24 hours in portland, maine
lobster, lanyard, and lots of blueberries in vacationland.
Take Porthole Restaurant, which I wandered into on my way to the Sea Bags's shop/sewing space during my most recent visit just this month. Just around the corner from packed, visitor-filled lobster shacks, this vintage-styled spot serves up specialties like haddock sandwiches and blueberry pancakes. There's a vast deck where you can stare out at the lobster boats bobbing up and down, but I prefer to sit inside, near the arching counter and next to the worn piano. After lunch, I head towards Munjoy Hill. With its old captain's houses and locally sourced restaurants, it's the type of neighborhood that has me fantasizing about living full-time on the coast, where days start with a cup of Earl Gray tea while sitting out on a bench in front of the expanse of slate water and end curled up by the bay window in my two-story colonial. My snack en route is a basket of fresh berries I pick up from Rosemont Produce Company; a spin-off from the Rosemont Market and Bakery--with one location on the main strip in Munjoy Hill, natch--it's the love child of a farmer's market and a garage sale. (Souvenir alert: Their jars of Maine honey.) Walking up Congress Street, I pop into Angela Adams' flagship store.
She is Portland's latest star--trust me, you've seen her pop art rugs before--who is paying her success forward by showcasing a few of her favorite up-and-coming Maine designers. The standouts in the shop are the neon rope bracelets, necklaces, and key chains from Shana Aldrich Ready. Working under the moniker The Ropes, each piece is named after the state's famous destinations (Cape Elizabeth, Kennebunkport, Richmond Island). Following a re-fuel with a giant iced chai from Hilltop Coffee (if a cup of Joe is more your thing, Coffee By Design is the local favorite), I step out onto a suddenly dark street. Moments later, the sky opens up and, far from my car, am left to find a place to take cover. My rescue boat comes in the form of Eventide Oyster Co. Opened earlier this summer, the oyster and fish bar is more than just a dry spot; it's the type of carefully appointed--but hardly stuffy--restaurant that you wish was around the corner from your apartment, so you could go there on a weekly basis. Watching the pouring rain from my communal wooden table, with a spread in front of me (lobster stew! Roasted oysters! Grilled calamari salad!) and a zesty Bloody Maria in my hand (yes, I had a designated driver for the night), I no longer felt land-locked.
ADDRESS BOOK EAT The Porthole (20 Custom House Wharf, 207-780-6533) Eventide Oyster Co. (86 Middle Street, 207-774-8538) SNACK Hilltop Coffee (90 Congress Street, 207-780-0025) Rosemont Produce Company (5 Commercial Street, 207-699-4560) SHOP Sea Bags (24 Custom House Wharft, 207-780-0744) Angela Adams (273 Congress Street, 207-774-3523) The Ropes (theropesmaine.com