With a relatively short drive from Boston, Portland is a teriffic getaway spot that melds the natural beauty of the Maine coastline with a small-city vibe summed up with great art, shops & restaurants. Here are some must-see shops I found this time around:
Foundry Lane, 221 Commercial St.
This store features a gallery of jewelers, ceramicists, furniture makers and sculptors, just to name a few. My excellent find & purchase here is this great, decorative tile by Toronto artist Xenia Taler whose work I just love.
Portland Architectural Salvage, 131 Preble Street
This place is amazing. It has four enormous floors of inventory. Like many salvage houses, you can find such a wide array of antiques from old doors and footed bathtubs to factory carts and stained glass windows. While it is stuffed to the brim with cool things to look at, it is also somehow tidy and easy to browse around here, too.
Most of our favorite sights were industrial/factory pieces that could serve as bar carts, coffee tables and kitchen islands:
I was searching for very large letterforms from old outdoor signage, to no avail. But I was also very drawn to these carnival roulette wheels. As a trio they are so graphic and striking! Imagine them arranged on a wall in a big converted barn or loft space. I even like them leaning just as they are...
I also spotted some beautiful sinks. Usually you just see ceramic and porcelain. If I were to redo a kitchen or bath in the future, I'd definitely consider soapstone (top photo) or concrete (bottom photo).
Delise Decor, 324 Fore Street
Here's what I love about a town like Portland: you walk into the shop and the owner is the person behind the desk and you chat about the pieces in the store and how she finds things and what you both love. We almost came home with a factory trolley cart that was on display as a coffee table. This seems to have become the must-have antique item over the past couple of years.
It was similar to this one:
Angela Adams, 273 Congress Street
—one of my all-time favorites and Portland's big-time design star. The Angela Adams retail store on Congress St. is a must. They have really great sales—often things that are not found on the website.
Our other favorite Portland spots:
BREAKFAST: Coffee and any of their freshly baked goodies: The Standard Baking Co.
A MUST DO: A Portland Schooner sail
WOMEN'S CLOTHING: Hands down, Bliss and Chantal
GIFT & HOUSEWARES BOUTIQUE: Blanche & Mimi
START WITH A DRINK: Vignola
EAT, GO TO HEAVEN: Fore Street
LATE NIGHT JAZZ: Blue
Now...where to next?