The best things to do in Kittery, Maine, for foodies, history lovers, shoppers, and more.
Coastal Maine has long been a favourite spring time destination for my family. I love shaking off the last days of winter and road tripping to the shore to soak in the gorgeous gardens (seriously, does everyone here have a green thumb?) and listen to the waves, and maybe search for a bit of beach glass. While there are no shortages of sweet spots to base ourselves, we've grown partial to one area in particular. There are so many things to do in Kittery Maine that we always find ourselves happily occupied for a long weekend and we usually start planning our next trip on the drive home!
On our most recent trip to Kittery, Ryan and I brought along our dog Oliver. Oliver is one discerning traveller and he loved every spot on our list! I bet you will too.
Fun, easy, festive gifts for your pet sitter (and anyone else who deserves a little treat this holiday season).
People ask me all the time what’s the hardest part about planning my trips. They probably expect me to say that it’s arranging the visas or searching for cheap flights or maybe even just deciding where to go. But my surprising answer is always the same. My biggest challenge is Ollie!
Ollie is my beloved dog and he often does accompany me on road trips but for most of my travels, figuring out his care is a bit of an adventure. He can’t exactly come along when I’m on safari in Botswana or even when I’m at a conference in New York City. I want Ollie to be happy and relaxed when I’m gone and I want his pet sitters to feel the exact same way. I do everything I can to make sure their job goes smoothly. I set up meet and greets, I leave long lists of emergency information, and I make sure the house is well stocked with everything Ollie needs. And I go the extra mile over the holiday season. You can bet the cupboard is filled with ALL of Oliver’s favourite treats. And you’ll probably find a few gifts from Santa-Paws in there as well. But what about the sitters themselves? What do they need to feel comfy and cozy in my home? And how can I make sure their holidays are special too?
Afterall, you are counting on your sitter to take care of someone you deeply love, while they are counting on you to provide a safe, warm, welcoming work environment. You’ll talk about things you might not share with anyone else. But other things are more opaque. You probably know their professional qualifications much more than you actually know them. They’re staying in your home and caring for your beloved pet – but you don’t even know their favourite colour!
No wonder it’s so hard to find the perfect gift for your pet sitter. It’s a quandary! You want something professional but not formal, personal but not presumptive. Most of all, you want something that shows how much you value their work and the relationship they have with your pet. Here are some ideas to help you find that perfect present.
Traveling with dogs can be a lot of fun - until you start stressing about what to pack for them. These are our essential items for canine adventure (and Oliver's too.)
We all love vacation, and we love it even more when we get to bring our best doggy friends along. Travelling with your dog is great, but it does call for some extra planning. Dog travel supplies are just as important as human supplies, after all! While looking into pet friendly accommodation and transportation may be your top priority for arranging a trip with your canine companion, there are definitely some other factors to consider. So for the sake of making everything easier and for keeping your dog safe and happy, here are five items no traveler should leave home without - and our pampered pup, Oliver, wouldn't leave home without them either!
Some trips start at a snail's pace - but Edmundston let me take my time.
Aviator Anne Lindburgh once said that the final moments before you leave for a trip are horrible. Once you get going, you’re fine but until you do it’s absolutely dreadful, like a snail being pulled off its rock.
I know exactly how she felt. The morning we departed for Edmundston, a mantra of “I’m a snail, I’m a snail, I’m a snail” kept playing in my head. I did NOT want to leave my rock.
Edumundston was the first stop in our epic 5 week, pan Canadian/European adventure. It’s the longest trip we’ve ever undertaken and, against a backdrop of some personal upheaval, I was the world’s most reluctant snail, being plucked off the rock and tossed in the car with most serious reservations. What on earth was I doing and why on earth was I going on the road when I had a perfectly acceptable rock right at home?
Fortunately, Edmundston understood. This northern New Brunswick city has been a traditional stopping point for us on all our eastern Canada roadtrips but until recently it had never represented much more to us than a convenient junction for fuel and food. But it somehow felt wrong to be continually visiting a city and never being able to recommend anything beyond the nearest Tim Horton’s location. It was time for this snail to blaze a trail (metaphorically, of course. I’m not slimy in real life!) Here are our favourite picks for the best saves, splurges, and steals in the city.
Introducing our very own Thundercat!!! A look at the Thundershirt for cats who travel (or the owners who want them to). Updated in 2021.
I've seen a lot of strange things when I've travelled, but one scene really sticks out in my mind. We were camping in Prince Edward Island’s Cabot Beach Provincial Park, and enjoying gorgeous ocean front views, when we realized we weren't alone. There was another presence nearby, something sly and unnatural….It was a cat! A camping cat! A fluffy Persian camping cat on a leash! It was the last thing on earth we were expecting to see. Who goes camping with a white fluffy cat and secures them under a pine tree with a leash and harness? Obviously they never met my cat! Enter the Thundershirt for traveling cats (and maybe dogs too?)
A guest post by Ryan
Chester had to be dragged and coerced into our car in the day we brought him home. Towards the end, we had to coerce him out.
Chester loved traveling more than I think Vanessa or I did. After the first day, he was always the first in the car, and every destination was an adventure. It didn't matter if it was a five minute drive for me to grab a coffee, or a 5,000 km round trip journey. Chester was game. For him, just like it is for me, the journey can be just as fun as the destination.
Together as a family, we have covered thousands upon thousands of kilometres in the car, ferried on lakes and oceans, climbed mountains, and have driven through valleys. In the broiling heat of summer, in the pounding rain, and in the frigid, cruel cold, Chester loved the road.
With tears in my eyes, I wordlessly showed my husband a profile from the Humane Society website, a profile that was nearly two months old. Ryan said "Let's go" and in 15 minutes we were in a small room, palms sweating, toes tapping, waiting to meet the dog who was then called Burke. I burst into tears when he came in the room.
We had found our new dog.
Until that day I had thrived on a lack of spontaneous decisions. A myriad of lists, spreadsheets, and plans dominated my world. I had never done anything that even comes close to the impulsiveness of adopting Chester, but I powerless when it came to love at first sight.
I’d like to say that Chester (nee Burke) was as moved as I was but he initially displayed a cool indifference; a dog used to the easy come, easy go love of the shelter. But when we arrived with a shiny blue collar and new leash to pick him up, he strutted – he absolutely strutted – across the room when the shelter staff told him his new family had arrived. As the emotional volunteers crowded around to say their goodbyes, he raised his proud head and kept his eyes on me the whole time.
We were a family.
Every pet needs a packing list!
In my last post, I gave 7 tips for traveling with your dog. I have put together a packing list for road tripping with your pooch.
Every passionate traveler needs a packing list -both human and canine!
Here's what we always pack for our pets - and sometimes I think we put more effort in making sure their suitcase is in order before our own! Such is the life of a pampered pooch!
Travel safely with your dog
Of all the trips I've taken, some of my absolute favourites have been road trips with my beloved Chester, a now 9 year old black lab mix that my husband and I adopted nearly 5 years ago from our local Humane Society. Chester has come a long way in his travel skills over the years. His first car ride with us - was a reluctant affair, as we had to hoist his rump into the car as we left the shelter! Within 48 hours, however, he was a pro and will now come running at the slightest hint of a ride. We've taken Chester along for over a dozen camping trips, long haul rides to Northern Ontario, and a couple of week-long tours throughout the Canadian Maritimes. Just like travelling with kids, travelling with a dog is a constant learning process. Here's some of the knowledge we've gained along the way!
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