One Hour in Portland
If you have the unfortunate luck to only have one hour in Portland, here's a handy little shopping guide for the can't-miss spots in town.
Start at the top of Exchange Street and work your way down in this bustling part of the city. Begin at 2 Note Perfumery (97 Exchange) where you'll be hard-pressed to leave without a new signature scent – or at least smelling quite nice. Next make your way into Folly 101 (101 Exchange) for rustic chic decor and kitchen items for your home. Browse their selection of dishware, baskets and a darling section for wee ones in the back. Next swing down to Bliss Boutique (58 Exchange) for a clothing fanatics dream. With brands like Steven Alan and Paige Denim, their selection is curated but broad enough to appeal to all different fashionistas. You can't visit Portland without picking up at least one or two different lobster t-shirts, so luckily there's a selection of souvenir shops dotting the rest of this route.
Walk straight down to Free Street and make a quick right. You can pick your poison at this turn. Men in need of good fashion can head right into Joseph's (410 Fore), ladies can make their way across the street to Helene M (425 Fore). If you've got fashion fiends of the tween set, they can find their own shopping mecca at Twist (425 Fore). For the final stretch, make your way down to Commercial Street where you'll get a whiff of fresh air from the waterfront while window-shopping. Guys will want to check out Portland Dry Goods (237 Commercial) before leaving town, where brands like Portland General Store and their own line of oxford shirts appeal to many a dapper man. Your final resting place should be LeRoux Kitchen (181 Commercial) where you can sample their homemade vinegars, find a paring knife and pick up a bottle of bubbly all in one place.
One Day in Portland
If you've got a day of shopping to spare, hit up all the shops above while you're in the Old Port. But if you've got time to branch out a bit, here are some favorite spots from those of us "in the know."
Head to the East End of town, also known as Munjoy Hill, and be sure to visit Ferdinand (243 Congress Street) for unique, won't-find-them-anywhere-else items. Owner Diane Toepfer makes cards, screen-printed tees, jewelry and other baubles. She also has a cool vintage selection. You never know what you'll find, but you won't leave empty handed.
Congress Street headed west is home to lots of prized stores. If its more clothing you seek, swing into Encore (521 Congress) and Material Objects (500 Congress) for a great selection of vintage and consigned pieces. Make your way past Monument Square and head towards Free Street, stopping into Longfellow Books along the way. For more clothing and kitsch options there is Find and Pinecone + Chickadee.
And before you leave, you must check out the Portland Flea-for-All (125 Kennebec Street)– a three level shopping mecca of furniture, Maine-made items, vintage clothes, jewelry and more. It's off the beaten path but it's worth the tiny trek.