Monday, October 31, 2011

Portland, ME

We went up to Portland 10 days ago to celebrate our 10th anniversary. My in-laws were nice enough to take the kids to Pittsburgh and an adventure with their cousin and aunt and uncle.

But enough about them.

We had a great time in Portland. We stayed at the Eastland Park Hotel, a great location and with a terrific view from the hotel bar at the top floor. Our first night we had dinner at 555 at 555 Congress Street. Julie had the tasting menu: onion soup, beet salad, lobster mac and cheese, cheese plate and a pumpkin dessert. I had a market salad and divers scallops and housechurned ice cream (chocolate-coconut and coriander-pistachio and another that I'm blanking on but was unexpected and delicious).

The next day, a Saturday, we took our bikes and rode down to Two Lights, a state park with view of two lighthouses. Biking around Portland is terrific -- not too hilly, not that many cars and we got great advice from the Gorham Bike and Ski shop. Anyway, Two Lights was beautiful, with large hexagonal rocks in the crashing surf. It was the last weekend of the season for the Lobster Shack and we enjoyed a modest lunch there.

We rode back to Portland with a detour around to see another lighthouse, at Portland Headlight. We rode down Commercial Street and found the Harvest on the Harbor Festival. A tent was set up with lots of vendors handing out samples of food and wine and beer, so we rushed back to the hotel to change, hopped into a taxi and got into that tent! It was a great way to sample food from lots of restaurants in the area and we even got to hang out with cookbook author Kathy Gunst before and after her cooking demonstration. We liked her cookbook and bought a copy for a friend.

On Sunday, we were a little more mellow, riding around town to the West Promenade to see some beautiful old houses, including one with a squash court on the third floor (the owner was outside gardening and told us about it) and the house Julie stayed in when she did a rotation at Maine Medical Center. We then took the bike path around to the east side, by the water treatment plant (!) and the remains of the USS Portland. We ended up near Duckfat, a small bistro that makes incredible french fries (may be the frying the medium that helps). Soooo good.

We did some shopping in the Old Portland district where we enjoyed the Maine Pottery Co-op and Julie tried on some clothes in a designer's little studio. We wanted to have a little sustenance before we hit the road so Julie had a salad and I had a delicious BLT at the Local Sprouts Cafe (a food co-op that the hostess at 555 recommended to us).

In all, a great urban adventure, terrific biking, and delicious eating. We had a wonderful time and look forward to bringing the kids with us next time to see the Victorian Mansion, Cryptozoology Museum and the ropes courses.

1 comment:

pc said...

Don't know much about the 'other' Portland, sounds like a great food town with a lot of New England character. Happy Anniversary!!