What to Do This Summer: Portland, Maine

It was 1846 and the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was strolling round Portland, Maine, his boyhood dwelling, when he stopped and, as he wrote, “listened to the lashing, lulling sound of the sea just at my feet. It was a beautiful afternoon, and the harbor was full of white sails, coming and departing.”

Nearly two centuries later, guests nonetheless cease to admire the sails that dot the Portland harbor — in between procuring, gallery hopping and consuming, after all. Known for its award-winning meals, Maine’s most populous metropolis expanded its outside eating insurance policies throughout the pandemic, remodeling streets, parking tons, sidewalks and squares into culinary scorching spots. In the Old Port, brick buildings and stone lanes add a contact of romance to al fresco meals. And a wave of latest artwork exhibits and open-air concert events in historic settings makes Longfellow’s hometown really feel like a metropolis not just for the ages, however for the second.

With the Delta variant of the coronavirus now dominant within the United States, Maine is following the up to date C.D.C. suggestions for face coverings, which urge everybody to put on masks, no matter vaccination standing “in indoor, public settings in areas with ‘substantial’ or ‘high’ levels of community transmission” and outdoor for those who’re unable to socially distance. In sure locations, masks are required, like on the Portland Observatory and the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine (for guests 5 and older). Capacity and hours might also be restricted. Additionally, some venues, such because the State Theatre Summer Concert Series at Thompson’s Point, have security initiatives, like proof of vaccination or a destructive Covid-19 take a look at. Check web sites for the most recent insurance policies.

So pack your sunscreen and your masks. While it’s unimaginable to expertise (not to mention record) all the pieces that’s taking place proper now, listed below are a number of of the season’s fleeting pleasures.

Among the acclaimed eating places which have taken to the streets this summer season is Central Provisions, where you’ll find small plates and a new patio from which to savor, say, a caramelized bocadillo sandwich with sheep’s milk cheese, saba (Italian grape must syrup) and membrillo paste ($12) as you gaze toward a distant pier (414 Fore Street). This part of town is saturated with James Beard award nominees, and at Standard Baking Co. (a semifinalist more than once) early birds get the best selection of irresistible breads and pastries, like hand-rolled prosciutto and asiago croissants ($5.20), pain au chocolat ($3.40) and marinated olive bread ($6.25); online orders accepted (75 Commercial Street). Stroll over to Fort Allen Park to immerse yourself in a little American history while polishing off that flaky croissant.

A short walk from Standard Baking Co. is a buzzy stretch of Middle Street that these days looks like an open-air food festival. Crowds line up for outdoor tables and innovative seafood at Eventide Oyster Co. (86 Middle Street) and noodles and Asian-inspired appetizers at the Honey Paw (78 Middle Street), as well as paninis and addictive Belgian frites fried in duck fat ($6 to $9.50) at the aptly named Duckfat, where seating is beneath a new pavilion (43 Middle Street). Prepare to wait for a table if you didn’t score one of the few available reservations. Alternatively, order online for pickup at Eventide (a 2017 James Beard award winner) and the Honey Paw (a semifinalist), or hop on Duckfat’s outdoor takeout line and then go for a quick drive to the Western Promenade where you can picnic on a bench overlooking the water (there’s also the Duckfat Frites Shack walk-up window at 43 Washington Avenue).

Grab a lawn chair and head to Thompson’s Point, the revitalized industrial riverfront area where, on a grassy peninsula, the nights are filled with live music at the open-air State Theatre Summer Concert Series (10 Thompson’s Point). See the State Theatre website for show tickets (from $40 in advance), including upcoming performances by St. Vincent (Sept. 3) and the Trey Anastasio Band (Sept. 17). Attendees must be fully vaccinated or receive a negative test within 48 hours of an event, and mask wearing is encouraged. More information about the requirements is on the website.

Local and regional bands, lawn games, craft brews and food trucks like Falafel Mafia (for your fix of falafel pita pockets and bowls) and Cheese Louise (purveyor of grilled cheese sandwiches with names like the Baconator; the company also has a nascent restaurant in Old Port) are on tap at the Summer Sunsets Live! series. Thursdays and Fridays from 4 p.m. to sunset (9 p.m.), through Sept. 10. Check the website for an updated schedule (Thompson’s Point Road).

Not far away, a 100-year-old former railcar repair building has been reinvented as the popular Bissell Brothers Brewing. Nowadays, in addition to pours, you can order comfort food — fried chicken sandwiches ($15), wings ($14), charcuterie ($26) with local meats and cheeses — from the new Bissell Brothers Kitchen (38 Resurgam Place).

Libbytown is hardly just for grown-ups. The Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine has relocated to a new multimillion dollar home it built here. Inside are some 30,000 square feet of exhibits, like “From the Mountains to the Sea,” where touch tanks filled with sea creatures such as horseshoe crabs, chain catsharks and anemones aim to give visitors a glimpse into marine life. Outside are play areas for children to climb and dig, as well as a “teaching garden” where they can learn about food systems and biology. Reserved ticketing is required. Theater tickets: $10; free for members. Museum tickets: $15; free for members and for babies 17 months and younger; see the website for discounts (250 Thompson’s Point Road).

Source link Nytimes.com

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