The days are still golden and sunny but the nights are getting crisp & cozy – which means that fall has come to Maine.
Beach days have been replaced with drives and hikes through stunning fall foliage, blueberry farms are closed for the season but now it’s time to pick your own apples at nearby orchards and the hunt for the perfect lobster roll becomes the hunt for the most comforting bowl of lobster bisque, lobster mac & cheese or even lobster wontons.
The changing of the seasons brings a whole new list of socially distant activities to enjoy in Portland and we can’t wait to host you at The Francis during your stay.
.01 // First things first, we have to talk about the leaves
That’s right, it’s “leaf-peeping” season again, one of our favorite times of year. The changing of the leaves from bright green to rich, blazing shades of red, yellow and orange is spectacular. Each year is slightly different – and various areas within the state provide totally unique eye-catching displays. Hop in the car and head towards Rangeley to see the mountains covered in burning shades of red and gold – or catch a ferry ride out of Portland to see the rich canopies of color against the sparkling blue of the ocean.
.02 // Apples take center stage
The summer was filled with blueberry picking & strawberry farms, but the fall brings peak apple picking season – and many orchards are still allowing visitors this year. Follow this excellent guide created by Portland Food Map and The Righteous Russet for a lovely self-directed exploration of Maine orchards and the many heirloom apples they offer. You’ll find orchards where you can stretch your legs without getting too close to others, family-run businesses selling whoopie pies, places to get freshly pressed cider and more.
.03 // Wander the town to see some incredible art
Starting right at The Francis, you can head out and see some moving and meaningful art created by local artists this summer. At 754 Congress Street you’ll find ‘Counting from Thirteen’, ‘The Art of Dying on Your Knee and Rising from the Dead on Your Feet’ and ‘Fallen Blooms’, temporary public art installations organized by Indigo Arts Alliance. Throughout the city you’ll find a number of pieces by the brilliant Ryan Adams, bus stops that have been transformed as part of the ‘Creative Bus Shelter Initiative’ and many murals by talented local artists.
And if you feel comfortable going indoors, the Portland Museum of Art has reopened with timed ticketing – or free entry on Fridays from noon to 8pm!
.04 // Get some fresh air on a hike
Whether you’re looking for a coastal walk, a hike through the forest or a good paved stroll – there’s quite a few options within a 30 minute drive of The Francis. Some of our favorite spots include the 30-acre nature preserve Baxter Woods, Bradbury Mountain State Park and Pineland Farms which features 30 kilometers of professionally designed, well-kept trails for biking, walking or trail running.
.05 // Be ready for beer
The reports vary a little about whether or not we have the most breweries per capita, but we still like to say we do – and that means there’s plenty of spots to go taste some delicious beer in Portland. Many breweries have expanded their outdoor tar patios and the heaters are plentiful. We love walking around East Bayside to visit Austin Street Brewery, Rising Tide, Lone Pine Brewery Co. and then heading up Fox Street to stop by Oxbow Blending & Bottling.
.06 // Visit one of Portland’s great little restaurants
No matter what you’re looking for: crispy fried seafood with ice cold beer, freshly made pasta with expertly created cocktails, oysters served with whiskey shots, spicy, more-ish Jamaican food, super thin and crispy schnitzel, rich and fully packed bánh mì, lobster ramen, lobster wontons, lobster crunchwraps…it’s all right here.
.07 // Head out on a neighborhood bike tour
Stroll down the street to Gorham Bike & Ski to rent a couple cycles for the day and go explore all of Portland’s distinct neighborhoods. Throughout the West End you’ll find incredible architecture and grand old buildings, over in Munjoy Hill you’ll see an eclectic mix of new and old, near East Bayside you can hop on the Back Cove Trail for a scenic loop or head all the way out to Cape Elizabeth if you’re really up for an adventure.
Feeling a little overwhelmed by all the options? For a limited time, we are offering our custom Adventure Guides free with your stay at The Francis! Once you make your reservation, you’ll receive a survey about your likes and dislikes and when you arrive at the hotel you’ll receive a personalized guide to Portland full of hidden gems, local favorites and fun adventure ideas. Use the code ADVENTURE to book your stay and get ready to start exploring.