Fun Things to Do and See in Portland, Maine with Your Dog
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. However, I will always offer my readers an unbiased and honest account of my experiences. Your trust is very appreciated, and never taken for granted. ~Tonya, Dexter and Angel Nutter
Dexter and I had our bucket-list vacation in Maine! For as long as I can remember, I’ve been wanting to travel to Maine with Dexter. I’ve always heard that Maine is super dog-friendly and would be an extraordinary destination to take my Dexter. So, I grabbed Dexter and his BFF Levi, and Levi’s mom, and we headed to Portland, Maine!
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After a mid-point stay along the route, we arrived at our pet-friendly resort in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. But, this dog-friendly inn wasn’t your average accommodation that allows dogs, it was much more. The Inn by the Sea not only allows dogs, but they truly welcome them with open paws. From the moment we pulled up until the moment we had to say goodbye, Dexter and Levi were treated like royalty.
The Inn by the Sea has welcomed woman’s best friend for over 20 years with complimentary accommodations(no pet fees), water bowls, beach towels, cozy blankets, and signature treats at turndown. You read that right, no pet fees! Pet massages, gourmet pet menus, dog walking, and dog-sitting services are also available. We also received a comprehensive list of nearby walking trails, pet-friendly beaches, and off-leash dog parks. Stay tuned for my upcoming blog & video dedicated to all the great amenities we experienced at the Inn by the Sea. (7/31/19).
We all were pretty exhausted from our drive from Ohio to Maine. The Inn by the Sea was a beautiful luxury Maine coastal resort beach hotel to unwind before dinner. Chris and I enjoyed our view of Crescent Beach from the comfort of our patio while the dogs took a much-needed siesta.
For dinner, we experienced Sea Glass Restaurant at Inn by the Sea. The dogs were welcomed in the lounge with free ocean views! The Sea Glass Restaurant’s menu was quite extensive. A few of their selections include New England clam chowder, beetroot salad, fried oysters, lobster tacos, pressed chicken, prime strip steak, duck breast, and so many other delightful dishes.
When I travel, I really do try to order menu items that are local and different from my everyday choices. I was in Maine, so I had to order Chef Chadwick’s signature Lobster Tacos and the Seal Cove Farm Cheese. Let me just tell you, the lobster tacos were just amazing. At about 2” long, they were the cutest things I have ever seen, but the taste was out of this world. These bite-sized delectables were made with fresh local lobster, radish, sweet chili, and avocado mousse. I honestly would have loved an entire meal of just these. The cheese plate consisted of local cheese, crispy prosciutto, quinoa, caramelized grapes, vanilla pickled fennel, and cheddar cheese biscuit. And these were just our appetizers.
For the main course, I ordered the blended Sea Glass burger. This mouthwatering burger was created with 60% local beef and 40% mushroom topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, and choron aioli on a fresh European roll. Chris ordered the Farmer Salad which was full of baby lettuce, shaved vegetables, and brioche crumbs, and topped with a house vinaigrette.
You didn’t think we left the dogs out of this amazing experience, did you? They enjoyed the Meat “ROAF.” Their freshly cooked meal was made with natural ground beef, raw vegetables, steamed rice, and a biscuit. They devoured it! We all enjoyed dessert. The boys ordered the K-9 ice cream, and we had an amazing dessert of the night. Everything from the food to service and ambiance was just fantastic.
After dinner, we strolled around the immaculately kept grounds. There was a ton of green space and many walking trails that the boys enjoyed. Families were frolicking on the grounds having a great time. The inn was truly a welcoming experience for all.
Chris and I had our own bedrooms to enjoy. Our large beds were very welcoming after our first big day in Maine. I think we all crashed pretty hard. By the morning, we were refreshed and ready for our big adventure in Portland, Maine.
We awoke to a great sunrise and lots of birds chirping. Now, this is an alarm I could get used to. We ordered breakfast from the Sea Glass Restaurant to take back to our room. After all, we had a full table with an amazing view of the cove right from our own cove suite.
The breakfast menu was full of great items. I ordered the stuffed French toast. Brioche dipped in cheesecake batter, grilled and topped with streusel and Maine maple syrup. Chris chose the three-egg omelet with mushrooms, bell peppers, and spinach. Yes, Chris chooses much healthier food options than I do. 😉 Everything was made to perfection and a great way to start our morning.
We packed the pups and drove to Portland, Maine, which was an easy 15-minute drive. Parking was a breeze with ample parking lots and even on-street parking options. Rates were more than reasonable, which was a huge plus, especially in a city that offers attractions for both locals and tourists.
Portland, Maine offers a variety of dog-friendly attractions, dog-friendly restaurants, and pet-friendly stores. We knew we came to the right place. Our first dog-friendly attraction was the Portland Discovery Land & Sea Tours. Dexter, Levi, Chris, and I were going to board their dog-friendly trolley.
Our trolley tour guide was not only accepting of the dogs onboard, he made each of us feel right at home with fun banter. Dexter and Levi were not the only dogs along for the ride; there were two other doggie guests. The 105-minute, fully narrated tour took us up and down the diverse streets of Portland. We were able to see and learn about Portland’s history and even found a few hidden gems along the way.
The Discovery trolley took us up the city streets to the rocky coast, and we even had a 30-minute stop at Portland Head Light, Maine’s oldest lighthouse. Portland Head Light is along the shores of Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth. The park offers picnic facilities, hiking spots, and historic structures throughout the premises. We had a great time hopping off the trolley and exploring the lighthouse, and the boys appreciated a good sniff.
After our fun-and-informative trolley ride, we grabbed some lunch at Portland Lobster Company. Portland Lobster Company was the ideal location, right on the dock. Don’t let the laid-back atmosphere fool you. They have won numerous awards for both their food and their atmosphere. The dogs were welcomed on the outside dock overlooking Casco Bay.
The menu offered up some of the best Maine seafood options and ingredients that are all locally sourced and organic whenever possible. Chris ordered fried popcorn shrimp, and I really went outside of my norm and ordered a crab roll. The popcorn shrimp were light and crispy with a nice sweet taste. My crab roll had the perfect ratio of fresh crab meat to mayo. It was fresh and wrapped nice and tight. Unfortunately, as much as I want to like crab, it’s still not a taste for me. But it made a great snack for Chris, and the pups enjoyed a bite or two, too.
After lunch, we strolled around Portland and went into the stores that were dog-friendly. When I travel, I am in the habit of asking a store if Dexter can come in to shop, and I receive more yes answers than nos. Portland stores were very dog-friendly and allowed the dogs to accompany us. Even Greater Portland Convention & Visitors Bureau was dog-friendly. They offered the dogs treats and fresh water.
After a full day in Portland, Maine, we headed back to Cape Elizabeth. I thought it would be a fun experience to eat at a classic lobster shack, so we headed to The Lobster Shack at Two Lights. The Lobster Shack had the most amazing views of the ocean and has been a local landmark since the 1920s.
There were a ton of outside picnic tables to choose from. Chris and I went a bit more traditional for us and we ordered dogs and burgers. As we ate our food, we could hear the crashing surf. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. After dinner, we walked the dogs up and down the rocky shores. They had a great time smelling the ocean breeze. It was an ideal way to end our day.
After another great night’s sleep at the Inn by the Sea, we ordered another stellar breakfast from Sea Glass. This time I took Chris’s lead and also ordered an omelet with mushrooms, cheese, and spinach. Chris went for another omelet since she enjoyed the first one so much.
Our adventure was going to take us back to Portland. This time we were going to head out on the Mailboat Run. Dexter and Levi aren’t new to boat rides, but this wasn’t your average dog-friendly boat ride, it was going to be onboard a true working boat that carries both passengers and mail to the various islands in Casco Bay.
Casco Bay Line’s Mailboat Run lasts between 2.5-3.5 hours and runs daily. The length truly depends on how many passengers and mail they have for the day. It was quite a fun experience and a great way to tour the Casco Bay area. The boat went to Little Diamond, Great Diamond, Long, Cliff, and Chebeague Islands. About halfway through the day, passengers were able to get out on one of the islands to visit a local gift shop and to allow the dogs onboard an opportunity to go potty.
It was quiet interesting to watch the deck hands load and unload the freight. We also had the opportunity to view seabirds and an eagle’s nest along the way. I can see why this is a local favorite. After departing the mailboat, our next journey was going to take us inland to Bethel, Maine. Stay tuned for my upcoming blog and vlog (7/17/19)!
When planning your pet-friendly Maine excursion, visit Visit Maine’s website to plan the perfect trip.
Do you travel with your dog? Tell me in the comments.
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