suitcases, motels, doughnuts

If I were to tell you about our recent trip to Maine, more specifically about how our ocean-side motel room sat so close to the water’s edge we thought our motel would wash out to sea and we would end up shipwrecked on a floating Gilligan’s Island with an empty pool, five retired couples, three motel staff, how we ate a handful of mediocre meals (except for the box of Congdon’s homemade doughnuts and the Green Elephant’s Panang Curry), went to the movies to see Bridesmaids (a semi-bad female version of the Hangover written by and starring Kristen Wiig together with SNL co-star Myra Rudolf), then I would start with this—once you hear the call of the open road you cannot ignore it.  The call persists, it echoes inside a narrow corridor just like a telemarketer dialing over again and again—except in this case, the road hangs up for no one.

beach in Wells, Maine

So, we headed out with two small suitcases, a backpack filled with camera gear, a finger on the map pointed to a sleepy New England coastal town filled with seafood shacks, discount sweatshirt outlets, and a wedge-shaped cheese and wine shop where a papier mache style rat on top. We all need to carve our own slice of Americana now and again.


On Friday around lunch time, we drove north on Route 1 through Ogunquit where we stopped by a small market and an old movie theater. Instead of a beach picnic or waiting for a late dinner seating at Arrows Restaurant, we continued on past Wells where we later ate lunch at a Thai restaurant serving not-so-fresh mung beans sprouts on salads and perfectly okay sauteed broccoli and tofu in a light sauce and onto to Kennebunkport.

the gate was locked

There we bought a bottle of wine (a 2008 Argentinian Malbec which we drank two short glasses before coming down with sore throats) from a small sandwich and sundry shop. Without a wine opener in our emergency kit, I asked the sales clerk if he could open the bottle for us. He sent us to the gift shop next door where his boss was arguing with a guy who owed him money. The whole place smelled like a pungent mix of back-alley body fluids and I’ll just leave it at that.

motel in Wells, Maine

So we drove back to Wells, checked into our motel with its empty pool and cacophonous tide and took a short nap before the movie. The next morning we (and by we I mean mostly my Mister) ate coconut and chocolate glazed doughnuts on the balcony before our trek to Portland where we visited the culinary bookstore Rabelais along with a used bookstore so dimly lit I needed a headlamp to read the tucked away cookbook titles, Panang Curry then coffee at the Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro, followed by a walk around town.

Doughnuts in Wells, Maine

On the return drive, we stopped picked up sushi from Whole Foods and ate it on the way to Old Orchard Beach, a boardwalk town with a seven-mile long sandy beach and small amusement park where a guy trained a flock of seagulls to eat french fries out of his hand. He also intimated details in hushed tones about the time he caught two seagulls mating on the beach as if it happened to be the dirtiest secret you ever heard.

sketch for wave film

Sunday morning, I shot a two minute film of ocean waves before we checked out of the motel and drove back down Route 1. We stopped in Kittery for two loaves of When Pigs Fly sourdough bread then it was into New Hampshire where we ate dumplings and spicy string beans with rice and found a white overpriced collandar laced in rust (which I almost bought).

spicy string beans and dumplings in Exeter, NH

We picked up our son from my in-laws place and drove home to Massachusetts munching on strawberry-banana bread and wishing we could do it all over again.


  1. Lori says

    Ah the glorious (and pitfalls) of southern Maine! We spent a summer in Kennebunk about 10 years ago, and we’ve been regular visitors the last 15 years. Next time you get the urge to go up there, I’ve got a few spots on my favorites list for you to try!

    • ArtandLemons says

      Lori, thanks for the offer. I’m already looking ahead for the next trip although there are a few novel spots we’ll revisit…

  2. says

    Hi! I just discovered your blog in the artful blogger magazine, and I’m so glad I did! Your site is full of lots of yummy photography, and inspires me to be more creative in the kitchen!

    • ArtandLemons says

      Hi Melanie—I’m glad you stopped by and thanks for your sweet comment.

      p.s. I look forward to reading your blog…

  3. kat says

    I saw the photo of the doughnuts at LA Times and had to come over and make myself crazy by looking at all the delicious things you ate. I’m envious…and hungry!

    • ArtandLemons says

      Thanks Sarah, both for your comment and recommendations. I’m reading Helene’s book “Plate to Pixel” now and will post about it soon…and I’ve wanted to go and/or teach at Squam for a while now…Any plans to go?

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