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1 day in Portland

California
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1 day in Portland

My husband & I and another couple are going to be in port in Portland in a couple of weeks. We have rented a car so we can explore on our own. Now just to plan out the day. We are there 7am til 6:00pm. What are some must see's in the area? A friend of mine recommended seeing Kennebunkport. Need help on best route to make the most of our day and have enough time to get back to our ship. I love to see the sights, local places that tourist might not know about, anything of interest. Love hiking, biking, adventure or just seeing the sights and enjoying a cold cocktail.

Central Maine
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1. Re: 1 day in Portland

My "must see" list would include a visit to Portland Head Light lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth (just a short drive across the South Portland Bridge). Definitely not a "local, hidden" place, but an absolutely classic Maine lighthouse in a fantastic shoreside setting. (You can Google it for sample photos and more info).

"A couple of weeks" should also put you into prime fall foliage season in Maine's Western Mountains area -- with the amount of time you have, you could make a quick visit to Portland Head Light lighthouse and then head inland via US Rt 302 to Bridgton (passing through the lakes region on your way), then take ME Rt 117 to Norway, ME and Rt 26 back south to Gray, ME and I-95 back to Portland,.This entire loop should take about three hours of driving time (or a little less depending on traffic). Along the way, I'd stop at The Causeway area in Naples, ME -- watch for parking lot on your right just after crossing a bridge between Brandy Pond and Long Lake. Nice views across the lake... Also consider a roadside stop in the village of Harrison for more nice lakeside views. And after you get into Norway on Rt 117, you'll come to a stop sign where Rt 117 goes right, with a lake directly ahead of you. Just after you take the right, there's a roadside rest area on your right -- great place for photos of foliage across the lake. And if there are animal lovers in your group, consider a stop at the Maine Wildlife Park on Rt 25 in Gray, ME -- operated by the state Dept of Inland Fish and Wildlife, it features virtually every animal native to Maine in re-creations of their natural habitat. Think moose, bear, deer, woodchuck, bobcat, raccoon, etc etc, You can Google the Park for more info....

California
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2. Re: 1 day in Portland

Thanks for the detailed info. Just what I was looking for. I am totally fine with tourist attractions but also like local finds. Ay suggestions on places for lunch? Any thoughts on visiting Kennebenkport? I like your recommendation on heading inland. Most of the time we are on the coast. Thanks again

Central Maine
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3. Re: 1 day in Portland

Depending on where you area at lunchtime (and following the inland route suggested above), some of the places we'd stop for lunch include:

-- Two Lights Lobster Shack, Cape Elizabeth -- just down the road from Portland Head Light lighthouse.... perched atop the rocks with waves beyond, Good seafood, but definitely aimed at the tourists and priced accordingly. You can Google them for photos, menu, etc.

-- Ricky's Diner, Main Street, Bridgton ME -- Throw-back decor to the 60's and 70's but nothing at all fancy about this in-town place frequented by locals and visitors alike. If I remember correctly, they offer their breakfast menu throughout the day, plus their lunch/dinner menus. Will be less than one-quarter mile off your suggested route and easy to find. As you come into downtown Bridgton, US 302 makes a 90-degree turn to the left at a traffic signal (the one where Rt 117, which is what you'll want to follow, goes straight ahead). Take the left to stay on Rt 302 for a block or so, watching for Ricky's on your left (it's across the street from the Bridgton House of Pizza if you spot that first). Parking is on the street or in municipal lot on the right. (And, if for some reason Ricky's isn't open/is packed/whatever, the House of Pizza has some good (and interesting) sandwiches and pizzas. Ricky's is sit-down waitress service, but House of Pizza is order at the counter and pick up your meal there when it's ready kind of place).

-- Market Square Restaurant on South Paris -- about a mile off your suggested route after you get to Norway. As you come through the Norway ME downtown business district following Rt 117 and get to the itnersection with ME Rt 26, take Rt 26 north (yes, north -- you'll want to go south on 26 after lunch, but need to go north to get to the restaurant). Follow 26 north for just over one mile into South Paris (hard to know the difference because the two towns run together, but you'll pass Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School on your right, a Dunkin Donuts and Burger King on your left, a McDonalds on your right, and a Kentucky Fried Chicken/Taco Bell on your left). Just beyond the Taco Bell, watch for sign and parking lot for Market Square Restaurant on your right. It's not a lot to look at, and not at all fancy inside, but has a friendly, competent waitstaff and daily family-fare specials. Nothing pretentious here -- just good basic food at good prices. After lunch, just go back down Rt 26 to the High School, turn left at the traffic light and you're on your way south on ME Rt 26 toward Gray. ME.

Kennebunkport? It's a nice little coastal town with a compact shopping area called Dock Square. Pleasant, colorful and nice, but defintely does not fit your "local places tourists might not know about" criteria. In fact, along with Ogunquit and York Beach, Kennebunkport is probably one of the top three tourist attractions on the southern Maine coast. The town, the shops and the restaurants definitely cater to the tourism business (with prices to match). Can be a nice place to see and stroll, but don''t expect to be the only ones there...

Southern Maine
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4. Re: 1 day in Portland

Usually Mainer and I agree on pretty much everything, but I am not a fan of Market Square Restaurant lately (unless it is for breakfast). Both food and service have been haphazard the last couple of times I've been there. In fact, today my sister ordered a Reuben (as did others at nearby tables) and they received sandwiches with turkey in them. After expressing their surprise, it turned out that the server forgot to include that in their "special of the day" description. That may seem minor, but it fits with my past two visits - things aren't quite what they should be.

In that area, my two favorites are:

Maurice's: www.mauricerestaurant.com/lunch_menu.php

The Lost Gull: https:/…

Call to make sure the Lost Gull is open. It's a seasonal business. It is a casual, shack-type stop.

Central Maine
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5. Re: 1 day in Portland

Will defer recommendations re: Market Square Restaurant to CB 48.... We've had good luck there in the past, but haven't been in since early summer.... As with all restaurants, things can change over time and apparently have here.... Have always known Maurice's as a rather expensive up-scale kind of place, so haven't been in for several years, but it may have changed too.... Have no comments re Lost Gull -- have never eaten there...

California
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6. Re: 1 day in Portland

Thanks for all your recommendations. Restaurants do change or someone could have an off day, but recommendations are a great place to start and I appreciate all comments. Thanks again.

7. Re: 1 day in Portland

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