A quick “what I did on my summer vacation” recap. My husband’s parents live in Maryland and most summers we take our summer vacation to visit them at their home. This year they planned a trip to Little Sebago Lake in Maine to visit the rest of the extended family, so we decided to spend time with them there and see the rest of the extended family as well. My husband’s sister and her family came too so the kids had fun cousins to play with as well. Happiness for all.
You can’t go to Maine without having a Lobster feast. I think it’s in the constitution for the state of Maine.
We had a couple of rainy days and one of them we took a trip into Portland. Portland is a beautiful old city on a wharf. I love driving through Cape Elizabeth to see the Portland Head Lighthouse.
While in Portland we did a little bit of family history research. (Have you ever watched the show Who Do You Think You Are where famous people trace their family history and visit some of the locations where their ancestors lived? I love that show. We had some of those moments.) My mother-in-law’s grandparents emigrated from Italy in the early 20th Century and settled in the Portland area. Both of her parents were born in the US but her grandparents were true Italians to the point where they never even really spoke English. She recently wrote a story for my girls about visiting her Italian grandmothers as a child. We decided it would be fun to go find the homes where they lived.
We knew one home was there – a little 3 bedroom cape colonial where the family raised 9! children in a neighborhood in South Portland. The other home was a 19th-century appartment building in downtown Portland and we weren’t sure if it would still be there. My mother-in-law gave us the address and described the building and we found it! We also found the church across the street where Rosina Aliberti went to mass every morning. And the best part was that the street was decorated with red, green and white pennants in preparation for the Italian street festival that weekend! It was so fun to feel the Italian flavor of this part of Portland where my husband’s great-grandmother lived and where his grandfather grew up. We loved it!
Finally, we also spent a day with extended family in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I think that Portsmouth is one of my favorite places to visit ever. SO beautiful and picturesque. My husband’s parents are from here and were high school sweethearts at Portsmouth High School. They lived in Portsmouth the first few years that my husband and I were married and we visited them a bunch of times. If you ever plan a trip to New England, visit Portsmouth. Quintessential New England all in one stop.
We spent a day at the beach at Newcastle Commons with extended family, including my husband’s grandma – my kids’ great-Nonna. I have the fondest memories of Portsmouth and staying with my husband’s Italian grandparents. His grandfather has since passed away, but we were able to spend time with Nonna and I think she thoroughly enjoyed watching her posterity play at the beach. We wish we could see her more.
Also in Portsmouth we drove past one of my favorite homes (picture above) where one of the ancestors of my father-in-law lived. His family has lived in Portsmouth 10-12 generations! This house is on Newcastle island and was started in 1647! I’m always tempted to knock on the door and claim it through the family line. Think they’d turn it over to us?
Portland Head Lighthouse, Cape Elizabeth, Maine
So a great trip was had by one and all. I wish we could pull it off every summer.