Best Winery in Maine: Pairings, Tastings, and Tours

cellardoor winery in lincolnville, Maine

Just above Camden, in Lincolnville, Maine, thrives a winery with the most beautiful vineyard and venue that offers the best tasting, pairing, and tour experiences. Every Sunday during the summer months, Cellardoor Winery offers a free wine tasting and cuisine pairing experience that is simply delightful. Through collaboration with Fiore, a local artisan olive oil and vinegar company, these two businesses create a culinary experience that is both delicious and entertaining.

cellardoor winery wine tasting in lincolnville, Maine

After indulging in this delectable tasting, the most spry and fashionable lady will take you on a tour of the property to include the history of this winery as well as its expansion over the years. She is full of energy and whit that keeps you entertained the entire time. You will end the tour in the cellar where she explains the importance of winemaking techniques and how they affect the taste of each bottle.

cellardoor winery wine tasting in lincolnville, Maine

Once you give your thanks to this kind lady, browse their shop then stroll through the vineyard at the base of the hill. You could also enjoy a glass of pinot noir on the back patio with a gorgeous view of the green rolling hills and wildflowers that Maine is so well known for during the summer season.

wine tasting in a green vineyard

I stumbled upon this winery while searching for things to do near Camden, Maine. Never did I suspect that this experience would become one of the highlights of my coastal Maine road trip, but it surely did, and I highly encourage you to visit.

Happy Travels,

Katie

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The Best Restaurants in San Juan, Puerto Rico that You Will Love!

Everyone knows that good food is key to a good vacation. I lived in San Juan for 2 years, and recently went back to visit. My favorite restaurants have changed over time, and I’m going to share some hidden gems with you that are worth a visit!

Pinky’s

This fun little spot is worth a visit for great breakfast! Now located in Ocean Park, Condado, and Santurce, Pinky’s is popular with tourists and locals alike! Frothy lattes and fresh fruit smoothies also make Pinky’s a great place to catch up with friends. Because space is limited and waiting for seating can take a while, you can always choose to take your bagel or breakfast sandwich to-go and head to the beach! Their newest location at La Marqueta in Condado will allow you to enjoy breakfast with a view of the Ocean if you go after 11am.

La Marqueta

A fun atmosphere, oceanview, and great music make this food court in Condado worth checking out. The food is a little overpriced for the quantity in my opinion, but the atmosphere makes it worth trying at least once.

Bistro Cafe

Famous for some of the most incredible coffees and massive portions, this café in Isla Verde is one of a kind. Except, actually they just opened a second location in Miami, but for good reason. From glitter lattes to mocha frappes with waffles on top, Bistro’s coffees are mind-blowing! Many people love the brunch here, so go early, sit at the coffee bar, or make a reservation. The menu is so big that it is easier just to find a picture you like on their Instagram or Google page and show it to your server.

Areyto

We celebrated my birthday dinner here last-minute, and I was so glad we did! This small restaurant offers delicious Puerto Rican cuisine in an intimate atmosphere. I got the stuffed chicken, and it was incredible. The menu varies from chicken to steak and seafood to satisfy any preferences in your party.

Denko Asian Eatery

If you are looking for a fun way to spend an evening, head over to Distrito T Mobil on a weekend for tasty food, bright lights, and live music. Denko was undoubtedly the best Asian cuisine I found on the island. Most dishes can be split by ordering 2 meats and one side like noodles or rice, but they also offer single dishes as well.

Bocca Osteria Romana

Although on the pricier side, this restaurant is where you will find delicious homemade pasta and Italian dishes. I ordered the roast veal, and am still thinking about it to this day! They offer the traditional 5-course Italian menu, but you are welcome to order a la carte however you wish.

I hope this helps you find some delicious food while visiting Puerto Rico.

Click HERE for my favorite things to do while vacationing in Puerto Rico!

Happy Travels,

Katie

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Ziplining in Puerto Rico at Toro Verde

Tucked away in the mountains of Orocovis, Puerto Rico sits the longest zipline in the Americas and the 2nd longest zipline in the world. This activity is one for the books, and it is also about the closest you’ll ever get to actually flying. The Monster line is not like other ziplining experiences, as you…

Best Hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico

*This post is pre-covid. To plan your Puerto Rico vacation with me, keeping up with new regulations and up-to-date information, visit my travel planning page.

This year, my husband and I moved from Georgia to Puerto Rico, and we spent the first couple months living in hotels. In this post, I’ll cover some of the best hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico that we stayed at as well as the difficulties we experienced at each. I personally believe that we found the best hotel for exploring the San Juan, Puerto Rico area, and I saved the best for last.

Disclaimer: Our budget was around $200/ night at Christmas time. This excludes most San Juan resorts and most hotels in Old San Juan. So, let’s get started!

hilton balcony

Tres Palmas Inn

Located in Ocean Park, Tres Palmas Inn is a comfortable, Spanish-style hotel located right on the water. Although the hotel is technically on the “beach,” in the winter, the water comes close to the road, and is not exactly much to look at compared to other beaches close by. If you prefer smaller, local hotels versus large convention-style accommodations, then you could consider Tres Palmas. The breakfast is simple, but plenty, including cereal, bagels and cream cheese, boiled eggs, fruit, cheese, coffee and juices. The selling point for me was the rooftop hot tub. Cleaned daily, and smelling of chlorine (a very important feature to me), this hot tub was hardly used by anyone else. My husband and I would climb the stairs each night and watch the Christmas season fireworks light up the sky.

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ROOM: Our room was stocked with a mini-fridge, lock box, hangers, a dresser, and a flat screen TV. The room did however lack an ironing board and iron, which was a little inconvenient. Guests can check out beach chairs, towels, and even boogie boards. The first three nights, we stayed in a king room, but on the last night, we stayed in a room with 2 double beds. I preferred the 2 double beds to the king as the room was more spacious. This hotel has a small pool and plenty of seating areas to wind down at night, but most daily activities will be done elsewhere as this is not a resort property.

LOCATION: This hotel is beach front, but it is near probably the least desirable beach in the Condado/ Ocean Park area. Restaurants and pharmacies are not within walking distance, and UBER is necessary for every outing. The good news is that UBER is very cheap in Puerto Rico, making the price of this hotel and the amount of transportation you will use an affordable combination. They also have limited street parking if you decide to rent a car. I loved “living” at this hotel as I loved the style and facilities, but it is probably in the worst location of the three I’m mentioning in this post for a week of vacationing. The immediate area is nice, with impressive beach mansions, it will just require an Uber to get literally anywhere.

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PRICE: The pricing of this hotel is average for the area and fair considering it offers daily breakfast and water-front property.

SERVICE: Each staff member was kind and helpful at this hotel. The rooms were efficiently cleaned each day.

The Condado Plaza Hilton

Right in the heart of San Juan’s vacation hub is the Condado Plaza Hilton. This waterfront hotel has resort grounds that are breathtaking. Two large pools, a hot tub, and beach access with umbrellas and chairs make it easy never to leave the hotel except for maybe a nice dinner. I spent my mornings enjoying my favorite part of this hotel, which was the outdoor seating area where I watched the waves crash against the rocks. It had a Hawaiian lava rock feel, and truly should be made into a post card.

hilton balcony 2
ROOM: This room was renovated. It was called a “King with Deluxe Bathroom,” and the bathroom truly was exquisite with a large wardrobe and glass shower. The wardrobe had a coffee maker, iron, lock box, and mini fridge. We stayed in the main tower, which appeared to have been updated more recently than the adjacent tower. However, the impressive gym and second pool/ hot tub are at the second tower and are hardly crowded at all. This resort is a great fit if your main goal is to relax by the pool or the beach for the majority of your stay in Puerto Rico.

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LOCATION: This hotel is on the Condado Lagoon and practically on its own small, bay beach. A company on the lagoon offers paddle board and kayak rentals on the other side of the bridge. This hotel has its own parking garage and valet. There are limited food options nearby, including the pricey hotel restaurant called Café Caribe, a 24/7 Denny’s, Starbucks, and La Marqueta. Denny’s is literally at the hotel, and is good, but can be slow. You can order takeout by phone, and pick it up for a quicker option. La Marqueta is a trendy outdoor food court with an awesome vibe. The quesadillas are delicious for lunch, but each vendor tends to run out of food by 5pm, turning this into a better spot for drinks rather than dinner. A 15-minute walk further into Condado will bring you to more food options, but all will be crowded at peak tourist seasons, so be sure to either reserve a table or be willing to wait.

PRICE: For now, the prices of this hotel are excellent compared to resorts nearby. They have waived the resort fee of $30/ day, and I’m assuming that is because repairs are still taking place. But really, the only thing I recognized that was not fully functional were the tennis courts and lagoon deck area at the second tower. The pools, beach, and seating areas appeared to be completely restored. The towers are missing some paint on the outside, but the inside looks back to normal. Parking is valet or self-park in a garage, and is $25 a day.

SERVICE: The front desk service was always kind; however, this hotel seemed understaffed. I would call the front desk, but no one would answer. When they finally did answer, guest services would ask me to call the next morning as they were very busy. Housekeeping was exceptional, and our rooms were always clean.

Tropica Beach Hotel

This hotel truly felt like home after we finished staying here. It is relatively new, a few years old, and I didn’t realize how conveniently located it was until we arrived. Tropica Beach Hotel is also in Ocean Park like Tres Palmas, but the beach it’s near is nicer. This hotel is also more conveniently located to great restaurant options. Ocean Park’s food and bar scene is on Calle Loiza, which is only one street over from this Tropica. From Mexican to Korean Barbecue to local Puerto Rican cuisine, this street has it all.

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BUT, if you decide to stay at Tropica, do try the restaurant right outside your hotel door. Dulcesalado shares the building with Tropica and offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner Tuesdays-Fridays and brunch and dinner on the weekend. They also have a coffee shop to the right of the restaurant as well as a beer garden outside. Our favorite dinner was the Chicken Piallard Salad with the Avocado Salad side. Their Mushroom Soup Burger also has great flavor, and so we rotated between the two dishes. For breakfast, I often would get an omelet with an almond milk cappuccino. They have more elaborate dinner options if you want to splurge such as fried lobster, skirt steak, and shrimp mofongo.

tropica food

ROOM: We stayed in the King Deluxe room. This room is literally as big as a studio apartment. It has a spacious closet, seating area, and large restroom. They also moved us to a double room one night while the power was out and the generators connected to the other tower. The double room was still functional, especially for a vacation. Obviously, it was much smaller, but the only notable difference was a clothing rack instead of a closet. The King Deluxe is also very open, as in there is no door to the bathroom or shower. That was no issue for us, but could be awkward to share with a friend. Each room has a Roku TV with Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, etc. as long as you have a subscription. This hotel also offers guests steamers, beach chairs, towels, and bikes for checkout, although I would be a bit nervous to bike anywhere.

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tropica room 2

tropica room

LOCATION: This hotel is close to restaurants, a Walgreens, and a Super Max grocery store. Because an UBER to Condado and even Old San Juan is so cheap, I really enjoyed this hotel location. I feel like you get to retreat from the busyness of the city. Parking is valet and $13 per day, but if you are vacationing, it is likely that you won’t need parking.

PRICE: The prices for this hotel are normal for this area. However, it does seem that they are having a “Keep it Tropica Special” right now.

SERVICE: The service here is great. The hotel is fairly small so you will always be able to find guest services to help. They also use Whatsapp to communicate, so you can just send them a text if you need anything.

tropica outdoor seating

tropica hallway

Happy travels!

-Katie