Sunday, August 16, 2015

Dog-Friendly Freeport (and Portland) Maine: Our Quick Summer Getaway

Hi, friends! I hope each of you had a lovely weekend!

Things have been busy, as always, around here. What about you? We have finished teaching summer school, and decided to squeeze in a quick vacation before we had to start thinking about heading back to school.

We used to go away for a weekend here and there before we adopted Lucy, but since then, our vacations have been more the "rent a cabin by the lake" style, not so much a hotel. When we went to Freeport in April, we loved the town, and the quaint feel it had. It's easily driveable for us, and has tons of dog-friendly places, too!
(This was taken in April, our visit was almost entirely sunny!)
On our way into Freeport, we stopped at the Maine Beer Company for a drink, and to kill some time before we could check into our hotel. The last time we were at MBC, it was at 5:00am for the Dinner release. It was nice to not have to get up so early this time. ;). We needed a place to hang out for a little bit in the afternoon, and this was a perfect spot. They have a shady, grassy lawn with picnic tables out front, which was a perfect spot to spend some time. They were so friendly, and had a few dog bowls and a hose to fill them, which was perfect. The weather was beautiful, and it was such a nice way to kick off our mini-vaca!

The Candlebay Inn was a perfect choice for our two-night stay. It's a dog-friendly bed and breakfast (and this girl loves a delicious breakfast!). It's also close enough to easily walk downtown, while being just s touch removed from the busy, somewhat noisy action of the Main Street. The room we stayed in was plenty large and had an in-room bathroom, which was important for us. With a sneaky dog who has less-than-ideal recall skills, opening and closing the door several times during the day and night is not a safe option for us. If you've stayed in an older B&B before (at least in New England), you probably know that in-room, private bathrooms are not always the norm.

Our room had large, bright windows and a beautiful soapstone fireplace, thought to be original to the 1848 home. It was so pretty- the photo definitely doesn't do it justice. Also, yes, that is absolutely a towel lobster on the bed!

The inn's owner, Connie, has only owned the inn for a short time, but does an absolutely lovely job. The inn is clean, quiet, feels cozy and homey, and is welcoming. She was friendly and helpful on the phone and while we were there, providing a map of the area, a sweet treat each evening, and a safe, dog-friendly place for Lucy, who is a pretty shy girl. The yard and gardens are beautiful, and there are doggy bags and an outdoor trash can which was helpful! Breakfast was yummy both mornings, and we enjoyed the always-available water, soda, coffee and teas, complete with local, flavored honeys. We will definitely be back!

Bringing my Secret Garden book on vacation was a fantastic choice, since I actually had some downtime to work on it while we waited out the thunderstorms, or while Lucy snoozed. Side note: you really realize how much dogs sleep during the day when they are falling asleep out and about (like at lunch). We joked that we would need to bring her back to the hotel to take a nap!

The benefit of visiting Freeport in the summer with a dog is that many restaurants have dog-friendly patios. We ate dinner at Linda Bean's Maine Kitchen and Topside Tavern the first night, and though the outdoor seating was right alongside the Main St. sidewalk, it was a great spot to watch the action, and for Lucy to take a break under Rich's chair to watch the world go by. The food at Linda Bean's was awesome, as well! We'd definitely recommend visiting if you're in Freeport.

We got there on the early side, which was nice, so we didn't have to wait. There aren't tons of dog-friendly restaurants where we live, so we weren't sure how Lucy would do with all of the hustle and bustle, so it was nice to not wait for a table. Turns out, she did just fine, thankfully!

Also, and this is super random, but I pretty much loved the ladies' room there. It had this amazing stone wall, and sea salt hand scrub. What more could you ask for?

Random, I know, but lovely!

Many of the stores in Freeport are also dog-friendly, which was wonderful. The days were pretty hot, and walking around, it felt even hotter, so it was so, so nice that we could all go into the stores to browse and take a break from the heat. We definitely wouldn't have done any shopping if one of us had always needed to stand outside with Lucy, sweltering, while she was getting no break from the heat. The stores that are dog-friendly are all marked in the touristy brochure available all over, which was so helpful. The employees of every store we went into were so friendly toward Lucy, and we're all very respectful of her shy personality. The people in the Patagonia store even offered to let us just take a break on their couches for a bit to cool off. We were so thankful for the stores being so friendly!

The one place we would have loved to explore was the big LL Bean flagship store. To be honest, I was pretty surprised to find out that it was not dog-friendly. It's one of, if not the, biggest stores in Freeport, and seems like the kind of place that would be more welcoming to well-behaved furry friends, but I guess it's not. Anyway, the grounds of the store complex were pretty, and shady, and made for a nice spot to relax a bit. Of course, no trip is complete without paying a visit to the huge boot, so we did what all people who are yet to have children do, and made our dog pose for a photo op. ;)

In case you're hankering for a throwback, we also visited this spot on the way home from our honeymoon, four summers ago. You're welcome.

Another dog-friendly place to check out is Azure Cafe. We ate lunch there in April, too, and knew we would definitely make it a part of our summer trip. The lunch menu is more casual, and more my picky-eater style, so we made plans to lunch there one day. Their patio is dog-friendly, and they were incredibly welcoming to the three of us. It was helpful to arrive on the early side, before the patio filled up, so we could choose a shady corner spot, where Lucy could lay on the cool bricks, out of the way, and we had a spot to put down her water without worrying that it would get stepped on. The food was excellent, and the shady, cool table was so appreciated.

One spot we checked out was the Leon Gorman park. It's a bit of a walk from the Main Street area, but it was such a pretty place to give Lucy (and us!) a break from the sun and all of the busyness, and explore a place with next to no other people and tons of beautiful flowers! Like I've said, Lucy is a pretty shy dog. She isn't unhappy in a situation with lots of people, but she doesn't like to be pet by strangers, and certainly prefers places with more room! This was a nice spot to hang out for a bit and enjoy the beautiful day! It had a gazebo, pond for ice skating in the winter, fire pits, a hiking trail, and beautiful gardens! It is definitely a hidden gem. There's also a pretty cool small grocery store next to it, so Rich ran in to scope it out while Lucy and I explored.

Another place that we visited was Wolfe's Neck State Park. This was another perfect place to get some shady fresh air, have a bit more freedom and space, and to take a walk!

Lucy loved checking out the cove, and we stopped to watch a nesting momma osprey fly around and in and out of her nest. I was disappointed that we had to leave after only a little while, because it was thundering, but I was so glad we did, because it POURED! We would have been pretty miserable to get caught in the storm. Naturally, I chose to get ice cream anyway. :)

We ate at one other dog-friendly spot in Freeport, the Stirling and Mull Gastropub and Wine Bar. Though it had downpoured that afternoon and everything was wet (and therefore, they weren't generally seating people outside), the hostess happily wiped down a table and chairs for us to sit out on the deck. We enjoyed a delicious dinner, and Rich got to try some different beers, which was neat for him. The food was awesome, and our server was great! We will definitely go back the next time we're in Freeport.

On the way home, Rich wanted to stop at one of the breweries in Portland to pick up some craft beer, so we needed to find a way to spend some time that morning. We found the Back Cove Trail, which winds along the bay. It was a stunning spot! The park had a running path along the way, but we chose to walk along the water, since it was low tide. Lucy loved the adventure, and the wildflowers were beautiful too! It was a perfect place for a long morning walk, and the perfect way to round out our trip.

We had such a fantastic time, and would definitely go back! I loved that we could bring Lucy with us just about everywhere, so it really wasn't any different than if we didn't have her with us. If you're looking for a dog-friendly vacation spot, Freeport is a great option!

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading! I'd love to know if you have any favorite dog-friendly places to visit or restaurants to try out in New England. Please share!

Also, in case you missed it, check out our DIY hanging chalkboard project here.  I love how it looks hanging in our dining room!


  1. I love Maine! We went to Ogunquit last summer and it was the most charming little city with breathtaking views while we walked along Marginal Way. But, not dog friendly during the busy season. We don't normally stay overnight, but we do a ton of day trips around the area and here are some of my favorite dog friendly places that we have been to: Newport, RI (the cutest town ever and the cliff walk will take your breath away!) Martha's Vineyard (the island queen ferry is very affordable and Hudson had a blast taking it with us) Rockport, Ma, Plymouth, Ma (most of the Cape Cod area is super dog friendly too) and Block Island, RI is dog friendly, too. I'm sure I have other places but my mind is blank right now! Also, the Bring Fido app will be your new best friend! I'm sure you can relate, we love our dog so much we will literally plan a day trip around what is dog friendly and not! Sometimes we leave him with the pet sitter, but for the most part we are the three amigos. ;) I am definitely going to look into Freeport now, I love finding new places in New England to explore. We always do the Kancamangus Highway each fall in NH and since its a car trip we just load up on road trip food and enjoy the drive. New England is such a gorgeous place!

    1. Hi Brittaney! Thanks so much for stopping by, and for your suggestions! I'll have to check them out. We definitely plan trips around bringing Lucy whenever we can, and agree that the Bring Fido app is helpful! It's a new discovery to me, but I'm loving it! Happy trails with Hudson!


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