I finally reached the ‘motherland’, my namesake city of Portland, ME. I’d heard good things about this city, although it was a much smaller place than my PDX. I got to my little Motel 6 just outside of downtown. One thing I will say, is that with smaller cities booking just outside for a cheaper rate is a good idea – since traffic getting downtown is always easier and parking is usually cheap (though Portland’s parking lots were always $5 an hour, while their street parking is $1). After Jasper and I got settled, we headed downtown to a brewery (Rising Tide), though as it looked like rain, we hunkered down next door at Maine Craft Distilling (which allowed dogs inside). What a fun find! Lots of different liquors and good cocktails. They allow you to taste all of their options if wanted. After the rains passed through, we moved next door for beers.
Needing food, I drove down to the Old Port. What a delightful little place! The buildings were a mix of old and new, and I found a good patio for an early dinner (Italian, because an aperol spritz sounded really good in the heat). After our early dinner (I think I was done by 6?), we went home to plan the next day.
I found that Portland was very dog friendly, including their tours! The next day I signed up for the “Land and See – Peek at Portland” tour, which included a 60-min trolley and 90-min boat tour for $40. The biggest challenge was how to park reasonably. All street parking was 2 hr only. So I separated the tours enough to do the trolley and lunch, and then move my car for a bit, and come back to park for the boat tour (admittedly, I was back a little late). For lunch, I went to the Portland Lobster Company, and not liking lobster, I could not convince myself to spend market price on a lobster roll, and instead opted for a crab cake and beer. After that, we went to a cute clothing shop and bought a dress for a friend, and then to Gritty McDuffs Brewing Company (the oldest pub in Portland).
Both tours were enjoyable, informative, and not too long. For the boat tour we saw lots of lighthouses and the area reminded me a bit of Stockholm (lots of small islands). When we were back on land, we stopped again at the Italian restaurant (they have ‘happy hour’ where they give you a free small appetizer with your cocktail) – and cute waitstaff ;-). While sitting on the patio and reading, a man suddenly stopped and said “Are you the Wandering Accountant?”, I hesitantly said, “Yes”. He then says, “And this must be Jasper”. He continues to tell me that Instagram recommended me to follow, he sits and proceeds to give me a long account of his beliefs on Roman culture and the Bible. It was unexpected, and left me more or less speechless (not that I was engaged in conversation, as much as I was listening to his take on certain histories). He eventually took his leave, and the lady at the table next to me asks, “Was that a first date, because if so that was really awkward”. Glad to know I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. I can say being recognized was odd to be sure!
Since it was my last night in Portland, I ditched the dog and went back downtown for dinner at Fore Street and for a cocktail at the Portland Hunt + Alpine Club. And engaged in conversation with a father-aged gentleman that made me feel much better about human interactions :).
Before leaving town to head south, I stopped at Arabica Coffee on behest of a dear friend. And stopped for lunch at Portsmouth, NH and then a quick downtown walk at Rockport, MA. I loved Portland, but was told the taxes would kill me. I guess I won’t be changing residences for now :).
(photos in order of events)
Stayed At: Motel 6 Portland – 2 nights for $83.90; no charge for dogs
Ate At: (1) Solo Italiano: Mandilli (pesto pasta) – $22, Aperol Spritz – $10, Falchini Vernaccia wine – $9 (dog friendly); Portland Lobster Company: Jumbo Peekytoe Crab Cake – $7.99, Shipyard Summer Ale – $5 (dog friendly); (3) Fore Street: Hot Soup – $9, Mackerel – $9, Celery Soda – $8; (4) The Deck @ Portsmouth Gas Lights: Luau Mussels – $13.95, Stony Creek Lager – $4.61 (dog friendly)
Drinks Only: (1) Maine Craft Distilling: Maine Mule – $10 (dog friendly – indoors too); (2) Rising Tide Brewing: 4 tasters for $8 (dog friendly); (3) Gritty McDuffs Brewing Company: Blueberry Beer – $6 (dog friendly); (4) Solo Italiano: 2 cocktails $12 (1 comp); (5) Portland Hunt + Alpine Club: Old Fashioned – $13, Hotel National – $12, Pimm’s Cup – $12 (25% comp on bill)