Travel Thursday: Our Relaxing Stay In Vacationland - Portland, Maine
Our weekends spent along the coast of New England never disappoint.
Even if the weather is full of clouds, fog, or even rain, there’s always something to do.
This last trip to Portland, Maine did not disappoint. Here's a quick and abbreviated A B C of Maine's largest city.
Searching for nice places in downtown Portland, avoiding the LaQunitas of the world, I found several options since the city had recently gone through a hotel growth spurt adding half a dozen well know mid to upper level hotels, but they had nightly minimum costs of $300 plus before fees. Let's see if I could do better.
Always wanting to support local and gay, I found the Morrill Mansion owned by David Parker. I most likely will not stay anywhere else when I come to Portland. His hospitality and the décor, design, and overall comfort factor made me wish I could move in tomorrow. When I called, I asked David which was the best room, for all the options online looked perfect for me. He suggested the Morrill Suite which I loved and which is even better than the pictures online and the price per night was lower and it the gay money was going to a gay local business.
Architectural details, that make the Morrill Mansion Bed & Breakfast unique, have been restored and modern amenities have been added to make your stay in Portland comfortable. We look forward to your visit. - http://morrillmansion.com/
The breakfast buffet prepared in the mansion’s massive kitchen and is all new and different each day. The couple I met at the buffet, just up for a semi-staycation from Massachusetts, said they had a lobster dish during their last stay there.
I hated checking out of the Morrill Mansion Bed & Breakfast, but next time you are traveling to Southern Maine, this is where you need to stay. I did take some of David's personally prepared lists of places, restaurant, things-to-do around town.
The Portland restaurant scene and the micro-brewery accolades the city has received over and over again for the past 10 years has made the quality of food spectacular and competition for customers' business and palates tough. You can walk down any street in downtown Portland and find a nationally known restaurant, ones that have been visited by Bourdain and Zimmerman, and ones with Chopped winners in the kitchen. One of my favorite haunts serves the best calamari I have ever had. Walter’s has earned my business many times over. Sitting at the bar and in the bar section are my favorite spots to enjoy a great meal here. The décor and wine selections make we want to move in here as well.
Looking at gay map of Portland, well I’m not actually sure you will find one, but if you did find one, it will hint that there are three bars in Portland at the top of the possible gay bar list. Blackstones is THE institution in the city. One description is – a low-key gay bar with a leather-&-Levis slant, serving cocktails from a classic wood bar since 1987. Sounds about right. The small neighborhood bar has a Harbor Masters (leather night) and an underwear night. Check out the bar’s calendar online. The serve a hearty drink, no matter what you order. Take it slow, meet the locals, and enjoy.
There used to be more than just Blackstones in town where the LGBT crowd would specifically go on a nightly circuit, but in recent years, other well-known gay watering holes have shut down. If you ask anyone in Portland, it’s not because of sex/hook-up apps, but it’s more the fact that every bar in Portland is a gay bar. At most any night spot in Portland, you will see a friend of Dorothy alongside other residents having a good time with no issues. The city has per capita numbers for restaurants, coffee shops, and a gay population like that of San Francisco, but does not have a hearty and separate gay nightlife.
If we had to give an honorable mention nod to two other night spots in Portland that may have a higher percentile of gay clientele than others, it may be to Flask ( http://flasklounge.com/ ), a great little lesbian owned bar, and Bubba’s Sulky Lounge, known for its ‘80s nights, light up dance floor, and cougar vs. hot college boy sightings.
Our trips to Maine will not find us embedded into a gay little bubble and we don't want that. There is LGBT there if you need it, but we're not going to the most northeastern state to find the rainbow. We're there to enjoy Vacationland (one of Maine's official nickname).
We will definitely return to Portland, Maine for there are so many restaurants to see, islands to visit, beaches to comb, lighthouses to awe at, and yes, lumberjacks to de-plaid.