Passport To Adventure: Boston to Portland, Maine
At Amtrak we believe every trip you take has the potential to become your next great adventure. That is why we partnered with Passion Passport to help capture a look at the services we offer and the many destinations we serve across the country. Read on for a little trainspiration brought to you from the Amtrak Downeaster. Convinced taking the train to Maine needs to be in your future? Book now to take advantage of a buy one, get one free offer available through December 28, 2016 on select Downeaster train.s
This past weekend my girlfriend (and fellow photographer) Ashley and I explored the seaside city of Portland, Maine. We had the pleasure of teaming up with Passion Passport and Amtrak for this adventure, which was full of amazing sunrises, exploring with local
friends, and noteworthy food.
We hopped on a Friday evening train from North Station, conveniently located in Boston’s West End neighborhood. Having arrived a little early, we relaxed in Portal Park, taking in the view of the Zakim Bridge. Upon heading into the station, we quickly spotted the Downeaster train. After hearing the announcement for boarding, we made our way to the track and boarded with direction from the conductor.
During the two and a half hour ride to Portland, we researched more about the city at the tables in the Cafe car. We surfed the web on Amtrak’s free WiFi for places to see and restaurants to try. As we were sharing our findings, some Portland natives at the next table couldn’t help but give us a few insider tips.
After we gathered an extensive list of recommendations, we ordered drinks from the cafe and watched the sun set over the passing marshes and towns. We arrived at the quaint Portland train station in what seemed like no time and hopped in a cab to our hotel.
Based on numerous recommendations, we decided on Eventide Oyster Co. for dinner. As we got there, we immediately found a spot at the bar and ordered some local beers. Everything on the menu was more than tempting, but we both needed to try the lobster roll made with brown butter and served on top of a steamed bun. It was by far the best bite we tried that weekend.
We headed back to the hotel to rest up so that we could wake for sunrise. One of our friends was passing through town that night and agreed to meet us early morning at the picturesque Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse. As we walked up the hill to the lighthouse that morning, we could see the sun about to break over the horizon. We immediately scattered to the shoreline and began climbing the rocks to get the perfect vantage point.
Having taken in the lighthouse from every possible angle, we made our way back to downtown to grab some much needed coffee. The locals from the train recommended Bard coffee, which we agree is another must go to when in Portland. After charging both our electronic and mental batteries, we headed a few blocks over to Holy Donut for their famous potato donuts. The Dark Chocolate Sea Salt was to die for.
After freshening up at the hotel, we ventured out to grab lunch at Slab Pizza, and see more of the sights. The slices at Slab were like a thick doughy cloud topped with a light sauce and golden cheese. I don’t think we talked the whole time, just inhaled za. We then headed toward Commercial Street on the water. As we walked through the narrow streets, we stopped in and out of the unique boutiques Portland has to offer. When we arrived at the water, we explored in and out of all the wharfs, admiring the numerous lobster pots stacked outside of the colorful fishing shacks. Wandering around in no particular direction, we found ourselves back at Eventide and convinced each other to split another lobster roll, because they are seriously the best.
As sunset approached, we met up with two friends we made through Instagram who had just moved to Portland from Kennebunk. We decided to catch the sunset along the Eastern Promenade Trail, a quiet stretch of rocky beaches along a windy walking trail and public park. After watching the sun fade into the horizon, we grabbed some food at the highly recommended Duckfat. We sat at one of the cozy outside benches, which was perfect for the warm summer night. Ashley and I split the poutine, and a brisket sandwich, not leaving one crumb behind. The hype is real.
We started our last day in Portland catching sunrise along the pier. As we walked through the city we couldn’t help but notice how quiet the streets were. Building up an appetite, we made our way to Becky’s Diner for an old New England breakfast. The staff kept the coffee coming and provided a quick and delicious meal.
We then grudgingly made our way back to the hotel to pack for our train ride back to
Boston. We wished we had more time to see what else Portland was made of. Arriving at the Amtrak station, we headed right to the tracks and grabbed a table at the Cafe Care. The train ride home was quiet and relaxing as we both gazed over our pictures from the weekend, reliving the memories.
Like any great weekend, it went by too quickly. There was so much to see and do. We received endless recommendations on places to eat and quickly understood why. But what we found to enjoy just as much as the food was the casual seating, which enabled us to take in the experience with those around us. While Portland might be a city, it felt more like a welcoming community full of those enjoying life at their own pace.
Author: Brad is a freelance travel and lifestyle photographer living in Boston. He has collaborated with a number of companies including Beats by Dre, The Boston Globe, Heineken100, Hendrick’s Gin, Guatemala Travel and Tourism, and Verizon. Prior to pursuing his passion, Brad spent nine years as a Forensic and Litigation Consultant where he worked on cases involving insider trading, earning manipulations, money laundering as well as spending six months in Afghanistan investigating terrorist financing. To see more of his work, follow his journey on Instagram @bradromano.