Hiking Maine | Looking for something to do besides shop at Clarks Pond?

Black Friday is coming. The official and frenzied kick-off to the holiday shopping season. While I enjoy shopping, sometimes you just need a break from it all. Nestled amidst the retail stores, and shopping plazas, of the Clark’s Pond area in South Portland, is the Clark’s Pond Trail. An unexpected oasis and peaceful green space where you can unwind.

Until goggling trails in the area one recent Sunday morning,  I never realized it was there even though I had been to this shopping destination many times. The start of the trail is easily accessed by parking in the back of the Home Depot lot, and walking a short distance to the well-marked trail entrance. The trail immediately immerses you in forest quickly leaving the stores behind although the steady buzz of cars never quite goes away and remains as a ready reminder that you’re still in an urban space.

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Photographic Tour through the Western Cemetery in Portland Maine

I am not a photographer but I love to pretend that I am. I compensate from my lack of skills by taking copious amounts of pictures even for the shortest of outings. With this strategy, I’m usually able to find a few pictures that don’t disappoint. It works for me although it still pains my far more skilled at photography brother that I never take my camera off automatic mode. Maybe someday.

So, when I heard that Portland Trails was hosting a Discovery Trek | Fall Foliage Photography tour through the Western Cemetery in Portland, I was quick to sign up. I’d never explored that area of Portland and the promise of tips to help improve my photography skills was added incentive.

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Lunch at El Rayo Taqueria on Free Street in Portland, Maine

Who would have thought that it would be too hot to eat on the outside deck at El Rayo Taqueria in October? Although it was hot, that didn’t dampen our excitement at trying out their new Free Street location in Portland.

I had been to their previous Portland location as well as their one in Scarborough so I knew already that their food is delicious, and I was looking forward to having them back in Portland again. As soon as we walked into the restaurant, we were greeted with warm, festive colors and a casual atmosphere. The front has an order area for takeout behind which is a long wooden bar that draws you towards the back where there is a counter for dine in patrons to order. The space is narrow, but welcoming.

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Hiking Maine | Libby River Farm Trail on a Beautiful Autumn Afternoon

A three-day weekend can only mean one thing – an extra day to go hiking! The weather was beautiful and the fall colors were starting to take hold, so the timing was perfect. We decided to head towards Scarborough and check out one of their trails. There are so many trail networks throughout the state. It’s really wonderful.

After an unsuccessful quest to locate a food truck we were hoping to try out, we decided to hike first and eat later. I had a specific trail in mind, the Libby River Farm trail which brings you to an overlook by the Scarborough marsh. As per usual, I had some difficulty finding the parking area even though this one is extremely well-marked. Fortunately, that was the only getting lost we would experience on this particular hike. The trails themselves are clearly marked and amazingly easy to follow.

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Apple Picking at Apple Acres Farm in Hiram, Maine

Fall brings with it many rituals. Apple picking is one of those activities so when the weather starts to get crisp, and the leaves begin to change, you’ll find me headed to an apple orchard. Things have been a little hectic this year, so I was a little later than usual in venturing to an orchard, but fortunately it’s a fairly long season in Maine and there were still many varieties of applies ripe for picking.

After a hearty breakfast at Krista’s Restaurant in Cornish where I enjoyed a meat lover’s omelet overflowing with filling, my friend and I headed to nearby Apple Acres Farm. As we approached the farm, the neat even rows of apple trees could be seen on each side of the road. The weather was perfect for apple picking and the countryside was starting to show a colorful fall palette making everything especially picturesque.

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