My forehead, a permanent sheen of sweat. My hair, a frizzy pouf. My diet, mostly ice cream. Ahhh, summer. I’m glad you’re here.
These days, the sun is so bright, the sky is so blue, the strawberries are so sweet, that it’s easy to forget the 100-foot snow accumulations from winters past. Everyone is grinning, even when they’re sweating. Even Uber surge can’t dampen my good mood. Let’s all take advantage of these beautiful summer days.
I wanted to share with you four of my favorite cities in New England: Portsmouth, Martha’s Vineyard, Portland, and of course Boston. Here are my picks for the best things to do, and most importantly, the best food to eat. Let’s put on our aviators and white pants (and bring our Tide pens in our bags) and enjoy Summer in New England –
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Since we are talking Summer in New England, we have to talk about fried seafood. If you’re driving to a New England destination (Portsmouth is less than two hours away from Boston), I recommend making your first stop a seafood shack. You know what I’m talking about, those casual restaurants, no tablecloths, no dress code, usually small, with a line out the door.
The top photo is the fried shrimp and fish platter at Old Ferry Landing. It’s the stuff my vacation dreams are made of. Fried seafood, crispy fries, creamy coleslaw, and tartar sauce, and my day is made. This gem of a restaurant is right by the water, and is the home of the famous Jimmy Juice – a fascinating concoction made with three kinds of rum (yum).
Portsmouth had a lot of breweries, so make sure to get a tour and beer tasting at one of them. The flight above is from the Portsmouth Brewery. You should stay in the city for at least a night (especially after drinking “juice” and beer) and my hotel choice is the charming Ale House Inn. It’s a small boutique hotel (when I say small, I mean small. They only have 10 rooms.) and it’s located right near the center of town so you can walk everywhere. When you arrive, they’ll welcome you with two bottles of beer. In the morning, there are free breakfast energy bites at the front desk. The service is warm and friendly, the rooms are clean and comfortable. And they have free bottled water to keep you hydrated during your stay!
Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
I love that Martha’s Vineyard is just a short ferry ride away from Falmouth (Cape Cod). The Island Queen ferry leaves from Falmouth every 1.5 hours. You can park your car there and not have to worry about it while you’re enjoying #mvlife.
Once you dock at Oak Bluffs, go straight to Sand Bar and get a cocktail. Maybe try the Arnold Palmer made with sweet tea vodka. Maybe pair it with loaded tater tots. Don’t worry about the calories, you’re sharing it with your friends!
If you’re staying in Oak Bluffs, see if you can rent one of the Gingerbread cottages, pretty little houses painted in pastel colors and trimmed with dainty details. However if you want something a little more posh, get yourself to Summercamp Hotel. This newly renovated property by Lark Hotels (Ale House Inn is also owned by them) is one of the prettiest, brightest, and most fun hotels I’ve ever stayed in. There’s a game room, plenty of space in the lobby, and the whole place has a retro, nostalgic vibe.
As you venture out of Oak Bluffs and head to neighboring Edgartown, make a pit stop at Bad Martha for craft beer. Admittedly, I am not a big beer drinker, but on vacation I tend not to discriminate among alcohols. I enjoyed the espresso beer during our trip here last month, and next time I’m back I hope they’re brewing their chocolate beer because chocolate.
I ate the best lobster roll I’ve ever had in Eventide Oyster Co. Soft lobster meat, nutty brown butter, pillowy steamed bun. It was pure perfection. Portland is just about 2 hours away from Boston and these lobster rolls are worth the drive alone.
But if not for the seafood, go for the pretty water views, the quaint streets perfumed with the smell of the ocean, the shopping, and pastries made with two of Maine’s most popular produce: blueberries and potatoes.
That’s right, potatoes. These donuts from Holy Donut have fresh Maine mashed potatoes, giving them a a tender and moist texture. One of their most popular flavors is the dark chocolate with sea salt. I urge you to get there early in case they run out!
And of course get blueberry pie. Of course. This mouth-watering display is from Two Fat Cats.
Finally, I need to give my hometown some love. If you’re in Boston for the summer, and you’re a baseball fan, please get yourself to historic Fenway Park. It is the oldest ballpark in MLB, and the stadium is pretty small, so you get a good view wherever you’re seated.
(photo credit goes to Matt)
I think one of the most fun ways to see Boston and learn about the city is a duck boat tour. A “duck” is a renovated World War II amphibious landing vehicle, so you start the tour on land, and then get on the water at the Charles river, where you can see the skylines of Boston and Cambridge.
And since it’s summer, let’s not forget about the quintessential summer food: BURGERS! I love Shake Shack (I prefer it over In-N-Out) and get either the classic ShackBurger (cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, and Shacksauce) or Chick’nShack (crispy chicken breast).
life summer is not complete without ice cream. I am loyal to J.P. Licks, they have the best creative and classic flavors. My regular rotations are strawberry, pistachio, or any of their special monthly flavors. This month I like their Cherry Garciaparra flavor – vanilla ice cream with black cherries and chocolate chips. It’s their take on the famous Ben & Jerry’s flavor Cherry Garcia (which happens to be my favorite), and which also happens to be a New England company.
I hope you’re all enjoying your summers! <3