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Mainely Mara- A Fashionistas Day Trip to Portland Maine

Local Betty Field Trip: Day Tripping to Portland, ME


 From Mara Higgins of Mainely Mara

Just four short years ago, I was a Bostonian living right in the heart of Beacon Hill enjoying everything the city has to offer.  But on those rare occasions when a little weekend getaway was needed, my husband {then boyfriend, eventually fiancé!} would bring me up to his hometown of Portland, Maine.

Fast-forward a few years and my husband, 2 ½ year old daughter, and I now call this vibrant city our own, which makes me absolutely love hearing about Bostonians contemplating  a day trip to Portland.  Here is a former Boston gal’s {now Portlander} take on what to do, eat & see on a day-trip to Portland. {Be careful, you might end up staying longer than you think!}

Morning Coffee & Snack

Standard Baking Co. – Whether you drive, take the bus or train {super easy & convenient options via Concord Trailways or Downeaster}, you’ll probably be craving a 2nd cup of coffee and a snack when you arrive.  {A little hint, definitely come hungry to Portland…we’re called a foodie town for a reason.} From flaky croissants to gooey sticky buns to fruit-filled tarts, this delicious bakery is a favorite among locals for a grab & go treat.


Window Shopping

The bakery shoots you out right onto Commercial Street, where you can start popping in and out of some of the cutest boutiques, all locally owned and styled.  You’ll then find your way weaving through the cobblestoned streets of the Old Port {warning – as an avid shopper & lover of fashion, this trip is just a little skewed towards shopping.} Since there are way too many stores to name, here are some of the must-sees:

Sea Bags – Tucked back in Custom House Wharf (fun fact – Portland is still very much a working waterfront, boosting several functioning wharfs), Sea Bags is the home of the very popular recycled sail bags & accessories.  Featured everywhere from J. Crew to ELLE, you can pick one up from the place where it’s actually made.

blanche__mimi_2.jpgBlanche + Mimi & k colette – Both of these home & gift boutiques smell as gorgeous as they look.  Whether you find yourself lusting over a stunning arm chair or trying out some French lotions, you could be wrapped up in these two shops for quite a while.

Bliss, Helene M. & Zane – I wouldn’t have been able to make the move from Boston without knowing there were some stylish women’s clothing boutiques.  Geared towards the effortlessly chic style that is Portland, these boutiques carry all the brands you know & love.  Think Milly, DVF, Frye, J Brand, Alice + Olivia, and so much more. 
duckfat.jpgDuckfat – As we all know, shopping works up an appetite, so it should be about time for lunch.  Don’t let the name of this sandwich shop throw you off.  Yes, the French fries are made with duck fat, but one bite and you won’t give the caloric content one more thought.  My perfect compromise is ordering a seasonal soup & locally sourced salad, and splitting the fries with my lunch companion.  Takes the guilty edge off, just a little… 


Spa Break
akari.jpgAkari – To give your feet a little break, pop into the stunning Akair spa & salon.  Best service to squeeze in during a day trip?  A shellac mani.  With zero drying time, you can walk right out with gorgeous nails and not have one worry of smudging them. 

Afternoon Treat
East End Cupcakes & Gelato Fiasco – Whether you’re hungry or not, these two sweet spots {conveniently located right across from each other}, are worth a peek inside.  Featured on Cupcake Wars, East End Cupcakes’ constantly changing flavors are the perfect mix of classic & unique.  The cupcakes will travel well enough to bring home as a treat, but obviously the gelato {“house-made daily”} may be worth just a little sample or two. 

Cocktails & Apps
Zapoteca – There’s no better way to cap off a great day than with a delicious cocktail.  Perhaps my favorite cocktail in town is the Habanero Watermelon Margarita from this Mexican restaurant.  But with the largest selection of tequila in the state of Maine, your cocktail options here are endless.  Take a seat at the bar and order an appetizer or ceviche while you sip your drinks and recap your perfect Maine day.

If you find yourself lucky enough to stay the night, The Portland Harbor Hotel is your home away from home and dinner at Fore St. is a must!

See you around town!


Betty Tip: If you're planning a shopping trip to Portland, go to Mainely Mara.com to see what's in store now, get a fashion tip or two, and snag a deal on one of Mara's boutique finds.