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Tag Archives: sustainable vacation
There’s no particular reason we picked Portland, Maine for a six day vacation. Jet Blue had a deal for round trip tickets for $140 so we bought them and here we are! Six days of nothing to do but eat, go to concerts, eat, drink microbrews, look at art, and….eat.
Portland is actually quite lovely as far as sustainability is concerned. It’s completely walkable, there is at least one restaurant sourcing locally, vintage and antique shops abound, downtown businesses are locally owned and full of flavor (except for the three plus Dunkin’ Donuts we’ve seen and, of course one Starbucks,) there’s a Saturday farmers market, and really, it just has a very un-commercial vibe going. Touristy activities include visiting art galleries, going on foodie tours, and sampling seafood. Intrigued yet?
We chose this weekend because apparently the leaves are supposed to be in full bloom. Um, we haven’t seen any of that yet. But hopefully while we’re here the leaves will do that thing where you wake up and overnight they’ve caught fire.
(Incidentally, as I write this I’m watching a Family Guy episode that makes fun of New Yorkers who come to New England to see the leaves, and how annoying we are as a group. Whoops.)
We got in late last night. I brought all my jogging clothes, but when I woke up this morning a nor’easter had moved in and was blowing the rain all over the windows. Completely unappetizing. Luckily I packed my wellies and Northface jacket. Mike, being a New Yorker, had a completely inadequate black jacket and tried to shield himself against the sideways wind with an umbrella. A guy we stopped to ask directions had the right idea; he had a bright yellow slicker and rain pants, plus boots. After some blocks the rain had soaked my leggings and spilled into my boots. The lining never did quite dry out.
We scurried towards town and found a breakfast place called Bentliff’s, which welcomed us with cups of hot tea. Two plates of orange graham and Tuscan French Toast later, we were Googling facts about the Maine gubernatorial race so we could finish a crossword puzzle in the local paper.
The rain had stopped when we left, thankfully. We walked into town to the Portland Museum of Art, and then wandered around popping into book stores, several art galleries ranging from mature oils to skater/punk graffiti art, record shops, vintage and antique shops, and a comic book store.
One place we had to stop was the Stonewall Kitchen. Inside they have a dizzying array of chutneys, salsas, maple bark, kitchen accessories and lots and lots of tasty samples. We dipped pretzels in jalapeno honey mustard, mint fudge sauce, raspberry salsa, and fig and ginger jam. Mike walked away horseradish mustard, while I bought papaya salsa and cranberry ginger dressing. Looking at the ingredients, everything seemed to be simple and whole. I can actually pronounce all the ingredients, which is always a good sign.
(PS. The lady fussed at me for taking pictures, so hopefully they don’t make me take this one down!)
The weather was still awful, so we had the town to ourselves. We had lobster rolls and Shipyard Pumpkinhead ale for a late lunch at a deserted pub, then wandered some more until the 7:30 showing of 39 Steps. We seemed to be the only ones in the theater under 55. When we got out, we realized that everyone our age was in the many bars lining the main drag. We’ll hit those later. Our priorities lay in getting a dinner at Fifty-five Five, a restaurant that serves local and seasonal foods. We sampled Vermont cheeses and warmed our hands with brandy hot toddies.
Mike ordered scallops. I had the “Autumn in New England,” a delicious salad of apples, organic baby spinach, Vermont cheddar, house-cured bacon, maple vinaigrette, and toasted pumpkin seeds.
We saw just about the whole town in our adventures today. We have four and a half more days to fill, and we’re getting worried we might run out of things to do. But the sun is supposed to shine tomorrow and I’m looking forward to the farmers market in the park.
I’ll keep you posted!