Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Portland, ME (a cozy city)

I just had one of the loveliest weekends in a very long while.  John and I took a trip to Portland, Maine to see one of his childhood (teenagehood?) friends marry one very lovely lady.  I have lived in New England for 17 years.  Somebody please tell me how I made it all this time without visiting Maine?

Portland is the largest city in Maine and unbelievably charming.  Cobblestone streets, brick buildings, delicious food, and lighthouses.  So cozy.

I had such a good time that I forgot to take any pictures, but here's what the streets of Old Port look like:

{Photo via Google}

We eschewed the usual hotel joints and opted to stay at a B&B called Morrill Mansion.  Again, charmant.  Morrill Mansion is an 1800s era townhouse that now functions as an inn.  It's small and quiet, located in the heart of Portland's West End district.  There are seven rooms available, homemade peanut butter squares, a huge DVD collection, and...wait for it....WIRELESS INTERNET.  John and I stayed in the Burnham Room, located on the second floor next to the snacks :).  As an added bonus, our innkeeper David was respectful, nice and full of good recommendations.

Everything I had heard and read about Portland prior to visiting indicated that it is a huge foodie city.  I saw and ate nothing that would indicate otherwise.  If you go, I think you should very seriously consider going to Fore Street Restaurant for dinner.  Fore Street believes that "good food travels the shortest possible distance between the farm and the table", and their menu changes daily based on what is available that day from a community of Maine farmers, fishermen, and cheesemakers.  I feel like Boston hasn't quite caught on to the farm-to-table movement yet, so this was a good opportunity for us to experience some local cuisine.  I had sardines to start, John Dory for a main(e) course, and a peach shortcake/trifle-type thing for dessert.  John had a tomato salad to start, roasted chicken as an entree, and a chocolate tart for dessert.  It sounds so simple, but I do not have the time nor the words to describe the complexity of this dinner to you.  That said, it's a great place for dinner.  A word to the wise- go with a reservation.  We went without and ended joining a line of people outside the restaurant who were waiting to be put on the wait list.  I think we ate at 5:45, which is prime senior citizen time if I'm not mistaken.

On Sunday it was raining, so we headed out to the Freeport Outlets.  This is, as the name indicates, an outlet mall.  It's also the place of the original L.L. Bean.  Sadly, we left with no fuzzy slippers or monogrammed backpacks, but rest assured--it's all there if you need it!

The wedding was pretty awesome.  Our friends know how to throw a pretty epic party.  Their reception was held at Grace Restaurant.  The restaurant is housed in a renovated church and there are high arches and wood beams, stained glass windows, and a bar where the pews are supposed to be.  The kitchen is on the altar.  The DJ spun where the organist sits, and we danced the night away under the watch of some higher being. ;)

We got on the road pretty early the next day, but not without making a stop at Portland Dry Goods Co. for a few souvenirs.  I wanted to take everything in the store home with me, but since I am on a budget, I ended up with some Portland-made earrings.  John ended up with a pretty sweet Western-style shirt.  We didn't get to visit the Portland harbor islands, but this just means that we will have to make a return trip.

I would highly recommend a weekend in Portland if you have never been.  It was such a nice respite from our daily life.  I imagine it would be pretty awesome in the colder months as well--fewer tourists!

1 comment:

erin said...

this post nearly made me spit up my coffee. hooray! you're back!