My Maine Top 10 ~ #6 Portland

Series Introduction:  After years of giving recommendations to friends visiting my home state of Maine, I decided to spend a little time compiling my favorites here. My Top 10. Some places are directly on the beaten path, others are not. I try to include something for every traveller but if you’re going to Maine, expect a lot of the great outdoors. If you must shop, do it at local stores and support Maine’s eclectic entrepreneurs.

I love Maine and the people who live there. All of the places I’m listing in the Top 10 I would recommend to my friends and family. If you have additional recommendations, please leave a note in the comments. I’d love to share as much of this great state as possible. Cheers! ~ Hannele


 #10: Moosehead Lake Region (previously blogged)

#9: The Southern Beaches: Kennebunk & Ogunquit (previously blogged)

#8: Baxter State Park (previously blogged)

# 7 Reid State Park (previously blogged)

 #6 is all about the great city of Portland!

Portland, Maine’s largest city and port, is a foodie’s paradise. Home to a myriad of independent restaurants and breweries, scenic ocean views and vibrant arts district, this small, lovable city has a special place in my heart.

My home away from home here is located in the city’s West End, the Inn on Carleton Street. This B&B is lovely in every way – comfortable rooms, friendly innkeepers, warm cookies, afternoon tea and a homemade breakfast that won’t quit. The location is quiet and convinient, you can walk to the Old Port from the Inn in about 10 minutes. Also nearby are the Maine College of Art and Portland Museum of Art which are the anchors to the vibrant arts community. Galleries, historic homes, active theaters and a rich local artist scene all add to Portland’s appeal to collectors and art-lovers.


Down on the docks in the Old Port


As far as green space and trail networks, there are plenty. The Eastern Promenade and connecting walking/bicycling trails offer stunning harbor views, a dog friendly beach and public boat launch. Portland Trails, a non-profit urban land trust, maintains and protects a number of trails in Portland. All of their trails are mapped out and categorized by type on their website.


Eastern Promenade

East End Beach


Food: Where do I begin? The farm to table movement is big here, which I love. For the past few years, I haven’t visited Portland without a trip to my favorite wood-fired pizza place, The Flatbread Company. They use locally sourced ingredients, have unique pizza combinations and are worth the wait for a table. Like sushi? Try Miyake on Fore street or if you prefer Japanese noodles visit their sister restaurant, Pai Men Miyake. I’ve heard great things about Grace, which serves American inspired cuisine in a renovated, historic church. Fore Street is a classic, well-loved farm to table establishment with a menu that changes daily based on what’s available. For vegetarian fare, the Green Elephant is delicious. Lastly, my favorite brunch locale is The Front Room in the East End neighborhood. They have a Veggie Gnocchi dish that’s to die for and a cozy interior making it a perfect neighborhood eatery.


The Front Room


Beverage: If you like beer, you could plan a whole vacation following the Maine Beer Trail around the state, many of the stops are in the Portland area – Shipyard, Sea Dog, Gritty’s just to name a few. Another place I love is In’finiti, a brewery and distillery! Oh, and they have great food and happy hour specials. If you’re looking to experiment with non-alcoholic drinks, check out the new Vena’s Fizz House, where they make homemade sodas and concoctions with natural ingredients.

While you’re in Portland, I highly recommend a drive to Fort Williams Park and Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth. I was there recently and wrote about the park in this Photo of the Week post. It is a beautiful spot for a picnic, flying a kite and watching the tides roll in.


Portland Head Light

Fort Williams Park

Foggy morning at Portland Head Light, Cape Elizabeth


Extra Credit: Take a day trip to one of the Casco Bay Islands. Peaks Island is probably the most popular and convenient to get to with frequent ferry service. You can rent bikes or kayaks, laze around on the beach or take a golf cart tour.

Disclaimer: The recommendations I give in this post are personal, I’m not receiving any kick back from mentioning them. 

Did I miss something? Share your suggestions in the comments section!



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Frank Loiko The Belgrade lakes region is no. 1 in my book.

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