Category Archives: Travel

20 Hours in Portland, Maine

What better way to wrap up a week down the Cape than a weekend in Vacationland?  Or technically, 20 hours in Portland, Maine.  We were only there long enough to catch a ferry, enjoy a wedding on an island, eat a pizza, take a nap, drink a cup of coffee, buy a lighthouse postcard for a lady in Poland, and retrieve our car… but hey.  

I’m always game for a change of scenery, however short, especially if water and boats and beaches are involved.

20 hours in portland maine

20 HOURS IN PORTLAND, MAINE

Saturday, 1 PM: Check-in at The Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Waterfront

After 3-ish hours on the road from Boston (we hit a little traffic, which seems appropriate for a summer Saturday) we arrived at our hotel, The Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Waterfront.  My not-so-extensive research involved Googling the ferry line we’d be taking to the wedding, locating the closest hotel, comparing prices a bit (there are a few hotels within walking distance of the Casco Bay Ferry Lines), and checking availability.

We were really happy with the Hilton.  So, um… thanks, Google.  The night before we arrived, I was able to check-in using the Hilton Honors app and choose our room (something I’ve never seen before, making joining HH and downloading the app totally worth the 2 seconds each required).  I snagged the last room available with a water view, which felt like a triumph of sorts.  

We arrived well before check-in… but shortly before we needed to arrive at a wedding in all our “beach formal” glory, so we left our bags with the front desk staff and freshened up in the pool/fitness center area before making our way across the street to buy our ferry tickets.

20 hours in portland maine

Even the drain markers are cute.  Or whatever.

1:30 PM: Purchase ferry tickets

casco bay ferry maine

Super easy.  Round-trip tickets to the Casco Bay islands are $11.  They need to be purchased in person, however… so don’t do what I did.  (Which is spend an hour trying to figure out how to buy them online.  And another six minutes calling the terminal to ask how to buy them online.)

1:35 PM: Quick lunch at the Dry Dock

20 hours in portland maine

And by lunch, I mean… I ate onion rings and drank a Diet Coke at the bar.  That’s how I wile out on vacation.  Nick, on the other hand, had a lobster roll and an Angry Orchard. He’s my better half, and also, my more normal half.  It was relatively quiet at the bar, but there’s a bigger seating area out back, including a deck with views of the bay.  I think that’s where everyone else was.  Eating onion rings.  Or maybe an entire meal of food.  

2:00 PM: Board the ferry to Long Island

There’s a Long Island in Maine.  And that’s where we went.  I didn’t take many (any?) pictures on the ferry, but the 30 minute ride was comfortable and the views were extraordinary.  We passed several lighthouses, gorgeous sailboats and schooners, and a few smaller islands before reaching the dock and heading to the wedding.

long island maine

8:50 PM: Return ferry to Portland

long island maine sunset

The ride back to Portland took closer to an hour (the route is a loop, and so we hit more stops on the way back), but we got to enjoy the most spectacular sunset while waiting on the pier.  Once we got back to Portland, I grabbed our bags and headed up to our hotel room… while Nick picked up a veggie pizza from Bill’s Pizza on Commercial Street.  

Sunday, 8:00 AM: Breakfast at the Standard Baking Company

standard baking company portland maine

The next morning, we ventured out for a walk, but the skies opened up (and who packs an umbrella?) after a few blocks, so we headed back toward the hotel and grabbed coffee, tea and 9,000 calories worth of baked goods from the Standard Baking Company.  I highly recommend the gingerbread with lemon glaze.  And I want to go back and eat everything else they have to offer.  In the meantime, I’ve got my eye on their cookbook.

20 hours in portland maine

We stopped into a nearby shop for the aforementioned postcard (a postcrossing special request) and matching lobster pajamas for the babes before checking out and heading back to Boston.

It was a short, but sweet (extra sweet if you consider that gingerbread) visit to the Portland area.  I’m looking forward to heading back when we have a bit more time to explore and enjoy the area.

Also On Tap for Today:

Where’s your favorite Long Island quick getaway destination?