What to do this summer: Portland, Maine

It was 1846 and the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was walking through Portland, Maine, his childhood home, when he stopped and, as he ...


It was 1846 and the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was walking through Portland, Maine, his childhood home, when he stopped and, as he writes, “listened to the scathing, rocking sound of the sea. right at my feet. It was a beautiful afternoon, and the harbor was full of white sails, coming and going.

Nearly two centuries later, visitors still stop to admire the sails that dot Portland Harbor – between shopping, galleries and dining, of course. Known for its award-winning cuisine, Maine’s most populous city expanded its outdoor dining policies during the pandemic, turning streets, parking lots, sidewalks and plazas into culinary hotspots. In the Old Port, brick buildings and stone alleys add a touch of romance to al fresco dining. And a wave of new art exhibitions and outdoor concerts in historic settings make Longfellow’s hometown a city not just for the ages, but for the time being.

With the Delta variant of the coronavirus now dominant in the United States, Maine is following updated CDC recommendations for face coverings, which urges everyone to wear masks, regardless of immunization status “in indoor public places in areas with ‘significant’ or ‘high’ levels of community transmission and outdoors if you cannot manage. socially distancing. In some places, the mask is mandatory, such as at the Portland Observatory and the Maine Children’s Museum and Theater (for visitors aged 5 and over). Capacity and hours may also be limited. Additionally, some venues, such as the State Theater’s Summer Concert Series at Thompson’s Point, have safety initiatives, such as proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test. Check the websites for the latest policies.

So bring your sunscreen and your mask. While it’s impossible to experience (let alone list) everything that’s going on right now, here are some of the fleeting pleasures of the season.

Among the acclaimed restaurants that have taken to the streets this summer is Central provisions where you’ll find small plates and a new patio to enjoy, say, a caramelized sheep cheese bocadillo sandwich, saba (Italian grape must syrup) and membrillo paste ($ 12) looking towards a remote pier (414 Fore Street). This part of town is saturated with James beard the nominees for the awards, and Standard Baking Co. (a semi-finalist more than once) early risers get the best selection of irresistible breads and pastries, like hand-rolled prosciutto and asago croissants ($ 5.20), chocolate ($ 3.40) and marinated olive bread ($ 6.25); Online orders accepted (75, rue Commerciale). Take a walk Fort Allen Park to immerse yourself in a little American history while polishing this flaky croissant.

A short walk from Standard Baking Co. is a bustling stretch of Middle Street that nowadays resembles an outdoor food festival. Crowds line up for outdoor tables and innovative seafood at Eventide Oyster Co. (86 Middle Street) and Asian-inspired noodles and appetizers at honey paw (78 Middle Street), as well as addictive paninis and Belgian fries fried in duck fat ($ 6 to $ 9.50) to the aptly named Duck fat, where the seats are under a new pavilion (43 Middle Street). Be prepared to wait for a table if you didn’t secure one of the few available reservations. You can also order online for pickup at Eventide (a 2017 James Beard Award winner) and Honey Paw (a semi-finalist), or hop on Duckfat’s line of outdoor take-out, then have a quick drive to the Western Promenade where you can picnic on a bench overlooking the water (there is also the Cabane Fries with Duck Fat storefront at 43 Washington Avenue).

When it’s time to feed your soul, head to the Portland Art Museum. Spend a few hours with Renoir and Winslow Homer and explore “Nature and history icons», An investigation into the art of David Driskell whose mediums included watercolor, gouache and collage (until September 12). Born in Eatonton, Georgia, he was also a curator, art historian, collector, and professor who, like The Times wrote following her death from complications from the coronavirus last year, was “pivotal in promoting recognition of African American art and its importance in the broader art history of the United States and beyond.” Admission: $ 18; discounts available for seniors as well as for students 22 and over; free for members, 21 years old and under, and everyone on Fridays (7 place du Congrès).

Drifting to and from the harbor, people-watching, licking an ice cream cone – these are the pleasures of a visitor on a sunny afternoon. To browse items from Maine artisans, visit Made in Maine by Lisa-Marie (35 Exchange Street) where the shelves are stocked with handmade soaps, decorative wooden lobster buoys, jewelry made from crushed lobster shells and, of course, maple syrup. TO Freedom graphics (10 Moulton Street), which has been making t-shirts in Maine since the 1970s, you’ll find artistic water-based ink prints with nature themes such as plants, mushrooms, frogs , the birds and the stars, while at Cool like a moose (388 Fore Street) you can buy trinkets like magnets and stickers and, if you like, a tie-dye t-shirt with a moose on it.

Grab a lawn chair and head to Thompson’s Point, the revitalized riverside industrial area where, on a grassy peninsula, nights are filled with live music in the open air State Theater Summer Concert Series (10 Thompson point). Check the State Theater website for show tickets (starting at $ 40 in advance), including upcoming performances of St. Vincent (Sept. 3) and Trey Anastasio Band (September 17). Participants must be fully immunized or test negative within 48 hours of an event, and mask wear is encouraged. More information on the requirements is on the website.

Local and regional groups, lawn games, craft beers and food trucks like Falafel mafia (for your dose of falafel pita pockets and bowls) and Louise cheese (supplier of grilled cheese sandwiches with names like Baconator; the company also has a fledgling restaurant in the Old Port) are a la carte at Live summer sunsets! series. Thursdays and Fridays from 4 p.m. to sunset (9 p.m.), until September 10. Check the website for an updated timetable (Thompson’s Point Road).

Nearby, a century-old former railcar repair building has been reinvented as the popular Brewery of the Bissell brothers. These days, in addition to pours, you can order comfort food – fried chicken sandwiches ($ 15), wings ($ 14), cold cuts ($ 26) with local meats and cheeses – new stuff. Bissell Brothers Kitchen (38 Place Resurgam).

Libbytown is far from being just for adults. The Maine Children’s Museum and Theater moved to a new multi-million dollar house he built here. Inside are some 30,000 square feet of exhibits, such as “From Mountains to Sea,” where contact tanks filled with sea creatures such as horseshoe crabs, cat sharks and anemones aim to give visitors an overview of marine life. Outside are play areas for children to climb and dig, as well as an “educational garden” where they can learn about food systems and biology. A reserved ticket office is required. Theater tickets: $ 10; free for members. Museum tickets: $ 15; free for members and for infants 17 months and under; see website for discounts (250 Thompson’s Point Road).

Street Arts Cove, an exhibition, event, workshop and studio space, is one of many places that are transforming East Bayside, where cafes and breweries have sprung up in warehouses and industrial buildings. The show “Just there”Celebrates the enduring connection between Maine and the New York art world with the work of more than a dozen artists who, like those who came before them, including modernists such as Marsden Hartley and Max Weber , find their inspiration in Maine. Until September 11 (71 Cove Street).

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Newsrust - US Top News: What to do this summer: Portland, Maine
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