4-Hour Rule: Portland
By Shari Gab / June 27, 2017 9:00 am

Stipulated: the perfect travel time for a three-day weekend getaway is four hours. More, and you waste your vacation. Less, and you’re still near home. Hence our series, The 4hr. Rule, dedicated to revealing the best destinations that are far away, yet still close to home.

It’s summer. That means heading north. To a town like Portland, which has more to offer than just beer-drinking and lobster-cracking — though we don’t blame you if that’s all you do while you’re there.

press hotel (7 images)

The hardest part about a stay at Portland’s Press Hotel from the Autograph Collection? You won’t want to leave. The reborn boutique dwelling coined as “seven floors, so many stories” was once home to the Portland Press Herald. Don’t worry, they’re not defunct. From typewriters lining the walls to handsome desk chairs stitched with “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog,” it’s a well-curated literary experience, from bellman to boudoir.

portland eat (4 images)

For dinner, look no further than your own backyard. The hotel’s sister restaurant Union will give you a complete taste of the city. Chef Josh Berry is serving up all the sustainable New England fare from smoked mussels to local skate. If you do decide to venture out, snag some of the freshest oysters in the country. On the high end, there’s the James Beard winning Eventide; if you’re on the hunt for an understated go-to, Js Oysters is the locals’ pick for a cold one with a shot of tequila and platters of oyster served raw and nude. And make sure you pop into Novare Res, a 33-tap, 400+ bottle taproom roundly regarded as one of the country’s best beer halls.

portland do (6 images)

First stop, you must go to Portland Trading Co. It’s an expertly curated mix of artful gear, home goods and Maine-worthy apparel. And owner Kazeem Lawal, a reformed New Yorker, is the dappest gent in town. Weather permitting, a ferry to Casco Bay to cruise around is in order. And when it comes to the happy hour-to-2 a.m. scene, start with newcomer Blyth & Burrows. From veteran mixology aficionados Joshua Miranda and Mike Gatlin, it’s distinguished pirate vibes meet elevated cocktails like you won’t find down any other street in town. We’d be remiss to not tell you that the place we like to hunker down most, though, is a lovely little dive named Maps. Yes, there are maps everywhere. But there are also easygoing drinks, good vibes and an oddly refreshing selection of exquisite grilled cheeses and cakes for the taking.