By Amanda Call, Marketing Strategist
A few months ago, my boyfriend and I were deciding where to go to celebrate his birthday and ended up choosing Portland, Maine. We wanted a destination that would be close enough for us to drive to, and also one where neither of us had been so we could explore it together. Shortly after booking our trip, Bon Appetit named Portland their“Food City of the Year,” which we figured meant longer wait times, but that didn’t dampen our excitement. We chose to book our stay at the newly opened AC Portland Waterfront Hotel, and we loved it as soon as we arrived. Besides the well-appointed decor, its location turned out to be perfect; we were walking distance to everything we did over our three-day stay, and it’s located in a great spot near Old Port by the entrance to a scenic trail – luckily we packed our bikes!
We kicked off our trip at a food truck festival at an impressive “collective” building that is home to Goodfire Brewing Co., Lone Pine Brewing, and Blue Lobster Wine Company. We enjoyed tastings at all three and sampled some diverse food truck offerings; we had sushi, fried Brussel sprouts, and picked up a few boxes of the most delicious CBD doughnuts ever from Urban Sugar. After that, it was time to walk it off. We strolled back to our hotel taking in all of the sights: cute shops, new restaurants, modern and rustic breweries, and distilleries – it set the tone for the whole trip!
How would you describe Portland?
In my travel experience, the best way I can describe Portland would be like a mix between Nashville, Tennessee, and Mystic, Connecticut. It had Nashville’s hip, rustic music, and artistic, positive vibe, and the people were incredibly friendly. That, mixed with Mystic’s historical and quaint New England charm, made the city so endearing. Like Nashville, Portland is seeing a lot of development; there are new apartments and hotels in the works in different parts of the city and an influx of daily cruise ship tourists make it a bustling place to visit.
Favorite place to get a cocktail?
Blyth and Burrows! We stumbled upon this as we wandered around – something we love to do in a unique city like Portland. We entered the beautiful, very busy space and followed the host to a table, which didn’t seem to exist until she pushed open a bookcase and showed us to the back bar area (I’m a sucker for a hidden entrance). The atmosphere was relaxed, and the cocktails were delicious. We sipped on a highball cocktail called “Bobby,” which featured vodka, grapefruit, ginger, and a pineapple-rosemary shrub, as well as a dram named “Whitney,” made with vodka, rose syrup, lemon, and Peychaud. Both were perfectly balanced and dangerously good.
Favorite breakfast place?
LB Kitchen – as someone who works in Digital Marketing, I know all too well that your online presence is important for consumers, and LB Kitchen’s Instagram is what got me. We ordered a breakfast sandwich and avocado toast that were served on some of the best bread I’ve had in a while (good bread is a game changer). They have a great menu full of healthy options for both breakfast and lunch. Plus, the super cute interior makes it a nice place to have breakfast and enjoy a cold brew!
Favorite spot for lunch?
We didn’t have a bad meal our entire trip so this is tough. We LOVED Eventide Oyster, Duckfat, and The Shop. Eventide’s brown butter lobster roll is probably one of the best I’ve ever had. Duckfat’s poutine (and house-made soda) were to die for. The Shop had reasonably priced fresh-as-you-can-get oysters and was also off the beaten path which was nice.
Favorite dinner spot?
Again, I can’t pick one – honestly. We had two AMAZING dinners – the first was at Central Provisions and the second was at Union (in the Press Hotel). At both restaurants, I would recommend getting a seat at the bar. The chefs’ bar at Central Provisions makes you feel like you’re a part of the action, and when you see one amazing dish after the next being plated it makes you want to try them all.
What outdoor activities would you recommend?
We had a great time riding our bikes and going to the beach. There was a place to rent paddle boards that we sadly didn’t have time to do, so that’s on our list for next time! When we weren’t biking we were walking around exploring the city, which is a fun activity in and of itself. There is just so much to see and explore; you can’t go wrong with a trip to Portland!