An escape to the Cape. Cape Elizabeth is an ideal location for travelers wanting to enjoy the pleasures of Portland during the day while spending their night in secluded luxury near one of Maine’s iconic beaches.
Lisa Belisle and I make our first stop at Print: A Bookstore on Congress Street. Josh Christie and Emily Russo opened up shop last year. It’s no surprise that they already have a stellar reputation when you survey the smart selection of reading material and interact with the attentive staff.
After overdoing our book purchases, we treat ourselves to lunch at LB Kitchen, a short walk up the hill from Print. Life and business partners Lee Farrington and Bryna Gootkind operate this unique breakfast/lunch/happy hour concept. Check the website for hours and keep in mind that they are never open past 7 p.m. We recommend the tofu banh mí.
Traveling down India to Middle Street, we visit the Portland Art Gallery to see artist David Wilson’s solo show. Since Lisa wrote a Maine magazine profile about David’s brother-in-law, Mainer and artist Eric Hopkins, she’s curious to see his work. The gallery represents over 65 Maine artists and rotates solo shows with openings and artist receptions on the first Thursday of each month.
The publisher and CEO of Maine Media Collective, Andrea King, also owns the popular Old Port lingerie store Aristelle. She was a magazine client for years before joining our team fulltime. Lisa and I support her whenever we can and, with the winter season upon us, we find a warm bathrobe by UGG. Aristelle specializes in bra fittings and hosts after-hours lingerie parties for groups by appointment.
Inn by the Sea concierge Mark Kellerman is at the front desk when we arrive. We go back years, with many shared stories, and he has similar relationships with hundreds of repeat guests. He’s placed us in one of the newly renovated Cove Suites, which includes two bedrooms, a luxurious bath with soaking tub, and a common area with sofa, gas fireplace, dining table, and kitchen. A door opens to a well-appointed deck and views of the Atlantic Ocean.
We immediately trek back to the town center to stock our kitchen with items from C-Salt Gourmet Market. The store has the basics but also many specialty food goods, including items produced in Maine, a nice wine selection, and a cafe and bakery.
Inn by the Sea is dog-friendly and nowhere is that more evident than in the first-floor lounge. The lounge includes a few seats at a small bar and a scattering of tables. It’s very intimate with its fireplace and, often, a couple of dogs curled up at the feet of their owners. A special dog menu is available and canine meals come out on special trays. There is always friendly conversation about the dogs but tonight we are engaged with a retired couple who happen to be seated beside us. They recently moved to the Piper Shores retirement community and are here for date night. Drinks, appetizers, and meeting friends—old and new—in this lounge are hands-down my favorite experiences at the Inn by the Sea. We linger as long as possible before retreating to the Sea Glass restaurant for a superb meal prepared by chef Andrew Chadwick.
I run for exercise, Lisa runs to train for marathons, and we both run on vacations to see the area that we are visiting. Today we’ve mapped a route down the inn’s boardwalk to Crescent Beach, on toward the lobster boats moored at Kettle Cove, over to the view of the lighthouse at Two Lights that Edward Hopper captured in his famous painting, then through the Two Lights State Park with its dramatic crashing surf, past strawberry fields (you can pick your own in season), and back to Inn by the Sea. It’s roughly a six-mile run, or walk, if you decide to go exploring.
Andrea King has just moved to Cape Elizabeth (she uprooted her family from Burlington, Vermont, to take the lead job at Maine Media Collective) and she will join us for brunch with her husband, Hugh, their energetic daughters, Rose and Vivienne, and Hugh’s daughter, Emma, who is visiting from New York City. I am impressed with the grace and care that the inn’s staff put toward making our youngest guests happy. They bounce back and forth between the table and outdoor activities and, watching them, it became clear to me why the Inn by the Sea is a favorite destination for so many families. We are able to enjoy breakfast at a leisurely pace before realizing check-out time is looming and our 24HRS Portland: Cape Elizabeth trip is nearing its end.