Vacationing in Maine, Part 1: Augusta Day Trips

This story was originally featured on Entertaining Family in August of 2015. In honor of spring break, we are sharing some of our favorite travel posts.

Maine is definitely one of my favorite places in the world. The wide open spaces, quintessential New England towns, miles of coastal scenery, and fresh seafood make it the perfect escape from my everyday urban life.

My family and I recently returned from a week in the Pine Tree State where we traveled to Augusta, Camden, and Portland – three very distinct areas of the state. As a family of foodies, this vacation was a paradise! And as three people who love being out in nature hiking, swimming, and exploring, it was a dream come true. I captured some of the highlights from our trip and am excited to share the photos with you here!

To do justice to this great summer vacation, I am dedicating three posts to our adventures. If you’ve never been to Maine, I would encourage you to put it on your list of future travel destinations. If you’ve been lucky enough to spend time in this northeastern-most-state, then I hope these posts may conjure up some great memories for you…and encourage you to return.

Part 1: Augusta Day Trips

When we travel to Maine, we usually make a stop in the capital city of Augusta because of my husband’s work. While he has meetings at the State House, my daughter and I go exploring. We visit museums, shop downtown, and tour historic sites. However, on this trip, we decided to venture out of Augusta on two easy day trips. Our first stop was Bath, Maine – about a 40 minute drive from Augusta.

Bath is located in Sagadahoc County along the Kennebec River. It is a charming town with everything my daughter craves in a vacation destination – a toy store, a book store, a candy shop, fresh sea food and people watching. And everything that I crave….walking paths, galleries and a relaxing coffee shop.

The very first thing we did when we arrived in town, was stop at Island Treasure Toys where my daughter bypassed all of the exceptional educational offerings and headed straight for Strawberry Shortcake. Ah commercialism. Ah hindsight. If I knew I’d be shelling out money for this little figurine in 2015, I’d have hung on to the one my parents purchased in 1982.

After adopting Strawberry Shortcake into our family, we added her friend “Cherry Jam” to our brood (because god forbid she be left on a toy shelf all by herself! I’m raising a very compassionate child…). Then the four of us headed down historic Front Street which is lined in red brick walkways and filled with wonderful shops and galleries.

Our lunch stop was the Kennebec Tavern on Commercial Street where we dined on the outdoor patio. The menu had an abundance of fresh sea food, and everything that we sampled – salad, barbecued shrimp, fish and chips – was delicious. However, it was the setting that we loved most of all. As we ate our lunch and chatted, we watched the boats bobbing atop the crystal water. It was perfection.

For dessert, we made a trip to the old-fashioned candy shop and picked up a bag of jellybeans (there were other great options like humongous lobster lollypops and chocolate oysters wrapped in foil…very New England). On the car ride back to Augusta we had fun comparing flavors – watermelon, lime, cotton candy, buttered popcorn, cinnamon….

Our second day trip was to Hallowell, which is about a five-minute hop-skip-and jump away from Augusta. This little town is great for an afternoon jaunt. The highlight of our visit was a trip to Merrill’s Book Shop. It is a beautifully curated space, filled from floor-to-ceiling with used books on every subject imaginable. If you are an avid reader, or a collector of rare books, this place is a must see. We picked up two classics for my little girl: Raggedy Andy and a compilation of Hans Christian Andersen classics.

After the bookstore we stopped in several antique shops (for such a small town, this place has plenty!). My daughter wanted to purchase an incredibly expensive doll from 1890 to join Strawberry Shortcake and Cherry Jam on our adventures, but I had to point out that the storekeeper would be very lonely without her. She took it in stride.

One of our last stops in Hallowell was along the banks of the Kennebec River where we took time to enjoy the nature around us. Then we walked through the adjoining neighborhoods to take in the beautiful historic architecture, before heading back to Augusta.

Next Time:  Part 2: Camden

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