After finally escaping our annoying airplane neighbors described in Part 1, Mr. Maid and I landed in Portland International Jetport in Portland, Maine. That’s right. Not an airport, a “jetport”. Not sure why they call it that, but it made me feel a bit like Jane Jetson.
Fancy name aside, it is a really nice, small airport only a few miles from downtown Portland. In no time we had collected our bags, picked up our rental car and hit the road for our hotel in the Old Port district of the largest city in Maine.
I wonder if the people of this Portland get sick of all the attention the other Portland gets. Where I live – in southern Illinois near St. Louis, Missouri there is often a strong “us” versus “them” attitude. The next town over is O’Fallon, Illinois, but there is also a suburb named O’Fallon, Missouri. It’s not that the Missouri town gets more attention, but news outlets seem to forget about us Illinoisans on a regular basis. We’ll hear “News Flash: Ax murder is roaming the streets of O’Fallon!” or “Take cover! Tornado about to hit O’Fallon!” Ok, so is it the one that’s 5 miles away, or the one that’s 50 mile away? That might be useful to know! One local weather man has referred to the Missouri town as “MO’Fallon” a few times, which I think is brilliant, but alas, has not caught on.
Anyway, back to Portland. Numerous times while researching our trip, if I forgot to specify Portland, Maine, the internet pixies would just assume I meant Portland, Oregon. It was as if they were judging my vacation destination choice. “Who on earth would want to go to Maine, when all the cool kids know that Oregon is where it’s at?” Mr. Maid and I, that’s who! I have never been to Portland, Oregon, but I hope to visit one day, as I’m sure it’s great. You can check out this fun little article comparing the two. Note that even this article lists Portland, Oregon first – so unfair!
We often try to take the road less traveled rather than following all the lemmings to the latest trendy spot, but our choice was something simpler than that – our last several trips had been out west, so we decided to head east this time. Mr. Maid had never been to Maine and my only trip was during those vile, sullen teenage years where I didn’t want to be anywhere in the company of my parents. As a result, I have only two memories of the trip. Eating a lobster at a picnic table and sitting on the coast writing a postcard to a boy I had a crush on back home. I no doubt told him how “lame” and “stupid” and “gross” everything and everyone was.
Well, regardless of my teenage opinion, the adult Maid found Portland to be absolutely wonderful! The people there, and in Maine in general, were pleasant and friendly. Portland is a pretty city on Casco Bay with a thriving Arts community. There is a mix of new architecture with old buildings on cobblestone streets. It has fantastic restaurants (oh the seafood!), lots of locally brewed beer and is dog friendly too. We walked – a lot – which is something that we enjoy doing in cities we visit.
We wandered the streets of the Old Port district, stopping to eat some exquisitely fresh seafood for dinner. Mr. Maid immediately found a locally brewed IPA that he pronounced “awesome.” With the help of yelp.com, we wound our way through the side streets to a bar called the Thirsty Pig to sample more local brews. The Thirsty Pig is a bar/restaurant that specializes in sausages of all things! Had we somehow been transported Portland, Wisconsin?? (There is a Portland, Wisconsin by the way – wonder how they feel about the other two. Talk about an inferiority complex!)
Having already eaten, we passed on the sausages and were just there for the extensive beer selection. I am not the craft beer fan that Mr. Maid is, and I don’t care the IPAs that he likes, but with the kind bartender’s help I discovered Allagash White from the Allagash Brewing Company right there in Portland, which became my drink of choice for this vacation. As usual, Mr. Maid tried a multitude of beers throughout the week from Allagash, Atlantic Brewing Company, Shipyard Brewing Company, Maine Beer Company, and others, finding several that he wished he could find in our neck of the woods.
Finally tired from our day of travel, we made one last stop at Dogfish Bar & Grille which was just a stone’s throw from our hotel. One last beer for the night while listening to a really wonderful band. The singer was a lovely girl with a beautiful voice. The rest of the band was really talented too, even if they didn’t look like they belonged together. The drummer wore a suit and sunglasses, looking like a cast member from Men in Black. The bass player was in a flannel shirt and jeans with a definite hipster/lumberjack vibe. The keyboard player looked like an IT guy who had just come from work. Whatever! They were great and made our first night in Maine wonderful – getting us off the beaten path and hanging with the locals, which is our favorite way to experience a new city.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of The Maid Goes to Maine, where we actually start doing some touristy stuff and take a lot more pictures!