After nearly 3 days in Rhode Island, we head onwards to my first time ever setting foot in Maine.
While the COVID rates here have remained low like the rest of the Northeast, they’re not quite containing it as well as NYC, CT or Rhode Island…
But luckily for us when we arrived at our hotel in downtown Portland, the AC Marriott, we found out that TODAY would be their first day reopening after a 1-2 month lockdown. This meant our room definitely would be clear of COVID-19 as nobody had stayed there for more than enough time for a lonely virus to die off on any surfaces (usually 3 days).
When you check in, they make you check off and sign this on the honor code (they don’t check for your results otherwise):
After 10 minutes settling in, we walked out to explore Portland, beginning with a 15 minute walk to the Portland Observatory (closed due to COVID):
We then walked 10 minutes towards the water and the majestic scenery of the Eastern Promenade:
It’s a dog paradise still at East End Beach:
Weaving along the coast back to downtown Portland, we came across a series of abandoned railroad carriages:
Once back in downtown Portland, we strolled around the charming cobblestone-lined paths of Old Port, a quaint historic tourist district that before the pandemic also had functioned as a hip nightlife hot spot for locals.
As of the time of positing the traditional seafood spots by the waterfront have just begun reopening for outdoor and partial indoor dining.
When restaurants like Scales was too full, we managed to get seats at the last minute at DiMillo’s On The Water.
When in Maine…
…you do it right…
…and I definitely do it right.
The next morning we wandered past Old Port into the more modern Downtown Portland where I sampled some of my favorite espresso so far at Speckled Axe.
In the area and under better circumstances (aka if there were no pandemics), you can visit the magnificent interiors of Portland Museum of Art…
…and Victoria Mansion, one of the most historic homes of the 19th century.
We then headed back to Old Port for an outdoor seaside lunch at Gilbert’s Chowder House:
…and we followed up with Duckfat‘s famous fried donuts served with caramel dipping sauce.
Heading out of Portland at 2pm, we drove 10 minutes to Bug Light Park, named after its tiny 24 foot tower that has a direct view of Portland Harbor.
The much larger and historic (and Maine’s oldest) Portland Head Lighthouse, built in 1791 and located within the 90-acre Fort Williams Park, is another 10 minutes’ drive south.
After a 20 minute cliff walk at the park, we drove back to Portland and showed up about an hour late to our online reservation (whoops!) we had made for a tandem kayak at Portland Paddle.
Luckily for us in the era of COVID they honored our reservations as demand here still remains low.
We spent about an hour kayaking in the bay, going as far out west as an abandoned railroad bridge by I-295 and as east to Pomroy Rock.
Another thunderstorm then arrived in the evening, so we sat that out back in our hotel before compelling ourselves to walk in the rain for our 8pm reservations at Scales.
But this has been the running theme of Portland thus far:
Finally on day 3 of our time in Portland, we decided to finally honor all the recommendations for us to try The Holy Donut the next morning, especially their Vegan Fresh Lemon, Vegan Chocolate Caramel, and Maple Bacon potato donuts.
And I’m glad we did, physically distanced lines outside and all.
This is a great send off for the road as we now drive up the 3 hours north to Acadia National Park!
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- At time of posting in Portland, ME, it was 16 °C - Humidity: 66% | Wind Speed: 11km/hr | Cloud Cover: thunderstorms