Let me preface this by saying that I don’t usually write the blogs. If you’ve been following along for a while, then you’ve figured out this is a two-part team. Usually, Patrick writes the blogs, while I prefer to edit them and add the finishing touches. He writes quickly and with tons of personality. As for me – it takes a lot longer to verbalize my thoughts and deliver them in a way I’m satisfied with. This week I’ve had some extra time on my hands, though, so I’ve decided to give it a go! Let me know what you think.
Picking up where we left off,
it was Sunday morning in Portland, and a little too late to realize that we’d woken up a little too early. Nothing was open yet, save the corner Starbucks and a CVS. Patrick lives and breathes for coffee – good coffee, bad coffee, sometimes it doesn’t matter – he thrives off the stuff. Though we prefer aesthetically-pleasing local coffee shops, like any 20-something of the modern era (insert eye-roll here), we’re not ashamed to indulge in “The ‘buck” (what my dad calls Starbucks) every now and then, so we went in. Since Dunkin’ Donuts reigns supreme in Maine, it was actually the first one I’d seen since leaving Florida! (Big fan of their refreshers and new straw-less lids, by the way.) Finally, the clock struck 10:00 A.M., and all the quirky shops we’d been eyeing began to open their doors.
There wasn’t much time for shopping though, as we realized the Portland Museum of Art (PMA) had opened, too. Thanks to the generous donation of Susie Konkel, anyone 21 and under can visit the museum for free! (As if you needed another reason to go, right?) We decided to take on the museum from the top down, working our way from the fourth floor to the first. PMA gave me a newfound appreciation for curators. The third floor featured an 80’s themed exhibit called, ‘Under Pressure,’ while the second floor featured a Maine-centric exhibit with works of Norman Rockwell, Frederick Childe Hassam, and Winslow Homer. That was a truly special area. The Maine landscapes were so surreal, it felt like we were looking over the artist's shoulder as they painted.
The Manneport, Seen from Below by Claude Monet
I’m not going to try to describe the rest of the art to you, partly because there were so many amazing pieces that I’d develop carpal tunnel trying to write about them all. But, also, because I fear it would only dissuade you from visiting the museum, as I lack the vocabulary to accurately portray the difference between a Vincent van Gogh and the macaroni sculpture I made in first grade. I can tell you this, though, The Manneport by Monet was my absolute favorite. I spent a decent chunk of the afternoon trying to surmise how I could take it home with me. Perhaps they’ll accept the modest offering of my left kidney? I’ll keep you updated.
We made it through floors four and three before it was time to meet up with Patrick’s uncle, who works at the museum, for lunch. He suggested that we take a guided tour later, and I’m so glad we did! Because we were the only two people who wanted to go, we got a private tour of the McLellan House, L.D.M. Sweat Memorial Galleries, and a special exhibit called Robbers: German Art in a Time of Crisis. After parting ways with our guide, we meandered through the exhibits on the second and first floors, before doubling back to see our favorite sculptures and paintings once more.
After a full day of art appreciation, we were starved. Per Uncle Alex’s suggestion, we chose OTTO for an early dinner. Located on Congress Street in downtown Portland, OTTO strives “to elevate the pizza experience.” We are pizza people, so, naturally, this sounded right up our alley. They’re known for their creative pizza combinations like ‘Chicken, Roasted Pears & Fontina’ and ‘Pulled Pork & Mango.’ We settled on the more classic choice of ‘Sausage & Vidalia,’ but will definitely be returning to try the rest of the menu. (They also have vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options! Check it out.) The pizza was perfectly cooked - crisp on the bottom, from the wood-fired oven, but not burnt. I still dream about it.
Just when I thought we’d topped the night off, it got a little better. We pulled into a gas station and stocked up on snacks: sour gummy worms, a bag of M&M’s, and a tall can of Coca-Cola (Pat’s other vice). I love sour candy, but the worms were merely an accessory to the cool part... hang tight. Thirty minutes from Portland, lo and behold, we arrived at a real-deal, double-feature drive-in theater. Maybe I’m late to the party, and everyone has been secretly enjoying drive-ins without me, but I thought they were all gone! We climbed onto the hood of the Jeep and settled in. Or, rather, I climbed… Patrick basically just sat down. It’s not easy being five-foot-nothing and I feel like I need climbing gear to keep up with him half the time, honestly. Which reminds me of when I tripped over my shoe and fell off a three-foot cliff in the parking lot of L.L. Bean the day before. In my defense, it was Patrick’s fault for going off the beaten path. Oh, did I mention there were witnesses? Lots of witnesses. So, yeah, I’m doing really well in Maine. (Dear Mom, please send more band-aids.).
Bye for now,