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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Portland, Maine - Ways To Explore

In mid-July, we packed up the car (and the dogs) and headed north to spend a little bit of time in my favorite New England city - Portland, Maine.  It wasn't my first or even fourth time to Portland and it's a place I never get sick of.  

I guess you could say I love Portland in so many different ways.

I love it in a way that's familiar.  I love walking down Commercial Street to see that very little has changed.  The city never seems to change in some big dramatic ways.  You can still find the cobblestone streets, your favorite restaurant, you can still see the lobster boats docked and you can still walk the promenade on a foggy morning.

I love how much Portland loves food.  Portland was voted the Bon Appetit 2018 Restaurant City of the Year.  It has been rewarded by the New York Post as the top food destination in the country.  Every restaurant is so damn good because in this competitive industry, only the best survive.  I visited in the winter with the sole purpose of eating as much amazing food as I could (with much shorter wait times).  Poutine at Duck Fat, noodles at Honey Paw, the dumplings at BaoBao, the oysters at Eventide - Portland is home to amazing food. This trip to Portland, we stopped at Becky's Diner for a simple yet kick-ass breakfast with water views and at Andy's Old Port Pub for lobster bruschetta - a meal in Portland, Maine is simply a treat.   

I love that Portland knows how to brew.  Portland takes the title of the US city with the most breweries per capita.  Allagash is the big name offering (free!) tastings and some of my favorite beers (Allagash White, I will write you a love letter).  Urban Farm Fermentory offers some crazy concoctions of beer, mead, kombucha and more - all while focusing on locally sourced ingredients.  There are a ton of other breweries and distilleries which means if you want to do a brew tour, Portland Maine is the place to be. 

I love how Portland loves to move.  At the Eastern Promenade, you can take your dog for a walk along the water, stopping to roam at the beach or the off-leash areas.  You can also run the streets or famous running paths.  I was amazed at how many people were out for a run on the Back Cove Trail (a 3.5-mile loop) on an early summer weekday morning.  Gorgeous views, no vehicles, just a perfect path that is sure to be busy with fit and happy Portlandians any day of the week.  

I love how Portland loves dogs.  There are so many dog-friendly restaurants and breweries in the city.  It is comforting to know that there are so many options if you choose to travel with your dog - as I almost always do.  There are also dog parks, walking paths, and even dog-friendly beaches (East Beach even in the summer- early mornings only).  We stayed at Tru by Hilton which was dog-friendly (doggie gift bags included) with no additional fee and would recommend this hotel in a heatbeat.  

I love how Portland has its history.  Portland was first settled in 1632, but due to Indian raids in 1675 and 1690, the white population was wiped out. Major Samuel Moody established a port in 1716 called Falmouth Neck, which finally thrived.  During the War of Independence, the British bombarded and burned Portland which was later rebuilt in 1786.  In 1820, Maine gained independence from Massachusetts and Portland became Maine's capital (in 1827, the more centrally-located Augusta was officially designated the new capital). On July 4, 1866, Portland was destroyed by fire and the city was rebuilt yet again.  Even today, no transatlantic port in the U.S. is closer to Europe than Portland and it’s also America’s 20th-largest fishing port. You can feel some of Maines's history as you watch the lobster boats come in early in the morning or as you walk the old cobblestone streets through the city.  

If you ask me Portland, Maine has something for everyone.  
Food lovers, beer drinkers, beach dwellers, dog owners, history lovers - 
there is something for everyone to see.  

We love you Portland.  Be back soon 

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