Under $100: Portland, Maine

by Samantha DiMauro

Sep 25, 2014

Portland Head Light, Maine © Coleong | Dreamstime

North America

Maine’s largest little city is a much-loved major port town in New England. It’s rooted in rich maritime history and an abundant art scene, and is finding a rising reputation for acclaimed culinary clout.


If you’re dreaming of a local-grown breakfast like no other, begin your day bright and early with breakfast at The Holy Donut. Your prayers will be answered with a savory, sweet selection of freshly made, gourmet potato doughnuts for roughly $1.70 each. Try indulging in a flavorful, ginger-glazed sweet potato donut, made with real potato bits.


Next, head downtown to the adequately named Arts District to wander the lovely Portland Museum of Art one of New England’s premiere art museums — for only $12 per adult. Afterward, stop by any of the art galleries in town, free of charge. The Portland Art Gallery, June Fitzpatrick, Greenhut and Aucocisco are a few notable stops.


At lunchtime, refuel at Portland-based OTTO Pizza, dishing out unique, specialty pizza pies, served whole or by the slice. Flavor combos are fun and imaginative, with toppings like butternut squash with ricotta and cranberry, or pulled pork and mango. Try a few different slices ($2–3.50 each) and a soda for less than $10 total.


Then it’s time to work off those carbs. Rent a kayak or paddleboard with Portland Paddle and explore the beautiful coastal scenery of Portland’s Casco Bay. Paddle out in a tandem sea kayak for $45 per two hours ($55 for half a day), or try a two-hour spin on a paddleboard for $25.


Alternatively, you can take a ferry to Peaks Island for $7.70 per adult (or $4.10 during off-peak season, after October 14), and rent a mountain bike. Brad’s Bike Rental is about five minutes from the ferry drop-off, and offers two-hour bike rides for $25.


Head back to the main land before sundown for an unforgettable dinner. Almost any restaurant in Portland will give you a bang for your buck, but to eat like the locals, grab a table in the Old Port at Gritty McDuff’s. Opened in 1988, Gritty’s was Maine’s first brewpub, pouring tall mugs of small-batch ales made on premise. From starters to main courses, everything is less than $15, and seasonal brews cost about $5.


After a day like this, you may agree with the state slogan: “Maine: The Way Life Should Be.”



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