On a blustery winter day, Alex and I set off to explore Scarborough, Maine. Brisk temperatures ensured that we had the snow swept beaches to ourselves. The adventure of walking along a sandy beach in the dead of winter is truly extraordinary. For someone who lives and has grown up hours from the closest ocean beach, making the trip has always been saved for the sunniest and warmest days during the peak of the summer time. Setting out during one of the coldest months of the year offered a completely different experience all together.
We began our excursion with lunch in Portland, which is a renowned foodie destination. Here, the abundance of restaurants and breweries leave visitors with no end of delightful lunch options. Some of the local’s favorites include Pok Pok for authentic Thai fare, Higgins Restaurant and Bar, and Le Pigeon. We chose to dine on fish and chips at a local pub and left well satisfied. If you are a lover of excellent food and local breweries in beautiful settings, then Portland is the place for you!
After lunch we took a stroll through Old Port, which maintains the feeling of a small seaside town. We enjoyed window shopping at the multitude of boutique shops, eyeing menus at numerous reputable restaurants, and admiring historical buildings. A brisk breeze carried the scent of salty air and seafood. The frigid weather kept tourists at bay, creating a peaceful and slow paced feel to a city which is best described as bustling in peak season.
Just a quick drive from Old Port sits the Portland Head Lighthouse, which is the oldest lighthouse in Maine and the most photographed lighthouse in America. Its quintessential appearance charmed us as we meandered about the property. In the summer, there is an informative lighthouse museum. The lighthouse is adjacent to Fort Williams Park where visitors can explore the batteries, Goddard Mansion, and the Arboretum. A few brave souls wandered the property, admiring the rugged historical scene.
A quick drive along the coast brought us to Scarborough. Here we visited Higgins Beach where we meandered along the frozen sand, searching for seashells and admiring the lovely seaside homes. It was a truly unique experience to see the footprints in the snow banks connect to the footprints on the sandy beach. These brave adventurers left their mark as they pursued a taste of the ocean even if it meant only seeing the water and not jumping in as one would do on the warmest of August days.
At nearby Scarborough Beach State Park, we strapped on our snowshoes and hiked through the snowy woods to the beach. These trails are very popular with cross-country skiers and snowshoers alike. The snow covered trails allow adventurous types a peaceful walk through the woods to enjoy the serenity of nature far from the stress of day to day living.
As we hiked, the towering pine trees gave away to wind swept beaches and crashing waves. The crisp sea air beckoned us to stroll along the frozen beach. The refreshing smell of a clear winter day combined with that of the salt water tantalized our senses as it blew over us. We sat and watched the waves crash against the craggy shore and gazed out against the distant islands that line the horizon, in awe of the breathtaking scenery.
We chose to dine in and ended the day with a long soak in the hot tub at our AirBnB. This was an extremely relaxing trip which provided a blissful escape from the cabin fever which had set in. The Maine seacoast in the winter months offers a very different experience than Maine in the summer months and is well worth a visit.