Friday, August 13, 2021
After a day in this city I can tell you without question I like this Portland on this side of the country significantly better than the other. Just like Burlington, VT we arrived in Portland when it was quite dark outside and didn’t really even get a feel for the city until the sun rose and we opened our eyes this morning. While the town itself is absolutely adorable, it has a lot of older, historical elements about it which can make it challenging to drive around in a big ole twenty-four foot sprinter van. For example this morning we visited The Crooked Mile Cafe for breakfast and coffee which is located in the Old Port area of town. This historic destination has roundabouts and cobblestone streets, 15 minute parking meters and one way streets. Like I said, not the most conducive for a twenty-four foot sprinter van. We made it work though and pulled into that very 15 minute parking spot I just mentioned to grab coffee and breakfast sandwiches.
I’ll tell you, that being our first experience interacting with people in Portland, Maine, I think we were both reminded quite quickly that we’re on the East Coast. New Yorkers in particular have a certain…Reputation…for their abrupt nature so we chalked up the waitresses cold demeanor to being an East Coaster herself. No offense to my East Coast readers and friends, I know not everyone is one in the same on the East Coast nor the West, but I think we can all agree East Coast and West Coast vibes are simply, different. Nevertheless, trying to give her the benefit of the doubt.
We drove over to Bug Light Park after coffee which is this picturesque park right along the water in South Portland. There’s ample free parking, a large grassy area, a tiny little lighthouse and lots of benches and tables to sit at and enjoy a picnic or if you’re like me, post up and work for the day. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before but my challenge with van life comes from spending all our time in the van. From sleeping to getting dressed, working out (sometimes) to hanging out, eating, driving – it all happens in the van. A girl (it's me, I'm the girl) can go stir crazy with that kind of routine in the same space after a handful of weeks or so.
Today was a wonderful escape. We parked at Bug Light Park, Adam stayed in the van working with Coco and I parked myself at a nearby picnic table, soaking up the views and the rays. From our short time in Portland we both feel quite certain that the sun is stronger here – wouldn’t that make sense being so North? Anyway, I got an exquisite farmers tan thanks to my time in the sun this afternoon but I wouldn’t change it for the world. There were moments where I’d just look up from my computer, stop, and take it all in. Look at where I am. Look at this place! I will certainly be adding Portland, Maine to my list of destinations to return to (I’ll probably fly there next time though).
Anyway, post farmers tan and work day, we left South Portland and headed back across the bridge into town. Adam’s sister, Celeste and her fiancé were here not too long ago and able to offer some recommendations for restaurants. Realizing we both hadn’t eaten since The Crooked Mile we felt it best to probably get something else in our bellies at this point at 5pm. We landed on Eventide Oyster Company (thank you Celeste for the recommendation) and while we were told 1.5 hours wait at the check in booth, they did make mention that there was a table available immediately but it was directly in the sun. Remember what I said about that strong sun? Oh yeah and we were both wearing black shirts. Well we took the offer and decided to forego 90 minutes of walking around aimlessly with Coco and sat in the sunny table. It didn’t help that most of the food we consumed was hot so we physically felt even hotter (I did at least) but boy was it worth it.
We kind of powered through our food as a result but despite the speed at which we ate, I would still definitely recommend this destination. Specifically the lobster roll and ice cream sandwich. Although you really can’t go wrong with any of it. After sweating out all the toxins and THEN some, we walked a couple streets over through an Italian Festival that our waitress told us about. Portland just seems SO cool and I’m happy we're here a couple more days to explore even more.
I’m not sure if I mentioned this yet but our break pad light went on in the van which is a bit scary with a vehicle like this. Meaning this size. We want to be mindful of keeping our driving pretty light of course until we can get in for a service appointment which we scheduled in Portsmouth on Monday. About an hour drive from here. So, guess that means we’ll be exploring Portland a bit more. I hope this city is ready for two nomads and a pug!