This past weekend I had the pleasure of taking a long weekend in Portland, Maine. My fiancé and I planned this trip on a whim after he read an article about how pretty the foliage is in the fall. Short after Portland won Bon Appétit Restaurant City of the Year!
Right off the bat when we landed in Portland (easy 1 hour flight from Baltimore/Washington airport) I felt relaxed. Compared to living in Washington DC and hearing car honks every 2 seconds, the sound of wind and nature was very refreshing. After a quick stop at some donut shop we randomly saw on the side of the road (Tony’s Donut Shop) and taking in the smells of fresh donuts we headed to the Portland Head Lighthouse. This is actually a park with all sorts of old forts and abandoned buildings you can walk to see. The view is absolutely gorgeous. I highly recommend climbing out on the rocks across from the Lighthouse if not for the view then at least the photo op. While I was not hungry at the park apparently the food truck that hangs out there is one of the best? But that’s just the rumor on the street.
After the lighthouse we headed to lunch at Duckfat! While we had to wait, it was WORTH IT. Honestly, if you want to eat here you should plan for a wait. It always had a crowd of people waiting around to get in. Why? The Duckfat fries of course. French fries made in duck fat with dipping sauces of your choice. I highly recommend the truffle ketchup.
If you like beer, or not, I highly recommend the Maine Beer Bus. I am usually a wine person but I spent this whole weekend drinking the craft beers that Portland has to offer. They were absolutely delicious and refreshing. I had an awesome time trying all the different types. All of the craft brewers are super passionate about their work. Our tour took us to Geary’s Brewing, Lone Pine Brewing, and Bunker Brewing. Our tour guides were great and kept us all interactive with each other. After the tour we stopped by Sebago Brewing for some late night dinner. Good beer, not so great food in my opinion.
Day 2. We headed up to Freeport, Maine to check out the L.L.Bean flagship store and get some nature time in. It was raining in the morning so we spent some time wandering around the store and the town of Freeport. Along with the expansive and super cool L.L. Bean store, where the fiancé did some damage (after all who can resist a man in some flannel??), there are other outlets around town. We ate lunch at the historic Jameson Tavern across the street. HIGHLY recommend this place for their clam chowder and reuben sandwiches. As well, I had a baked haddock that was delicious.
After the rain subsided we headed out Bradbury Mountain State Park to do some easy hiking and viewing of the fall foliage. It was $6 per person to enter the park complete with a map of all the different trails you can hike. We did a mile hike up to the summit and then 2 miles back for 3 miles total. You can also do way shorter hikes to the summit as well so there are options for people that want to get to the top without all the work.
On our way back to town we stoped at Orchard Ridge Farms for some apple picking. They have a cute little store full of delicious foods like Goat Milk’s Fudge and homemade applesauce and pies. We also got to learn about the different apples and pick some for the road. The apples are so fresh and delicious and currently still in my fridge since I was able to get them through airport security with only a few questions.
Sunday we headed downtown to try the “must have” donut place, The Holy Donut. The line was out the door and it was WORTH IT. These donuts were made from potatoes or sweet potatoes which made them thick. We bought a 1/2 dozen just to try the different flavors and every single one was amazing. My personal favorite was actually fresh lemon! FYI this donut place has been featured on all sorts of shows and in all sorts of articles so it must be worth that experience at least.
After donuts we decided to walk around town to get some exercise in and experience the great weather. We checked out the Eastern Promenade where we walked up and down checking out the views of the water and the beautiful colors of fall.
Finally after our walk we got to try Eventide for lunch. Everyone from the rental car guy to close friends had recommended we try this place. I will say the brown butter lobster roll did not disappoint. It’s different than a normal lobster roll (roll and lobster with mayo) in the sense it came out on a soft piece of bread and the lobster was moist with the butter. I much preferred this to the normal sub style.
After lunch it was time to check out the West Side of town. It was a cute walk through the district with a quick stop for some ice cream at Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream where I got some pumpkin ice cream in a waffle cone. This was followed up by another stop at Tandem Bakery and Cafe for a pick me up to get through the afternoon after such indulgences. Not only was the coffee delicious but the atmosphere was amazing. I have never seen a gas station converted into a bakery so creatively.
All good thing must come to an end… we finished the day on the west side watching the sun set before heading on our plane back home. Portland, Maine… I hope to be back soon.