Last summer we did our first road trip as a family and it was an amazing vacation. It all began when I booked a wedding on Block Island. Block Island is an island off the coast of Rhode Island that is accessible by ferry. It’s a really beautiful and unique place, so I was thrilled to get to travel to shoot there. I knew that I’d want Kev and Charlotte to come along (I haven’t photographed a destination wedding since pre-Charlotte days!). And since Maine had been on our vacation bucket-list (Kev wanted to go to Portland for the beer, I wanted to go to Bar Harbor for Acadia), we decided that we’d take that opportunity to head up the coast of Maine after the Block Island wedding. We planned several stops to break up the driving so we spent 3 nights each in Block Island, Ogunquit, Bar Harbor, and Portland. The trip was incredible. Truly. It was so different from our past beach-type vacations… This trip was an adventure. Seeing the way that Charlotte lit up while we were exploring all these new places made me realize how wonderful travel is for kids.
I’m going to break the blog up into 2 posts: today’s post will include a recap of our time in Block Island, Rhode Island and Ogunquit, Maine. And the next post will include a recap of our time in Bar Harbor, Maine and Portland, Maine. I’ve had many people ask for a trip recap (that’s taken me a year, but these things happen when the priority is delivering other people’s photos. The cobbler’s children… yada, yada). The photos below were taken with my DSLR, point & shoot (fuji x100t), and iPhone.
Block Island, Rhode Island:
Day 1: We took the ferry from Point Judith since we took our car over on the ferry. From what I understand, many people go to the island without a vehicle (the island is really small), but with luggage for three + camera equipment, I wanted to take the car. It was easy and Charlotte enjoyed her first ferry ride. Kev did not enjoy his ferry ride or the motion sickness that he felt on board. We stayed at the Spring House Hotel, which was where the wedding was being held. It’s a charming old seaside hotel but the best part about it is the big, wraparound porch with beautiful ocean view… we sat out there in the morning with breakfast and coffee. And they have Adirondack chairs on the lawn overlooking the ocean. It was a great location on the island. We didn’t arrive until dinnertime so we checked in to our hotel and decided to take a drive over to the North lighthouse. We arrived at the perfect time to see the sunset. You can’t go into this lighthouse and be prepared to walk a pretty long stretch of beach to get to the actual building. But it’s worth it.
Day 2: Wedding day for me. Before my work day began, we walked down the street to 1661 Farm (I think it’s also called Abrams Farm). It’s a small place but there are a bunch of animals there, including a Zedonk (half donkey, half zebra… crazy, right?). They even have a kangaroo! It was cool to see the farmer herding and feeding the sheep and llamas and gathering the alpacas for their weekly haircuts. I bought some alpaca wool socks from the little store there and they are THE BEST socks for winter… really warm and soft. If you go, make sure you go through the gate and to the store… When you enter the gate you get to walk among the donkeys and alpacas and Charlotte got to sit on a donkey. While I was shooting the wedding, Kev and Charlotte explored the island. They visited the Mohegan Bluffs and a few different beaches. They didn’t love Ballard Beach because it is right at a restaurant and apparently most day trippers end up there because there’s a beach bar, chairs, and umbrellas already set up. I think it can get kind of rowdy there. The one they liked most is called Kid Beach.
Day 3: This was our day to explore the island! We started out at the Southeast lighthouse, near the bluffs. You can go in and climb to the top w/ a guided tour. (The tour guide was VERY enthusiastic about the lighthouse!) I liked getting to climb it and it was interesting to learn that the lighthouse had to be moved back from the cliffs due to erosion. Then we headed to the Mohegan Bluffs – so pretty! There’s a wooden staircase down to the beach but a rocky part at the bottom that’s kind of scary so wear sturdy shoes! There’s even a rope to hold on to. Seeing the cliffs along the beach is such a different landscape than we’re used to. We stopped at Great Salt Pond, which was kind of underwhelming. But we did visit when it was really cold and rainy so there wasn’t anything going on. It seems like it’s popular for kayaking, paddle boarding, etc when the weather isn’t so ugly. As soon as we finished lunch, the downpour started so we retreated back to the hotel. I wanted to get to hike some of the trails on the island, but the weather was not cooperative on our one free day.
Day 4: We took the earliest ferry from Block Island back to Point Judith and headed north to Ogunquit, ME. We stayed at Anchorage by the Sea
, which was in an ideal location right on the Marginal Way and walking distance to downtown. We decided to stay in Ogunquit to break up the drive between Block Island and Bar Harbor. Charlotte typically does well in the car, but we didn’t want to spend too much time driving so we planned our stops so that there was around 3-4 hour drive between each of the places that we stayed. We chose Ogunquit to take advantage of some beach time. While the beaches in northern Maine are more rocky, there are sand beaches in southern Maine. I read about how unique the beach is in Ogunquit because when the tide goes out, it leaves a long beach full of small pools of water. Knowing how much Charlotte loves jumping in puddles, I knew she’d be ecstatic about this beach. And she was. We arrived in the late afternoon after the drive from Rhode Island and a stop for lunch and beer at Red Hook Brewery. We went straight to the beach! What’s unusual about the beach is that there is only one hotel that’s right on the beach. Since our hotel was on the Marginal Way, it was about a half mile walk to the beach (or you can drive, as there’s a big lot right at the beach). I immediately fell in love with Ogunquit.
Day 5: We got up early to walk the Marginal Way. The Marginal Way is a 1.5 mile oceanside path that runs along the cliffs. The views are breathtaking. The path ends in Perkins Cove, a small fishing village with shops and restaurants. We shopped a little, walked the Footbridge, and had to try the lobster rolls at the popular Foot Bridge Lobster. We drove to nearby Kennebunkport for lunch and to walk around… The only photo that I have is of Charlotte enjoying her ice cream, as it was really crowded when we were there so we didn’t love our visit. We headed back to Ogunquit for swimming, dinner and some more beach time. Charlotte could run that beach ALL DAY LONG!
Day 6: We got up even earlier to watch the sun rise over the ocean and it was stunning! Definitely worth the early alarm! After a nap, we drove to the top of Mount Agamenticus. It was a pretty view, but now much else going on. There is an abandoned ski resort at the top that closed around 40 years ago giving the top an almost creepy feel. I think it would be prettier to visit in the fall when the leaves are changing color. We continued on to York, Maine to see the Nubble Lighthouse. It’s an adorable little lighthouse that sits on a small island just offshore. It’s said to be the “most photographed lighthouse”. York is a cute little beach town, which seems like it would be fun to visit in the summer. We were there in the beginning of June and the weather was still a little cool and there weren’t many people around. We stopped at Short Sands Beach to walk around and play on a great playground that was right off the beach. Then back to the hotel for some swimming and some relaxing before dinner. I was able to get in a run on the Marginal Way the following morning before we headed out to our next stop and the one that I had been most looking forward to… Bar Harbor!
Stay tuned for the recap on our time in Bar Harbor / Acadia and Portland!