Portland, ME: The “Maine” Event!

Ahhhh, Portland Maine:  a whirlwind of savoring all the city had to offer (A LOT), thanks in large part to Phoenix-expat-and-now-Portland-resident-friend Sue, who took multiple days to welcome us and direct us to all the good stuff! What can you expect in Portland, Maine?


Iconic Lighthouses by the Dozen

Portland Head Light, Maine’s oldest, is the most photographed in the world!

 (Side note, commissioned by George Washington himself)

More:  Bug Light, Spring Point Ledge, Two Lights


Commercial Street and Downtown Harbor

Working waterfront wharves, ocean excursions, converted warehouses and the rich sea air

More: craft brewery tours, history walking tours, whale watching excursions


Strolling Old Port

Quaint New England feel, ancient cobblestone streets, bricked XIX-century buildings, boutique shopping and tons of craft-brewery-and-distillery offerings

More: Shipyard Brewing Company, DiMillo’s Old Port Marina, Rising Tide Brewing Co.


Craggy Cliffs and Beautiful Beaches

Sandy beaches, shale rock jetties, seagulls, salt water, and all the beauty of the Atlantic

More:  South Portland, Willard Beach, Two Lights Area


Seafood Pulled from the Ocean Just A Hot Minute Ago

Harbor Fish Company has all the goodness and it’s just thatttt fresh,

thanks to constant drop-offs from area fishermen and trappers.

More: Portland Lobster Company, Two Lights Lobster Shack, Bayley’s Lobster Pound 

(formerly Fishermen’s Co-op), Eventide Oyster Co.


Ferry to Nearby Casco Bay Islands

There are hundreds of islands surrounding Portland, and six with regular ferry service.  Arrive at Peaks Island and grab a bike (pay with the honor system) to ride or stroll its 4-mile circumference.

More:  Great Diamond Island, Long Island


Retail Therapy 

Sea Bags are unique “statement” shopping bags made from old retired sales.

They can be purchased at multiple towns in Maine, but only at the original Portland location can you see them actually being made!

More: Uncommon Paws for handmade pet accessories (Sprinkles got a Lucky Charm collar!),

Abacus Gallery, many stores in Old Port


Foodie Fare

A serious foodie destination, with old standbys and bold newcomers offering something for every palate.  Gilbert’s Chowder House had us swooning with their namesake soup and famous bright red hot dogs.


Otto Pizza, with unique ingredients such as a butternut squash, ricotta and cranberry pizza

Central Provisions, how about sea urchin crudo and crab and waffles

Duckfat, known for their Belgian fries made in duck fat (go figure)


Buzz-Worthy Baked Goods

Holy Donuts, with its cult-like following, hand-makes its donuts using potato flour.

The line is around the block at all hours of the day.

More:  Standard Baking Company or Scratch for breads and baked goods, Two Fat Cats for fresh berry pie, Beals for homemade ice cream


Outdoor Recreation Under Bright Sunny Skies

In nearby Scarborough, the state’s largest saltwater marsh is teeming with wildlife and dreamy kayaking routes at high tide

 More: Biking or hiking the Eastern Trail Bike Path, a 65-mile section of the East Coast Greenway which will eventually connect Maine to Key West, FL!


History and Prominence

Portland has 200 years of history to explore, including South Portland’s Memorial to the Liberty Ships, where during four short round-the-clock years in WWII, 266 emergency cargo vessels were built for Britain and the U.S.

More:  Victoria Mansion, Wadsworth-Longfellow House, Underground Railroad Place Markers


Public Art and Culture Galore

Concerts, art shows, farmers markets and more are sprinkled throughout parks all through the city.

Portland’s parks were designed by the same fellas who designed New York’s Central Park, so you know they’re beautiful!

More:  Portland Museum of Art, Congress Street, Arts District


Eastern and Western Promenades

a.k.a. Real Estate You Can’t Afford

You might not be able to afford to own here, but green spaces and public trails with breathtaking views on both ends of the city let you act like you do.


Location, Location, Location

Portland’s peninsula is an easy distance to a wide variety of wonderful towns just a short drive away.

More: Freeport (iconic LL Bean flagship store)

Ogonquit (Marginal Way Coastal Walk,

with gorgeous mansions on one side and the crashing waves on the other)

Kennebunkport and Wells Beach

Portsmouth, NH

(Avoid: Old Orchard Beach, an almost exact copy of the Jersey Shore with a million people and a cheesy carnival atmosphere)



We thought Oregon was dog-friendly until we came to Maine.  Dogs are along for the ride anywhere and everywhere in Maine (even touristy things like trolley rides and boat tours)! It’s a canine lovefest and Sprinkles’ dream come true … she gets to go EVERYWHERE!



Lobster, lobster, and more Maine lobster!  It’s everywhere, it’s cheap, it’s fresh, it’s addictive.  Lobster rolls eaten at an outdoor picnic table right on the ocean …. one of the “Maine” reasons to love Maine!


We were so blessed to have Sue guiding our travels, and just a small portion of her advice is here in this blog.  Visit Portland for at least 4 days to hit the high notes — a week or more would be better!


Maine has been definitively added to our very-short-list of places we could spend an entire summer, so we’ll no doubt return some day! Now, on to Mount Washington, New Hampshire, which continues to hold the world record wind gust … can you guess the speed?  Tune in to the next installment of Charming Adventures to find out!


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