Portland, Maine

Clockwise: One of the working piers the dot Portland's active harbor. Victorian Mansion, an exceptional architectural landmark is complete with original interiors. Fort Gorges, built on Hog Island in Casco Bay. Bottom Left: Designed by artist John Raimondi and built by students at Portland's vocational high school in 1974 the zig zag "Michael" is a modern accent in Portland's quaint Old Harbor.

 
 

Shopping venues in the Old Port are unique and engaging. Seabags offers handcrafted bags made from up-cycled and recycled sails. At David Wood Haberdashery (right) a beautifully curated collection of men's fashion and accessories accompany their custom tailor services.

 

Portland Maine

Our first stop on Commercial Street, in the historic Old Port of Portland Maine, was at David Wood Clothiers, a Haberdashery and purveyor of “Portland Style’ for over 40 years. We wondered if there was a need for bespoke tailoring on the edge of Casco Bay, in a town with a less then 70,000 people. Would the daily influx of cruise ship passengers and tourists be interested in anything other than lobster rolls, souvenir T-Shirts and the briny ambiance of the active piers and charming cobblestone streets? In the spacious and gallery-like Edgecomb Potters, we were instantly curious about the unique glazing on the stunning array of Maine made handcrafted pottery. Famished, at 11 am, and attracted by the aroma emanating from The Standard Baking Co., we stopped for coffee and wonderfully good scones and in a second of shared enlightenment, we realized something was up in this town.

 

The Black Dog General Store, a New England favorite, on Portlands waterfront, is just down the street from Edgecomb Potters, makers of fine pottery in Maine for over 40 years.

 

Shopping Before Art

Discovering the Old Port

From our delight at the modern nautical décor of our rooms at the hip Portland Harbor Hotel to our brief exploration and spontaneous coffee stop we had experienced cosmopolitan verve and quiet sophistication at every turn, and we were just getting started.

The shaded streets in the Old Port are lined with unique shops, interesting restaurants – from the fine to the fun, microbreweries, coffee bars and specialty shops selling local crafts and treats. We headed upward to the interesting and contemporary Portland Museum of Art where we viewed a very insightful and illuminating show of N.C. Wyeth’s work.

 

Wonder the tree lined streets to find exceptional shopping. Top right: A beautiful modern and artistic selection of fine home and fashion accessories at 22 Milk Street and delicious treats at Standard Baking Co. should not be missed during your Old Port Discovery.

 

Craft Cocktails Before Dinner

We ventured on to a late afternoon snack of Duckfat’s poutine, richly topped with their duck confit and shared a milkshake. A waterside walk would be the perfect palate cleanser so we headed over to the wonderful Eastern Promenade where we were tempted by the kayak rentals but chose to enjoy the views, park and fresh air on terra firma.

Later we joined the after-work crowd at The Sagamore Hill Lounge for some craft cocktails and friendly conversation.

 

Craft cocktail at the handsomely appointed Sagamore Hill Lounge.

 

Start With Lobster

World-Class and unique dining experiences await

We were overwhelmed by the wealth of insider tips on the latest attractions and favorite local breweries recommendations. We found an enthusiastic vibe throughout Portland that continued during our excellent dinner at Bluefin North Atlantic Seafood. We found Chef Gil Plaster’s lobster “scargot” and calamari “fries” to be excellent starters to our meal of beautifully prepared fresh Halibut and richly satisfying Cioppino.

 

 

We loved the Lobster Scargot at BlueFin North Atlantic Seafood and the warm and nautical decor in our suite at the Portland Harbor Hotel.

 

Travel back in time

The next day we got back into our Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring and jumped on the Casco Bay Lines ferry to nearby Peaks Island. The Ferry passes the historic Fort Gorges on Hog Island Ledge, a storage facility for submarine mines during World War II. On our brief sea passage, the present seems to fade into another era and once on quaint Peaks Island our time travel had indeed been confirmed. A favorite vacation destination for over a century, Peaks Island’s history is steeped in the arts, culture and military history.

Visitors can stroll across to the island, rent bikes or hire tour guides to see the tree-lined neighborhoods, beaches, visit the historic 5th Maine Regiment Museum or stay harbor side and enjoy a meal and view.

We sat by the sea and walk on the rocky coast during our visit to Peaks Island feeling the full allure of quintessential Maine at its finest.

 

Enjoying Peaks Island, accessible by Casco Bay Lines Ferry. We explored the harbor side, Fifth Maine Regiment Museum and the beautiful beaches and rocky coastline.

 

Picture Perfect Views

At the Black Point Inn

For dinner, we wanted to continue our indulgence in distinctly warm traditions of America’s Vacationland and decided to forgo the thrill of dining at any of the many notable and world-class restaurants in Portland for sunset dining at the stately Black Point Inn in nearby Scarborough.

After sipping a cocktail on the lawn overlooking the bay it was lobster time. Lobster ravioli or lobster roll for the main course, fresh oysters or New England calm chowder for the appetizer? The gourmet comfort food served in the charming and traditional resort-style dining Chart Room on Prouts Neck at the Black Point Inn is picture-perfect, precise and prepared without pretense.

 

Views from the porch at the regal Black Point Inn in Scarborough Maine. Where fine dining is matched with warm service in an extraordinary location.

 

Innovative Portland

Trendsetting and unique shops, breweries restaurants and attractions abound.

Whether you embrace history, tradition or trend, your thirst can be quenched and your curiosity will be heightened with all that there is see and do, in innovative Portland. There are great walks to be had, unique shops to explore, museums and historical sights to discover and stunning vistas to view. Plan a brewery crawl to enjoy Portland’s highly acclaimed craft brewing scene or go by bus with The Maine Brew Bus. The craft brew scene, trendy coffee bars and, energetic cafes and world-class restaurants, that are not to be missed, foster Portland’s hipness. We found that hanging in Portland is a blast and we are anxious to return.  Visit Portland.

 

Portland does coffee and craft breweries with great style - Austin Street Brewery was founded in 2013 and has two locations in Portland. Wall art in the East Bayside neighborhood, home to these three happening hang outs. Rising Tide Brewing Company features a Brewery, tasting room and seasonal Tar Patio. The award wining and visionary owners of Coffee By Design have been at the forefront of the coffee and coffeehouse movement for over 25 years.

 
 

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