I’ve never been Maine before. After the first time I saw a dog sitting on the wharf and asked to pet her, my friends were on a mission to find me dogs. Bless them, but they know that my career is based around animals.
This is just one of the reasons I love them. They totally get me. Because our mission for the weekend was actually a bachelor party.
Yes, that’s right. My friend of 20 years is getting married in September. Among the 17 of us attending the bachelor party, my best friend and I were included, and surprise- we are girls! It caused a lot of confusion to be sure. Some hilarity ensued and honestly, we all had an amazing time. My friend told us it wouldn’t have been the same without us and I love that. I also love that his future wife understood. After all, we’re really just one of the guys.
We were able to explore Portland in our search of an ATM (there is a lot there that is cash only), and not all areas were the nicest. But I loved the harbor.
I can’t say that I would return to anywhere but the harbor area*, which was supremely cute and had a distinct lack of tackiness of which I approve. Despite tourist season, there were few vendors and those that were there were artistic and original.
The Bark on the Street
Cries and shouts of “Heather, I found a dog!” were common throughout the entire weekend and could be heard across a brewery, restaurant, or street. The beautiful weather ensured optimum walking conditions whether downtown or on the waterfront.
Dogs in the Restaurants
Many of the restaurants have outdoor seating, especially along the waterfront. Porthole is a restaurant and also has a walk up bar, which seemed to be quite popular with the canine crowd. I met a 14-week old Czech German Shepherd Dog being socialized, as well as a friendly Doberman named Star.
Another day I enjoyed deliciously fresh lobster at the famous, Portland Lobster Co. next to a handsome beagle mix and his owners. He was very attentive in case any one nearby were to spill.
Dogs in the Hotels
The boys stayed at the Westin while my girlfriend and I were at the Portland Harbor Hotel. We wanted to be as close to the water as possible. The Portland Harbor Hotel is beautifully nautical and within a block of Commercial Street. Both hotels were also dog friendly!
Breweries Have Gone to the Dogs
I honestly was so in love with how dog-friendly Portland is. I think my friend Brynn Nowell from A Dog Walks Into a Bar would love to “research” here if she hasn’t already. The breweries were unbelievable and we were able to travel on The Maine Brew Bus to tour an assortment of craft breweries.
- Fore River Brewing Company– sadly no dogs, but their sour was unreal. I definitely recommend it.
- Urban Farm Fermentory– Cool, hipster vibe and lots of choices. Not strictly a brewery we tried beer, mead, cider, and kombucha. They used no hops during fermentation and told us this was the new “old” way of doing things. Basically taking fermenting back to its origins.
- Lone Pine Brewing Company– where I met the handsome Cooper, a 5-month old Golden Retriever Pup. His “fur mom” is a current Maine resident but was born and raised in New Jersey. Yay Jersey Girl!
Homeless Humans and Dogs
One thing that made me sad was the large amount of homeless with dogs. It’s one thing in summer, but I can’t imagine the winters and how intense they are for them. Some dogs were in pretty good condition.
Sadly others were covered in mange and had critters in their eyes. It really does make my heart hurt. However, I must say that I did see a mutual love and trust between vagrant and pet that warmed me. It seems to be a common phenomenon.
Spreading the Word
When I returned home I contacted Beth Miller of Wagtown who is on a mission to make everywhere more dog-friendly. I think Portland could be “Where the Wag Happens”. She told me she’d already booked a trip there in September. She is so on top of things. Funny though, it turns out she was talking about Portland, Oregon! Too many dog-friendly cities and not enough time….could be worse I guess.
The best thing about Maine was the lobster, the dogs, and my friends. We can have fun anywhere. I can’t wait for the wedding in September. I wonder if the hotel will be dog-friendly? Hmmmm…..
All in, Portland’s dog friendliness was a wonderful surprise. I came to celebrate my friend’s pending nuptials and also spent time with some amazing animals.
What’s your favorite dog-friendly city?
*Outside of the waterfront I recommend a visit to Bubba’s Sulky Lounge. If you like amazing music, and alternative decor (think lunchbox collection on the ceiling and a light up dance floor) then this is your kind of place.