Things to do in Portland, ME, in October
October 6, 2015 8:20 AM   Subscribe

We will be hiking in the White Mountains starting next week, but want to take a day trip to Portland to see the ocean and do [other things you can suggest].

Our main goals for the day are to see the ocean/walk on a beach, and also to eat some delicious things (we're vegan, I think I have this covered from my internet research, but bonus recommendations are welcome). I know the weather might not be great, so we're also trying to come up with some ideas for other things to do in Portland if being outdoors all day isn't a good option (we don't mind cold but rain would make it harder to just hang out outside).
We're two 30-something women(ish), and we're open to all kinds of ideas. In particular, I'm looking for where the best spot would be to be near the ocean, and any ideas of indoor things to do in case of rain. We are driving so things that are not right in Portland are fine, too.
posted by sabotagerabbit to Travel & Transportation around Portland, ME (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Oh if you're vegan and have some extra cash you might really like to eat at Vinland. They do have fish and dairy things but their veganey things are terrific.

I also really do like the museum which is practically catty-corner from there, but, you know, not everyone loves a museum.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:26 AM on October 6, 2015

If its rainy, you could do worse than hanging out at either Tandem Coffee Roasters' location. Even if its nice, its a super great way to kill an afternoon.
posted by furnace.heart at 8:28 AM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

If the ocean is a high priority for you, consider taking the Mailboat Tour. Probably not that great in case of rain, depending on how you feel about being cold and wet, although it's still entirely doable in the cold and wet.
posted by mskyle at 8:47 AM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Portland Head Light on Cape Elizabeth is about as quintessential a Maine lighthouse experience as you could ask for, and the surrounding grounds are quite large and pleasant for wandering about if the weather stays dry. The ocean views are fantastic, but access to the actual water will be more limited.

If you like beer, the Allagash Brewing Company has a really fantastic tasting room with free tastings, and most of their beers are vegan-friendly. I haven't been on the tour, but I've heard good things, although you must make reservations ahead of time. They're also close by to several other smaller breweries, if you want to make an afternoon of it.

When it starts to rain, the tourist hordes descend upon the LL Bean and outlet stores in Freeport. Depending on your tolerance for crowds, this could be miserable, but I had a grand time people-watching everyone from grizzled mountain hunters to urban yuppy picknickers wandering through. Pro tip: the LL Bean Home store is much quieter and comfier for hanging out than the shoe department, as evidenced by the many "retail widowers" I spied.
posted by Diagonalize at 9:10 AM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Go to Fort Allen Park and take in the views of Casco Bay. Then drive down to East End Beach (you can see the road down to the beach, right next to the park, in the photo). It's small, but it's a beach! In Portland!

If it's dry, the walk around Mackworth Island is pleasant. You can see ocean views, birds, and fairy houses. It's not quite a mile. There are some benches for sitting and gazing at the views.

There is the Museum of Art, and Longfellow House.

Silly's has a lot of vegan food and their desserts are fantastic. Note: they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Top of the East lounge, in the newly renovated Westin, has some great views.

Brian Boru pub is cozy, and they have Irish Session music every Sunday from 3-6. They also have other music events.

If you do make it to Freeport, have a drink or tea at the Harraseeket Inn, at the far end of town. There is also Wilbur's Chocolates, and Freeport's resale shop has lots of nifty bargains in clothing and other goods (make sure you go downstairs).

There is also the giant globe at the DeLorme Map store, and their shop has lots of neat things. That's just off the highway going toward Freeport, and you can continue on Route 1 to Freeport from there.

Also agree Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth is not to be missed. It's worth the short drive from Portland, even if it's chilly or raining, bring an extra jacket and hop out of the car for a few minutes. It's free!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 9:46 AM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Take a drive down the coast to Kennebunk. It's really nice, and you should get some great foliage.

In Portland itself, there's one of my favorite places I've ever eaten: the Merry Table.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:07 AM on October 6, 2015

Sadly the Merry Table is now closed.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 10:16 AM on October 6, 2015

I will pretend I did not see this.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:19 AM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

Nthing Portland Head Light and seconding the art museum, which will be having its biennial.
posted by dizziest at 12:58 PM on October 6, 2015

Just wanted to close this off for anyone interested!
We spent most of our time at Cape Elizabeth, both at Two Lights State Park and Crescent Beach State Park. It was great! We loved the rocky coastline at Two Lights, and the beautiful sandy beach at Crescent Beach. We even had some warm sunshine while we were there, unlike the rest of our trip.
We had a tasty lunch at Silly's, and then walked along the Eastern Promenade before grabbing some groceries and heading back to the mountains. I wish we had had more time to explore the city itself, but it was so nice to spend time by the ocean.
Thanks for the great suggestions!
posted by sabotagerabbit at 8:26 AM on November 5, 2015

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