A few weeks ago I had my annual team summit in Portland, Maine at the all-new Westin Portland Harborview hotel. Each year we choose a destination that is relatively easy to get to, relatively affordable, yet unique and memorable. Portland, Maine is just that. Having only spent a few days there and the bulk of the time was for work, we were able to eat locally and experience some of the East Coast culture on an incredible team outing. If you ever end up there or you are looking for a quaint New England experience, I would highly recommend!
Where: Portland, Maine. Whether it’s seaside relaxation, a historic downtown, locally owned shops, award-winning restaurants, a growing seaport, or a thriving arts and culture scene, the options are limitless for a weekend away!
How to Get There: Boston is the closest major city and you can do the drive in about 2 hours. And that said, if you are flying, you would fly into Boston Logan, rent your car and be on your way! For more details on how to get there, check out Visit Portland’s Website.
Where to Stay: Per usual, I am going to recommend a Starwood hotel 🙂 For those of you who are new reading my blog, I do work for Starwood (and no, don’t get paid to write this!) and love our hotels. LOVE THEM. So naturally, that’s what you are going to get from me. Plus, I travel all the time and 99% of the time stay with Starwood so it’s the most authentic recommendation I can give in terms of my own personal experiences. OKay, now that that is out of the way. Stay at The new Westin Portland Harborview (which is the old Eastland hotel). Centrally located in the heart of the arts district, it’s walkable to almost anything or the hotel offers a shuttle service and taxi’s are plentiful!
Travel Tip: The top floor of the Westin hotel, appropriately named Top of the East, offers stunning views of Portland and the water. It’s perfect to go have a glass of wine before dinner or to get out of your room and do some work over coffee or tea. Bring your iPhone or camera as you will take pictures of the stunning views.
Where to Eat: There are a lot of great mom and pop restaurants in Portland and bar none, I would recommend Grace Restaurant. A restored historic church, the circa 1856-57 building is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is one of the few surviving examples of early Gothic Revival style in Portland. The building dates to before the Civil War, which is important because so many buildings of that era were destroyed in the big Portland fire of 1866. And, um, yeah, you eat there. And the food is remarkable. It’s one of the coolest dining experiences I have had. Yeah, bring your camera, here, too as you will take at least 10 pictures.
What to Do: As I was there for work, I didn’t have ample leisure time. However, we did have a team outing that was one of the best experiences I have had before. Bucket-list worthy. Lobster catching. I mean, how do you go to New England NOT catch lobsters?! For just $25 per person, we worked with Lucky Catch Cruises and had a private boat and two guides that took us out to Casco Bay to. catch. lobsters.
Once you catch your little guys, you take them over to Portland Lobster Co and they cook them, you eat them. Sadly, I couldn’t eat the poor guys as I felt too bad for them. However, most of my team thoroughly enjoyed them 🙂
There are tons more things to do in Portland, but, I wanted to share my highlights with you. And as summer is here, this is a perfect weekend away no matter where you are coming from! Happy travels!