Ocean Park : The Activities

The Beach

The weather was amazing the entire week we were down in Maine. We were lucky enough to spend everyday at the beach with my six cousins. Yes, six, all the same family. So we were kept VERY busy at the beach at all times. Between beach yoga, bocce ball, floggle, boogie boarding and searching for sand dollars we barely had time to relax.

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SUP

We rented a paddle board for the day at a store just off the pier. All six cousins got a turn going out for a ride on the board (while I paddled…). Even my mom got up on the board.

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Then I decided to try some tricks, some successful…some not.

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Mini Golf

There are a few mini golf courses around Old Orchard Beach. Growing up spending every winter vacation in Daytona Beach, I’m kinda a big deal at putt putt. We went to Pirate’s Cove one night right by the pier. Of course I defeated my pathetic competition and got 3 hole in ones (as I mentioned, this is my game).

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Sea Dogs Game

On the way to the Portland we stopped at the lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth. Such a beautiful view and so New Endlandy.

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The Sea Dogs are Boston’s AA team who play in Portland. They aren’t one of the best teams in the league but they do have one of the highest turnout rates. Probably because each game is themed. The night we went was Harry Potter night. My family are huge Potter fans, I however am very neutral on the subject. My sister and cousin spent the days before the game brushing up on their magic boy trivia while I worked on my tan. The irony of it all was that I ended up winning the trivia at the game based solely on my social media skills (you had to tweet the answer). We won a Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit that I am sure my cousin will get more use out of than I would.

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I wish I could say that the Sea Dogs won, but they did not. They lost, pretty badly too.

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Palace Playland

Not one of my favourite places but if you like cheap rides or watching people vom, you might like it here. This is probably my cousins’ favourite place in OOB. All six of them have season passes for the 2 weeks that they are there and go almost every night.

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Ocean Park: The Restaurants

During our vacation we eat out almost every night (with the exception of bringing home lobsters from Bayley’s one night), and we eat as much lobster and seafood as we can. As a pescetarian, this is basically a dream come true. Most of these restaurants aren’t actually in Ocean Park or Old Orchard Beach but in the surrounding area.

The Bait Shed at Bayley’s Lobster Pound

In my opinion, Bayley’s Lobster Pound is the best place in Maine to pick up some live or cooked lobsters. Of course you can pick the exact one you want too! Within the last few years they’ve added a sit down restaurant and bar, the Bait Shed. The seating is picnic tables on the dock right over the salt marsh. The food is also amazing. We started with some crab flatbread which was delish. My dad started with their famous lobster bisque, unfortunately I had reached my lobster bisque quota the night before. My mom and I then shared the twin lobster dinner, because who needs sides when you have lobster (not me). Bayley’s and the Bait Shed is an absolute must. The only complaint I had is that there was no Clamato so my Caesar had to be a Bloody Mary…seriously, Americans you do not know what you are missing out on!

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The Lobster Shack at Two Lights

The Lobster Shack is one of my favourite restaurants in Maine, mostly because of the view. It’s a counter service restaurant and once again you sit at picnic tables. Warning: the later you go the messier the tables get. The line to order also gets super long here! But the view is definitely worth it and the lobster rolls are top notch.

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Ken’s

Tbh I’m not a huge fan of Ken’s, but if you like whole fried clams, then this is the place for you.  However I do not. I went for the fried scallops (wish I had got baked), but they were still pretty good. The inside of the restaurant reminds me of a government funded overnight camp, so I refuse to eat inside. There are some picnic tables outside that will do (whatta surprise).

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Yellowfin’s

So as you may recall, we love Yellowfin’s. It’s the same place we went for brunch earlier in the week. Recap: it’s the only restaurant in Ocean Park and it’s BYOB with no corkage fee. We brought a couple of bottles of white with us, but there are lots of options. The table beside us brought their own cooler full of beer, truly keeping it classy. The food is so good here, I started with one of my favourite dishes, ahi tuna with wasabi and ginger. For my entree I was torn between the lazy man’s lobster and the lobster risotto. I ordered the risotto and finished it so fast I didn’t even get a chance to snap a pic. Lastly was the dessert trio, key lime pie (my fave), cheesecake with strawberries and chocolate lava cake. It was all my dreams come true on one plate.

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We go to these restaurants ever year on our vacation, anyone have any recommendations for next year?

Ocean Park : The Beginning

Getting There

Every year my family rents a beach house for a week in Ocean Park, Maine, right beside the popular Old Orchard Beach. It’s about a 12 hour drive from Toronto.  This year I had the luxury of flying to Boston and then taking the train to OOB instead of the gruelling 12 hour car ride with my parents, my sister and her boyfriend. It all should have been very simple. Everything was going well, straight through security and customs, into Boston, got on the subway to the train station and then…my train hit a tree.

The engine disconnected from the rest of the cars and we sat in the dark for 4 hours before the next train came by and we were able to connect to the next station. Absolutely awful service and communication by Amtrak as we all sat there with little to know information about what was going on. Thankfully there was a IRL soap opera going on between the couple across the aisle from me to keep me entertained.

I ended up arriving at the the OOB train station at 1am making my journey from Toronto actually longer then my parents’. However all my prayers on that train ride were answered with a lobster roll and a bowl of lobster bisque waiting for me at the beach house.

There was an entire lobster in the bisque (I just ate most of it before i took the picture).

Brunch at Yellowfin’s

The next morning we went for Sunday brunch at Yellowfin’s the only restaurant in Ocean Park. The entire community is dry so the restaurant is BYOB, naturally we brought our own champagne and ordered a pitcher of OJ for mimosas.

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My mom had the waffles with blueberries and I had the crab cake eggs benny.

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We all left with our bellies full, ready for a day relaxing on the beach.  Despite some difficulties getting there, our vacation was off to a great start.

Weekend in Miami

When someone calls and asks if you want to go to Miami for the weekend, you go.

My boyfriend was sent to Miami for the weekend for some meetings in the office before he flew to Baltimore to join his ship, so I hopped on a flight Thursday afternoon to join him. Luckily we arrived right around the same time at the airport, myself from Toronto and Fabien from Nice. We stayed at the Candlewood Suites right by the airport, not an ideal location but it was on the company so can’t complain.  The first night there we took it easy and got some sushi by the hotel.

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Fabien was in and out of meetings at the office all day friday while I spent the day lounging by the pool, not a bad deal. That night we went to South Beach for tacos at Bodega. Have I ever mentioned how much I love tacos? This place was amazing, delicious tacos you order right out of a taco truck. I had the calamar frito and pescado tacos with a margarita, so good! This place is also a night club, if you are ever in Sobe you must check it out.

Since no trip to Miami is complete without a boozy brunch, on Saturday we headed to 660 Angler’s, the same place we went to the last time we were in Miami. You just can’t go wrong with a classic brunch menu and bottomless mimosas for $25. This time we ate by the pool and enjoyed the amenities since the hotel wasn’t busy. The service was amazing, whenever our mimosas were empty there was new one waiting for us, and a different flavour each time. Obviously classic orange first, then guava, strawberry, passionfruit, peach and cranberry. Fabien enjoyed a huge stack of blueberry pancakes with a side of bacon and more fish tacos for me… like I said, I’m really into tacos. Not a bad way to spend your day.IMG_3477.jpgIMG_3479.JPGIMG_3484.JPGIMG_3488.jpgIMG_3534.JPGIMG_3509.JPG

That night we went back into South Beach, this time on Española Way.  The street is so cute and charming, perfect for a date night. We ate at Mercato Della Pescheria a super cute Italian restaurant (I know, Italian on Española Way…) but it was so good. We both drank sangria, I had a delicious seafood pasta and Fabien ate the largest rib eye I have ever seen (he is really starting to embrace my pescetarian lifestyle…not).

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Going back and forth from South Beach to the Doral (where our hotel was) could have gotten really pricey. Thank the sweet lord for Uber pool, it only costs us about $4 each way. Absolutely a lifesaver for our trip.

The weekend was amazing and I was super grateful that I got to see Fabien one more time before he ships out of Baltimore for 4 months. I’m home now, recovering from a little gum recovery I had Monday morning and getting ready for my family’s trip to Maine later this month!

South Beach, Miami

After our cruise we had an extra day in Miami before our flight home. My favourite part of Miami is south beach. I love the shopping on Lincoln Road, the retro hotels on Ocean Drive, the beach and of course the bottomless Mimosas at Sunday brunch.

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Once we got off the ship and through customs we went straight to brunch at 660 Angler’s, where $25 gets you an hour and a half of unlimited Mimosas and Bloody Marys. Fabien opted for a beer, because unlike the rest of us he had to go back to work after. We started out with Bloody Marys which I’m not a huge fan of TBH, they just don’t compare to the Canadian Caesar. However, they were bottomless so we each had a couple before we moved on to Mimosas with our meals. I had the fish tacos and Fabien had a huge burger which he demolished within minutes then continued to eat the rest of the tables meals… and a Nutella brownie. The rest of us were full from our bottomless drinks anyways. The restaurant was very cute and we had a lovely table outside. The service was also topnotch. Before our drinks were even finished we had a fresh one in front of us. This was the best meal we ate in Miami, and thats not just the Mimosas talking… I think.

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After Brunch Fabien went back to the ship and we headed to our hotel. We stayed at Nautilus which is right between Collins Avenue and the beach. This hotel was so cute and chic. They had the most charming walkway leading out to the beach, where we spent the rest of our afternoon.

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The next morning we walked along the beach to Ocean Drive to get a coffee and admire the boutique hotels.

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We spent the rest of the day by the hotel pool, trying to take as much sun as possible before returning to Toronto.

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Our short stay in South Beach just left us wanting more. With Fabien working on a ship out of Miami I’m sure I’ll be back soon!

Old San Juan

We only had a short day in San Juan, but we were going to make the most of it. Our plan was to tour the forts, explore the colourful streets and have a piña colada in Old San Juan.

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We started our walking tour on Paseo de la Princesa- good start to the day, I had already found my street. The beautiful promenade was lined with shady trees and led to path along the water.

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At the end of Paseo de la Princesa is the Raíces Fountain.

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From here walked along Paseo del Morro, right long the water outside of the walls.

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The path took us right around the outside of the island to it’s northwestern point.

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At the end of the path we were at Castillo San Filipe del Morro, the main fort in Old San Juan.

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The views from the top of the fort were absolutely amazing.

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From here we walked down the main road and into the city streets.

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San Juan is the home of the piña colada, so we went to Barrachina, the restaurant where is was invented.

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Honestly it was one of the best piña coladas I’ve ever had, and I don’t consider myself a rookie when it comes to frozen alcoholic beverages. It was more creamier and pineappley than most – way better than on the ship.

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We spent the rest of the day wandering around the streets and doing a little bit of shopping.

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Old San Juan is known for its colourful houses and doors, this door with the Puerto Rican flag was my favourite.

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It was super hot walking around so on our way back to the ship we stopped into this little store Señor Paleta. They sold the most refreshing paletas, or popsicles, perfect for a hot day. Mine was pineapple-mango and my sister got strawberry mojito, both were delicious. The rest of the walk back we discussed how we would make these at home.

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When we got back to the ship we went up to the open deck to watch us sail away from San Juan. It was an amazing view of the fort that we had visited earlier that day.

Dress: Lilly Pulitzer (similar)

Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

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HILO

Hilo is one of the main cities located on the Big Island. With a lot to see we thought the best way to take in as much as possible was the Hoppa On Hoppa Off bus.

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Our first stop off the bus was Richardson’s Black Sand Beach.

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The beach is home to tons of turtles, either swimming in the tide pools or catching some sun on the rocks.

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We waded through some tide pools with baby turtles swimming past us.

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The black colour of the beach was created from lava flowing into the ocean and breaking down into sand.

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The next stop was Akaka Falls. The short trail to get to the falls made us feel like we were walking through Jurassic Park. The falls themselves are almost 130 meters high.

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To my left you can barely another waterfall, Kahuna Falls.

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Rainbow Falls was the next stop for us. As the two falls merge at the bottom you can see a rainbow in the water.


Our last stop for the day was at the Liliuokalani Gardens. These Japanese style gardens are filled with banyan trees, koi ponds, bridges and statues. Perfect for taking a stroll or snapping some pics.GOPR1026.JPG

WAIKIKI

Waikiki is absolutely one of my favourite places in Hawaii. It is crowded and it is full of tourists, but it is beautiful. G0490833.JPG

I have to admit that I am sucker for the ABC store. I have a wide variety of fake flower hair clips and who could say no to a can of iced Kona Coffee? It’s also a great place to load up on Hawaiian souvenirs like macadamia nuts. Some of favourite finds from the ABC store are coconut peanut butter from North Shore Goodies and amazing tanning lotions from Maui Babe.

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After our obligatory ABC run, we rented some chairs on the beach with a pretty great view.

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Waikiki beach is where surfing was made famous. We decided we had to do some surfing while we were there.

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Being rookie surfers, we thought that it would be best if we took a lesson. We found a local on the beach who gave us a good deal and we were ready to ride some waves.

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We may have bailed a few times and definitely came out with a few more cuts and bruises then we went in with. But surfing Waikiki is an experience of a lifetime.G0530900.JPG

Once our lesson was over we hung around on the beach to watch the sunset. A perfect ending to an amazing day.

Bikini: Triangl poppy in Sea Spritz

MAUI LUAU

I’ve always wanted to go to a Luau. So when we were in Hawaii it was on the top of my to-do list.

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In Kauai we went to the popular tourist area of Lahaina for our Luau.

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As we entered the resort we were greeted with shell Leis and a Mai Tai.

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I was absolutely blown away by the Hula dancers. Trying to figure out how their hips can move so fast is mind boggling.

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The highlight of the night was the fire knife dancing.

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The food was also amazing. Totally up my alley, fresh fruit and delicious ahi tuna poke. The bottomless Mai Tais weren’t so bad either. At the end of the night I couldn’t resist adding to my collection of flower hair clips from a local vendor.

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Dress: Lilly Pulitzer shift dress in bright navy Johnny B

HALEAKALA

Basically all land in Hawaii is, or is made from, volcanos. We figured that it would be a tragedy not to visit a volcano while we were there.

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So while in Maui we rented ourselves a car and headed out to Haleakala National Park.

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Obviously we took the scenic route, with a few stops along the way. The views were amazing and the surfers weren’t too bad to look at either.

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We explored some small waterfalls and took in the natural beauty of the island.

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When we got to the base of the volcano the road started to wind all the way up above the clouds. I have to admit we made a few stops on the way up, not just for photo ops, but to ease my motion sickness.

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Finally at the top, over 3000 metres up! Unlike what you may picture when you hear ‘volcano’, Haleakala is dormant. So no spewing lava.

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Haleakala translates to “house of the sun” from Hawaiian. It is one of the best places to watch the sunrise but there was no chance we were going to make it up there that early!

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At the top of the volcano it was much colder than on ground level. We snapped some pictures, took in the amazing view and got back in the car to warm up.

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