Adventures Beyond Portland, Maine

One of the great things about the northeast is that everything is so close!  We had a few extra adventures south of us while staying in Scarborough, Maine.


Just south of Scarborough is a town called Saco (pronounced saw-coh).  I am a HUGE fan of the cartoon Bob’s Burgers, and have been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to see the movie.  Now that we were over Covid, and Matt was still a bit immobile, it seemed to be the perfect time to see the Bob’s Burgers movie.  We headed out in the late afternoon to a movie theater in Saco and went to dinner nearby after that.

In the middle of the Saco River is an island called Factory Island, and the restaurant Pacifico is located in a government building that used to be the site of a water powered sawmill and iron forge.  I think it’s wonderful when historic buildings are preserved, repurposed and given new life rather than tearing them down, forgetting the roots of the small towns where they preside.  

Pacifico has an outdoor patio, but the inside is wonderful as well, with an impressively large wooden banquet featured in the center of the room.  And the food there is AMAZING.  The latin-inspired tapas were all incredible as were the cocktails.  I had their Boy from Ipanema drink and Matt had their Killing me Softly drink, both refreshing and delicious. For food, we chose their yuca cheese puffs, tiradito halibut ceviche, seared scallops, NY strip steak with chimichurri sauce and a side of fries.  

The first three dishes were outstanding.  The steak was OK, but could have used more sauce.  The cheese puffs are ooey, gooey on the inside, the sauce with the scallops was so tasty that we sopped up as much as we could with bread, and the leche de tigre sauce on the ceviche had an irresistible burst of flavor.  Between the mouthwatering food, fabulous drinks and wonderful atmosphere, I highly recommend this restaurant.


When we were staying in New Hampshire, we visited Portsmouth, which is just south of Kittery, Maine, but had one very important reason why we wanted to make it here during our journeys: Mama Lil’s Peppers! 😋 We discovered these jarred peppers while living in Portland, OR and have been hooked ever since.  Their web site has a list of stores that carry their products, and Maine Meat in Kittery was one of the last places we could get them for quite some time.

This whole animal butchery carries quite an extensive line of Mama Lil’s products as well as several other condiments, not to mention some excellent cuts of meat, poultry, cheese and handmade sausages.  Shannon and Jarrod, the people that run Maine Meat, were so welcoming and delightfully enthusiastic about Mama Lil’s.  We also picked up a variety of sausages from them, and they were all excellent.  If you are passing through, come check out this gem of a place and meet Jarrod and Shannon.

After acquiring our bounty, we drove to the Fort McClary State Historic Site.  We have visited several forts set up to defend the United States’ eastern coastline from attack, and enjoyed the coastline views in the process.  This fort was set up originally by William Pepperell, but because he was a loyalist to the crown, it was taken over by rebels and eventually given to the federal government to defend Portsmouth Harbor and the Piscataqua RIver. The fort includes a blockhouse with a draw bridge, internal powder magazine, and officer’s quarters.  Also on the property are a battery of cannons, a rifleman’s house, more powder rooms, and a defensive bastion.

After exploring the grounds, we headed back to downtown Kittery for an early dinner at The Black Birch.  This place was recommended by Beth and Roy, and was a wonderful choice.  We ate outside in their back garden, which was sheltered from the afternoon breezes and had a relaxing atmosphere.  To start, we had their deviled eggs, the sweet potato borek (Balkan savory filo pastry), and the fried halloumi and arugula salad, all of which had unique flavor combinations.  To finish, Matt chose their pork belly, which came from Maine Meats down the street, and I had their coffee-rubbed ribs, which were tender as could be.  They packed a lot of creativity into a delicious and satisfying dinner and we would eat here again. 👍👍

Next, we continue to the northernmost destination in our travels: Acadia National Park!  Everyone we talked to whom we shared with our desire to see Maine said we MUST go to Acadia, and many said we should try to spend as much time in Maine as possible while we had the chance because of its natural rugged landscape and its beauty.  Now it’s time to see what the hubbub is all about.  

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