It’s no secret how much I love Allagash.
Then again, if you read this recent post, you probably already know that. And if you’ve read any of my travel posts in the past, then you know it’s even less of a secret how much I love Maine (Fun fact: Did you know we almost moved to Portland instead of LA?!). So, of course, when Allagash invited Dave and I to Portland, I literally couldn’t say “Yes!” fast enough. Ok, I might have done a few happy dances first, because it’s me and that’s what I do, but then I quickly followed that with an empathetic “Yes!”
I’ll be updating my guide to Portland, Maine early next week, but, in the mean time, I wanted to give you a little recap of the phenomenal time we had with Allagash and all of the incredible experiences they arranged for us. I wrote it out in the order of the itinerary they created for us, which, TBH, makes for a pretty epic guide to 48 hours in Portland, Maine (It’s like they know what they’re doing or something ;) ). Better yet, most of the things we did are actually things you are able to book on your own, or restaurants you can eat at, so I made sure to include websites and addresses for every place we went, in case you want to check them out for yourselves (and I really hope you do because everything was beyond words amazing).
Thanks for the truly epic and magical Maine adventures, Allagash!
STOP 002 // TANDEM COFFEE
This spot was at the very top of my list of places to go in Portland, so I was super excited to see it was where we would be having our first breakfast of the trip. It definitely lived up to the hype, and then some. Everything looked deliciously, decadent and it was so hard to decide on what to try, but I just couldn’t resist the loaded biscuit, especially after my friend recommended it, but the cream cheese stuffed everything seasoned scone that Dave got was pretty epic too.
Tandem Coffee, 742 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102
stop 004 // The Honey Paw
Wow! Wow! Wow! This spot was incredible! Everything was just beyond delicious, and I happily could have eaten here at least 5 more times during our trip without getting sick of it. We had an 8 course tasting menu, and I swear, each dish was more delicious than the last. I hardly ever have seconds of anything when it’s a tasting menu, but this food was too good to resist going in for more on multiple occasions, specifically the lobster toast, the poké, the mushroom soup…ok, ok, who am I kidding?! I went back for seconds on all of it!
The Honey Paw, 78 Middle Street, Portland, ME
stop 002 // Scratch Baking
This spot is known for their bagels, but I ended up with a savory scone and Dave got what he dubbed "the man bun” aka an oversized cinnamon bun. Both we’re delicious, but I’m not gonna lie, I definitely wouldn’t have minded going back for a bagel and/or a slice or two of the delicious looking pizza they started putting out at lunch time.
Scratch Baking, 416 Preble St, South Portland, ME
Stop 004 // Lighthouse Tour + Sushi on a Lobster Boat
I didn't think this day could get any better…and, yet, somehow it did. For our last evening with Allagash, we set out on a sunset lighthouse tour, aboard a lobster boat, while Mr. Tuna prepared fresh sushi on-board. And, as if that wasn’t enough, we also happened to see seals, a whale and porpoises while on our cruise, and then headed back into port just as the sun set into the most vivid array of colors. I mean, honestly, I’m just speechless. So, yet again, I’m going to relay on a large amount of photos to make up for the words I just can’t seem to find.
I will say, if you’re looking for something fun to do in Portland, a water view of the town’s infamous lighthouse, possible wildlife sightings and to learn a little bit more about the lobstering industry, I can’t recommend Lucky Catch enough. Captain Tom has been giving tours on his boat since 1996, so he’s incredibly knowledgeable and well-versed in all things lobstering. Plus, it’s a fun way to see another side of Portland.
And, I will also say, if you are a fan of sushi, you absolutely must hunt down Mr. Tuna wherever they happen to be for the day. The fish is some of the freshest and best I’ve ever had. It literally melts in your mouth like butter. Honestly, even if you aren’t a fan of sushi, you should still hunt them down, because I’m 110% sure Mr. Tuna’s sushi could convert even the pickiest, seafood hating person.
STOP 001 // THE DOCKS
We were up bright and early (No, really! I think it was 4am West Coast time!) to head across the street from our hotel and onto the docks of Portland for a mini photo taking tour with Mat (the guy behind the incredible photos that Allagash posts). I’ve always been a sucker for New England’s fishing docks. Something about the grittiness and weather-worn textures is so photogenically appealing, especially on an overcast and cooler morning. And Portland’s docks definitely did not dissappoint. I even pulled out the film camera for this excursion and I can not wait to get those photos back and see how they turned out (fingers crossed I got the settings right and don’t end up with a stack of blurry or dark images).
STOP 003 // ALLAGASH BREWERY
Aka “The Mothership”. We got a full immersion into all things Allagash, including a tour, a sensory experience and a tasting. Dave even got to add some spices to a batch of beer, and then proceeded to temporarily consider a career change (Don’t worry, for the sake of all future Allagash beers, I convinced him otherwise.).
I had been on the tour once before, but Dave hadn’t, so it was really cool getting to watch him experience all the awesome BTS action of the brewery, like their lab or some of their sustainability practices or their interactions with and support of local growers, farmers and other small businesses or their process for experimenting and coming up with new beers, that he had previously only heard me talk about.
One of my other favorite parts of this tour was the sensory experience, something that I hadn’t done previously. It was super cool experiencing the beers through other senses besides just taste, and it really opened up another world of flavors in drinks I *thought* I was familiar with. It was just really intriguing seeing the sensory experience room, understanding what goes on in there and the chemical background that goes into this process of making sure all the beers that Allagash produces and pushes out maintain consistency in flavor.
The last stop of our tour was the barrel room for a beer tasting with Allagash’s brewmaster, Jason Perkins. We got a chance to sample some beers that hadn’t been released yet, as well as some that are a little more limited and hard to find. While I can’t guarantee this kind of ending to every tour Allagash gives, the tours that they do offer to the public are free, and they do have a tasting room, along with an outdoor seating area, where you can sample some of their beers, so I think it goes without saying, that if you’re in Portland, you should stop here.
Allagash Brewery, 50 Industrial Way, Portland, ME 04103
stop 001 // Higgins Beach for Surfing
Moves to California. Takes first surfing lesson in Maine. Yup, that would be me. Although I’m sure you never would have guessed it was my first time, given how properly I’m holding the board and all in these photos. NOT *palm to forehead*.
TBH, I was incredibly scared to go surfing, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, so I was determined to fight my fears and at least get out on the board. Of course, getting out there is easier said then done. And then actually getting up on the board is a whole other battle, one for which I was thoroughly not ready to take on. But I did ride a few waves in….lying down on the board, so, like that totally counts for something, right??! Besides being a total kook?!
If you happen to be around Portland and are interested in surfing, Maine Surfers Union does offer lessons. The guys there are great and are a 100% the reason I even made it anywhere past the shoreline and didn't look like a total and complete idiot, and they put up with me being a kook, soooo…..definitely check them out!
Maine Surfers Union, 15 Free Street, Portland, Maine
stop 004 // Oyster Experience with Big Tree HOSPITALITY
I feel as though there are not words to properly describe this experience. Everything I write out falls so short in giving this magical afternoon proper justice. And yet, here I am, continuing to try, but leaning heavily on lots of pictures to fill in for all the ways in which words fail me.
Honestly, where do I even begin? The stunning waterfront property? The cozy coastal cabin perched right on the rocky shore? The delicious oysters that Big Tree Hospitality’s GM Arlin Smith taught us to shuck, while standing in the middle of the ocean, drinking crisp, cool Two Lights? The sudden rainstorm that had us running for cover, but seemed to only add to the overall magical experience, instead of raining on our parade? Or the infamous Eventide lobster rolls that were prepared by Chef Mike Wiley, in the back of a Westie, in the middle of said rainstorm? I mean, honestly I couldn’t think of a more perfect coastal Maine experience.
Also….if you’re in Portland, do yourself a favor and run, don’t walk, to Eventide to get their lobster roll. It is, by far, the best I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a lot of them.)!
Eventide, 86 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101