Summertime New England Road Trip

Last summer, Ryan and I decided that we were going to take advantage of living within driving distance of New England and explore this area that had been on our bucket list for some time. After going over many different options and talking with local friends, we decided to visit Acadia National Park; Portland, Maine; and Newport, Rhode Island. It ended up being a crazy trip with a lot of driving, but we had an amazing time and can’t say how happy we are that we decided to check out these places!

Our first stop was Acadia National Park. We decided to stay in Augusta, ME to help cut down on our initial drive while still being within a few hours of the park. We got up bright and early on the first full day of our trip in order to maximize our time at Acadia. Acadia National Park is quite expansive, so you could definitely spend multiple days there and still not see everything. Unfortunately we could only afford to take one day exploring Acadia in order to maximize the amount of sites we could visit during the long holiday weekend. Thankfully there are many blog posts that detail the must-see sites of Acadia, so we were able to plan out the spots that we were most interested in seeing.

Once we got to the park, we decided to drive along Park Loop Road, which leads you in a loop around a small section of Acadia. There were spots to pull off along the way and take in some of the famous sites. The forecast was calling for an overcast day, and to be honest, we were a little disappointed at first, but we quickly realized that there isn’t really a “bad day” to go exploring at Acadia National Park. As we were researching all that Acadia had to offer, we discovered that there were a variety of different hikes with varying levels of difficulty as well as duration. We enjoyed the ability to take hiking breaks to stretch our legs and really take in the beauty of this national park. These pictures were only able to capture a small fraction of the beauty of Acadia.

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Next up on our road trip was Portland, Maine. When Ryan’s coworker heard we were headed to Maine, he told us that we needed to check out Portland. Portland wasn’t initially on our radar, but after some research we decided we should add it to our list. One place that really caught our attention was the popular donut shop The Holy Donut. Their donuts are potato based and the flavors are incredible. If you find yourself in Portland, Maine, don’t think; just go to The Holy Donut. You can thank me later. After picking up our donuts (once they sell out they are done for the day, hence we had to make this one of our first stops!), we spent the rest of the day walking around the downtown area and checking out a few lighthouses within driving distance (we are suckers for a good lighthouse). We were thankful that Ryan’s coworker encouraged us to check out Portland during our time in Maine.

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The final stop on our road trip was Newport, Rhode Island. This was my favorite of the three places that we visited. Newport is an adorable coastal city with cute shops and amazing water views. Ryan and I both agreed that it reminded us a little of Mackinac Island (located in the UP of Michigan) and Annapolis, MD. After fueling up with some delicious coffee, we headed out for our main activity for the day, which was the Cliff Walk. The Cliff Walk is a 3.5 mile path that follows the shoreline while taking you past some of the Newport Mansions. Ryan and I started halfway through the walk (at 40 steps like some sites suggested). The walk was beautiful, and the mansions were incredible! What we weren’t expecting was the treacherous terrain on certain parts of the walk. Ryan and I read up on the Cliff Walk a lot before our trip, and NONE of the sites said anything about being sure to wear the proper shoes for this walk. We both wore our Birkenstocks and wished we would’ve worn tennis shoes. Other than that, we both agreed that it was a great way to spend the afternoon!

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Views along the Cliff Walk

And with that, our road trip came to an end. It was a very packed long weekend, full of delicious treats and breathtaking views. We can’t wait for our next opportunity to check out even more of New England!

Have you visited New England? What spots are some of your favorites?

Menu Monday

Happy Summer, everyone! Here is some dinner inspiration for your week!

MONDAYSlow Cooker Hawaiian Chicken served over rice with purple cabbage, shredded carrots, green onion, spinach, cilantro, and avocado. — If you have leftovers, make it into a salad for lunch the next day! The chicken tastes good cold as well!

TUESDAYSpaghetti Squash Pad Thai — We had this recipe for the first time a few weeks ago, and oh my goodness, I still can’t get over how good it was! If you are pushed for time when making dinner, prepare the spaghetti squash the night before and refrigerate it. Prepping the spaghetti squash takes the longest for this recipe…everything else comes together super quickly!

WEDNESDAY – Egg Sandwiches served with sauteed zucchini and yellow squash (or substitute your favorite veggies!). — I like to add tomato and smashed avocado to my egg sandwiches, and this time I am adding bacon. I usually stay away from bacon unless I am at a restaurant because I hate dealing with the grease and mess of prepping bacon, but my cousin told me that he likes to cook bacon in the oven, which cuts down significantly on the clean up!

THURSDAY – Trader Joe’s [frozen] Cilantro Chicken Wantons served over rice and sauteed veggies (red pepper, spinach, edamame, zucchini, etc.) — These have quickly become a staple in our house! You can fry them up in a little oil in a pan or heat them up in the microwave, but either way this is a great option for a quick meal!

FRIDAYHoney Garlic Chicken and Veggie Skewers served with sweet potatoes — This is a great meal for summertime, especially if you have a grill! Instructions on how to cook these in the oven are also included if you don’t have access to a grill (like me :/ ).

Happy Cooking 🙂

Menu Monday

Happy Monday! Having a hard time coming up with meal ideas for the week? Take a look at my menu for some inspiration!

MONDAYSlow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls

TUESDAY – Falafel rice bowls made with Trader Joe’s frozen falafel, brown rice, sliced cucumber, diced red onion, diced tomato, spinach, and hummus.

WEDNESDAY – Spaghetti served with roasted asparagus — My favorite store-bought spaghetti sauce is Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil Marinara. I also like to mix in about half a can of tomato sauce.

THURSDAYPulled Pork wraps served with steamed broccoli — I am going to try something a little different with my leftover pulled pork by making more of an Asian-inspired wrap. Some of the toppings I am planning on using are shredded purple cabbage, shredded carrot, tomato, edamame, green onion, and soy sauce. I am really excited to see how this turns out!

FRIDAY – Breakfast for dinner — Quiche (spinach, red pepper, and ham) and almond flour pancakes — These pancakes are definitely not the prettiest, but they sure are delicious! The recipe makes a lot of pancakes, but they reheat well for a quick breakfast!

Happy Cooking 🙂

Menu Monday

Happy Monday! Can you believe that June is already here?! Summer is my favorite season, and I am so happy to welcome it with open arms. I hope my meal plan gives you inspiration for this week!

MONDAYEnchilada Skillet — We like to eat this as nachos, but it also works great as a taco filling!

TUESDAYBroccoli Cheddar Chicken Pasta — The last time I made this recipe, I swapped regular shells pasta with Banza pasta, and it was SO tasty! I am definitely making that swap again, and I will be adding roasted zucchini and yellow squash to this recipe as well.

WEDNESDAYSlow Cooker Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs — This recipe is super simple and tastes so good! (I choose to use Trader Joe’s Frozen Turkey Meatballs and my favorite store-bought marinara sauce to make this recipe a little simpler.)

THURSDAYChicken, Green Beans, & Potatoes — I do NOT use the full amount of butter called for in this recipe (I use maybe 2-3 tbsp. of butter; I try to use as little as possible.).

FRIDAYPulled Pork served with sweet potatoes and green beans — Feel free to eat the pulled pork as is or serve the pulled pork on hamburger buns or a piece of toast to make it into a sandwich!

Happy Cooking 🙂