There a couple of cities in the US that make for great weekend getaways. Short flights, good flight times, and small enough that once there that you can easily get a good sense without more than about two days.
Portland, Maine is one of these places.
I flew in late on a Friday, dropped my bags, and headed straight into town for a dinner at Fore Street. The rest of the time was spent wandering around both in and out of the main downtown area, sampling the calm local life the entire way.
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Told it was the Gramercy Tavern of Portland, Fore Street is the kind of place you make sure you stop in on when in town. The evening started off just as any other would; debating a menu and realizing a couple in their 70s was simultaneously getting engaged at the table next to us. Stunned and touched by this out of a movie scene, we did our best to proceed as normal, but will admit this moment likely elevated our entire experience.
From most tables you can see the kitchen crew at work, with the grill playing a leading role. Fish and meats are the centerpiece, with the salads not taking a backseat either.
To end the meal perfectly, as we dug into our apple pie a la mode the man to our right who no doubt kept catching our lingering stares said softly “romance lives,” and wished us a good night.
Two dozen red picnic tables and ocean views. Lobster Shack offers a menu of lobster rolls, crinkle fries, whoopie pies and beer. It’s all a destination seafood spot, 20 minutes outside of Portland and along the coastline, should be.
Street & Company
I wandered in here on a whim, and am extremely glad I did. Located on a cobblestone side street in the heart of the city, Street & Company, sister restaurant to Fore Street, well exceeded expectations.
The waiters are so friendly you looked at them twice, the cheese plates are packed with figs, honeys and cheeses, and heaping portions of pastas are served piping hot in the large cast iron pans they are originally cooked in.
Eventide Oyster Co.
I am a lobster roll person, as proclaimed by both myself, and others. Eventide is one of the best- on the entire east coast. Eventide’s interior oozes seaside living, with the food to back it up. There are oysters, bowls of clam chowder, crudos, and a choice of two lobster rolls; the warm brown butter vinaigrette option being the reason I place this at the very top.
Do not miss it.
Beal’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream
Portland has ice cream galore, with every other person on the streets seemingly holding a cup or cone in their hand. When deciding, I went for the always trusty personal connection.
Beal’s had a 1981 sign standing proud which is a good year; it birthed yours truly, and this ice cream shop, too. Wrapped in American flag paper, I took my double chocolate scoop cone to go, and continued on my way.
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