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A Guide to Vacationland: Portland

As we cram for our last finals and pack up to head home for the summer, it’s hard to think about anything except relaxing and soaking up the summer heat. A majority of my fellow Black Bears, myself included, are traveling out of Orono for the summer but staying in Maine. As biased as my opinion may be, I could not be more excited to live five minutes from the city of Portland for the next four months.
Whether you’re summering in Orono or The Cape, I can give you more than enough reasons to make at least one trip to Portland, Maine a priority this summer.
Ocean Air & Breathtaking Views

One thing that Maine certainly does not lack is fresh air. As calming as it is to be surrounded by trees and wildlife at Acadia National Park, nothing compares to the first breath of ocean air in Portland Harbor. The sounds of the seagulls, and a plethora of seafood restaurants emitting mouth-watering aromas are the perfect sensory additions to scenic Maine coast.
The views of the Atlantic and the fresh ocean air not enough for you? Hop on I-295 south for a few minutes and head to Scarborough where you can pick from one of the five beaches and take a little dip. The only thing better than looking at the ocean in Maine is braving the cold and taking a swim.
Want to get a closer look but not too close? Portland is home to Casco Bay Lines, which provides ferry rides to the many islands off the coast as well as scenic and music cruises that simply take you out onto the water to enjoy the views.
Warm weather is not year-round in Maine so come to Portland and enjoy its “Maine” attraction: the outdoors!
Shopping: Boutique Style

Come May, most of us UMaine Collegiettesähave grown tired of the stores in the Bangor Mall. Shopping in the Old Port gives you the opportunity to dabble in some designer shopping at Bliss on Exchange Street after you get in touch with your hippie-chic side at Mexicali Blues on Moulton Street. I love Club21 for their wide selection of Free People clothing! However, if by some miracle you have convinced yourself you have no need for new clothes, there is enough trinket shopping in the Old Port to last you a life time. You might have no need for some new Joes Jeans, but who can pass up one-of-a-kind sea glass accessories?
What is better than the Old Port during the day? The Old Port at Night
Sick of spending Thursday- Saturdays hopping back and forth between the Bear Brew and the Roost?
Well the Old Port gives you more than enough bars to keep you busy until last call at 1 am. Go to Gritty McDuffs and grab one of their signature beers then make your way to 51 Wharf, Pearl, Bull Feeney’s, Binga’s, or all of them. The cobblestone streets come alive at night and nothing ends a perfect seaside day like Gritty’s Vacationland Summer Ale. If real Maine beer and live music don’t draw you to the Old Port than maybe the chance of running into MTV’s The Real World’s very own Adam Royer will.
Last, but certainly NOT least: Delicious Eats

Beyond the eyeing and the buying in Portland is the eating. Seafood, pub food, fine dining and sensational snacking make Portland what it is. When you stroll down Commercial Street there’s no way you can miss the giant floating restaurant, better known as DiMillo’s, which serves up seafood along with a unique nautical experience. If you’re trying to grab lunch instead of a sit-down dinner head to Market Street Eats and grab a fresh wrap. Rather have an old-fashioned milk shake and a burger?  If so, then head to Washington Ave. and get ‘Silly’s.’ For the organic in all of us there is Flatbread Pizza Co., which offers up environmentally friendly pizza, salads and desserts. And lastly, for the hangover-cure that is sure to be needed after a long night in the Old Port, go to Portland’s Food Network star, Becky’s Diner.
We’re all going to be busy with internships and jobs this summer, but if there is one destination to escape to in order to be with your closest girlfriends this summer, its Portland, Maine- the way life should be.

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