Portland offers so much in the way of fine cuisine and sightseeing that a one day itinerary just isn’t enough. Nevertheless, we’ve attempted to put together a one-day excursion that will enable visitors to get a genuine feel for Maine’s largest city. Who knows, you may become so entranced that you’ll come back for more!
Bintliff's — Photo courtesy of Bintliff'sBrunch: As we all know, it’s important to start your day with a solid breakfast. In light of the fact that you’ve probably taken the luxury of sleeping in (this is, after all, a vacation trip!), we’ve exchanged breakfast for brunch. Portlanders agree that one of the top spots for brunch is Bintliff’s American Café, located at 98 Portland Street (www.bintliffscafe.com, 207-774-0005). This is a casual, intimate establishment that offers hearty brunch fare with a touch of fun, local flavor. Menu favorites include the Acadian Omelet with spicy andouille sausage, red onion, baby spinach and pepperjack cheese; and Maine Lobster Benedict with hand picked Maine lobster and spinach on an English muffin with two poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce. This classic eatery also features a dazzling array of pancake and egg dishes to satisfy just about any taste or flavor.
The Eastern Promenade — Photo courtesy of Portland TrailsEastern Promenade: So now that you and your traveling partner have had a full, satisfying brunch, it’s time for a pleasant stroll. Portland’s famous Eastern Promenade is a great location for such activities. Located at the corner of Commercial and India Streets, the Promenade’s 2.1 miles features compelling views of Casco Bay, Portland Harbor and beyond. The trail follows an old railroad corridor and has comfortable benches and picnic tables to pause and take in the scenic shoreline. If you’re visiting during warmer weather, be sure to take advantage of the swimming areas and public boat launch (which is also suitable for kayakers and canoeists). It’s a great way to absorb the wonderful ocean landscape that has long made Portland a favorite with lovers of the sea.
Portland Museum of Art — Photo courtesy of Portland Museum of ArtPortland Museum of Art: Now it’s time for the main activity of the day. No visit to Portland is complete without a visit to the Portland Museum of Art (7 Congress Square, 207-775-6148, www.portlandmuseum.org) . This museum has long been one of Portland’s most prominent cultural treasures. It’s vast collection features more than 17,000 decorate works, paintings, sculptures, photography, ceramics and glass from the 1700s to the present. Most of the well known masters are represented here including Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Rockwell Kent and Louise Nevelson. The museum itself has a flowing, open concept floor plan that invites visitors to explore as well as pause and enjoy the classic works. Prior to your visit, be sure to check the museum’s website for special exhibitions and programs.
Five-fifty five — Photo courtesy of Five-fifty fiveDinner: Okay, you’ve spent most of the afternoon taking in the treasures to be found at the Portland Museum of Art. It’s now time to indulge yourself in the artful cuisine of Five Fifty-Five (555 Congress Street, 207-761-0555, www.fivefifty-five.com) one of Portland’s most adventurous eateries. Even their menu listings are unique – with offerings arranged by tastes such as savory, small and green plates. This acclaimed restaurant is especially known for raising local and regional dishes to gourmet status. For instance, their Corn Cowdah features local shelled corn and Yukon gold potatoes and served with crab cake and chorizo dust. Seasonal dishes also shine here such as their celebrated “A Taste of Autumn” that features flash-fried gnocchi, mountain goat cheese, smoked squash puree, roasted root vegetables and crispy, buttered brussel sprouts.
One Longfellow Square — Photo courtesy of One Longfellow SquareEvening: Feeling great after your wonderful dinner, it’s now time to sample Portland nightlife. While there are many options available – from bars to theaters to stage productions – you may want to sample the presentations to be found at One Longfellow Square (181 State Street, 207-761-1757, www.onelongfellowsquare.com) , one of Portland’s top live performance venues. This premier music hall frequently offers a diverse, always fun array of comedy, indie and Americana-flavored entertainment. Recent performers who have taken to their stage include folk favorites Aztec Two-Step and Tom Rush, post-bluegrass sensations Bearfoot, popular comedian Paula Poundstone, and flamenco guitarist virtuoso Juanito Pascual. Longfellow Square is definitely one of the best venues for entertainment that is truly different and should not be missed.
Fortifem — Photo courtesy of FortifemAfter Hours: Following your evening of great entertainment at One Longfellow Square, I recommend a short walk over to Old Port for a nightcap at FortiFenn Martini Lounge (45 Wharf Street, 877-653-7678, www.fortifem.com). With its décor of plush leather furniture, cloth curtains in warm colors, and soft lighting, this place exudes intimate, late night relaxation. It features a full menu of classic and creative cocktails ranging from sweet martini’s (the S’Mores is a favorite featuring Malibu vodka and Godiva Butterscotch cordial) to the time honored Standard (Bombay Sapphire Gin, Vermouth and olives). It’s a great, romantic way to end your terrific day in Portland as you look forward to more fun in Portland’s favorite port city!