Portland

I am so excited to introduce the newest section of my blog [i.e. basically my life] which is dedicated to travel! Don't worry, as you'll be able to see in this post, there will still be elements of fashion, my first true love. I've come to the realization though, that travel is something that is extremely important to me as well, so I wanted to share my journeys with all of you. My hopes, as with everything I do, are to inspire and to teach. Hopefully I can inspire you to visit one of the places that I have been to! Or, if you are headed somewhere that I have already been, maybe I can give you some ideas of what to do when you get to your destination! 

For my first post dedicated to travel I'll be highlighting my most recent weekend trip to Portland! Just to give you all some backstory, this was not my first jaunt up to Portland, Maine. I had been for the first time last fall on a weekend trip with my boyfriend. Back then I had a car, so it was easy to get the both of us up there. This year, I am recently without a car for the first time ever in my life since getting my driver's license. You see, I recently moved to the North End of Boston, where it is pretty much impossible to have a car, unless you want to pay $400 a month to park it in a garage. Considering my move nearly doubled what I pay in rent, I think its safe for you all to assume that this was in no way an option for me. So, it was hello North End, goodbye car.

The day I got rid of my car was very emotional for me. I had been driving my Mini Cooper since I was 19! We'd done a lot of miles together and seen a lot of places together. One of my biggest fears and worries for selling my car was that I would no longer have the ability to just hop in my car and go. I was the person who would leave at 7:00 pm to drive down to meet friends at a bar in Newport for 9:00 pm on a whim. Without a car, I wouldn't be able to do that anymore, which was hard realization to overcome. Not to worry though...I've since gotten over it, especially since there are so many options available to get yourself from point A to point B. My trip to Portland could not have been more perfectly timed in my post-mini era. I was able to team up with the lovely folks at Amtrak Downeaster to get me to and from my destination. Let me tell you, as someone who usually prefers to drive, its actually really nice to be able to relax while traveling. Taking the train up to Portland was the easiest and most comfortable travel option. I was able to walk to the train station from my apartment, settle into a lounged back comfy chair, and enjoy some snacks while I was being transported to my final destination. It also didn't hurt that the train was decorated for Christmas, which got us even more excited to get on with our weekend that would be filled with wandering, Christmas shopping, and lots of eating and drinking!

 Enjoying the view out the train window! This would be the prettiest ride during peak fall foliage!

Enjoying the view out the train window! This would be the prettiest ride during peak fall foliage!

 All settled in and ready to relax!

All settled in and ready to relax!

 Enjoyed some light snacks on the train to tide us over until dinner in Portland! We may or may not have had some pizza too (not pictured) ;)

Enjoyed some light snacks on the train to tide us over until dinner in Portland! We may or may not have had some pizza too (not pictured) ;)

 My travel buddy for the weekend, Emily! My amazing photographer, but more importantly a great friend!

My travel buddy for the weekend, Emily! My amazing photographer, but more importantly a great friend!

Once the train got us safely to Portland, and after we got situated in our hotel, it was time to do some exploring! We got there around mid- afternoon, so we just decided to do some wandering before dinner and get all of our shopping done the next day. One of the best areas to walk around in Portland is the Old Port neighborhood. Here, there are so many cute shops and restaurants. You can easily spend an entire day just wandering around everything! Keep scrolling to see more tidbits from our walking adventure!

Day One

 The old cobblestone streets make the Old Port neighborhood that much more charming! Be sure to pack comfortable, flat shoes though :)

The old cobblestone streets make the Old Port neighborhood that much more charming! Be sure to pack comfortable, flat shoes though :)

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 I definitely recommend heading to Portland this time of year! Everything is decorated for Christmas, and it is just lovely to walk around and look at the decorations!

I definitely recommend heading to Portland this time of year! Everything is decorated for Christmas, and it is just lovely to walk around and look at the decorations!

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Shop My look from Day one in portland

Now I know I had said earlier that we were planning on doing all of our shopping the next day, but then we stumbled on an amazing store, Flea for All! This place was amazing! There were so many antiques, and even better was the section of vintage clothing, which I may have had too much fun in! I found this incredible fur coat that was only $79! I'm still kinda mad at myself for not buying it...

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 The fur coat I really should have bought! If anyone in Portland wants to pick this up for me, I'd love you forever :)

The fur coat I really should have bought! If anyone in Portland wants to pick this up for me, I'd love you forever :)

Once we were done wandering around it was time for dinner! I will be completely honest in telling you that I am terrible at photographing food. I also get really uncomfortable taking pictures of food in busy restaurants. I feel like people are judging me for doing so, and I also feel bad that I could potentially be ruining someone's meal with my camera flash. So with all of that being said I will spare you the photos from dinner and instead tell you about it! 

It was Emily's first time in Portland, so I had to take her to Eventide! If you've never been before, please go! They just opened a second location in Boston, so if you are local to Boston then you have no excuse for not trying their incredible brown buttered lobster roll! For our dinner, we pretty much ordered the entire menu, as we had not eaten much during the day and had done a ton of walking. We had everything from oysters to clam chowder, the previously mentioned lobster roll, and of course a dessert which was basically a better version of a chipwich. It was all soooooo good! 

The one thing that can be tough about Portland restaurants is that a lot of the good ones are tiny, and they get really long waits. We were lucky and didn't have to wait to long at Eventide, but their waits can sometimes be upwards of 3 hours! Just in case you get stuck and can't get into Eventide when you go, I've listed out some other amazing options for you:

  • Central Provisions
  • Fore Street
  • Scales
  • Five Fifty Five
  • Duckfat

After dinner, we somehow managed to stumble on Portland SantaCon. We ended up at Bull Feeney's in the Old Port neighborhood, where we decided to grab a table and watch all of the drunk people dressed up as santa's and christmas trees go about their night. It was honestly one of the most entertaining parts of the weekend. While there we met some locals who gave us the low down on which breweries to go to! The one thing I have always said about Portland (ever since my first visit there) is that it is a place where the best things you can do are eat and drink! So, since I've already given you some restaurant recs, I've listed out some of the best breweries to hit up as well:

  • Allagash 
    • If you head here you will also find Foundation, Austin St., and Battery Steele all in the same location!
  • Bissell Brothers
    • We did not make it here, but literally every person we spoke to told us to head to this brewery. I think it might be worth another trip up north!
  • Shipyard
    • This brewery is right by the Old Port, so it is super easy to walk to after you've done some shopping...which was what we did on our second day in Portland!
 Ok...I lied...here is one photo from our dinner at Eventide! Oysters and sparkling rose...yes please!!!

Ok...I lied...here is one photo from our dinner at Eventide! Oysters and sparkling rose...yes please!!!

Day Two

After a good nights sleep, Emily and I were ready to take on our last day in Portland. This was our 'full day', or the day where we would have the most time to spend exploring the city, and we had a lot of ground to cover. First up was breakfast at The Holy Donut! This place makes the best donuts! They are made from potatoes, so they have a much heavier, cake-like consistency, making them the perfect fuel to get our morning started. I learned that there is actually more than one location, so if you can't stand lines, then avoid the location in Old Port and instead head to their other location!

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 This is the lemon donut. I also tried the pomegranate and chocolate glazed (no shame), which were equally delicious!

This is the lemon donut. I also tried the pomegranate and chocolate glazed (no shame), which were equally delicious!

Once we had eaten every donut in sight (only a slight exaggeration there), it was time to walk them off and do some shopping! We stopped in at a few stores in Old Port to pick up some Christmas presents for our families. The most notable stores (in my humble opinion) were:

  • Folly 101
    • One of my favorites! Whoever decorates this place is perfection!
  • Stonewall Kitchen
    • Founded in Maine, this company has a pretty large store in the Old Port. You can sample pretty much all of their jams and spreads, which are all delicious. I may have gone a bit overboard shopping here, but I just couldn't resist
  • Peyote Moon
    • This store is for the fashion lover! They had the cutest selection of clothing!
    • They're also online at Peyote Moon
  • Cabot Farmers' Annex
    • How can you not love a store that is devoted to all things cheese?!
 Folly 101

Folly 101

 Folly 101

Folly 101

After shopping, it was back to exploring all things Portland and the Old Port. We of course worked in some time to get some shots of my outfit for the day, all while incorporating different parts of the city. If you've been following my fashion journey for a while, you know that I like to incorporate the city I'm in into my shots! Keep scrolling to check out some of my favorite corners of Portland, and as always, I've linked my whole outfit below for you to shop if you want!

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shop my look from day two in portland

We ventured outside of the Old Port neighborhood to get a bit of scenery. Below are some of my favorite shots from our exploring, but first we made a stop for cupcakes!

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 East End Cupcakes

East End Cupcakes

 Emily in her element...

Emily in her element...

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 Meet Tyson, the boxer puppy <3 

Meet Tyson, the boxer puppy <3 

After all of the exploring, we were getting tired and were also pretty cold. So, we decided to stop at Union Restaurant to warm up with some afternoon tea (or half a bottle of wine if you're Emily). All kidding aside, I eventually had a drink as well. If you are looking for a fun craft cocktail, then this is a great place to check out. They also have a really comfortable lounge area where you can relax while having a drink (pictured below)! Another reason we were stopped here for a drink was to wait for our restaurant choice for lunch/dinner to open. As soon as I had mentioned this trip to Emily she said the only place she wanted to go was Slab. I can honestly tell you that her one choice was one of the best choices of the weekend! We headed to Slab after a quick pit stop at Shipyard Brewery. The pizza was beyond words, it was so good. That could've been due to the fact that we'd had some cocktails before heading there, but I would still argue that it was one of the best pizza places I've ever been to. I highly recommend the lasagna pizza! Think deep dish pizza, with lasagna...(again I'll spare you the photos of food, so you can just use your imagination...)

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After Shipyard and Slab, we were exhausted. Luckily, we were able to rely on Amtrak Downeaster to get us home! We boarded the train, picked up some water and snacks from the cafe car, and settled into our seats for our relaxing ride home! Had we had to drive to or from Portland, I don't think the trip would have been the same. There is something so nice about not having to worry about driving, or where to park your car, or not being able to enjoy one of the many breweries in Portland because you have to drive home later. Amtrak Downeaster truly lets you #exploremoredriveless! So, if I have now inspired you to take a trip up to Portland, consider the train to get you there! If you've been before leave a comment below to tell me about your favorite spot in Portland! Or, you can just tell me what you would want to do most if you went up there yourself!

Thanks for following along :)

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All content created by Mackenzie Lee of Six Feet In Heels. All photography by Emily Luongo and Mackenzie Lee.