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Maine Lighthouse Road Trip: South Portland & Arrowsic Lighthouses

I recently posted an overview/itinerary of my entire road trip route through the coast of Maine, where I hunted down lighthouses and that glorious coastal scenery this state is known for. If you'd like a quick overview of my entire journey, you can find that by clicking on this following link:

Today's post is all about my first 24 hours, and I packed in a good amount of lighthouses. My adventure started in Cape Elizabeth/South Portland, where I saw two of the three lighthouses that call this area home, as well as a lovely little beach I stumbled upon. I got into Portland in the late afternoon, so didn't have as much time to explore everything as much as I would have liked before the sun went down, and even had to skip one of the lighthouses, but I still had such a beautiful evening taking in all these sites.

Maine Coastal Lighthouse Road Trip Itinerary Overview

I just got back from a truly amazing adventure through the coast of Maine where I spent 10 nights and 11 days exploring little towns on the water and getting my fill of lighthouses. Did you know that Maine has 65 lighthouses? I didn't, until I started to plan this trip. Some of them are accessible by land, and many of them are on smaller islands, and are only accessible by boat or ferry. But, there is absolutely no shortage of them to see, and plenty of beautiful, pine tree-lined coastline to take in during such a beautiful drive through the state. 

I was lucky enough to visit 10 lighthouses, and also see a couple from the water, during my trip. Planning out my itinerary was a challenge and it took me a lot of time to figure out the best route so that I covered a lot of ground while also dividing up my driving time each day so I didn't feel like I was spending too much time in the car. So, I thought I would do a little overview post of my itinerary in hopes that it will help someone out there retrace my steps for the perfect coastal Maine lighthouse road trip.

Solo Traveling the Massachusetts North Shore: Newburyport and Plum Island

This past November, I took a little solo adventure through the Massachusetts North Shore region. If you'd like to catch up on all the beautiful little towns I was able to explore, you can click on these links:

On my way home after a wonderful few days exploring the North Shore, I decided to squeeze in one more little side excursion: Newburyport and Plum Island. I didn't really have a lot of time because I still had my drive home ahead of me, but I was up yet again before the sun, and drove off to Newburyport to walk around and get a quick little feel for the town, and then off to explore Plum Island, which I've heard was so beautiful.

Solo Traveling the Massachusetts North Shore: Salem Day Trip Itinerary

This past November, I took a little solo getaway through the Massachusetts North Shore region, and if you'd like to explore some other beautiful little towns with me, you can catch the links here:

Welcome back, friends. Let's talk about Salem, MA, a town that's known as the Halloween hot spot of New England. This was my second time visiting Salem, and as I mentioned in a prior post, I was last there about six years ago the weekend before Halloween so we could really experience the whole spooky season vibe. It's such a fun place to visit during the month of October, but be forewarned - it's busy. And I mean, BUSY. The streets were packed with people, parking was a nightmare, and it was hard to get tables at restaurants. Especially on weekends. But, there certainly is just something about Salem in October that's unique and quite an experience all on its own.

Despite having had the quintessential experience in the thick of Halloween celebrations, I've always wanted to go back, pretty much any other time of the year, to see Salem in a different light. And I'm laughing as I type this because this trip, I went back the weekend after Halloween - and it was vastly different. Far fewer crowds and plenty of room to walk around. I was there on a Saturday morning/afternoon, and the foot traffic definitely picked up by noontime, but I felt like I had more space to wander and really take it all in. 

Solo Traveling the Massachusetts North Shore: Gloucester & Manchester-By-The-Sea

This past November, I took a little solo adventure through the Massachusetts North Shore region. If you'd like to catch up on all the places I visited while on this trip, you can find the links here:

During this trip, I was on a mission to see as much as I could in a very tightly-packed three and a half days. And while I did cover a lot of ground, I will be honest, I didn't see as much of Gloucester and Manchester-By-The-Sea as I would have wanted. I was only in each of these towns for about three hours, so, as you can imagine, I didn't see it all. But, I will say, what I did get to experience, I loved. Manchester-By-The-Sea, especially, really surprised me with its beauty. So for today's post, I don't have a lot of information to share, but I do have some snapshots from some really lovely seaside moments from these two great little towns.

Solo Traveling the Massachusetts North Shore: Rockport

Hey guys, it's been a minute since I posted about my time in Marblehead while solo traveling the North Shore last November. Before I knew it, after getting back, the holidays were already in full swing and I took some time to just be in the moment, and also, reflect on this whole, crazy year. But I'm back, feeling refreshed and so excited to talk about the rest of my trip, starting with Rockport.

If you'd like to see all the other towns I visited along the way during this trip, you can catch those recaps here:

Exploring Motif 1. Photo by Nina Weinstein Photography. 

Solo Trip to the Massachusetts North Shore: Marblehead

This past November, I spent a few days solo traveling the North Shore area of Massachusetts. If you'd like to read about all the other towns I visited, you can find the links here:

It's been about six years since Josh and I last visited the North Shore of Massachusetts, and for the past year or so, I've been itching to get back. When we last visited, our focus was a Halloween getaway in October to experience Salem. We had a lot of fun, but little did we know just how crowded and chaotic it would be (rookie mistake). To escape the crowds in Salem one afternoon, we decided to take an impromptu drive up the coast and ended up in Rockport. We only spent a few hours there, but I completely fell in love with it, and I think those few hours were some of the best of our entire adventure. We stayed in Marblehead that trip, but because the entire weekend was pretty last-minute, and because we were so focused on Salem, we didn't research anything to do, and ended up not seeing even a sliver of what Marblehead had to offer. Since becoming more familiar with New England, and constantly researching new places I want to experience, I came to realize that our North Shore visit years ago barely scratched the surface of what is an absolutely breathtaking part of the state. You guys know how much I love the Cape and Islands, but my goodness, the North Shore can easily rival it. There's miles and miles of rocky coastline, history that dates back to the 1600's, with houses that are still standing from that time, small-town charm at every corner and salty air along the way. I was so excited to come back and really see it this time. 

Photo by Nina Weinstein Photography.

Martha's Vineyard Travel Guide: 3-Night Itinerary in September | Plus Nantucket vs. Martha's Vineyard

Recently, Josh and I spent a week exploring Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, and you can read about our 4-night stay on Nantucket here.

After four pretty perfect days on Nantucket, we hopped on a ferry to Martha's Vineyard. It had been about three years since we last visited, and we've previously done a day trip and another 3-night stay, and have loved it each time. So, needless to say, we were excited to get back.

Travel Guide: 4-Night Nantucket Itinerary in Late September

Well, friends, we planned on spending our anniversary this year having a romantic dinner overlooking the cliffs of Positano, drinking wine in a small cottage outside of Pienza with views of the rolling hills and vineyards, and gazing at the canals of Venice, but that obviously didn't happen. When we learned in early July that the EU wasn't going to be allowing U.S. tourists to cross the borders, we sadly canceled our Italy trip, and began to come up with a new plan. Because our anniversary and Josh's birthday are so close together, this time of year is our favorite for traveling. But with the uncertainty of the world, we decided it was easiest, safest and most worry-free to stick with something more local, and something we were familiar with. And honestly, it turned into such a memorable trip.

Photo by Georgie Morley Photography.
Photo by Georgie Morley Photography.

Koh Lanta, Thailand Travel Guide | Kantiang Bay & Long Beach

After spending 4 nights exploring Koh Mook and Koh Kradan, which you can read about here), I hopped on a speedboat ferry to spend my last few days in Thailand on Koh Lanta.

Koh Lanta was the one island that had been on my original itinerary when I first started to plan this portion of my trip. It's popular with tourists because it's quite large (it's about a 30-40 min drive from one side of the island to the other), but has still maintained a very relaxed and authentic feel. It's definitely more developed, offering plenty of restaurants, street vendors, walking streets, shops, etc., but also has some beautiful beaches for swimming. 

Because Koh Lanta is more developed, it definitely didn't have that castaway island feeling I experienced on the other two islands, but because of where I spent my time, life still felt very relaxed, and I never felt like I had left tropical paradise.

Beach at Long Beach Chalet.

Exploring Thailand's Trang Islands: Koh Mook and Koh Kradan

After spending four nights eating my way through Chiang Mai, I was off to go island hopping through the Krabi region. Visiting the country's famous beaches was, after all, the main reason I decided to visit. I spent a lot of time researching which areas to visit, and in the end I decided on three islands: Koh Mook, Koh Kradan and Koh Lanta. For this post, I'll be focusing my time on Koh Mook and Koh Kradan, which are considered to be part of a grouping called the Trang Islands, located in the Andaman Sea.

Travel Guide: Three Nights in Chiang Mai's Old City

If you’ve been sticking with me, you know that I recently got back from a solo adventure through Singapore and Thailand. I’ve posted my recap of my Singapore trip here, and my first night in Thailand was spent at Chai Lai Orchid, which you can read a recap of here. As much as I loved, loved my time in Singapore, I was pretty excited to jet off and spend 12 nights exploring two different areas of Thailand.

While researching my trip to Singapore, I very quickly realized that flights to others destinations in Southeast Asia were very affordable, and I thought to myself “If I’m traveling all the way there, why not add another destination and make the most of it?” I narrowed down my choices to Bali, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. I know a few people who have gone to Thailand and have raved about the food, the people, the beaches and well, pretty much everything about it. As much as I was really drawn to all the destinations I had on my short list, there was just something about Thailand that felt right.

After my night at Chai Lai, which was an hour outside downtown Chiang Mai, I made my way into the city to spend three nights here. Adding Chiang Mai to this trip was the very last decision I made while putting together my itinerary because initially, I had only planned on visiting beach destinations. But so much of what I read online spoke of the amazing food in Chiang Mai, the really friendly locals, the beautiful temples and it was said to be a more authentic Thailand experience. It was hard to pass up the opportunity to explore everything Chiang Mai had to offer, and I'm so grateful that I decided to work it into my trip. It was definitely a highlight for me.

Wat Chedi Luang.

Ethical Elephant Tourism in Chiang Mai, Thailand: My Night at Chai Lai Orchid

When I decided to visit Thailand, it may surprise most people to know that an elephant experience wasn't on my radar. I’ve always loved animals, and any opportunity to interact with one is something I would have jumped at in the past. But I think we all know at this point how horribly elephants in Thailand have been treated in order to entertain tourists. I had just thought the days of any kind of ethical experience with an elephant were over, and for good reason.

And then, while putting together my itinerary for my time in Chiang Mai, I discovered Chai Lai Orchid. I began to wonder if it was, in fact, possible, as they claim on their website, to still have a loving and caring encounter with an elephant in Thailand while still supporting responsible tourism.

So, I began to do my research. I wanted to ensure that if I decided to do something like this, my money was being given to a place that truly had the elephant’s best interests at heart, that they were being treated with kindness and love, and also, their care was first priority. After much debate, I decided to spend one night on the grounds of the Chai Lai Orchid.

Photo by James De La Roche of DLC Photo Tours