4:30 am Jen and I wake up too early and head to BWI airport for a flight to Manchester, New Hampshire, where we got about a $100 roundtrip flight on Southwest.
7:30 am Plane takes off to Manchester. Jen sleeps on the plane and for some reason has a spasm that catapults her plastic cup in the air...luckily there was nothing in it.
8:50 am Arrive in Manchester, but they won't let us pick up our car at 9:00 am, because we had it reserved starting at 9:30 am. I never have heard of this before, and come to the conclusion that the guy is just being a jerk.
9:30 am Finally get our car and head to Portland, Maine. There was a lot of colorful foliage on the way. While in the car, I try calling to reserve a spot on a boat cruise tour in Portland for 2:30, but they say it's not running today because there is a private party on the boat, but they do have a cruise at 11:30 am. I am determined to make the cruise so I begin driving "briskly."
11:30 am Arrive in Portland Maine. We jump out of the car and head to the tour booth, but unfortunately the cruise is gone. They tell us there is a trolley tour at 12:30 pm. Disappointed, we head to a popular food joint on the Portland Harborfront called Gilbert's Chowder House to eat and decide what we want to do next. Jen gets the clam chowder which is very good, but the fried seafood isn't all that great.
12:30 pm We decide to go on the trolley tour, which takes us through a lot of Portland and to see the city's lighthouse. The tour guide is an older women with an extreme Boston accent (pronounces Bar Harbor, Bah Hahbah). She has some funny antecdotes about the history of Portland, including how a local restaurant/pub called $3 Dewey's got it's name. It turns out to be a really entertaining tour and gives us a good overview of the city.
1:30 pm The Trolley Tour arrives at the Portland Head Lighthouse, where they give us about 15 minutes to walk around and take pictures. We both wish we had more time there, because it's quite a nice view.
3:00 pm We walk around Portland for a little while and pick up some schedules for the ferry, to try to make up for us missing the harbor tour. After that we head to the Shipyard Brewing Company headquarters, which is the most popular microbrewery in Maine. They have a giant flagpole on top of the building, but instead of a flag they have a keg. We take a free 15-minute tour of the brewery, where we see the founder (who we just saw on a short video before the tour) working on floor. After the tour, they give us a free tasting of all their beers. Jen and I are the only one's who get carded. We end up trying all five flavors, including their seasonal beer called Pumpkinhead Ale, which has hints of pumpkin and cinnamon. It's so good we decide to buy a six pack. I preferred this smaller more personable brewery tour much more than the huge Miller tour I took in Milwaukee.
4:00 pm Jen and I walk around the Eastern Promenade along the eastern harbor of Portland, where we get nice views of the sailboats on the water and some of the Maine Islands.
5:00 pm Jen and I walk around the Old Port area of Portland and visit some of the shops, unfortunately some have already closed for the night. This is the old, historic commercial district of Portland, which is very "old-town-ish" and quaint. We also walk on some of the harbor wharfs.
7:00 pm Jen and I head to Fore Street restaurant, which I made reservations for about a month beforehand. It's a very renowned restaurant with an open kitchen in the middle, and prides itself on using Maine ingredients. We ate too much. Jen started with the mussels, followed by the swordfish for her main dish. I started with a pizza, and decided to get the smoked venison rib chop for my entree. I don't think I've ever had venison before, but was glad I ordered it. It was chewier than steak, but very flavorful in a different way...may have been the smoked preparation. It also came with a homemade venison sausage, which tasted very similar to the type my Grandma use to serve for breakfast, which made me happy. We also got "the best garlic mashed potatoes I've ever had" and brocolli so that we'd feel "healthy." For dessert we got the warm chocolate souffle that came with cinnamon-pumpkin flavored ice cream. It was delicious of course, and very nicely prepared like everything else. All in all, it was one of the most satisfying meals I've had at a restaurant in a while.
9:00 pm We're pretty exhausted after the long day, so we head to the hotel which is only about two miles outside of the city and make it an early night. We decide we're going to try to wake up early in the morning and catch the 6:45 am ferry to Peaks Island, just so we can see the city and harbor from the water.