Portland, Maine had never been on my radar of places to visit until it came highly recommended from a close friend when she visited last year. Being from the Midwest, I always crave the crisp air and bright colors of the leaves changing in autumn so I traveled from the southwest to the northeast to soak it all in for my birthday. Portland is a city in the lovely state of Maine, set on a peninsula extending into Casco Bay. The Old Port waterfront features working fishing wharves and converted warehouses with restaurants and shops. Nearby, the Western Promenade is a public park atop a bluff, offering river and mountain views. Its surrounding district, the West End, is full of Victorian-era homes which I adored because I’m a total sucker for that style of architecture. From the ocean, the cute historic downtown, the friendly people, the food (oh, the food!), and to the simpler pace of life, it was enough to make me fall in love.
While in Portland, I ate some of the most amazing meals of my life. The first dinner was at Figgy’s Takeout & Catering. It’s a hole in the wall off of Congress Street near where I stayed in Longfellow Square. They make some of the most amazing fried chicken! The next day I had incredible donuts at Holy Donut, poutine fries at Duckfat, and the most romantic farm-to-table meal at Fore Street. The freshly baked dinner bread was so good at Fore Street, I had to go back the next morning to Standard Baking Co. for their breakfast sweets. Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to Maine without lobster rolls and oysters. Eventide had delicious oysters and a mouth-watering brown butter lobster roll. And for fresh, quality seafood, you can’t get better than Central Provisions!
Between all the fine dining, the city offers many urban and pristine wilderness activities all in one place. One of my favorite parts of the trip was taking the ferry to Peak’s Island and biking around the quaint island. Also, another memorable moment was taking a short drive to the Portland Head Light and walking around Fort Williams Park. The Wadsworth-Longfellow House is a historic house and museum to visit, along with the Portland Museum of Art. If you like beer, a tour of the Allagash Brewery is a must!