Our first stop on our Atlantic Canadian voyage is Portland, Maine. Yes, we went through the States to get to Canada again. The husband and I were here about eight years ago solo. Now, we are back with three busy bodies in tow (6,5,2). The city is just as amazing as we remember it. There is so much charm and beer…and food. Here is how we spent our day:
8 AM – attempted to make it to Holy Donut which is a mere 7 blocks from our AC Hotel in the Old Port district. If you are short on time, spend the extra dollars and stay down by the waterfront in this district. It’s where everything that you can walk to exists. Sadly, and real life, our kids melted down about TWO BLOCKS IN, so we aborted mission just as we were passing The Standard Baking Company. After a quick Google search it became apparent that this bakery is a staple for locals and with a five star YELP rating, it was a must try. We sampled a few pastries to include the Fruit Buckle, the Morning Bun and the Italian Olive Roll. My favorite was the olive roll.
9AM- Headed to the Portlandhead Lighthouse on Cape Elizabeth in Fort Williams Park. This is a short drive away. Since we got there so darn early we had time to explore the Battery Blair from 1903. We also had plenty of time to crawl around on the rocks underneath the lighthouse by the shoreline. This area is accessible through a small gate on the adjacent walking path going away from the lighthouse. There is also a 1.5 acre children’s garden within Fort Williams Park worth exploring.
1030 AM – Playground by the Eastern Promenade. The kids needed wiggles out and we needed a sanity break. The view was fantastic and a homerun for both kids and adults. There isn’t a lot of shade so bring a water bottle with you. There is plenty of street parking or you can park in the promenade trail parking lot as well. This easily took up over 1.5 hrs of our time as our kids made playground friends and enjoyed the sprawling playground structures.
1215 – Headed to High Rollers for a lobster roll and crab roll. The kids were not about to eat lobster rolls so we made them some quick PB and J sandwiches and headed here to pick up the adult lunches. This has been my favorite sandwich shop to date for seafood sandwiches. The lobster and crab rolls come stuffed with undressed delicious meat. You are able to choose what is drizzled on top. I chose a roasted red pepper mayonnaise (notice it is just a small amount, not drenched) and the husband chose the jalapeño mayonnaise as well as added avocado and bacon. I would recommend stopping here to eat if in town. If you have time, ask to sit on the small patio out back or dine in. Its kitschy and cool inside.
1240ish – L.L. Bean store. The purpose of driving 20 minutes (Freeport) out of town was to see if our little one would nap. She did not. However, the kids got a huge kick out of taking a picture with the large boot. The store also has an amazing chalkboard wall in their kids section as well as some games for the kids to play both outside and inside. My kids played corn hole on repeat…in which I dominated them (just kidding…sort of). When we exhausted game time at the store front, we treated them to Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and then promptly strapped them in their carseats to head back to Portland.
245 – Pitstop at Eartha. This is a three story globe located in the DeLorme (Garmin) building. It’s the earth’s largest revolving globe and is pretty neat to look at. It was on the way back into Portland so worth the stop to marvel at. Also, it’s free to see. Just sign the guest book and be on your way!
330 – It’s too late to have the kids rest so we head to Allagash Brewing Company to have a flight of beers before heading to the hotel. The beer was all light and refreshing with their signature beer being an Allagash white, a good summer beer. My favorite was the Two (insert rest here). Kids get free juice boxes while there and the outdoor patio is suitable for children.
445 – Dinner. We wanted to try Flatbread in the Old Port (someone please go and let me know how it is) district but the children were restless. They chose Taco Bell for soft tacos, claiming them “the best tacos ever!”. Yes, I make my own tacos for my kids. Yes, they have had better ones. No, they won’t eat other tacos. Hey…it’s vacation for them too and it was easier on our wallet than another day out.
545 – Back at the hotel and time for baths and quiet time until bedtime
715 – lights out for the kids. That’s what happens when you wake up at 530 AM ready to party. My husband and I then shared a lovely night of texting each other from adjacent hotel beds.
730 AM -left hotel to get on road, but made one last stop in Portland at Holy Donut. This place offers a selection of potato based donuts. They are more cake like than fluffy so if that’s not your thing I would skip it. They were good and worth a try but they are rather large. We got a half dozen for 5 of us and should have purchased maybe 4. My favorite flavor was sweet potato ginger with glaze.
I can’t wait to come back to Portland again when our kids are a wee bit older or perhaps even solo with the husband one time. There is so much to do and explore. Maine is just a fantastic state to visit in general. Until next time, Maine.
** as an Honorable Mention: If driving into Portland and you encounter the Sebago Brewery tasting room in Gorham, stop for one of their oven fired pizzas. They were fantastic.