tour ended at Gritty's - a pub/brewery where we got to taste the house Brown Ale and Lager Pub style.
Even if you´re not particularly fond of beer you should check out this place. Nice atmosphere and welcoming people.
It was freezing cold that day in March, but I am sure that this city is a fantastic place to visit during Summer. I can easily imagine the outdoor restaurants in beautiful Old Port. The whole city gave an immediate positive impression, and it's only a 2 hour drive from Boston!
-Best "herbes" in Portland! ;)
-Look, I've got some cool tatoos!
Stop over on Iceland
Everybody loves those beautiful Icelandic horses, and Fakasel is a nice place to bring both family and friends. It almost brings tears to your eyes in the opening ceremony, when the horses come running freely into the stage-area while mysterious elves appears and then disappears behind rocks. The majority of the population of Iceland believe to this day that there really are elves around. Did you know that Icelandic horses are the purest horse breed in the world? After the show you are welcome to meet the horses in the stables, and learn more about this special breed. (Children under 12 - free admission) Web: www.fakasel.is
You can become both beautiful and maybe a little crazy if you swing by one of Iceland's many SPA ´s and hot springs. They´re famous for healing different types of skin disorders and to make your skin look younger. Also a nice opportunity to work on the jet lag. We visited Laugarvatn Fontana geothermal baths. Web: www.fontana.is
3 steam saunas built over natural hot springs. Has been in use since 1929.
There are also several outdoor mineral baths with a variety of depths and warmth. The feeling of exotic luxury rises even a few notches more when you check out the fantastic view over Laugarvatn. It is a strange phenomenon those hot springs. I think we went a little crazy there for a while ...
If you´re lucky you´ll have a chance to see the spectacular Northern Lights. There are bus trips at 21.30 in the evening (4 hours trip) and the buses offers a pick up service at most major hotels. Costs 6400 ISK (approximately 400 NOK)
From a local guide I got the following SPA recommendations:
1. Blue Lagoon ( the biggest and most famous hot spring on Iceland)
2. Laugarvatn Fontana. (The one we visited this time - smaller place without SPA treatments)
3. Myvatn Nature Baths (Jardbodin) North Island - 5 hours from Reykjavik.
This is a very special place - almost a little magical and mystical. The water is geothermal - and completely turquoise!
Icelandair from Oslo via Iceland to the United States is always a smooth and nice experience. This time the plane was leaving Oslo at 2 PM. A short stop in Reykjavik before we went on, and arrived in Boston at 6.30 PM.
A stopover on Iceland on the way back home is brilliant. This way you get a smooth transition to your own time zone, and the jetlag is gone by the time you get home.
Have a nice trip to Maine
Text: Siri Dale, March 2015
Pictures: Siri Dale