I was planning for a week long home exchange with my friends in Brooklyn to see Austin, Kate and baby Jude, when my friend, Val and I were chatting about how we both wanted to see Maine. So, she, and my friend/neighbor Jan, came over one night and we all sat on our laptops and made plane, car, airbnb and hotel reservations for a 4 night stay in Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine…followed by a week in NYC/Brooklyn.
Lots of planning to do, which I love! As our plane was taking off we enjoyed the exploding 4th of July fireworks…a metaphor for our 11 day adventure!
We arrived in Maine early on the 5th and hit the ground running. Our rental car agent recommended a cute place for breakfast, Hot Suppa. It was good, I’d recommend. We couldn’t get into our airbnb until 2, the forecast for the following day was rain, so we thought we’d roam around the Old Port and check out the shops, etc… while we had time. We happened upon a long line outside Holy Donut which are made using mashed potatoes and Val waited in line so we could see what all the hype was about. Very YUMMY donuts!! It was REALLY hot and muggy, so after wandering for a few hours we decided to hop in the air conditioned car and venture out to Portland Head Light. Maine is lighthouse heaven!
After a stop at the lighthouse we decided to just let the road dictate where we go, so we continued South along Shore Road, gawking at the beautiful homes and gardens of Cape Elizabeth along the way. We saw a sign for “Two Lights” and took a left turn down a little road and happened upon the greatest surprise….The Lobster Shack. We thought, “wow, how beautiful to have our first lobster roll eating outside overlooking the Maine coast”…when, in fact, it’s a pretty famous destination place for lobster anything and the roll was great! Lucky us!! See, it pays off to wander!
After our pleasant little detour it was back to Portland to check in to our Airbnb and relax. We went to a cute place a few doors down called Bao Bao Dumpling House. We really loved the Asian slaw, a noodle dish & some dumplings. We encountered a bit of an issue with a homeless person trying to get into the building of our Airbnb, but we remedied that problem and called it a night…trying to keep cool!
Day 2 in Portland was, in my opinion, one of the highlights….a ride on the mailboat out to five islands to, literally, make mail deliveries. It’s $16 and about 3 hours and it was glorious. The captain of the ship gives you interesting tid bits about the islands along the way and halfway through they had quite a few deliveries to Cliff Island, so we were able to get off and get a snack in the little store at the end of the pier.
We returned around 1:00 and it was time for another lobster roll. We had passed some colorful umbrellas out on a pier as we walked to the boat, so we went back and decided it was the perfect setting for lunch….The Porthole Restaurant.
A local store owner told us about “First Fridays” where there’s a kind of street market with vendors and the Portland Museum of Art is free. Low and behold it was right around the corner from our Airbnb…bonus! We walked over and shopped the vendors and I thought the Clarence H. White photography exhibit at the museum looked cool, so ventured in. What a surprise you get when you really don’t know what a museum has in their collection. I got to see works by Warhol, Winslow Homer, Degas, Renoir, John Singer Sargent and famous Mainer, Andrew Wyeth.
these were cool, whimsical, trompe l’oeil pieces by John Frederick Peto
Another recommendation that was close to our place was a restaurant called Local 188…where we had our final Portland meal.
Portland, you were the perfect introduction to Maine…lobster rolls and lighthouses! Yes, we ate our way through Maine, but we logged over 10,000 steps every day too! Gotta have balance, right?!
….on to Bar Harbor (…or as the locals say Bah Hahbah)