Posts Tagged Old Port

Portland Maine Summer Kickoff Weekend & Old Port Fest – June 9-11

Old Port Festival

(Courtesy of

The thermometer is beginning to rise and Portland, Maine is ready to welcome in summer with the Summer Kickoff Weekend beginning on Friday, June 9th and leading up the 44th Annual Old Port Festival on Sunday, June 11 from 11am-5pm.

The weekend will start with the Square Hop & Window Walk from 6-8pm with continuous entertainment in four locations; Longfellow Square, Congress Square Park, Monument Square, and Post Office Park. You’ll be entertained with music, balancing acts & stunts, we understand.

On Saturday, you can Walk the Working Waterfront from 11am-3pm and according to this will be “a unique opportunity to explore Portland’s marine economy. Dozens of businesses will be open up and down the wharves & piers lining Commercial Street. Come down to amble, to sample seafood snacks, to climb aboard a boat — or just to enjoy the atmosphere.”

Wrap up the Summer Kickoff Weekend on Sunday at the family-friendly Old Port Festival featuring music, art, food, and entertainment for all ages. For more information on the schedules at the various stages throughout downtown visit Old Port Festival Schedule 2017.

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How to “Fit In” in Portland, Maine

How to Fit In in Portland Maine by guest blogger Noella Schink

El Rayo - Courtesy of Zwickerhill Photography

El Rayo – Courtesy of Zwickerhill Photography

Many “flatlanders” try, but few succeed at passing themselves off as Real Mainers from Maine. When you land in Portland, first you’ll notice the bracing sea air, second you’ll shove about five pounds of buttery lobster meat in your mouth, and third, you’ll look around and admire how effortlessly hip yet rugged the locals seem. Locals’ harmonious blend of practicality and classic New England style is a subtle art that comes from years of managing fickle weather, enjoying the natural beauty of the region but also having a thriving cultural scene at their fingertips at all times. With these clever tips, you’ll look the part and be rubbing elbows with Portland’s A-List upta J’s Oyster in no time!

Grow a Beard

First thing’s first. In Maine, real men have beards. If you are lacking in the whisker department, girls, just try a pair of thick hipster glasses, those will do the trick! Guys, Portlanders in their natural habitat will trust you based on the overall luster, length and fullness of your beard. You get extra points if you are man enough to let the neck hair grow out too! Ladies, just keep your glasses frames thick and trendy—cat eyes and tortoise shell styles will get you far amongst the art students and intellectuals.

Dress the Part

Bean Boot - Courtesy of Zwickerhill Photography

Bean Boot – Courtesy of Zwickerhill Photography

Your shopping list needs to include a few classic staples and at least a half a dozen flannel shirts—bonus for leather elbow patches. Ladies, replace the flannel with an arsenal of sweater tights in every color. No matter your gender, you need a pair of old-school Bean Boots for any time of year. This boot is so iconic that the style hasn’t been changed in 100 years! Gents can get away with anything from Levis to Carhartts in addition to their flannel—this uniform is considered fair game for most fine dining establishments in town as well as weddings.

Hang Out in the Right Spots

Guys, if you are always on your way to or from a show at Port City Music Hall, you’re all set. Ladies, first make sure you have on your Danskos and Lululemon activewear, and then head to one of about twenty yoga studios in Portland. Men in Portland are appreciative of the fact that a sweaty, red-faced lady just means there’s been yoga in the day’s schedule. Girls are not shy about appearing to dinner or the bar in their yoga pants, so you shouldn’t be either!

Adopt a Dog

Portland is one of the most dog friendly cities around, so be sure to keep your canine close and you’ll be fooling locals into thinking you’re one of them in no time! Savvy dog owners will forsake the smelly dog parks and instead opt for the East End or Willard Beaches, Baxter Woods or Hinckley Park, all off-leash havens for the spoiled pooches of Portland.

Adopt a Tattoo Artist

Second in importance only to whether you choose your apartment in the East End, West End, Old Port or Parkside, is who you pick as your tattoo artist. There is the feminine flair of Jennifer Moore or Cindy Lou, the coveted graphics of Phuc Tran or the intense detail of John Biswell, to name a few. Now, you just need to decide whether to go sentimental, grey scale, full sleeve… Because we all know, not getting inked in Portland is tantamount to living across the bridge in South Portland, or worse, north of I-295.


Noella Schink is a local blogger who prides herself on fitting the same Portland stereotypes she teases. She recommends local designer Sturbridge Yankee for outfitting your New England home to match the highest standard of rustic-chic Portland, Maine style. Photos courtesy of David Zwickerhill of Zwickerhill Photography.


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Pat’s Pizza Old Port – A Closer Look Inside

Pat’s Pizza in Portland’s Old Port has been open just over 6 months now (opened April 26, 2010) at 30 Market Street, Portland, and we recently had a chance to catch up with the owner and to take a closer look inside and learn more about the business. Here’s a YouTube video created by the talented Ogden Media of Portland, Maine.

Check out our previous post Pat’s Pizza has a New Home in Portland’s Old Port, a review of the restaurant in August 2010.

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Rosie’s – Burgers and Darts anyone?

Visit Rosie’s at 330 Fore Street, Portland, and you can count on a great burger (served after 10pm too), a laid back atmosphere, and of course darts! In May 2007, Esquire Magazine even gave props to Rosie’s by honoring it as one of America’s Best Bars.

Below, Doug McIntire, winner of our “Portland in 48 Hours Contest”, provides his vivid description of Rosie’s;

With the crowded sidewalks and corner shops beckoning the passerby from all angles, the Old Port can become at once, wonderful and daunting. The smell of various eateries blend with the pungent salt spray from Commercial Street, tantalizing the visitor and making the most staunch dieter throw caution to the shore breeze. Where does one go, however, when an undefined hunger tears at shop weary soul and the mix of company you happened to keep cannot decide on any one venue?

Just walk a block up past the Customs House and down the cobble stones of Fore Street to Rosie’s. This unassuming; some may dare say, quaint restaurant and pub is famous for serving up some of the best fare in town. Whether your crew is craving fish and chips, sandwiches, a full pint, or even more exotic fare such as local sea food, no one will be disappointed. Even the vegetarian among you will find Rosie’s a haven of taste. That said, let’s talk about the burgers. Whether its bacon and bleu cheese burger, barbecue, or one of their signature burgers like the Fore Street, Rosie’s burgers are big, fresh, and cooked to order. Top that off with a pint and a game of darts, and your Old Port meal is complete.

Rosie’s has everything a person needs for calming the Old Port hunger pangs. Their staff is friendly and the atmosphere relaxed. Hey, there’s even free popcorn you can get yourself while you wait for your food. Enjoy your meal, then head back out to shop, sit by the bay, or just people watch.

You can read more of Doug McIntire’s work on his blog at

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Sonny’s – Opening soon at 83 Exchange Street

Add another restaurant to the Old Port, as the former site of O’Naturals Portland will soon be occupied again as a new restaurant, Sonny’s, graces the 83 Exchange Street location. Named for the owner, Jay Villani’s son, Sonny’s menu will feature Tex-Mex and South American dishes.

Sonny’s plans to open on Friday, January 8, and I wish them great success. One would imagine they will do just fine with Walter’s having moved from Exchange Street to Portland Square, and the fact Villani already has done well and established a following with his current restaurant, Local 188. Perhaps we will see some Mediterranean influence from Local 188 at Sonny’s.

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Portland in 48 Hours Contest – And the Winner is…

Doug McIntire, a freelance writer from Auburn, Maine is the winner of the “Portland in 48 Hours Contest”, where we asked you what you would do in Portland, Maine, if you only had 48 hours. There were some interesting and clever entries, and here you go with our winner;

My 48 hours in Portland would begin at Deering Oaks Park. There, I would walk among the trees; feeling the crunch of the leaves as they announce my every step. I would bring bread to feed the ducks in the pond; making sure the squawking seagulls get no more than their fare share for time spent at sea. I would wander the perimeter, taking time to glance at the chinks in the asphalt armor of the surrounding streets, revealing glimpses of the cobblestone history below.

From there I would walk to the Old Port, taking time to survey the architecture; both old and new. Here, a nearly forgotten home that had survived the great fire, now tucked between towering buildings. There, a row of shops with Deco designs; frozen in time but still at home in it’s new surroundings.

Once in the Old Port, I would allow the sights, sounds, and smells to flow through my being. I would walk down Commercial Street; smelling the Casco Bay and bathing in that cool comfort only the sea can provide. Couples would walk by in a brisk embrace; joggers, bikers, and dog walkers alike; all with a destination. Pausing by the waterfront, I would take in the beautiful antiquity of the windjammer, Baghera while lobstermen carry on the work of generations before.

Diverting from the waterfront, I would ascent to Brian Boru; it’s red walls commanding from it’s perch above Commercial. Once inside, the dark beams and low ceilings invite the traveler deeper toward the back where Irish music is lilting from tables where musicians gather every week. Pints are cleared, children sit, entranced, and locals relax with the paper as if this is simply an every day occurrence, because for them, it is.

And there, there between my first and third pint is where I would decide. My first 48 hours in Portland is when I would begin my life anew.

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Hats Off to the Portland Fire Department!

According to a Portland Press Herald article, a major fire in Portland’s Old Port was avoided due to the persistence of the Portland Fire Department to force a landlord to install an update sprinkler system.

Earlier in the year, you may recall tenants were removed from the building and thankfully can count their blessings today that they found somewhere else to live.

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Naughty and Nice Xmas Caroling December 16

christmas_carolingJoin the CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange) for the 1st Annual Naughty and Nice Xmas Caroling on Wednesday, December 16, beginning at 6:30pm at North Star Cafe, 225 Congress Street, where everyone will warm up a bit before heading out for some caroling in the East End beginning at 7pm.

Even if caroling is not quite your thing, you’ll enjoy meeting new friends, as the crew continues into the naughty part of the evening with the beginning of a Jolly Ol’ Old Port Pub Crawl starting at The Snug at 8pm. Now we’re talking…In looking at the planned Pub Crawl Route, it appears the night will continue on strong with visits to RiRa, Gritty McDuff’s, and Bull Feeney’s before a final night cap at Rosie’s.

Bring yourself, friends, family, and feel free to dress in a festive holiday spirit. The more, the merrier…Have fun and be safe!

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SantaCon 2009 Portland, Maine – Santa’s Coming!

SantaFor some the Holidays come a little sooner each year, as is the case for 2nd Annual SantaCon 2009, hitting the Empire Dine and Dance on Saturday, December 5, beginning at 4pm.

In case you missed last years inaugural event in Portland, SantaCon involves those with extra holiday spirit dressing up as Santa Clause or other Christmas/Holiday related characters, gathering for a fun time of drinks and dancing, and spreading holiday cheer throughout the Old Port.

As this is a worldwide event, similar groups gather all over the world with the largest gathering in New York City, with each creating their own event and idea of boosting others spirits, or consuming a few additional spirits to stay warm. Sounds like a blast, and I am sure you will have fun. Now go find a suit and join the delightful crew for an evening in Portland.

Additional details on the event…

SantaCon is a not-for-profit, non-political, non-religious & non-logical Santa Claus convention. It’s an international event with cities throughout the world hosting their own unique version of the celebration. The largest of the Santacons takes place in NYC, which had close to 2,000 Santas attend in 2008. Check out the links below for more info, a more detailed history and dates for other SantaCons across the country/world.
SantaCon 2009 – Portland Press Herald
Portland SantaCon Facebook Page

Who’s in charge?

* Santa looks like Santa. Holiday apparel is mandatory. A Santa hat is not enough. Get a Santa suit. Buy a Santa suit. Make a Santa suit. Steal a Santa suit. Get creative: be a Secret Santa, a Santasaurus, Candy-cane, a Reindeer, a Chanukah Chicken, a latke. Just don’t wear your jeans.
* Santa acts like Santa. Be jolly. Belly-laugh. Let people sit on your lap. Give out gifts.
* Santa doesn’t get arrested:
* Don’t mess with kids. Don’t mess with cops. Don’t mess with security. Don’t mess with Santa.

It’s a long day, so be prepared. Here’s some tips to keep your sleigh running all day.

* Eat something & pace yourself. Only Santa is responsible for Santa’s ability to stay vertical.
* Dress warm. It’s the northeast. It’s winter. Wear layers so you’ll be comfortable anywhere.
* Stay with the group. Go with friends and call one of them if you wander off. Try not to wander off, though.
* Stay hydrated
* Don’t be “that” Santa. Your friends want to have fun, not have to take care of you.
* Pay your own tab. Tip well for putting up with us.
* Santa does not make children cry (unless they whine, snivel, or otherwise deserve it). Really – If you see kids, give them nice toys, candy, or something pleasant. Tourists fall somewhere in between the two — adjust depending on their attitude.

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Cobblestone Streets of Portland

Cobblestones of Moulton St.

One favorite thing that comes to my mind about Portland is the cobblestone streets. Of the few cobblestone streets not paved over in old port there is an “Old World” charm  you might notice  as you drive over them. It is best to get out of the car and explore the area because there is history not only under one’s feet but all around. It helps remind me to look around and appreciate not rushing life.

Contributed by reader:

Kevin J. Chisholm, Guardian Life Insurance Co., 65 West Commercial Street, Portland, ME  04101

Phone: (207) 228-7070  Cell: (207) 776-5556  Email:

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