Anniversary Weekend in Portland, Maine {Travel}

Today is my second wedding anniversary and we spent the weekend celebrating in Portland, Maine. The weather was beautiful and the food was pretty incredible, so both of those together made for a great weekend getaway. September is the perfect time to visit most New England towns and Portland is no exception. If you’ve been following along on Insta you may have seen some real-time updates from our trip, and you can read on for even more recommendations via pics I took!

Portland, Maine {Travel Recap & Recommendations}

There are lots of great hotel options right in downtown Portland that are conveniently located to the majority of the restaurants and shops. I recommend staying anywhere that’s within walking distance of the waterfront (Commercial Street) and Fore Street. We went for the Holiday Inn Portland By the Bay because it was slightly less expensive than the others, and it was about a 10 minute walk to almost everything we wanted to see or do. If you get a room with a bay view on one of the higher up floors, you’ll get to look out on the view shown above!

Portland, Maine {Travel Recap & Recommendations}

If you love oysters – or really any seafood – having lunch at Eventide Oyster Co. is an absolute must. We got so many recommendations for this place and it was delicious. My husband is into raw oysters and while I’m not, the lobster roll, fried bbq oysters and stuffed mahogany clams were incredible. Note that their menu changes daily but you can get an idea of what they have on their website. We saw them getting a delivery of oysters while we were enjoying lunch so I can vouch for how fresh everything is!

Portland, Maine {Travel Recap & Recommendations}

Head over to the Shipyard Brewery tasting room to try out their most popular and seasonal beers. At this time of year, they had one of my favorites, their Pumpkinhead Ale, and they also had a Smashed Pumpkinhead Ale (loved it!) and Bourbon Barrel Aged Smashed Pumpkin, both of which you can only get at the brewery. They told us they have exclusive summer beers earlier in the year too and I might have to go back and try them! You can also take full brewery tours from June-August on Tuesday and Thursday nights. The best part about the tasting room is it’s free – you can sample up to eight beers.

Portland, Maine {Travel Recap & Recommendations}

Central Provisions came recommended by many friends for a dinner spot, and honestly I wish the lighting was better so I could have taken better food pics to show how good it was! They specialize in small plates, and we went with a selection of three cheeses, benton’s ham, lobster fritters and Korean “bbq” flank steak, all of which were very tasty. They make everything in an open kitchen and we sat right at the bar so we had a front row seat. Even the cheese platters were carefully made-to-order! They don’t take reservations and the restaurant is pretty small, but we put our name in and only had to wait a little over an hour. It wasn’t a big deal at all for us because they texted when our table was ready, so we went and had a drink at a waterfront bar while we waited.

Portland, Maine {Travel Recap & Recommendations}

Speaking of getting a drink while we waited to go to dinner, the Porthole was where we went for pre-dinner drinks both nights. There’s a big patio and live music that made for the perfect place to enjoy a few drinks while the sun set. Other restaurants with outdoor seating can also be found in this area, so there are lots of options to choose from.

Portland, Maine {Travel Recap & Recommendations}

If it’s a beautiful day and/or you need a break from eating and drinking, take a 17 minute ferry from Commercial Street over to Peak’s Island. They leave every hour or so and it drops you off right in a cute little town with shops and a few restaurants. You can rent either bikes or golf carts (we went for bikes) to tour the island, which is about four miles around. If you plan ahead (which we did not), you can bring lunch with you and stop to enjoy it at one of the many ocean lookout spots. We saw a few weddings getting set up along our bike ride and it seems like a great place to get married or rent a house with a group of friends or family.

Portland, Maine {Travel Recap & Recommendations}

I may have found the best fries ever at Duckfat, which was another lunch spot that came recommended by nearly everyone we knew who had been to Portland. Dip them in a variety of sauces (we tried all five) or have them served as poutine, topped with duck gravy and even a sunny side up egg and duck. Their paninis are also amazing and my personal favorite was the simple-yet-delicious B.G.T., aka bacon, goat cheese and fresh tomato. I also love Cuban paninis and one was on special when we were there and that was equally as good. Duckfat also serves lots of great local beers and craft sodas to pair with your lunch.

Portland, Maine {Travel Recap & Recommendations}

{image via Fore Street}

The top recommendation we received was definitely to get dinner at Fore Street – and note that this list of recommendations is in order of what we did, not by preference, because this was the best! This is another restaurant where the menu is always changing, but one thing that’s always available (and you must get) are their Wood Oven Roasted Maine Mussels. Seriously the best. For meals, I got a halibut and my husband went with pork loin, both of which were pretty incredible. And I loved the blueberry vodka drink that was on the menu when we were there. If you’ve heard about Fore Street, then you probably also know that you have to make a reservation waaaay in advance. But they also reserve a portion of the restaurant for walk-ins – just get there right at 5:30 p.m., put your name in, and come back a little before your estimated reservation time. We found that the wait at the bar was a little shorter than the regular dining room (we put our name in at 6:15 and sat at 8:30 p.m.). It’s well worth the wait.

Portland, Maine {Travel Recap & Recommendations}

{image via tripadvisor}

Last but not least, we closed out both nights with Gorgeous Gelato. The Gorgeous flavor was my favorite so it went for it two times in a row. They use all-natural ingredients and no artificial sweeteners or flavors and most importantly, those flavors are unique and delicious (think Bacio-Pistachio-Vanilla, Wild Berries-Mango, Dark Chocolate-Coconut, Tiramisu and Stracciatella).

And just a few other pics for fun…

Portland, Maine {Travel Recap & Recommendations}

Love locks bridge on Commercial Street

Portland, Maine {Travel Recap & Recommendations}

One of the cute houses on Peak’s Island

Portland, Maine {Travel Recap & Recommendations}

Flowers found outside a restaurant on one of the piers

Portland, Maine {Travel Recap & Recommendations}

Boat parked outside of the Porthole deck

Portland, Maine {Travel Recap & Recommendations}

Micucci Grocery = go-to for all things Italian, including this takeout pizza

Portland, Maine {Travel Recap & Recommendations}

Quick breakfast at Local Sprouts Cooperative

 

Have you visited Portland before? If you have other recommendations, let us know in the comments below!

 

 

 

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