We didn’t plan to stop in Portland when planning this trip. Yes, it’s a cool town with a great beer scene, but we’d been there before (although it was many moons ago when we lived in Boston in the early Aughts) and the camping options are suboptimal. Buuuut we like beer, and we have a couple friends there whom we hadn’t seen in years, so we made Portland our next stop heading south from Camden. Loved the city, but next time will stay in a hotel in town rather than bring the Airstream.
And yes, we stopped in Freeport at the LL Bean flagship store on our way south. We thought we’d find some good deals there, but we only spotted a few sale items. Apparently there’s a separate outlet store (and one for hunting & fishing, and another bike boat & ski, and another home goods, sheesh), but we could only handle visiting one of the zillion giant stores. There’s easy RV parking near the downtown drag; there are signs and it’s clearly marked on google maps.
We stayed at Wassamki Springs Campground in Scarborough, Maine, the closest camping option to Portland. It’s a lovely park with a big pond, and we had a nice waterfront spot. It seems like a great place to take kids in the summer. Without traffic, it’s a 20-minute drive to downtown Portland.
There are a million breweries in Portland, and J’s to-do list was long. Unfortunately, a few near the top of his list were closed (we were there on a Tuesday), but we still got to check out several in our one afternoon in Portland. We planned to uber back in to town for some evening beer, but were pretty wiped out from the afternoon of brewery-hopping, so stayed closer to home instead.
Bissell Brothers was #1 on J’s list, and it was worthy of that spot. We are IPA drinkers and loved everything we tasted. Our Portland friends met us there (Bissell is also one of their favorites) and we had a glorious time drinking beer inside the big industrial warehouse space and later on the patio in the sun. My detailed notes say “super yum super cool.”
Stop #2 was Lone Pine. The beer was good and the scene was laid back, with a cozy indoor space and a dog-friendly patio downstairs.
For our last brewery visit in the city, we headed to Austin Street, based on our friend’s recommendation. The taproom is an old service station with a big patio, and the beer was pleasing (I enjoyed the session IPA). Rising Tide is right next door, but we needed to get back to Bugsy and the Airstream.
After some down time, we ubered to Mast Landing, also on the list and convenient to the campground, hooray! It’s in a strip mall in the suburb of Westbrook, less than ten minutes from the campground, and was dead the evening we were there. They make lots of IPAs, all quite different and quite tasty.
For next time
Battery Steele and Foundation were also on J’s list, and they’re within blocks of other breweries including Allagash (which, we’re told, is like Sierra Nevada in that they brew up experimental beers at the taproom that are more interesting than their mass-produced stuff). Unfortunately, it seemed like all the breweries in that area were closed on Tuesdays (we were there a bit off-season; looks like some schedules are different now) so we missed those.
Also on our list, and also closed: Goodfire, next to Lone Pine. We have a lot of work to do next visit!
As we were in Portland for only two meals, we didn’t get to experience much of the local food scene. We were lucky to be 2-for-2 on stellar meals though:
Lunch with Jenny at LB Kitchen was perfect: the healthy breakfast/lunch/brunch menu was just what we wanted for a healthy detox meal post-lobster roll binging and pre-beer swilling.
Mast Landing lets you bring outside food into the taproom, so we got carryout poke from Big Fin Poke down the street. We’re pokephiles and this was the best poke we’ve had!
Jenny recommended dinner spots near the downtown breweries that we didn’t get to check out since we decided not to uber all the way back into Portland from the campground, including Baharat for Middle Eastern street food.
Can’t wait to go back! But you won’t read about it here because we won’t take the Airstream next time 🙂