This is the second installment of my four part trip report from New England. To see the other three posts, click on the links below:
- Day 2 – Portland, ME
- Exploring Portland
After fueling up on the free breakfast at our hotel, we started our three-hour journey to Portland, ME. Upon arrival, we parked in one of the many parking garages and set off on foot to explore the city. If possible, try to park in a “Park & Shop” parking garage. Then, take your parking ticket with you and ask every store and dining establishment if they will stamp your ticket when you make a purchase. For each stamp, you receive $1 off your parking total! I didn’t read the rules close enough and completely forgot to do this :/. Parking is still surprisingly cheap, especially on the weekends, but why not save some money!
There are an astonishing number of small businesses to explore in Portland (and what seemed like 100 different ice cream stores). I’d highly recommend getting one of the free area maps that are available at most shops and restaurants. Also of note, there are three bookstores!
- Dining with a view
We stopped for lunch at Gritty McDuff’s brewpub and immensely enjoyed our selections: lobster tacos, a Rachel sandwich (guess who ordered that!), bacon broccoli and cheese soup, and a club sandwich. We were also treated to a view of the harbor from our table. The afternoon was spent wandering in and out of the many shops. I particularly enjoyed the Cabot Farmer’s Annex which offered samples of Cabot cheeses and dips!
Later in the day, Jay and I stopped at Dry Dock Tavern for an afternoon drink. This restaurant/bar is right along the water, so we sat outside on the patio and soaked in an unencumbered view of the harbor while listening to the strains of a cover band playing at a neighboring restaurant. Pure bliss.
- Wrapping up the day
After meeting back up with my parents (whom had just completed a tour of the Victoria Mansion which they highly recommend), we took off for our hotel in Biddeford, ME about 20 minutes from the city. Jay’s one request for this trip was the opportunity to eat a Maine lobster, so we took the recommendation of the hotel clerk and set out for Sea Salt Lobster Restaurant in nearby Saco, ME. This was a fabulous recommendation! I ordered the lobster roll (butter, no mayo) and Jay ordered a full-size lobster. I even saw the cook come out to the dining area, grab a live lobster from the fish tank, and head back to the kitchen. Luckily, we couldn’t hear any screaming as the poor guy cooked.
Jay had YouTubed “how to eat a lobster” earlier in the day, so he looked like a pro as he cracked the thing open, even pulling out the tail in one huge piece. I was very impressed. He was thrilled with the amount of lobster meat and declared the evening a success. My lobster roll and sweet potato fries were equally delicious. The bun was warm and buttery and the lobster was fresh and sprinkled with only salt and pepper for seasoning. I hardly needed the accompanying butter and just enjoyed the taste of the lobster and the roll.
We were planning to cap off the night at The Run of the Mill Public House and Brewery, but pulled into the parking lot only to find it was closed for a private event (which happens to us surprisingly often…). Instead, we ended up at 99 Restaurant & Pub for a round of drinks (and free popcorn!) before heading back to the hotel. Stay tuned for Part 3!