Portland, Maine

Any time I'm in Maine I make it my personal mission to eat as much lobster as I can. Think at least once per day - not kidding! I'm fortunate to have plenty of excuses to visit Portland. My husband's family is based there so we make it back a few times a year. Quintessential New England charm but with an edge, Portland has a lot going for it. Tons of good food. Beautiful scenery. Plenty of outdoor activities - paddle boarding, boating, surfing! And not to mention Portland is also serves as a wonderful jumping off point to the many other Maine treasures. I still have a lot to explore myself, but I wanted to share a few highlights from my most recent trip!

Pack... This (obviously) differs dramatically depending on the time of year you are visiting. Let's focus on the summer suitcase since we've still got a few months left! In my suitcase... comfy and classic white sneakers,  layers for the cooler nights, and plenty of dresses for a week of Fourth of July and wedding festivities. And, as always, throw in a bathing suit or two in case you are lucky enough to make it up to a camp on one of the many lakes. 

Sleep... I usually stay with family, but recently spent a few nights at the Westin Portland Harborview which was well located and did the trick. I've heard lovely things about the Press Hotel, which would be my first recommendation to visitors. 

Bring Home... Loot from LL Bean's flagship store in Freeport, a tote from recycled sails made by Sea Bags, a case of Lunch IPA from Maine Beer Company, and some Maine blueberry jam

 

{ EAT }

LOBSTER

Eventide Oyster Co. - Takes the cake for my favorite lobster roll in town. Enjoy with some freshly shucked oysters while sipping a dry rose. Eventide just won a James Beard Award this spring, so prepare for the wait time to match the restaurants popularity. 

Day's Crabmeat & Lobster (Yarmouth)A favorite local spot, this 

Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster (South Freeport) -  Serving lunch from May through October, you can grab a fresh lobster roll and sit on the deck right on the harbor. 

OTHER YUMMY FOOD

Holy Donut - Made from Maine's notorious potatoes, Holy Donuts has a loyal following resulting in long lines each morning - and often selling out by midday. 

Tandem Coffee + Bakery -  Breakfast sandwiches on decadent biscuits, a tempting pastry selection and strong coffee. This hip spot in the West End (one of two locations in town) is located in an old gas station turned laundromat. 

The Honey Paw - I can't get enough of this place. They've got everything I like. Inventive noodle dishes, fresh fish, delicious house baked bread and plenty of spice. 

Miyake - Sushi, dumplings, noodle bowls and fresh salads are basically everything I could ever want in a meal. Go to the Pai Men location for lunch during the week to take advantage of their amazing lunch special. You can choose two selections from four categories (I went with the shojin ramen and house salad -- all for $15!!) 

Porthole - With a huge deck on the water, this casual spot is great for breakfast.

Hugo's - Hugo's seems to be an institution in Portland. It has changed ownership three times but is now flourishing as an upscale, dinner only spot. If you can, snag a seat at the bar to watch your meal being prepared. And if you are feeling adventurous (and have deep pockets), treat yourself to the blind tasting and put your meal entirely into the hands of the chef for a truly special dining experience. 

Scales - Set in a beautiful space with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the harbor. Their bar is a great spot for a cocktail and some oysters. I didn't get a chance to eat, but the seafood-focused menu looks amazing. 

 

 

{ SHOP }

More & Co.  - This cute shop caught my eye with its well-curated selection of Maine-themed clothing and locally made ceramics and textiles. The shop's entire selection rotates every few months keeping inventory fresh and unique. A perfect place to pick up a gift. I wish I'd had a bigger suitcase to bring home some goodies!

Peyote Moon - Committed to thoughtful, slow fashion Peyote Moon stocks some of my favorite, on-trend brands with a mix of new-to-me designers. The kind of store I could spend hours browsing through. Think Mara Hoffman bathing suits, Janessa Leone hats, Beek shoes, Re/Done jeans, and Christy Dawn dresses. Plus the decor could be mistaken for an authentic shop in the wild west.