A few weeks ago my cousin texted me to say he was in Portland Maine and that I should write about it for one of the weekend trip ideas. I said great send me some pictures and he did not, mainly because he’s a dick, so here we have this pictureless Portland post.
Portland, a city of about 66,000, is the largest city in the state, and more than 1/3 of the state’s population resides in its metro area. Fun fact: if you’re like me when you hear Portland you think of Oregon, but that city was actually named after its Maine counterpart.
Portland’s a little bit of a drive, but easy enough to do on a long weekend or combined with either stops in Boston (which is roughly 100 miles south) or if you have more time tie in a trip to Millinocket up north.
Portland is known extensively as a food and drink destination with over 230 restaurants that cater to specialty foodie niches but I think you’d be very remiss if you traveled to Maine and didn’t solely pig out on local seafood, specifically lobster. Portland also claims to be where the Italian hoagie was invented, which in itself isn’t too shabby.
It’s also home to a number of breweries, including Allagash, Gritty McDuff’s, Shipyard (once maker of my favorite pumpkin beer until I discovered Springhouse’s) and Bull Jagger Brewing Company. Most have tasting rooms, tours or brewpubs attached. The Maine Brew Bus is a company that includes various beer tours in the city or surrounding towns and countryside. They have a “Sunday Funday” tour which immediately piqued my interest. Be warned that last call is at 1 AM (everyone complains about PA being so stingy with liquor laws but at least we have a 2am last call). On the plus side this gives you an excuse to start drinking earlier than usual.
I’m not always a huge tour fan but Portland has some fun looking ones including a ghost tour, historic tour in a refurbished old fashioned fire truck (which at 50 minutes is a perfect city tour length) and sailing tour of the harbor.
Since it’s a bayside town there’s plenty of kayaking outfitters and there’s also more golf courses than I was anticipating. Maine Island Kayak offers multiday kayak trips if you’re really adventurous including one to Isle Au Haut, a town of 73 in Penobscot Bay that also houses portions of Acadia National Park (which is supposed to be absolutely gorgeous).
Speaking of islands, Casco Bay is home to a variety. An easy way to explore this would be through the Casco Bay Ferry which offers various scenic tours. For a more hands on approach, try Lucky Catch Tours where you can trap and catch your own lobsters.