A new EMS and four more things to love about Portland, Maine
I am a New England local and it’s part of me just as much as I am a part of it… I learned my climbing ethics there, got my first girlfriend there, climbed my first 5.14 there. I graduated from high school and college in New England and I may have even gained an accent along the way. It’s my home and always will be.
When I learned that there was a new Eastern Mountain Sports store opening up in South Portland, Maine I was more than excited.
That addition to one of the greatest New England towns got me psyched to add my two tiny cents. Portland, Maine is where I went to college (Maine College of Art) so I had to write up a little blog in regards to this new store and this great news. My 4 years in Portland was one of the greatest times I’ve had. Maybe this is because I was climbing a lot more than I was doing schoolwork and spending time in the studio… but hey… it was a special part of my life. The town itself is a quaint place filled with culture, art, music, a great community, and an independent New England mentality.
When I wasn’t in the studio painting or at Rumney working on my projects, I was bopping around the town with my friends. There were certain spots that I frequented weekly and monthly. I have always loved a tavern/pub style bar with and been a huge fan of wraps or burritos. I guess I am a simple guy with a specific taste so here are a few of my favorite spots in Portland, Maine that I recommend checking out if you get the chance too… you will NOT be sorry…
1. The Maine Rock Gym! http://www.merockgym.com/
You have to go and at least poke your head in to see where some of the strongest USA climbers trained and climbed inside. The place is old in terms of climbing gyms and keeps that integrity still the gym has a special place in my heart and will always be a place I visit when I am in town. Tell Nate Kimball Joe says “YO!!!” and be sure to stop by the OTHER Eastern Mountain Sports store right across the parking lot. The day fee is $15 which is standard for all gyms in the USA.
2. Granny’s Burritos
Located in the Old Port near the cobble streets, the waterfront, and pubs you have one of the best spots to grub. For the heavy-duty-burrito-of-madness I suggest this spot for a fix! The vibe there is super casual with picnic tables for everyone to sit at and unwrap that tin foil rolled burrito-brick. I have always gone with the Chicken Pesto Burrito, but there are many to choose from.
3. Gritty McDuff’s http://www.grittys.com/
The pub of the Old Port. My good friend Hank showed my buddies and me this place the day after I turned 21 and we pretty much made it our spot to drink good beer in the communal style setting. Again, giant picnic table and pitchers is the setting so it is nice and mellow. Friday nights can get pretty nuts so if you are up for action you have found the place. It is right down the street from Granny’s Burrito, which is somehow very convenient, as well. If you can’t find the beer you are looking for at Gritty’s then you might have to head to Germany.
4. The Nickelodeon http://www.patriotcinemas.com/nickelodeon.html
The Nickelodeon is a movie theatre in the perfect location for a matinee. While in Portland you might find yourself walking right past it and not even know. It is a low-key place with a below-average-cost. For a cheap movie to kill some time between classes, or on your day off it’s perfect. They usually play movies that aren’t on DVD and out of the theatre, so it’s perfect for the catch-up if you missed a flick.
There are many other great places to hit up in Portland like galleries, the Skatepark, the legal wall (graffiti), the historical sites, the parks, and always pay a visit to the Maine College Of Art gallery, The ICA. As well, when you stop by the new Eastern Mountain Sports store in South Portland tell them I said “HEY!!!”.
What do YOU love about Portland? Post a comment and let me know!