Trains, buses, and LYFTs, oh my!
11.11.2016 - 13.11.2016
We set off for Portland, ME by taking our new favorite way to travel. . . TRAINS!
And as Maine historically used to be a part of Massachusetts, and Portland like Boston is a fellow port city, what better place to spend a weekend getaway?
We started our journey by departing from Boston's Northstation. As there is ongoing construction, you have to leave Northstation and cross the street over to TD Bank Garden (technically the side of the station where the Amtrak and MBTA Commuter rail lines are located apart from the bus and MBTA subway lines).
We decided to opt for business class on the Downeaster or a quieter ride and slightly comfier seating (leather seats). As this ride is a short one (2.5 hours, 102 miles), the train has less frills compared to our other cross country vessels (coach and business class seating, cafe car).
Upon our arrival, we took a LYFT ride with , Carl, a local "Vacationlander", and Vietnam Vet. As it was Veteran's Day, we wished him well and thanked him for his service. It was clear that he did not create his own LYFT account as he was fascinated by the information we knew about him!
Carl loves Portland (all the locals that we encountered this weekend do), and quickly reviewed our itinerary to ensure we were going to have a great time.
We dined at The Great Lost Bear which is a fun divey place with a great selection of local craft beer and a huge menu with vegetarian and vegan options.
After an unsuccessful attempt at brunch at the Bayside American Cafe which apparently is the most popular spot for brunch in Portland (the wait was almost 2 hours!), we walked through to Old Port.
We ended up eating at Local 188, which was delicious!
We had ricotta dumplings with jam as our "appetizer":
And delicious egg scrambles /omelettes with Wolferman's English muffins.
These gourmet English muffins were so good, we tried to buy them off of the restaurant. After that failed, I bought a case online. That's how good they are, they are LIFE.
We took another LYFT to the Eastern Promenade. Here, we saw some beautiful views of Casco Bay and walked along the many paved trails and sandy beaches.
While not currently in operation, we came across the cutest narrow gauge train track! An engineer was fixing the tracks and told us that it's typically in operation during the summer tourist season, but would be running from after Thanksgiving to Christmas for the Polar Express.
We walked to where the trains were housed and it ended up being a train museum!
Some of the trains are being decorated in preparation for the Polar Express, so neat!
We walked back to Old Port and saw a Dakota Access Pipeline Protest March
Signs of love and hope were ever present all over the city.
A few carnations with a quote from Albus Dumbledore:
An instillation about the American Dream (for some):
An office building with a warning against (most) solicitors:
And another urban favorite, the Little Free Library!
We went to Shipyard Brewing Company for flights.
After a relaxing hour of deep tissue massages, we headed over to Taco Escobarr for dinner.
We ended the night by lighting a fire at the firepit at our AirBnb!
There was a place called Uncle Andy's Diner, so in honor of Heidi's brother Andy we HAD to go there. And it did not disappoint!
As Sunday morning was a little difficult to find LYFT and UBER drivers, we ended up taking taxis everywhere. It was . . . an interesting experience.
The cabbies are very colorful people, we heard some entertaining/frightening/fascinating stories about the rise of Portland, local real estate, and in one case a cabby that tried to murder someone but (thank God) the man survived!
Portland Head Light
The most photographed lighthouse in the world, need I say more?
Allagash Brewery and (free) Tour
Simply the best tour experience I've ever had, our tour guide Tessa was very informative and sweet.
We were lucky enough to be at the brewery for the release of the Hibernal Fluxus a special release brew. Unfortunately, Allagash does NOT have a license for growlers.
Legit across the street from Allagash Brewery and an awesome, no frills craft brewer with awesome staff and "regulars".
We had a round of flights and took a growler for the road.
The trip to Portland, ME was short but sweet. We ate, drank, and were merry.
It's such a short drive (2 hours) that we'll be going often for day trips to the Portland Islands (next up Peaks Island) and to explore more of the many breweries in the area.
Claudia & Heidi