10 Things to Do in Portland, Maine

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10 Things to Do in Portland, MaineDear East Coast,

I love you, and I don’t care who knows it.

Sincerely,

Mavis

Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Seriously, one day, I am going to pack my bags and head East permanently.  I love it here.  I don’t mind the winters {maybe that’s the newbie in me talking}.  I like the people, the history… LOVE IT.

So, in an effort to promote the awesomeness that is Maine, I made a list of the 10 must-do things if you ever make it to Portland, Maine.  Here you go:

  1. Visit one of 6 lighthouses that are all just outside of Portland.  They are as picturesque as the movies.
  2. Take a stroll {or rent bikes} down the Eastern Promenade.  It’s next to the water, and even in winter, it’s full of fresh air and ambiance.
  3. Walk through Eastern Cemetery.  Call me morbid, but I love to walk through old cemeteries.  It’s like a history lesson.  This one is the oldest in Portland, Maine.  Some of the grave stones go as far back as the 1600′s.
  4. Hit the YEAR ROUND Portland Farmers’ Market.  It’s supposed to be one of the largest in the country–and don’t worry, in the winter, they are indoors.
  5. Try DiMillos.  It’s a floating restaurant, and if you are into fresh seafood, it’s a spiritual experience.
  6. Tour Victoria Mansion.  We didn’t get to visit this one while we were there, as it is only open May through October, but it’s supposed to be pretty darn cool.  It’s furnished in its pre-Civil war glory.  It was originally built in 1858-1860 {and we get angry when our houses take longer than 6 months to build!}, and really is an impressive architectural marvel.
  7. Weather permitting, take a boat ride to the Casco Bay Islands.  Afterall, you are on coastal Maine–you might as well experience the full “coastal” charm.  If you can’t take a boat, as least go to Casco Bay and check out all of the boats.
  8. Tour the Wadsworth-Longfellow House.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow grew up in this house, which has now been converted to a museum/gardens.  Longfellow was an iconic American poet–and his childhood home really does say a lot about his charmed history.  It’s no wonder he was such a romantic.LL Bean Flagship Store Giant Boot Freeport Maine
  9. Shop your way through the L.L. Bean flagship store.  This one is actually in Freeport, just a short drive away.
  10. Walk your way through Old Port.  This is an older part of town right on the waterfront.  It’s got restaurants, neighborhoods, etc.  I don’t know about you, but I love to see the neighborhoods–it’s like a glimpse into the daily life of living in coastal Maine.

Any of you locals have some must-do’s or must-see’s that I’ve missed?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.



My Favorite Tips for Booking Cheap Flights

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booking cheap flights

It’s no secret that I live to travel.  I am a homebody, for about 3 months at a time, and then the itch sets in, and I gotta get out and see some other part of the world.  Luckily for me, the HH has always been content to send me on my merry way while he and Monkey Boy stay at home, eat Dorritos and play video games {he doesn’t have the same itch}.

notre dame paris

The only real caveat to my travelling has been to find good deals so that I don’t break the bank.  Saving money here and there at home gives me extra cash to spend on travelling, but still, I try to make that money stretch as far as possible.  Flights and hotel rooms are usually the biggest portion of my travel expenses, so over the years, I’ve honed my booking skills to make sure I get the best deal on my airline tickets.  Because sharing is rad, I thought I’d pass on those tips to you.

boston waterfront

  1. Choose to fly out and back home on a Tuesday or Wednesday.  They are notoriously cheaper days to fly.  Sure, you get some business travel, but for the most part, the masses travel over weekends…probably due to the whole less time taken off work thing.
  2. Prices tend to go down in the middle of the month.  I never really got this phenomenon until I read somewhere that it’s because people get paid at the beginning and end of the month—which is when the usually decide that they have money to travel—making the costs a bit higher.London Tardis Dr Who Blue Police Box
  3. If you aren’t picky about your schedule and are an incredibly fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of person {literally and figuratively}, you can score some pretty awesome deals a day or two before traveling.  The airline is looking to fill flights, and if you’re willing to be that body, it’s a match made in heaven.  In the interest of fair-warning, though, this one can backfire on you.  Occasionally, there are no open seats and you’re left paying a premium.
  4. Call the airline directly.  Occasionally talking to an actual human being can get you pretty darn good deals.LL Bean Flagship Store Giant Boot Freeport Maine
  5. Sign up for deal alerts on the major travel websites.  This one comes in handy if you know you want to go on vacation about a year out.  It allows you to see the fluctuations in prices, and then jump on a deal when it comes your way.
  6. Consider traveling on a couple different airlines.  This is a pain in the butt if you want to check-in baggage, but if you are just doing your carry-on, you can take advantage of each airlines best deal.  So, maybe you fly from Seattle to Milwaukee on Delta, and then jump over to United on the final leg to your destination.travel tips
  7. Consider a credit card that gives you travel points.  If you aren’t opposed to charging ALL of your expenses each month and then paying it OFF each month, points add up super fast–leading to significant savings on travel.  I figure, it you were already going to spend the money on gas and groceries, you might as well get some perks from it.

How do YOU score great deals on your airline tickets?

~Mavis

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

The Holy Donut – Portland, Maine

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When The Girl and I heard of the a place that makes donuts out of mashed potatoes, we were like no freakin’ way!!  We just had to try them. Since we heard that each location closes the doors once they’ve sold out {which I LOVE, yay no food waste!}, we wanted to get there early enough to have our pick of the flavors.

The Holy Donut is a Portland, Maine original.  They kind of pride themselves on making delicious, uniquely flavored donuts/pastries with only the highest quality ingredients.  According to their website, they use “real Maine potatoes” in all of their donuts, use local dairy, unbleached King Arthur flour, only color their glazes with fruit juices or vegetable dyes…and the list goes on.  This place is serious about quality.

the holy donut maine

When The Girl and I walked in we were blown away at the flavor choices.  Apparently, one of their signature donuts is the bacon-cheddar filled one.  It’s a slightly sweet fried donut, stuffed with bacon and sharp cheddar.  Um, hello?!  Genius.  They have a dark chocolate sea salt that apparently rocks everyone’s world too {and it’s gluten free}.  If you are looking for a little more unique flavor combination, you can try the sweet potato and ginger varieties.  Best of all, they rotate their flavors daily, so each day kind of brings a new opportunity to try something a little different.

I’ve really never met a donut that I don’t like, and this place definitely did not disappoint.

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Our Visit to the Peterboro Basket Company in Peterboro, New Hampshire

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Peterboro Basket Company tour

While The Girl and I were gallivanting across the northeast last week, we made a point to stop at some of our favorite factories and shops along the way. One of the places we stopped was the Peterboro Basket Company in Peterboro, New Hampshire.

It.Was.Freaking.Awesome. Wayne, the owner, gave The Girl and I a 2 hour personal tour!!!

Peterboro Basket Company

We were shocked at how many steps there were in making just one basket. Everything is done by hand.  No robots, no sub-par supplies, just good old fashion New England white ash wood, some {super old} tools and a large room full of skilled craftsman.
Peterboro Basket Company

Did I mention the company has been in business since before the American Civil War! Peterboro Basket Company

Wayne was gracious enough to not only show us around the factory but to tell us about all the {vintage} machinery as well. This particular contraption is used for steaming the wood.

Peterboro Basket Company

After the wood is steamed, it’s placed in to garden basket molds to dry. After a day or two they’ll be removed and the basket will be fashioned into gathering basketsold furnace

Would you believe the furnace they use was built in 1920? The factory burns all it’s waste as well as old pallets and cord wood to heat the broiler. During the past storm a couple of pipes burst over the weekend while the factory was closed. But luckily, because the steel giant was built so well, it’s up and running again.  Peterboro Basket Company

Here is one of the guys making their #1 bestseller, the Peterboro Laundry Basket.

Peterboro Basket Company laundry basket

It’s pretty awesome. I know because I personally own one of these beauties. I LOVE mine. It’s the perfect size for a load of laundry. And, well, it just looks cool sitting in my laundry room between loads.

Peterboro Basket Company

Everything is handmade, hand sanded, hand stained, it’s crazy cool.

Peterboro Basket Company

I left the factory tour wanting to ask for a job there. Seriously. I think I need to add basket maker to my bucket list.

Peterboro Basket Company

So if you are ever in the Peterboro, New Hampshire area, stop by and check out the Peterboro Basket Company. Tell ‘em Mavis sent you, it rocks!

And if you are interested in purchasing one of their well made baskets, through March 17th when you use discount code HUNDRED, you’ll score 25% off all of their beautiful baskets. {My favorite basket of theirs is the fireside basket. I use the basket to hold my rug hooking supplies while I’m sitting on the couch watching my shows and hooking away. I’m not a knitter but I’m pretty sure it would be fantastic for keeping yarns and needles organized too}.

~Mavis

Peterboro Basket Company
130 Grove Street
Peterboro, NH 03458

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

People, Places and Things

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travelocity gnome

I had the best trip ever. I was gone for 10 days this time and each and every one of my vacation days whizzed by. I was able to spend an afternoon at my friend MamaJJ’s house making scones and talking about random things…
haircut

She gave me a hair cut on her back porch. Because who the heck goes to a beauty salon and pays big bucks for someone to cut a straight line? Only crazy people, that’s who. Shirley kurtz

We stopped by her mom’s house and admired her new couch. :) :) :)

butternut squash

And the squash collection under her bed.

primitive rug hooking

I slept in everyday, caught up on my reading and did a little rug hooking.

artsy textured ceiling

When we bought our house on the east coast last summer I thought the textured ceilings were a little strange. Now they are my favorite feature in the house.
basket factory

The Girl and I were able to tour a basket factory where they’ve been making baskets by hand since before the Civil War. Being able to learn how something was made step by step {I’ll post photos soon} was crazy awesome. It makes you really want to know who your dollars are going to. iced chocolate brownies

I ate homemade brownies. Lot’s of them. cedar shake house

And tortured myself by looking at properties for sale in Maine.  Do you see the attached greenhouse to the right of the home? It was perfect!!freeport maine food bank

The Girl and I also visited food banks and made donations… beverly bootstraps

And did a bit of thrift store shopping as well.

snuggle puggle

And then, after a 5 hour flight home, I snuggled all afternoon with my favorite puggle. hudson valley seed library

When I opened the mail the next day I found out One Hundred Dollars a Month reader Amy sent me a lovely packet she designed for the Hudson Valley Seed Library. How cool is that?

tearing out a tile wall remodel

While I was away the HH and Monkey Boy did an amazing job of gutting the bathrooms
bathroom remodelAnd now the hard work begins.

Vacation days… I think we all could use a few more.

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Getting the Most Out of the Free Breakfast Offered at Your Hotel

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Getting the Most Out of the Free Breakfast Offered at Your Hotel

The Girl and I are traveling through New England this week, and one of the things I always look for when booking a budget hotel is free WiFi and a free breakfast.

I always bring my laptop with me when we vacation, one, so I can stay connected to you peeps, and two, after a long day of sightseeing, The Girl and I love to chill out in front of the laptop with an Amazon Prime movie or episode.

hotel breakfast

Free breakfast is also seriously the best way to cut down eating expenses while traveling.  It’s usually pretty basic, but it gets the job done.  In my continual effort to keep travel costs reasonable, I’ve learned to take advantage of the mountains of food by eating breakfast, and then grabbing a little for later.  I ALWAYS fill a to-go cup of tea before I leave.  That way, I’ll have my morning tea {or coffee, if that is your preference} with me as I stroll through the sights.  Usually, The Girl grabs a bagel or two for a mid-morning snack–she usually just wraps them in a napkin and grabs a plastic fork and a small tub of cream cheese too.

free hotel breakfast

Most breakfasts offer apples and bananas too.  My favorite is to grab a plastic knife, banana, packet of peanut butter, and a packet of honey…at night, when I’m feeling like something sweet, I usually slice the banana long ways, spread on the peanut butter, drizzle on  a little honey, and boom!  I have an instant dessert.  I figure the extra snacks save us at least $10 a day–and since I paid for the room/breakfast, I feel totally justified in taking it.

It’s the little things that really start to add unexpected expenses to your vacation budget, so stock up on freebies when you can.

Happy travels,

~ Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Our Visit to Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

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Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

The Girl and I knew that if we were going to take a trip to coastal Maine, at least one lighthouse had to be on the to-do list.  We decided on Head Light in Cape Elizabeth.

Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

The town owns and operates Head Light now.  There is a little museum and gift shop attached, but they were closed for the season.  Fort Williams Park is right next to the light house, so if you go, you can check out the light house and then take a hike, stroll, trippy trop {whatever floats your boat} through the 90 acre park.  I imagine in the summer it would be a great place to have a picnic.

I wonder if the HH would let me add buy, renovate, and live in a lighthouse on the East coast

The construction of the lighthouse began in 1787 with just $750 start-up.  The U.S. government took over the management of all lighthouses in 1790 and allotted an addition $1500 for it to be completed. I’m sure that was a ton of money back then.

Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

There are actually two towers, but only the Eastern tower is still active.  The other tower was sold to a private party in the 1970′s.  Um, how cool would it be to live in a lighthouse?!  Seriously, there are a million different ways to live life, and I am pretty sure I want to try at least 250,000 of them before I die.  I wonder if the HH would let me add buy, renovate, and live in a lighthouse on the East coast?  Somehow, I think it would be a tough sell.

Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Though the city has owned the lighthouse since 1990, the U.S. Coast Guard manages the foghorn and lights.

Maine. I LOVE YOU!!!!!

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Is Mystic Pizza in Mystic, Connecticut Any Good?

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mystic pizza restaurant

Yesterday we drove through Mystic, Connecticut and low and behold, there was Mystic Pizza–like THE original Mystic Pizza from the Julia Roberts movie.  Do you remember?  The Girl and I decided that since were just driving through, we should look up the reviews and maybe stop and grab a pizza.  We decided to look up the reviews first {thank you smart phone} and they were mixed.  Some said it was a tourist trap…The Girl and I talked about it, though, and decided that we were tourists, and therefore didn’t care if we were trapped, just this once.

I know you are on the edge of your seat…was it good, wasn’t it?  BUT, Mystic was so darn cute, I feel obligated to tell you a little bit about it before I reveal the pizza verdict.

mystic pizza restaurant inside

Mystic, Connecticut is technically just a village {which I didn’t know still existed}.  It is not considered its own municipality and is shared by two neighboring cities–Groton and Stonington.  It’s a super picturesque little place that is split by the Mystic River–in fact, you drive on a bridge over the river to get to the center of the village.

Although Mystic has been home to people as early at 1630, the village of Mystic didn’t really pop up until the beginning of the 18th century–even by the 19th century, the village only consisted of 12 houses…talk about quaint.

For being just a village, there are tons of things to see/do.  It is a Seaport, so you can go down to the port and check out all of the boats and the surf.  It’s kind of a hot spot for maritime living history–people still build boats right in the port.  The Mystic Aquarium gets a pretty high rating for attractions too–mostly because of the Beluga Whale exhibit.

mystic pizza Connecticut

Okay, now back to the original question {I get easily distracted, what can I say?}, is Mystic Pizza any good?  Drum roll please…

The Girl and I gave it a 7 out of 10 stars. Not bad, but not knock your socks off awesome. We paid $13.20 for a small pizza with extra cheese and 2 drinks. The service was great and the interior of the restaurant was packed with framed movie pictures and local newspaper clippings.

It was totally worth the stop in our opinion.

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

See the Country in Exchange for Your Time on an Organic Garden – Become a WWOOFer

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wooffing

I recently found out about a program called WWOOF {Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms}.  It is basically a collaboration of organic farms/gardens all around the country that have agreed to open their mini-farms up to visitors interested in visiting {and putting in a 1/2 day of manual labor} in exchange for education, room and board.  I literally LOVE the idea, and thought it might be a really cool way for The Girl and I to travel the country this summer.

The whole idea started in England {wouldn’t you know it, those clever Brits}, and has spread worldwide.  The USA chapter is thriving, with over 1900 participating farms/garden.

wwoofing

To become a WWOOFer {which I will do, just so I can call myself a WWOOFER}, you have to sign up.  It costs between $40-$50, depending on which option you choose.  Once you sign up, you receive a directory of all of the farms participating in the program.  Then you make a plan and contact the garden to arrange a visit.  Oh, and P.S., it’s not just gardens, you can choose from homesteads, ranches, orchards, etc.  You can also become a host, if practice organic growing techniques, and you would like to open up your farm/garden and house to visitors.  I’ll admit, if I had a bigger operation, I wouldn’t mind somebody popping by to help me with the weeding for 1/2 a day in exchange for dinner and a bed.

Holy buckets, people, if this is not the most Utopian idea I’ve heard in a long time, I don’t know what is.  How cool would it be to meet other people, learn different gardening tricks, and then get the rest of the day to explore the place you’ve landed?  It would be awesome, I tell ya.

Has anyone tried this before?  If not, would you be interested in trying it?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How Do I Keep My Vegetable Starts Watered While I’m Out of Town?

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tomato seedlings

One Hundred Dollar a Month reader, Kristin, recently sent in a question about keeping veggie starts watered if you need to leave town and can’t convince someone that seedlings are enough reason to pop over to your house each day.  It’s actually something I’ve learned to deal with myself, as the HH cannot always be trusted to water in my absence.

dead tomato plants

Kristin writes,

“Hi Mavis – I enjoy seeing all of your progress and have learned so much from your blog. But, now I have a question! I live in NE Indiana, so I start my garden seed inside mid-Feb, and plant in late April. This year, however, I am required to go out of town for a week in March. Dosen’t the world know I have a garden to start? Anyway, I have grow lights on timers, but how can I keep my new little starts watered?! I have no access to a “plant-sitter”. Do you, or your readers, have any suggestions? Please help! Kristin”

seed starting trays{lettuce seedlings I started last week}

First, you want to start with the right supplies, plain and simple.  You want to have a grow tray AND a plant tray underneath your seedlings, then you can fill the tray underneath with water and the seedlings will suck up the water as needed–just like they would in nature {I like these ones, because they don’t have holes in the bottom}.  I like to cut out one square out of my growing trays, so that I can easily pour water into the tray without having to lift the grow tray up every time.  Afterall, I don’t want to disturb my precious babies seedlings, and it doesn’t really hurt that it makes it waaaaay easier to water.  It’s also nice to be able to see exactly how much water is in the plant tray, so that it doesn’t come sloshing out over the sides.

This method should buy you a week–unless the humidity is you house is impossibly dry.

I hope that helps!  If any of you have any other suggestions, make sure to leave them in the comments below.

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

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