Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Road trip to Portland, Maine

Meeting up with Susan's sister Joyce recently in Portland, Maine served as a perfect excuse to spend a night in the city (Dick and Dorothy were also planning on joining us as well). We'd been to Portland before but only briefly, usually just passing through or lunch somewhere on the periphery. This time, however, we'd take a bit more time to explore this particularly funky part of the Maine coast.

We found a place near the highway to spend the night -- using air miles we had few options.  That evening we drove into town for dinner at a small Italian restaurant, Paciarino. Run by an Italian couple who moved to Portland from Milano, Paciarino means cozy as indeed it was. The place was pretty much packed when we arrived somewhat earlier than our reservations but we were seated straight away.

The service was impeccable and the food delicious (they only serve pasta, fresh made). The wines by the glass were impressive (Monsanto Chianti Classico) and the bottle prices were simply amazing.

After dinner we left Paciarino and strolled down Fore Street to Gorgeous Gelato for dessert -- another place worth a stop: more friendly faces and delicious gelati.

Since we had some time to kill before our family lunch at a nearby Panera's, after we checked out of the hotel Sunday morning we  headed downtown to the Portland Museum of Art (not to be confused with the Portland Art Museum, which is in Portland, Oregon). Arriving a few minutes early we sat in a small park across the street before they opened their doors right at 10am.

The museum is airy, light and yet still full of cozy, intimate spaces of wonders, such as the neoclassical America sculpture gallery on the first floor.

Simmon's statue of Ulysses S. Grant dominates the small rotunda of beautiful sculpture

the 2nd and 3rd floors housed the American and European collections

After an hour or so we headed back to the car and drove to one of the city's two Panera's to meet up with Joyce, Dick and Dorothy for lunch.

After a grand time chatting and catching up on all the news from the greater Bangor area we said our goodbyes headed off home. The trip back to Providence was surprisingly quick and relatively free of traffic snarls. Not bad for a Sunday return from Maine, we thought.

And not a bad way to spend a summer weekend in New England.

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