Monday, August 10, 2015

place i love: portland, maine

this past weekend, i spent a little over 24 hours in the "other" portland: y'know, the one in maine. while i've never been to its oregon counterpart, i do have to imagine that the two cities are similar in a lot of ways (or, maybe just one way: BEARDS). regardless, it had been about 3 years since my last visit, and i was even more excited because one of my oldest friends is now living there, and showed me a whole 'nother side to the city.

i knew i was in for a good time as soon as i set foot in his big, airy apartment on the east end of town. there was a hammock and a fireplace and a guitar in the living room, and i fell in love:

it reminded me of a time i went to go visit my cousin in this massive old apartment she shared with like 6 other people in somerville around 1998, and there were lots of books and guided by voices CDs and all sorts of cool shit that basically changed the trajectory of my life (ok, i'm exaggerating a bit). but seriously, it felt like the lemonheads were about to start playing and jordan catalano was going to pop out of one of the bedrooms. for this reason, i let this apartment become my '90s muse. it was great. i also flopped into the hammock after our saturday night of eating and drinking. glorious!

anyways, the day began with a stroll along the eastern promenade, which sits on casco bay.

we pressed on to old port, the "touristy" district:

after lunch and an afternoon beer at an irish pub, we hopped on the ferry to peaks island, where we hiked around and tried unsuccessfully to climb up to the top of this fort thing:

we saw some cute buoys (and boys?) and cute houses and other cute stuff, and ate some ice cream.

a visit to the west end, which is full of funky stores and cafes, rounded out the afternoon.

jacob's cousin runs an art gallery in this neighborhood, so we paid her a visit after i got some incredible vintage acid-washed cut-offs at a boutique called moody lords and browsed the vinyl at strange maine.

next on the agenda: fancy drinks at top of the east in the eastland hotel. i got the "bluth's banana," which had chocolate bitters, banana liqueur, rum, and egg whites. tipsy town, population moi!

and what do you do when you're half-drunk in maine? you call a goddamn uber to take you across town to portland lobster company and set fetty wap's "trap queen" as the soundtrack, while your cranky 60 year-old driver complains, "what is this? never heard it. oh yaaaah, this is great. real great." THEN, you order lobster mac and cheese (or an old-fashioned lobster roll) that costs a million dollars and rub elbows with surfer brahs at a picnic table. perfection!

earlier in the day, we passed this dive called mama's crowbar, and i was really intrigued. the sign promised "beer. friends. music. prose." and it certainly delivered at least 3/4 of those things (prose is questionable.)

the place is beer only and cash only, with white christmas lights, trivial pursuit cards on the bar, and a soundtrack that includes the cardigans, the magnetic fields, and tom waits. in other words, my kinda spot. it was the perfect choice for a nightcap, as there was only a handful of customers that came and went over the couple hours we were there, and the bartender was a sweetheart. apparently, it's closing in a month or so. i'm glad i got to experience the magic before it's gone for good!

sunday was basically just a coffee and breakfast tour of portland. it started at hilltop coffee, a great east end cafe where we pre-gamed our brunch with coffee and croissants/bagels and did half of the crossword in the alt-monthly before we gave up.

by the time we walked over to hot suppa and waited the half-hour to be seated on the patio, i was ready to go ham on some smoked salmon. during the walk, i saw some great sights:

before i hit the road, we made one last stop at tandem, a holier-than-thou hipster haven where the man bun contingent was WAY TOO HIGH. wanted to cut 'em all off. however, the malt iced coffee was crazy good and gave me just the caffeine boost i needed to deal with new england sunday traffic.

while it can probably get pretty brutal in the winter, portland is a beautiful city that's half-hipster, half-hippie, and all awesome. already looking forward to our next rendezvous!


  1. Hahaha, Rudest Priest and Bluth's Banana! Your trip looks amazing! I like the little art installation in the grill of that car.

    1. i love the grill art, too! and rudest priest was by far the best band name i've heard in a long time.

  2. Love Portland, and love Peak's Island (the golf carts! the forts!) - Portland's high on our list of places we consider retiring to.

    1. oh, i forgot about the adorable golf carts! it's a great place. i could totally see myself living there, too. :)