Portland to me is the west coast transposed onto New England. With its rocky coast, cool nights, and hipster vibe, it’s definitely as Cali as you get out on the east coast. The food scene was just as good, which, if anyone knows me, puts the town pretty high on my list.
Eventide Oyster Company – legendary casual seafood joint that is super cute and airy, with snackable seafood treats. We ordered the lobster roll (served on a fluffy bao bun!), oyster roll, and a truly delicious brussels sprouts side. Be prepared to wait a bit though, but be sure to enjoy their solid playlist while you wait.
Becky’s Diner – we didn’t go here, as it looked like any old diner from the outside. But we’ve since heard that it’s a local treat and even made a cameo on “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives,” so we’ll be sure to try it out next time!
Street & Co. – located on a quaint cobblestone street, this cozy bistro specializes in local fish fare and has a tremendous linguine w/clams (coming from someone who doesn’t even like clams!).
Holy Donut – listed as one of the 21 Best Donut Shops in America, this shop is known for its handmade donuts made from mashed potatoes ranging in normal flavors (vanilla glazed, lemon glazed) to off the beaten track (maple bacon, chai glazed).
Other restaurants on Eater Magazine’s “18 Essential Maine Restaurants” that we haven’t yet tried but are dying to – Central Provisions, Miyake, Slab Sicilian Street Food, Fore Street, Piccolo, Duckfat, and Lolita.
For drinks, we are sure there are plenty of bars in Portland that are worth exploring. However, on our one scouting trip to Portland, it was -5 degrees out and we popped into the first one we could find. That one was called “Bonfire,” and, to Doug’s delight, was as proper a country bar as one could find. Saddle stools, swings as “benches,” red solo cups (in the shape of pint glasses, shot glasses, and even martini glasses), country music videos, and a self-serve beer card helped complete the theme. And let’s not forget their daily bacon happy hour, with free bacon with every drink…
Lighthouses – There are over 50 lighthouses dotting the Maine coast, and 4 of them can be found close to Portland: Portland Head Light (oldest lighthouse in the state), Portland Bug Light, Cape Elizabeth (home to the Two Lights, East and West), and Spring Point Ledge Light in South Portland.
Eastern Promenade – located at the end of the peninsula in Portland, the “eastern prom” is a 62 acre public park perfect for biking, walking, and picnics.
Breweries – Maine is the unofficial capital of craft breweries on the east coast (at least according to Jenny and Doug). Stop by some national favorites like Allagash Brewery, or go more local with Shipyard Brewing Company and Rising Tide Brewing Company…or any of the 62 other local breweries.
Old Port/Commercial Street – perhaps the most charming part of Portland, the Old Port is one of the most successful revitalized warehouse districts in the country. It’s where a working shipyard meets cobblestone streets lined with restaurants and boutiques…what’s not to love?
And, for those traveling with their 4-legged friends (which has become the focus of our lives these days), the Quarry Run Dog Park is most likely the most amazing place to take your dog, and we’ve traveled far and wide to test this claim! Located just outside downtown Portland, this 7 acre wooded area and play area is completely enclosed, allowing your best friend to explore to his/her heart’s content. And did we mention 20 more acres of unfenced walking trails located behind the run?