We stopped in Portland Maine twice. For dinner on the way to Grand Manan and for two days on the way back.
Let me just say this - I LOVE PORTLAND MAINE.
Talk about an approachable city. It's a great mix of old and new, big and small, city and nature. You can have stroll on the waterfront and eat a lobster roll and then you can head over to a trendy cocktail bar and have some wonderful housemade infused liquor and a farm to table meal.
My personal favorite was Sonny's. Their cocktail menu was insane and the food was fantastic. I highly suggest planning to walk home or get a cab though. There will be so many good libations you'll want to try that you'll need it.
Varblewicz Factoid 3: It has always been my dream to uproot us and move to New England. You should pretty much plan on this happening at some random point, especially if Gracie plants hersef here.
My other favorite was Otto Pizza. I know you're thinking it - who has pizza on vacation in Maine. Well, we read a review online somewhere that went something like this "I know it's just pizza, so you're thinking 'how good could it really be,' but I'm telling you it was one of the best things I have ever eaten. Ever." So after a quick search to see if they had a gluten free crust (which they do) we were in. And it was totally worth it. Normally I just skip GF pizza - but the guys at Otto really know how to do it. It was the best GF pizza I have ever eaten - crisp, savory (not sweet! Why are GF crust and baked goods always sweet? God I hate that so much.), and not at ALL gummy. In fact, I have not stopped thinking about it since and I am sad that Rochester, NY is not in their delivery radius.
What I like so much about Portland is how walkable it all is. If you have a short bit of time to be there, I suggest splitting your time between Old Port and the Art District.
Old Port will give you Sonny's and awesome shopping like "Deedle's dream house in a Store" Folly 101 and "Matt's personal if-we-were-rich shopper" Joesph's and Loyal Citizens.
When you're in the Art Disrict hanging out with the kids from the Maine College of Art you can stop for a drink at Local 188 (Sonny's sister restaurant it turns out), find a bunch of record stores, and then you HAVE to stop at The Merchand Co for GREAT local and vintage shopping. Say hi and give a pet to Company if he's around.
Other Deedle-approved places from the visit for eating (because you know that's really why I travel):
- Nosh Kitchen Bar - sandwiches on salad for us GF nerds and fantastic casual atmosphere
- The Good Egg - AMAZING breakfast with GF toast
- Creama Coffee - even though I got snippy with Matt about how this one is in the middle of nothing - they have amazing espresso
- Downeast Beverage Co. - beer, wine, liquor - you want it they have it all in one tiny store
- Public Market House and K Horton Specialty Foods - you're going on a picnic or you want to actually find that local delicious cold-pressed hard cider everyone is serving on tap. You find it here.
It was an amazing couple of days in Portland - and I threatened Matt that I may refuse to get in the car and come home. I honestly loved it that much - it has a great Ithaca vibe, is a few short hours from my beloved Boston, and is right next to the ocean. Win, win, win.
Other Portland resources I highly suggest checking our for other reccomendations:
- Design Sponge City Guide for Portland - I use these city guides as starting places almost every time we travel
- Soule Mama on Alpha Mom - a great resource if you're taking kids
- NYT 36 hours - always a great resource for domestic adventures
- Ness - a restaurant website app for your phone. It's been or favorite go-to lately