After a hectic and harried couple of weeks, I decided it was high time for a vacation! I’m originally from Arizona, which doesn’t exactly lend itself to frequent or varied travel: a simple trip to L.A. is 6+ hours, and a drive to Las Vegas is grim and dusty. Now, living in New England, I feel so fortunate to take a weekend getaway on a whim, and yet I haven’t exactly taken advantage of this gift over the year and a half that I’ve lived here. This weekend, I changed that with a trip to Portland, Maine.
On Sunday morning, my travel companion and I started the two-hour drive to Portland, but not without a travel breakfast! The afternoon before, I whipped up a batch of vegan fig bars, adding some vanilla protein powder for extra satiety.
Upon arriving in Maine, we walked around the downtown center, stopping for espresso and taking in the salty ocean air. We came across Little Lad’s vegan bakery, but alas, it was closed. From there, we drove to Cape Elizabeth, about 6 miles outside of the city, to see the Portland Head Light. This historical landmark was the first of its kind to be completed by the U.S. government, and what a site it was. We meandered along the trails, stopping to admire some lovely landscapes being painted on canvas:
After an active morning, we drove back to Portland for some lunch. My boyfriend is also vegan, which makes traveling much easier. Despite Maine’s abundance of oceanic fare, we identified some vegan-friendly eateries before arriving in Maine, and Silly’s was on the top of our list. My boyfriend ordered the Holy Chipotle pizza, which included salsa, homemade black bean quinoa burger, vegan mozzarella and cheddar, corn chips, and avocado.
I went with a salad, which featured a portobello stuffed with white bean kale pumpkin seed pesto, caramelized onions, and olives.
Stomachs satisfied, we ended the day with a rather cold trip to Ogunquit Beach, just a short drive from Portland. What a lovely day, and a happy reminder that vegans can manage–nay, thrive–in any place so long as they are well prepared and resourceful. This trip also allowed me to reflect on veganism in the larger context of my life. As a whole, I think vegans are a food-centric group; we draw lines between animal friends and food, we relish in delightful and inventive recipes, and we come together over compassionate meals. Despite all this, veganism is just one–albeit important–aspect of my life. Often, my relationships and experiences stand paramount, and I’m learning to be okay with that. If I had to subsist on peanuts and coconut water for a day, well, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. As long as I can create and share memorable experiences with those I care for, my heart and soul are happy.
For more vegan-friendly dining in Portland, Maine, be sure to check out The Green Elephant, Flatbread Company, Maine Squeeze Juice Cafe, and The Great Lost Bear.
Have you been to Portland, Maine? What is your favorite New England destination?
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Photo: Molly Lansdowne