Next Weekend Away: Portland, Maine

Headed Up East the weekend after Easter to Portland, Maine? After sharing our favorite free and inexpensive things to do in the New England gem earlier this week, we can’t blame you. There’s plenty to do the weekend of April 29 through May 1.

Maine’s not made for in-door types, not this time of year. Get out on the water – Portland’s surrounded by it. To the south, the Fore River flows into the harbor. The Atlantic is on the edge of town, filling the northern Back Cove tidal basin. All of this makes for great seaside dining. Among Portland’s best places to eat are:

Becky’s Diner: Located at the base of High Street on Hobson’s Warf, the place is a bit of Portland institution. Catering to fishermen, Becky’s opens at 4 a.m. Further into the day, it’s packed. Watch seagulls swoop while quaffing the day’s first cup of coffee.

Portland Lobster Company: Do you love ruddy crustaceans known as lobster? You’ll be hard-put to find a better place to enjoy them. Sit on the deck and order a cup of lobster bisque to start. Follow suit with a plate load of lobster rolls and a local brew from the outdoor bar. The evening backdrop to all this is music, wafting across the warf.
DiMillo’s Floating Restaurant: Pass the historic piece of the Berlin wall, and trek to the end of Long Wharf. There you’ll see a very big boat emblazoned with the name DiMillo’s. It’s a retired car ferry, and home to one of the city’s best places to eat. The cuisine is American, and the chef is Melissa Bouchard. The portside deck, just off the lounge, is the best place to dine and watch people and boats pass by.

Full? There’s ample opportunity to walk off what you just put on:

Mackworth Island: Make tracks to Mackworth. Just five minutes from downtown, the island is located at the end of a low bridge that juts out into the Atlantic. Parking is rather limited, so try to arrive before 9 a.m. The beach is bucolic, and offers a great view of Portland. Enormous oak trees line the path that circles the island.

Back Cove: This is Portland’s preferred place to work out outside. The trail encircling the cove is perfect for jogging and biking, 3.5 miles of it in all.

Baxter Woods: Nearby Back Cove, Baxter Woods preserves the largest forest in Portland. If you’re in search of solitude, this pristine slice of New England is where you’ll want to be. Go to a downtown grocery and pick up a loaf of bread, bottle of wine and round of cheese. Spread out a blanket and picnic near a pond.

Finish the day at Anthony’s Dinner Theater and Cabaret. Only $39.95 per person, plus tax, buys you an evening of southern Italian food, song and fun. The theater is located at 151 Middle Street.

Save money for wine, wonders, and song by booking a room not far from where you landed, at the Comfort Inn Airport. Just $99, plus tax, gets you a king room replete with free Wi-Fi, recliner, desk and ergonomic chair. Don’t, however, use them to get any work done. Remember, you’re on vacation.

If you haven’t booked yet, it’s not too late. Check out our cheap flights to Portland and look for upcoming deals.

Story by Jerry Chandler

(Image: Deerbourne)

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