Where should you go if you want Lobster for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; a pre-civil war history lesson; the beach in the summer and apple orchards in the fall? Portland, Maine!
Yes, along the southern coast of Maine and situated on Casco Bay, Portland has become quite the popular spot. And understanding why is not too hard; there is something for everyone in Portland.
Bon Appétit Magazine named Portland, “Foodiest Small Town in America” for its innovative restaurants and growing number of award-winning chefs. In 2003, the National Historic Trust honored Portland by naming it one of its “Dozen Distinctive Destinations” due to the city’s enjoyable natural, historic, aesthetic, recreational, and cultural experiences. Even the Advocate has endorsed Portland as the “3rd Gayest City in the US”.
Children of all ages can play, learn and enjoy the Maine capital. A day trip to the Maine Wildlife Park, a visit to one of the state’s many fairs and festivals that cater to active kids and family, or a trip to one of the coast’s pristine sandy beaches will keep everyone entertained.
For a city established in 1632, it is a well-blended mixture of modern and timeless. Back in the day, the port of Portland was a major hub for shipping and trading companies. Today, The Old Port is a quaint, Victorian district of shops and restaurants in restored commercial buildings.
Getting around in Portland is super easy. The airport is a mere five minutes from town and hotels are along the waterfront. You can walk, you can take a bus, you can ride a train, or you can go by car. Figuring out what not to do on a visit to Portland is the hardest problem you are going to have.
Take any one or more of a number of cruises around the Portland Harbor or Casco Bay. You can catch lobsters with Lucky Catch or view whales, seals and/or dolphins with Odyssey. You can also enjoy a 2-hour sail in a vintage schooner from either of the sail or schooner companies.
There are several lighthouses within the greater Portland area that are accessibly by car. Spring Point Ledge Light and Portland Breakwater Light are both located in South Portland. Spring Point Ledge Light is open to visitors on weekends during the summer and Portland Breakwater Light (also known as Bug Light) is located in a park which used to house the Liberty Ships shipyard during WWII and has an interesting exhibit.
Where to Stay in Portland
Hilton Garden Inn Portland Downtown Waterfront
Great location to the Old Port and walking distance to everything downtown.
The Inn at St. John
A great little inn with big value. The service is great, breakfast is plentiful, and And for Boston Red Sox fans – the minor league team practices just a block away.
Old Orchard Beach Inn
Beautiful and comfortable, this inn is a perfect summer spot. There’s something special about a Bed & Breakfast stay.
Where to Eat in Portland
Gilbert’s Chowder House
Eat where the local’s go for the best “chowda” and lobster rolls around. Gilbert’s is as affordable as it is delicious and that is saying a lot! Eat outside on the deck for a waterfront view.
Bar Lola has a really creative, multi-course tasting menu that is fresh, fabulous and fun. This quaint restaurant on the East end of Portland has become a foodie favorite.
What else can you do in Portland? Later this week, I’ll share with you an itinerary for 36 Hours in Portland.