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3 day conference in portland-ideas for free time

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3 day conference in portland-ideas for free time


My colleague and I (40 year olds, south of Boston area) will be in Portland Wed-Fri. While we will be in conference for most of the days, we were looking for ideas for dinner spots, drinks, shops-"must see" things to do in the short time period we have. Unfortunately we will not have time for outdoor activities, such a shame not to be able to go to beaches or hiking. Dinner ideas that might not be overcrowded with tourists, reasonable-either outside if weather is nice, but not neccessary. Music and night activities for the over 40 crowd. We will be staying at the Regencey-are there things to do within walking distance or will we need to use our car? THanks is advance.

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1. Re: 3 day conference in portland-ideas for free time

Hi debe3,

I rarely get down to Portland so I can't offer local knowledge. Hopefully the Portland Experts will reply.

In any case, you might want to get a copy of Christina Tree's 'Maine: An Explorer's Guide', especially if you don't get any responses. Her guidebooks are accurate and offer tons of info.

From what little experience I have in the Portland area I can say that the Old Port is the place to be w/zillions of restaurants and cafe's and night spots. But since I haven't dined there in a few years I can't really recommend any places.

The one thing I will say through my own experiences and recent ones of friends, is to stay away from DeMillo's. Though the location is great along w/some good views, the food and service is awful. It may be fine just for drinks.

Good luck w/your plans and hopefully others will pipe in with recent experiences and suggestions.


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2. Re: 3 day conference in portland-ideas for free time

Hi Debe3-

Portland is a small, easily walkable city so you should be able to walk most places from the Regency. I'm 50+ and just spent 3 days there in which we easily walked from our B&B on the west end to the Old Port and even up the eastern prom.

Things to do:

1. Even though it's a "tourist" thing to do you might think about the city trolley tour. It will get you out to the Portland Headlight (lighthouse) and you'll get to see the wonderful architecture of neighborhoods at both the east and west ends of town.

2. There's a good exhibit on New England artists at the Portland Art Museuem.

3. Walk the Old Port area. My favorite shop was "2 note" which has wonderful herbal body products & candles.

4. There are some nice evening sails if you'd like to get out on the water.

5. Street & Co has a nice bar with really good appetizers. The restaurant is great too, though pricey and does require reservations.

6. Miyaki is a good sushi place, just a short walk to the west end.

7. A casual inexpensive meal with a good outdoor patio overlooking the water is the Flatbread Company. Good flatbread pizza and salads and the best lemonade I've ever had (sweetened with maple syrup - great in an "arnold palmer")

8. Lastly, it's a short walk from your hotel up the Eastern Prom. There are great views from there so if you need a break from all the sitting at your conference consider walking up there.

Hope that helps -

Central Maine
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3. Re: 3 day conference in portland-ideas for free time

You definitely do not need a car for what you are talking about (although it is too bad you won't have time to venture the coast/lighthouse/beach).

From the Regency much is walkable...Cute shops in the Old Port;walking the Wharfs/working waterfront; the Longfellow House/Maine Historical Society; Portland Museum of Art.



Non-touristy "reasonable" dining (walking distance) might include Walter's Cafe (I seem to be recommending that a lot lately), Old Port Sea Grill, David's (Pizza and bar snacks to full meals). More dining info at the New England forum at Chowhound.com.




Portland, Maine
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4. Re: 3 day conference in portland-ideas for free time

Enjoy your time in Portland!

I echo what has been written so far:

Stay away from DiMillos-It's very "touristy."

I second the Walters and Flatbread suggestions. You might also enjoy dinner at The Pepperclub on Middle St. or Katahdin on High St. or Local 188 on Congress St.

Local chef, Lee Harding Smith, has a new restaurant that's getting good reviews. The Corner Room is on Exchange St. and serves "Italian-influenced" food. I haven't tried it yet.

For very casual dining & drinks- You can sit on the deck of The Porthole on Commercial St. overlooking the water. Try Bully Feeney's on Fore St. or Ri Ra on Commerical St. for drinks and pub food. Sebago Brewing Co. on Middle St. serves some good local beer, and their burgers are pretty tasty too! Gritty's on Fore St. also serves local beer. You might enjoy relaxing at the Wine Bar on Wharf St. after dinner.

Maple's Organics (above Videoport)on Middle St. serves excellent gelato. You will find interesting shops everywhere you turn in The Old Port.

Here's a helpful link to Portland's Downtown listing:


It contains info. about downtown restaurants, shops and bars.

FYI- Every Thursday evening in the summer months there is a free concert in Monument Square on Congress St. Usually a couple of bands play an outdoor concert, and there's a beer garden. http://www.portlandmaine.com/index.php?sec=15

I don't know much about this week's bands.

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5. Re: 3 day conference in portland-ideas for free time

You might want to consider taking a ride to Peaks Island on a ferry. It's a quick trip which will give you a view of the harbor and Portland from a distance. There's a couple of decent restaurants there.

You'll have a great selection of restaurants within walking distance of your hotel. Portland restaurants have become a destination for a lot of people from Boston and New York. There are way too many to list here. I'd suggest looking at Portlandfoodmap.com. They list Portland's restaurants by cuisine, have links to all the known reviews for each restaurant and have rated the top restaurants. The ratings are certainly subjective but seem to reflect the views expressed in various reviews. This web site also has reviews of the many brew pubs and bars.

Another source of good information is chowhound.com. There's a lot of discussion on Portland's restaurants in the New England section.

Southern Maine
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6. Re: 3 day conference in portland-ideas for free time

If you do decide to get the car out the garage, you could head up to Freeport and do a little outlet shopping, plus make a stop at the original LL Bean store. Freeport's a 15 minute drive from Portland.

If you headed south about the same distance, you could experience Old Orchard Beach - amusements, great pier fries, drinks overlooking the beach, etc. This would not be a "high class" evening, but definitely different from what you would find in Portland.

North Shore, MA
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7. Re: 3 day conference in portland-ideas for free time

Two points to add to the suggestions above:

LL Bean in Freeport never closes. So if you're bored at 9 at night, you may want to go for a ride.

Though I doubt you'll be in Portland Friday evening, the Portland Museum of Art is open til 9pm on Fridays (and is free after 5). It is one of my favorite museums.

Central Maine
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8. Re: 3 day conference in portland-ideas for free time

Would add my vote to those suggesting Flatbread Company -- always a good time and great food -- and a short walk from the Regency.

If you're up for a slight longer walk (six or seven blocks if I remember right) in the other direction and are looking for a place more popular with the "locals" than "tourists", Becky's Diner has great seafood at reasonable prices. It's on the waterfront but not directly on the water.

Walking to or from Becky's, youu might enjoy Three Dollar Dewey's as a place to "wet your whistle". It's been a few years since I was there, but used to be a good time -- even for those 35 and older.

The Old Port area is adjacent to your hotel and has numerous (read "many") choices for dinner/supper and drinks/music before or after. The Regency staff is excellent and can probably offer suggestions if you outline the criteria you've given us.


9. Re: 3 day conference in portland-ideas for free time

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