I just returned from a blissful week in New England where I attended one of the sweetest weddings ever. We flew from one Portland (Oregon) to another Portland (Maine) and somehow the world did not spontaneously combust. Our friends getting married, Dan and Emily, gave us a great reason to visit this part of the country.

Portland, Maine, can be summed up in one word: adorable. The little farms outside the small town have a rustic beauty that you may only be able to find on the east coast. We’re just to young out west to be able to take a country drive past houses and barns built in the 1800’s. It was so cute, in fact, that we started describing Portland as “aggressively cute” because it was just too much!

The town itself sits next to the calm bay waters of the Atlantic where sailboats come out to play. The restaurants are really great for a town this size, in part because they are catering to weekend vacationers from Boston as well as locals. There are lots of neat shops, a local soda company, and great little snacks like smoked trout salad for easy picnic-making.

We stumbled upon an amazing kitchen shop called Le Roux. They sell a variety of infused oils and aged vinegars. We sampled the 18-year old aged balsamic – love at first sip. We brought back a big bottle, but were happy to see they sell online when we run out. Part of me wants to give this vinegar and one of their infused olive oils as a gift for any future occasion: weddings, hostess gifts, birthdays for my foodie friends, etc. I want to drink this vinegar – it’s that good.

The events leading up to the wedding were carefully planned to show the guests the best of Maine, like enjoying my first ever lobster bake at the rehearsal dinner. To start we had a mixed green salad followed by New England clam chowder. The main plate had lobster, steamer clams (so good!), coleslaw, corn, cornbread and melted butter for dipping. Dessert was strawberry shortcake. I had to roll myself home…

The wedding itself was just beautiful: blissful couple, gorgeous rustic farm setting, delicious local food, an amazing band, homemade Maine blueberry preserves as favors and lots of laughter. It was a level of simple sophistication that is hard to master and not easy to forget.

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Written by Renee Wilkinson