When you think about Portland, ME what comes to mind? I would bet most people will say lobster and, hey, I don’t blame you. I am also a fan of the awesomeness of buttery delicious fresh caught lobster. For those of you who are sick of reading lists about Portland that mostly include where to go eat the best lobster, this one’s for you!
Mackworth Island Trail
Take a day trip to the Mackworth Island Trail with your friends and family this summer for a fun way to get outside and be active. Mackworth Island is a legislated bird sanctuary and home to former Governor James Phinney Baxter and his son. The island is open to visitors daily, from dawn to dusk, and is the current home of the Baxter School for the Deaf.
The Mackworth Island Trail circles the island and provides excellent views of Casco Bay. This trail is not a very difficult hike, and it is also wheelchair accessible. The trail’s surface is made up of wood chips and packed soil, which can become slippery when wet, but the trail is generally very level. There are smaller side trails that may not be accessible to all visitors due to the steep slopes and staircases. If you stay on the main path, you should not have any trouble making it through.
L.L. Bean has more to offer than just trendy book bags and clothes. At their location in Freeport, you can join in on all sorts of free events and programs. This weekend, you can learn about bird watching, fly-fishing, archery, kayaking, and more. Most of their events are free and open to the public but some of their larger events such as the 2 day fly-fishing course this weekend will run you about $400.
Old Port Festival
The annual Old Port Festival is on June 14th this year. The festival celebrates the beginning of summer in downtown Portland with musical guests, arts and crafts, food, kid’s activities, and much more. The festival kicks off at 11am with a parade starting at the top of Exchange Street. The festival ends at 5pm when WCYY announces the sound-off competition winner.
Have you ever thought, “How can I make French fries even better?” Well, this place has! Duckfat is a small sandwich shop in Portland that has thought of everything. Their Belgian fries are made from local Maine potatoes and fried in duck fat and they definitely do not disappoint. When you want to sit down for a great Panini, a side of fries, and a drink in Portland, make sure you go to Duckfat.
Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad
The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company and Museum operates and preserves the historic two-foot gauge railroad in Portland, Maine. The museum at the Narrow Gauge Railroad brings in around 33,000 visitors annually. These railroads are unique because when they were built in the 19th century they transported both freight and passengers on 5 different lines, which were only 2 feet apart from one another.
Maine State Ballet
One great way to support the arts in Portland is to attend a performance by the Maine State Ballet. The ballet is a non-profit organization committed to educating, entertaining, and enriching the community through their many different dance programs. They inspire youth to be active and confident members of our society while training to entertain everyone at their shows. This year they are performing Coppelia, Peter & the Wolf, and, in the winter of course, The Nutcracker.
Portland Museum of Art
Another way to support the arts in Portland is to visit the Portland Museum of Art. The museum creates outstanding exhibitions and educational programs to inspire visitors. As the cultural heart of Portland, the museum holds a very large collection of nationally renowned exhibitions. They hold significant works of American, European, and contemporary art, as well as art from local Maine artists.
The Portland Observatory is a historic maritime signal tower, a major landmark for Portland. The tower was built in 1807, and it is the last known tower of its type in the United States. Located at 138 Congress Street in the Munjoy Hill section of Portland, the tower used both a telescope and signal flags to communicate with ships coming into the port. The tower was designated a national historic landmark in 2006 and it is now open to the public for tours.
Blue Rooster Food Company
I never said I wouldn’t talk about food in this list, I only said I wouldn’t talk about lobster. So, now that we’ve gotten that all straightened out, I’d like to introduce you to the Blue Rooster Food Company. When you’re in the mood for some delicious fried food, I highly suggest trying out the fried brussel sprouts at the Blue Rooster Food Company. If their hundreds of 5 star reviews on Yelp can’t convince you, then you need to go there for yourself and order some fried brussel sprouts, you will not be disappointed.
Casco Bay Lines Mailboat
The Casco Bay Lines offer many different boat rides but the one I find the most interesting the Mailboat run. The mailboat is an integral part of the island communities near Portland delivering mail and freight to the many islands of Casco Bay. This tour is a great way to see the many different sights of the bay and learn about one of the longest-operating service of its kind. The trip runs twice a day and it lasts about 2.5-3.5 hours depending on cargo volume and route.
What have you done in Portland (besides eat lobster) that really gives a sense of what Portland stands for? Leave us a comment below!