Old Port Portland Reviews
Old Port Apr 04, 2008
For sure, the most awesome neighborhood in Portland, Maine is Old Port. The remarkable part is that I lived here when this was a decrepit warehouse district…but was fortunate enough to witness it transformed into today’s charming collection of pubs, eateries and shops right along the water. Utter charm oozes from the restored Victorian buildings lining beautiful cobblestone streets. You inhale salty sea air to acknowledge you are indeed by the sea, further reinforced by the constant cry of seagulls (which I used to call ‘sky rats’ when I was a resident…but absence makes the heart grow fonder, I guess).
This can transport you back to sailing days a couple centuries ago and another cool aspect is that this remains a working waterfront --- which means great fresh seafood! While there are many of your typical ‘tourist junk’ places, the selection of really cool art shops is amazing - favorite is Abacus (on Exchange Street in the Old Port), a stunning gallery that was my preferred Christmas shopping spot for a decade --- their tasteful presentation of jewelry, paintings, sculptures and more makes it like a free museum, but if you are like me it will be impossible to exit without making a purchase. Another excellent store is Maxwell’s Pottery, down on Fore Street (just head towards the water from Abacus)…great pieces!
Of course if you make it to Fore Street you should definitely visit its namesake restaurant, which I believed I reviewed on TravBuddy some time ago. But this neighborhood is jumping with great dining establishments and I can also heartily recommend Street & Company.(on Wharf Street, which is foot traffic only!). Both of these eateries are a bit expensive, but that is only because you are getting really fine dining…without the stuffy atmosphere. I wouldn’t dare recommend Portland to anyone without insisting they sample both of these masterpieces.
After dinner, you have your choice of many pubs and micro-breweries. Will confess that being an old fart who has been absent from the scene for six years, I can’t suggest any hip dance clubs. However, if you like to enjoy a good quaff and chat with friends, Gritty McDuff’s is a superb recommendation. This micro brewery makes splendid dark brews and pre-dates the micro-brewery rage (i.e., I think they were the first one in Maine)…pretty sure they are on Fore Street, but I was always a little foggy when I exited, lol.
Won’t continue to ramble, but no trip to Portland is complete without rambling on down to the waterfront…you will not be disappointed by all that Old Port has to offer!
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