A Mother's Day in Portland, Maine

This Mother’s Day I spent the day in Portland, Maine. It was a beautiful spring day. The skies were clear and the streets downtown were still quiet. The month of May is the perfect time to visit the city because the Old Port is not yet crowded with tourists and the weather has finally turned warm, cheering up local shop owners after a long winter. Let me take you through how a local mother/daughter duo spent their day in the Portland Old Port.

My mom LOVES donuts, so it only made sense to start our day getting donuts. I’m not the biggest donut gal myself, but the day was all about my Mom. She’d already tried The Holy Donut and Eighty Eight donuts, so I showed her another donut spot called Hifi Donuts. It’s located conveniently in Monument Square, so close to the action. She decided on a chocolate glazed and a blueberry fizz donut, and I got my usual iced oat milk latte. We both loved our picks and the staff was so friendly!    

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After we fueled up we walked down Exchange Street towards Commercial Street to pop into some of our favorite stores. This little pocket of the Old Port has such a great variety of shops, galleries and restaurants, so there’s sure to be something for everyone! Unfortunately, our all time favorite store, Folly 101, on Upper Exchange was closed. They have the most amazing curated selection of home decor and goods. Stepping into the store gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling, as if there’s been a break in the clouds and the sun is hitting your skin. They’ve got it all from dish towels and tablecloths, to candle holders and toiletry bags. If you love a fresh, minimal cottage aesthetic this will definitely become one of your favorite spots.

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We made our way down Exchange Street, mostly window shopping, towards Commercial Street. Some of my favorite spots on this block are The Highroller Lobster Co., Tree House Toys, Sherman’s Bookstore and Lisa Marie’s Made in Maine. I have to give an honorable mention to Beal’s Ice Cream, their hand craft, small batch ice cream is a must after a walk around town on a hot day, I’m a sucker for their chocolate peanut butter frozen yogurt. 

Down on Commercial Street I was set on visiting Blanche + Mimi’s new location. Previously in a smaller storefront on Middle Street, they’ve made the move to a bigger space with more room to showcase their incredible selection of accessories, decor and more. The store is a work of art with a boho, vintage feel. This shop is a more colorful, maximalist (dare I say fun) version of Folly 101. I’m always inspired to add more color into my life after a visit to Blanche + Mimi. I recently splurged on one of their Kerry Cassil printed quilts, it’s probably the most stunning thing I own. So worth the visit!

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Just down the road is Mexicali Blues, a hub artisan quality clothing, home decor and jewelry with a hippie vibe. They were founded in Portland in 1988, so I’ve been shopping there for as long as I can remember. Back in the day, my room was filled with room decor from here. Although my style has changed over the years and I don’t gravitate towards the home selection, Mexicali Blues is still my go to for unique sterling silver rings and fun friendship bracelets.  Next door is Local Color, which I always assumed was just another touristy gift shop, but I was pleasantly surprised to find they carried local brands and artists. I’d seen Joe’s Fresh Fish Prints on Instagram before and it was so cool to see his art in person! He makes gyotaku prints of fish and other sea creatures “the old fashioned way,” with fish and ink. Rugged Seas is another brand you’ll find here. Founded by Mainers that support the working waterfront, the company recycles old fishing gear and lobsterman bibs to make their products. They’ve got a little bit of everything here, my mom got an anchor printed vinyl placemat and I picked up a baseball hat.

At this point, we’d been walking around for hours and it was time for lunch! We headed back towards the car and decided to stop at El Rayo for some tacos. We love the playful, colorful vibe of the back deck here, it makes for the perfect lunch spot on a day where it’s so nice you don’t want to be inside.

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We finished off our Mother’s Day with a visit to Highland Farms in Scarborough, to refresh my mom's garden with some new flowers. How pretty! Wishing all the moms out there a happy (belated) mother's day!


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