What’s in Portland….Maine That Is

When I’m in Maine I don’t venture too far from Rockport because there’s plenty to keep me entertained on the midcoast.  Every now and then, however, I need a need a city fix in order to go to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or places to shop other than WalMart or TJ Maxx.  That means heading to Portland.

PortlandThough small, barely 100,000 or roughly 10% of Maine’s population, Portland has most of the amenities you’d expect in a city.  There’s a very good art museum,

Portlandtrendy shops and galleries,

Portlandand during the summer months Portland teems with throngs of visitors enjoying street festivals in the Old Port area.

PortlandThere are plenty of good things to eat like this steak and lobster pizza which has me drooling just thinking about it.  Portland has, in fact, become quite a foodie city well known for its talented young chefs and fresh and local menus.  The only problem is that restaurants here have become so popular they’ve had to put tables on the sidewalks which has residents grumbling about it being harder to navigate the sidewalks.

PortlandIn addition to great restaurants, there are food trucks and nowhere else have I seen a cupcake truck

Portlandor one that dispenses sodas right from its side. 

PortlandFor that something extra special, there are lots of ice cream shops serving up housemade selections of all natural ingredients.  One thing’s for sure, we never  leave Portland without at least one tasty treat.  Making a choice is the hard part.

With all it has to offer, Portland is Maine’s closest answer to city life, and it has become a very hip place attractive to young professionals as well as a magnet for visitors to Maine.  It is a great introduction to  life the way it should be!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Seasonal Sundays

Down the Back Roads

Maine doesn’t have a lot of freeways.  In fact, there’s just one, I-95, that runs north and south, so when you travel the state it’s likely to be on the back roads.  Generally, they are two lanes, often narrow and bumpy and  lead to places named Union, Hope, Washington, Windsor, Saco, Damariscotta, Newcastle, Castine, Blue Hill and along the way there are lots of surprises.

Let’s journey down some of the back roads and see what’s there.

Liberty Tool is interesting, worthy of a stop.

Inside is much more than tools, and it might take the better part of a day to browse through it all.

The same is true at Elmer’s.

Hmmm, that message comes across loud and clear so we better leave the dog in the car. Don’t you wonder where all this stuff came from and what possible use it could be to anybody?

Inside are some real treasures though it takes a lot of looking to find them.

And here we are on a pretty empty stretch of road and spot an art gallery.  Glad we didn’t pass it by because there’s some really nice work inside.  Funny that it’s called the Downtown Gallery because there’s not much evidence of a downtown!

Getting a little hungry now?  Not too far down the road we spot Lori’s,

a simple cafe with words of wisdom and warning, friendly service and the best fried clams.

And what’s this, John’s Ice Cream in a most unexpected location.

Who can resist the temptation of real homemade ice cream in all these yummy sounding flavors?

And, while we are out, let’s stop in at the Hope Spinnery where we find beautiful hand dyed wool and knitted creations

and on this day friends gathered to share their music.

Aren’t Maine’s back roads a treat?  What is it that draws folks to these scarcely populated places and prompts them to open a business?  Maybe they know that people like us are going to be out exploring and will stop and take a look.  Or maybe there’s another reason which is worth thinking about another time.

I’m glad you came along for the ride.  Do you have places in your area that are fun adventures?  I’d love to hear about them.

i love your thoughts, so jump right in and share yours

Tis the Season!

Yep, wild Maine blueberries are at their peak. 

They are available at roadside stands where you may buy on the honor system, at the market or, if you can find where they are growing, you can pick them yourself.  That is definitely the harder option, but it is fun, though the way we pick and eat it’s hard to get home with very many.  So, we cheat a little and buy a flat or two to be sure we have enough in the freezer to last until next season.

There are many good things to make with blueberries….soup, muffins, salad, jelly….but the family favorite is blueberry cobbler which is so simple the girls have learned how to make it.  You might want to give it a try!

Blueberry Cobbler

4 c. blueberries

1/3 c. sugar

1 t. lemon juice

1 c. sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

1 c. flour

1 egg, beaten

1 t. cinnamon (optional)

Mix berries, sugar and lemon juice in baking dish.

Combine flour, sugars and cinnamon in mixing bowl.  Add the beaten egg and mix with a for until mixture is crumbly.  Pour over berry mixture and dot with butter.  I usually use about 6 tablespoons.  Bake at 350 until top is browned.

Of course, the cobbler is best topped with ice cream.  Here we used day lily ice cream which appeared here.  Of course, vanilla is always good and here’s the simplest of recipes.

Vanilla Ice Cream

1 1/2 c.  half and half

1 1/2 c. cream

1/2 c. sugar

1 t. vanilla

Combine all ingredients and freeze in a small electric freezer.  You may also add a little cinnamon to the mixture.

As you might guess, the cobbler recipe is good with other fruits, especially peaches and other berries.  Often I mix peaches and blueberries or add raspberries and strawberries to the blueberries.  No matter what combination you use, it’s a real winner that you will make again and again. 

Oh, if you don’t have a small ice cream maker, get one and keep it in the freezer.  It is so easy to use and ice cream is a snap to make at a moment’s notice.

See this and other great recipes at Foodie Friday and Sweet Tooth Friday.