My husband, Charlie, and I spent four days in Portland, Maine to celebrate our anniversary and just to spend some time together while two of our three kids are away at camp (the third stayed home with a college student to look after her). Although Portland is just two hours away from Boston, neither of us had ever been there so it was a new adventure. I’d summarize the city as an amazing food destination with great hiking and lots of creativity to boot. My kind of destination!
On the way up we stopped at Two Lights State Park for a gorgeous, albeit very foggy, hike down to the ocean. There were lots of tide pools to investigate with tiny crabs, mussels, and periwinkles plus sea ducks swimming in the waves. Lots of gorgeous wildflowers growing, too.
Weaving by Jean Stamsta, 1969, from the Haystack Mountian School of Crafts exhibition.
Once in Portland, we spent some time at the Portland Museum of Art checking out the special exhibition of artwork from the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. So many excellent weavings and other fiber pieces from the 70s!
I visited Z Fabrics which is easy to get to at 477 Congress Street. Proprietor Mary Zarate cut my fabric and we chatted about sergers and about my local fabric shop here in Boston. Z Fabrics has a great selection of fabrics for quilting and garment sewing plus yarn and embroidery kits. It’s well-curated and I spent way too much time showing Charlie all the bolts and telling him the backstory about every brand and designer (I can seriously nerd out like that). I bought 2 yards of a Carolyn Friedlander knit to make a Lodo dress as well as half a yard of a Courtney Cerutti print that I just loved and couldn’t leave without. Ah, vacation shopping!
Portland has great coffee. Our hotel, The Francis, was conveniently located across the street from Tandem Coffee and we were there several times a day because it was just so delicious. They make their own almond macadamia nut milk and, as a huge almond milk fan, I can tell you it’s fabulous. We also had breakfast there every morning! Good thing we’re early risers because there’s already a line before they open at 8am.
We also took the ferry to Peaks Island which was beautiful and would be a great place to bike. Alas, Charlie doesn’t know how to ride a bike so we walked which meant we didn’t make it all the way around the 4-mile island. We also walked the Eastern Promenade Trail. So much walking, but given that these walks were interspersed with fantastic meals it really evened itself out (and I went running every morning, too). We had dinner at Scales (highly recommend!) and ice cream twice at Gelato Fiasco which was totally fantastic.
On the last day, we stopped in at Fitz & Bennett Home which is a really great home decor shop where each item is thoughtful and interesting. We bought the sweetest throw pillow for the loveseat in our bedroom. It has two parakeets on it, one blue and one green, and is the perfect memento from this trip.
It was so nice to get away, and even though I had 127 emails to respond to when I got home it was worth every minute. With three kids and no local family, it’s rare that we get away together and really only happens for a few days once a year. I’m so glad that we chose Portland this time!