Once we’d decided that snowboarding really wasn’t going to be a good idea, and we’d booked ourselves some accommodation in Waterbury for a couple nights, we were left with a few more days to fill. Somewhere between Vermont and Boston. Jim suggested we go and see Maine, and as it’s somewhere I’ve always fancied going to I jumped at the chance. After a little googling we settled on the town of Portland.
As we’d picked up a car to get to Waterbury Jim drove us down to Portland, taking the scenic route from Vermont, through New Hampshire and in to Maine, through the White Mountain National Forest – or what we dubbed ‘summer camp’ territory. I am so glad we decide to take the long way round and not the motorways as it was such a pretty drive. I am also glad that the snowfall had been as terrible as it had or it might not have been as much fun. Also, we’d decided we needed road trip junk food, but could we see a diner or anything that wasn’t a Maccy D’s or a Dunkin Donuts? Nope. New England, your lack of junk food upset us.
After finding our Airbnb we headed out for some really delicious dim sum at a cute little restaurant across the road from the apartment, chosen mostly as we could see it from our bedroom window.
After a gloriously sunny drive to Portland, our first day in the town was a different matter. It was a day full of snow flurries and cold winds. After a breakfast consisting of Lucky Charms, juice and some catching up on American politics and adverts about medicine that could kill you, we headed out to make a plan and find Jim a coffee.
Somehow, at 11am, we ended up taking an unexpected walking tour of some local craft beer breweries in the snow.
Our first stop of the day was to the Shipyard Brewery, which we ducked in by chance to get out of the snow, and ended up sampling pretty much all their beers, getting some great bar and restaurant tips from the excellent staff there and being set off on our mini brewery tour.
Our mini tour saw us taking in a few of the breweries downtown including Rising Tide where we had a salty sea water beer and Oxbow Brewing which has the coolest decor. The day also involved the worlds most expensive salad from Whole Foods and some bar snacks for dinner. We started our bar snacks tour at The Little Tap House,which was right next to our apartment, as they do a $5 local beer and bar snack offer!
Our second day in Portland was a return to the bright blue skies we’d driven over in, and officially, Lighthouse Day! As it was so wonderfully bright and I was up super early again I took a little wander round the town with my camera before we started on our day out. Who can resist taking pictures of a mint and pint lobster hut?
You can tell it’s a summer town really though as a lot of the shops don’t open before April, which was kind of annoying because it looked like it had some lovely places to shop. Also, none of the lobster huts were actually open!
I’d read about Holy Donut on a guide to Portland and as I turned to go home it was right in front of me so I had to pop in for treats for our day. The doughnuts are made from potatoes which apparently makes them healthier, but I honestly couldn’t tell, which you know, with a doughnut, is a good thing right?
As it’s part of New England, unlike some of the other places I have visited in American Portland has its fair share of old houses and buildings, and it seems really proud of the history, with plaques and banners across the town letting you know that the buildings have some history. Our row of houses had a plaque themselves.
We spent the rest of the day driving round the coast looking at Lighthouses and taking in some of the islands up the coast from Portland and Falmouth. More to come on that later this week.
That evening we decided to take the advice of the bartender in the Shipyard brewery and headed out to some of the local happy hours. Our first stop was for cheap cocktails and we ended up staying for a few more than we should have, after getting chatting to some locals. Then we hit up a proper dive bar for $3 ‘well drinks’ (G&T’s all round?) and finished off a slightly drunken evening visiting Arcadia – a video games bar where Jim indulged in playing some super old games.
So, there you have it, our 3 days in Portland, Maine. It might not have the hype that the other Portland has, but we loved out time there! And it was awesome to be by the sea for a few days too. Tune in later in the week for some of the lighthouses we visited, and next week for our final stop on the holiday – Boston.
Travel Info – where we stayed, how we got about, that sort of stuff;
Where we stayed – our Airbnb was an apartment in the centre of Portland in a row of historic townhouses. It was a great location to walk POrtland and it had a parking space too.
How we got about – We drove to Portland from Vermont through the mountains. It was a beautiful drive and way better than taking the motorways we thought. In Portland we walked round the town but drove to the out of town locations, so we’re not sure what the public transport is like.