Last week, my friend Naomi and I took a trip to the northern states of New England.  I got to scratch 3 states off my list: Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire.  Our main destination was Acadia National Park in Maine, which was a 12 hour drive from our hometown in Washington D.C. Rather than drive all the way to Acadia, our plan was to take a pit stop in Portland, Maine to meet up with Naomi’s friends Heather and Isabelle.

      On our way up to Portland we stopped in Newbury, CT for lunch. After consulting Yelp, we decided to stop at a small burger joint named GoldBurger that had excellent ratings. 4.5 stars from over 300 reviewers; as a burger connoisseur I had to check it out! The burgers were average, definitely didn’t make my top 10 Burgers list, but that’s a blog post for another day. HOWEVER, the fries were amazing!  If you’re driving up north in CT, take the 10 minute detour off I-91 and treat yo’ self. There’s also a Caravel ice-cream store next door if you require more treating of yo’ self. Next stop: Portland!

     Our destination was an AirBnb in South Portland. This trip was both Naomi and my first experience with AirBnb.  I was curious how it would work out but I ended up having a very pleasant experience at each of the AirBnb houses we stayed at througout the road trip. A man named Joseph was the owner of the first house and was also a USCG certified captain who offered boat rides with the stay! He was very accommodating, and we barely saw him; him and his wife were either not around or hanging out in their own section of the house in the basement.  It felt like we were staying at an old friend’s house and it was overall a great experience.

     After we got situated at Joe’s, we met up with Heather and Isabelle to hang out around the town for the night.  While waiting for our dinner reservations we walked around the city for a bit.  Portland is a great city; I’d say it was probably my favorite out of the three towns we saw in Maine on our trip.  There is great street art, views of the harbor, and an overall great atmosphere with the happy people of Maine walking around the city. Fun Fact: Portland, ME is the largest city in Maine and it is also the eastern most city of more than 50,000 people in the United States. Another fun fact: Maine isn’t actually the eastern most state in the US; technically Alaska is due to the Aleutian Island crossing the 180-degree-meridean separating the Eastern and Western hemispheres.

     One of the best parts of stopping in Portland was the food/drinks.  For dinner we went to a delicious Chinese restaurant called Empire.  Empire was tiny and packed, and for a good reason.  They bring the food out as it’s ready, so we bought a lot of small dishes to share.  You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but I recommend the sweet brioche buns and the mouth-watering garlic green beans. Damn, I’m getting pretty nostalgic about Portland as I’m typing this. But wait, this place get’s even better!  They even have live music and late night karaoke. And by late night, I mean 9pm.  Portland shuts down early; the people of Portland have chillin’ to do, so make sure you get your shopping in before 6ish.

     After dinner we went out for drinks at a bar called Bonfire.  Going to this bar was basically like taking a step into the dirty south.  We ordered Portland’s signature brewed beer, The Allagash, and sat on tire swings hanging from the ceiling.  Yes, there were swings in the bar… the coolest seats ever! The Allagash was a good light beer, not too memorable, but definitely tasty.

     Overall Portland was a great first stop on our epic New England road trip.  It was great to meet Heather and Isabelle and I’ll definitely be seeing them again soon.  We only walked a few streets of Portland and never saw the harbor so I can’t wait to visit again for longer than one evening, and explore the rest of the town.  Also, Shoutout to Heather! Heather is also a great fellow photographer; so if you want to see more sweet pics of Maine give her a follow on Instagram.

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