Things To Do When Visiting Portland, Maine

One of our stops on our fall foliage tour was Portland, Maine. Growing up on the East Coast, I’d been to Maine a few times before, but never to Portland. B’s sister had lived in Portland a few years ago and we had heard good things about the city and its food and beer scene. And, we’d heard it was beautiful this time of year, so we decided to make a stop there – three days – on our recent vacation.

What a great city! It was true – it was beautiful this time of year (trees were changing, water and skies were blue (most of the time), the people were all very nice, the food (lobster, lobster and more lobster) was good and everything was very walkable (something I care about when visiting new cities).

Ever planning a trip to Portland? Here are some of the things that we did:

Check out the local craft beer scene.

Portland has quite a few craft breweries – and distilleries – that we couldn’t visit them all. Which is probably a good thing. But we did visit Bunker Brewery, Rising Tide Brewery, Maine Craft Distillery and Shipyard – all of which were great. Shipyard has a virtual brew tour where you watch a video of how they got started and how the beer is made – and then they give you samples of like 7 of their beers, for free! Who wouldn’t like that?

maine craft distilling

Local distillery

Walk around the Old Port part of Portland and be a tourist.

All the tourists, including the cruise ship passengers (there were a ton of them one day!), spend time in the Old Port. The streets have cobblestones and there are many shops and restaurants along the water. It’s where B and I walked to (and ran) most days and found ourselves eating dinner. We didn’t buy any souvenirs while we were there, but if we had it would have probably been there.

old town

old town! yes, that’s a bag of candy in my hand.

Take the ferry to Peak’s Island.

Peak’s Island is an island off the coast of Portland and still technically considered part of the city. It’s home to part of the city’s population, an old fort, a few restaurants and other places. We took the ferry over and back one day and had a snack at a bakery on the island before heading back. I wish there had been more to do on the island, but it was nice to walk around, and get a new view of the city from across the water.

Ferry Selfie!

Ferry Selfie!

View of Portland from the ferry ... check out the big cruise ship!

View of Portland from the ferry … check out the big cruise ship!

Here we are!

Here we are!

Check out the non-touristy shops and spots – from big bookstores to art shops hole-in-the-wall bars.

Portland also has a few large bookshops (something my brother would love!), art galleries and other places that locals and tourists enjoy. We decided to stop by the Snug, a bar that was definitely mostly for locals one of our nights and it was fun to talk to people who lived in Portland and were surprised we had stumbled upon their spot. They had great recommendations (including the lobster nachos … see below) and were happy to hear about our visit. We also happened to be in town during their First Friday Art Walk, where galleries open their doors and have wine and snacks and shows open to the public. People line the streets, selling their artwork, crafts and other handmade stuff, and people walk up and down for a few hours.

Hike up Munjoy Hill and visit the Eastern Promenade. Enjoy watching the boats along the Atlantic.

We stayed in Munjoy Hill and I’m not going to lie, my hips were hurting from all the hill walking and running after a few days. Or maybe they were still sore from our Atlantic Half Marathon? Let’s just go with that one. Anyway, the Eastern Promenade is on the eastern end of the city and has a great park and green area that sits right above the water with some great views of the ocean. Definitely recommend stopping by there, taking a few photos, or even bringing a good book. If it had been summer or warmer weather, I definitely would have brought a few beach chairs and a book. And the sunsets along the waterfront were beautiful!

portland waterfront

Eat as much lobster as you can.

I LOVE lobster. A lot. And I feel like I didn’t get enough of it. But we definitely tried and tried eating it a few different interesting ways –

Steamed lobster dinner.

mutilating the lobster

mutilating the lobster

Lobster roll.

lobster roll

Lobster nachos. SO SO SO good.

lobstah nachos

Lobster guacamole AND lobster ceviche.



Try a donut from Holy Donut and coffee from a local coffeeshop (Coffee By Design may be my preference … and they sometimes have donuts from Holy Donut too!).

B loves donuts, so we always try out a recommended donut shop on our trips. Holy donut makes their donuts with POTATOES so I was very intrigued and new we had to test them out. Their donuts were interesting – they were good but definitely tasted a little different than the traditional donut.


Take a tour, visit a museum, or visit their other many attractions.

B and I usually try to visit a museum or do something culure-y like that when visiting a city for a decent period of time. In Milwaukee last year, we visited their art museum. In Portland, we opted not to visit any of their many art or other museums- instead, we visited the homestead of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. We visited their exhibit (really interesting!) and took a tour o fthe home, which I thought was really interesting. I love visiting old homes that are preserved to look like they did way back when, and this home was no different. The old bedrooms, kitchen, etc. were really cool to see, and visiting the exhibit before seeing the house was a great way to get an understanding of what life in early Portland was like. Not a bad way to spend a few hours!

In front of the old home!

In front of the old home!

Some questions for you:

  • Have you been to Portland before? What would you add to this list?
  • What are some ways you have tried lobster?
  • Do you have a favorite craft beer?

A Northeastern Fall Foliage Tour

B and I recently were able to take some time off – a week! – and decided to go on a roadtrip to some eastern states in what we were dubbing our “fall foliage tour.” Yes, that’s how I know I’m getting older – we are planning fall foliage tours. What am I, almost 30? (rhetorical question – don’t answer that)

It was a great way to spend a week off- it was relaxing (even though we were active), we got a chance to do some of my favorite fall activities (hiking and apple picking) and even got to spend a day seeing my parents and a day seeing a friend from college. Just what I needed in some time off! Some highlights from the trip:

We started with a quick stop to see my parents and go apple picking (full blog post here).

apple picking at indian ladder

Then headed to the town of Schroon, New York to see our friend Mitch and run the beautiful, hilly Adirondack Half Marathon along Schroon Lake (full blog post here).

adirondack half marathon

After the race

On our way to our next stop, we hit up Ticonderoga, New York. We visited the small downtown area and then visited Fort Ticonderoga.

walking around Ticonderoga

B and some old cannons

B and some old cannons

Great views from Fort Ticonderoga!

Great views from Fort Ticonderoga!

Then we headed to the beautiful state of Vermont! It was B’s first time there and we spent a few days in Northern Vermont, staying in Burlington, checking out their pretty waterfront, trying the local food, walking around their fun downtown area, taking quick trips to neighboring small towns and touring Ben & Jerry’s!

Hello from the town of Stowe, Ohio!

Hello from the town of Stowe, Vermont!

Being goofy at Ben & Jerry's

Being goofy at Ben & Jerry’s

The flavor graveyard. RIP cookie dough frozen yogurt :(

The flavor graveyard. RIP cookie dough frozen yogurt 😦

sunset along the waterfront in Burlington

sunset along the waterfront in Burlington

On our way to our next state, we made a pit stop in New Hampshire for a hike through the White Mountains. We spent a few hours hiking around Mt. Eisenhower. Unfortunately the weather was drizzly and foggy that day so we didn’t get in any amazing views that we’d heard about. But we did get in some activity – something I’d been craving, since it had been a few days since our half marathon.



Then we headed to Portland, Maine. Full blog post coming about this trip, but we had a great time walking everywhere, trying the local food and craft beer (Shipyard Pumpkin FTW!) and I even got in a few runs while I was there.

maine craft distilling

Our last quick stop was Boston. We walked around our alma mater, Boston College, stopped by the place we got engaged, and hit up the North End for dinner. A perfect end to a great vacation!

Back at BC!

Back at BC!

Some questions for you:

  1. Are the fall colors changing where you are? What’s your favorite way to see fall foliage? On a run? A hike through the mountains? A Sunday drive? Apple picking? Other?
  2. Do you like pumpkin beer? What’s your favorite? I’ve heard of some beer snobs who can’t stand it! I liked trying the Shipyard, but Pumking may still be my favorite.
  3. What’s your favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor? I loved Vanilla Heath Bar fudge (they don’t make it anymore now that they’re GMO free … RIP Heath bars!) but also love their new core flavors (any with vanilla as a base) and love anything with Caramel. Oh, and Cherry Garcia. Do I have to choose just one?

#TBT: Throwback Thursday – Travel Edition

As you probably know by now, B and I love to travel. We’ve gone to some great places – international and in the U.S. – together and had a great time trying out new meals, meeting new people and getting in as much of the local scene as we can.

We have two more trips planned this year – what we’re calling an “East Coast Foliage Tour” (which will include stops in Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Boston and New York) and a trip to Asia (Hong Kong and Vietnam for now). So as I started to get excited about what’s to come, I began to also think about all the great trips we’ve had over the past few years. Here are some old photos from past trips, 2010 through last year:

2010 – New York City to see my brother play at Carnegie Hall

NYC 2010 Carnegie Hall

2010 – Road trip to Pittsburgh – checking out the city for the first time and of course their Hofbrauhaus



Not sure if this counts as travel … but we go to upstate New York quite often to see my parents. These pictures are from our engagement shots in 2010 🙂 (thus the cheesiness)



2011 – trip to Chicago!  We tasted our way through local beers and deep dish pizza, and did a walking tour, tried the architectural boat tour and got in great views.

Chicago + 391 Chicago + 408 Hemmingway Lou Malnottis

2012 Cape Cod – we ate lobster, went whale watching, tried tandem biking and even walked on the beach (even with my boot :()

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Also in 2012 we went to Ireland and England! More hiking, local food and drinks, and siteseeing.

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And we ended the year in Montreal and Toronto. In a snowy winter wonderland! We still managed to walk around, check out some amazing food (crepes, poutine, Chinatown) and had a great time.

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2013 started with a winter surprise vacation in Miami – which meant sunshine, running along the beach, fresh seafood and fruity drinks!




Also, that year we spent a week checking out another midwestern city – Milwaukee!

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And 2013 ended with a great trip to the West Coast, with stops in San Francisco, NapaSeattle, the Redwoods, Los Angeles and more.

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This year, you probably remember we started off with some travel to Costa Rica. And I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2014 holds for us for travel!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like to travel or do you prefer to stay home?
  • What’s the coolest place you’ve been – I need more places to add to my travel bucket list!
  • Ever been to Hong Kong or Vietnam? Recommendations?
  • Ever been to Portland, Maine? What do you recommend we do?
  • What’s on your travel bucket list?




Next Stop … Portland! (subtitle: 5 things to do in Portland)

After spending a few days with FDF (as I started calling Katie … Future Dr F) in sunny Seattle, B and I were off on our own adventure! We picked up our rental car and headed down to our first stop – 24 hours in Portland! Well, more like 16 hours. Which is not nearly enough to give you a full review of the place, but here are a few things we did enjoy on our brief visit.

Voodoo Doughnuts- super touristy, but a must if you’re looking for a sugar high. We got too many doughnuts, but my favorite was  the peanut butter, banana and chocolate fritter!

We ate all of these.

We ate all of these.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters- if you’re like B and enjoy a good cup of coffee, you’ll enjoy this place. He enjoyed some fancy smancy Ethiopian pour over coffee, but I stuck with a chai and latte. Yes, we went there twice in 16 hours … B really likes coffee.

Such a pretty latte!

Such a pretty latte!

Deschutes Brewery- pretty good beer! B and I stopped there for a drink and stayed a little longer. We tried a flight of beer and then decided to get some more – I loved the Black Butte XXV .. a lot!


testing out beers at Deschutes!


Luc Lac– our awesome dinner. Seriously, I looooved this place! You order when you walk in and they bring it to your table -so you must know what you want when you walk in. I had the Vermicelli Combo and while I didn’t plan on eating the pork (it also had shrimp and chicken), I loved it! We became members of the clean plate club that night.

my awesome combo plate at luc lac

my awesome combo plate at luc lac

spring rolls at luc lac

spring rolls at luc lac

Powell’s Bookstore- I promise we did more than just eat and drink in Portland. This bookstore was great! I love looking at, smelling (yes, it’s a little weird but I love smells of books), thumbing through and even reading old and new books so I adored this place. The  book B was looking for wasn’t actually in, but he bought some other reading material instead. Definitely a place to stop, even if it’s just to see all the books they have!


After Portland it was time to drive down the coast for the rest of our trip. I leave you with the beautiful scenery we encountered along our drive. Enjoy! More to come on the rest of our vacation.