January 2019 — A visit to coastal Maine or the western mountains is an ideal way to celebrate the winter season, whether you’re seeking a cozy fire to curl up by or miles of groomed cross country tracks. There’s a new affordable hostel option for a stay in Portland and a booming brewing scene to check out. Later this winter, Maine Restaurant Week takes its annual bow, a provocative exhibit of Caribbean art opens at the Portland Museum of Art and the second annual Abbe Museum Indian Market is set to run.
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The Black Elephant Hostel
At a time when the sharing economy has transformed the business of accommodation, it’s little wonder that the hostel movement has had a resurgence. So it’s timely indeed that Portland’s first hostel has just opened. The Black Elephant Hostel is on Hampshire Street, adjacent to the Old Port, and offers stylish and affordable accommodation that includes coed dorm rooms, women-only dorm rooms, men-only dorm rooms and private rooms. There is a communal kitchen and coffee is provided. Accommodation starts at $35 a night for a shared dorm room.
At the Maine Grains grist mill in Skowhegan, it’s easy to see the connection between agriculture and beer. The Miller’s Table restaurant at the mill features more than 40 different Maine beers and ales, from Bissell’s Pine Tree Agronomics to Hoppy Table, Mason’s Hipster Apocalypse and Jolly Woodsman, all made with Maine-grown grains that are processed at the mill. The raw wheat, oats, rye, spelt and buckwheat come from 36 farms across the state, many of them in Aroostook County. Maine Grains can also be found in the beer produced at Oxbow Brewery and Bissell Brothers in Portland; Boothbay Craft Brewing; and Cushnoc Brewery in Augusta. Visit The Miller’s Table.
Winter Getaways to Maine
Winter is an ideal time to spend a weekend at a classic Maine inn, along the coast or in the mountains. Just south of Portland in Cape Elizabeth is Inn by the Sea, located on a mile of sandy beach. The Inn features 61 luxuriously appointed fireplace rooms, and one and two bedroom suites. Sea Glass Restaurant at Inn by the Sea offers a classic Maine dining experience under Chef Andrew Chadwick, with spectacular ocean views from its intimate dining room. Forty kilometers of cross country trails are a highlight of a stay at The Bethel Inn Resort, not far from Sunday River ski resort. The resort dates back to 1913 and offers classic New England comfort food under Chef Jason Baum at The Millbrook Tavern & Terrace. For true indulgence, book a spa treatment before checking in to the Meadowmere Resort in Ogunquit, which offers a heated indoor pool, a Roman spa, a health club and a day spa. There is hotel dining at The West Meadow Pub and a variety of room styles to choose from, including family suites. For more info, go to Visit Maine.
The Art of the Caribbean at The Portland Museum of Art
The Portland Museum of Art unveils its newest exhibit, Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago, on February 1, 2019. The exhibit will address issues around race, history, the legacy of colonialism, and the environment. Featured artists include Janine Antoni (Bahamas), Humberto Diáz (Cuba), Jorge Pineda (Dominican Republic), and Allora & Calzadilla (Puerto Rico). The show will run until May 5, 2019. Visit the Portland Museum of Art.
Maine Restaurant Week
The city of Portland, dubbed the 2018 Restaurant City of the Year by Bon Appetit magazine, is the headquarters for the annual Maine Restaurant Week from March 1–12. Showcasing great restaurants and accomplished chefs around the state, Maine Restaurant Week will offer multi-course meals at fixed prices ranging from $25 to $55 per person, depending on the establishment. Some will even serve prix fixe lunches for $15. Participating restaurants can be found in Portland, South Portland, Camden, Lewiston and Kennebunkport and include Evo Kitchen + Bar, Fish Bones Grill and Cumberland Club. There are also events scheduled for Restaurant Week, from the 10th Annual Incredible Breakfast Cook-Off to Spirit Quest 2019, a wandering cocktail and small bites tasting tour. For more information, visit Maine Restaurant Week.
Abbe Museum Indian Market
The second annual Abbe Museum Indian Market (AMIM) will run from May 17–19 in Bar Harbor. More than 75 Native American artists and performers from 35 Nations across the U.S. and Canada will attend. There are deep historical roots to the AMIM event. The Wabanaki people and their ancestors have lived in Pesamkuk, the place now called Mount Desert Island and Frenchman Bay, for thousands of generations. AMIM reflects the period between 1840 to 1920, when Wabanaki artists and craftsmen would travel to tourist areas such as Bar Harbor to sell baskets and other crafts. The 2019 event will include a fashion show, film festival, storytelling, dancing, music and internationally acclaimed performers. Visit The Abbe Museum, Maine’s first and only Smithsonian Affiliate at AMIM.