Dog Days of Summer in Maine

I’ve never been Maine before. After the first time I saw a dog sitting on the wharf and asked to pet her, my friends were on a mission to find me dogs. Bless them, but they know that my career is based around animals. 

 

This is just one of the reasons I love them. They totally get me. Because our mission for the weekend was actually a bachelor party.

 

Yes, that’s right. My friend of 20 years is getting married in September. Among the 17 of us attending the bachelor party, my best friend and I were included, and surprise- we are girls! It caused a lot of confusion to be sure. Some hilarity ensued and honestly, we all had an amazing time. My friend told us it wouldn’t have been the same without us and I love that. I also love that his future wife understood. After all, we’re really just one of the guys. 

 

Some of the Bachelor Party Crew at Fore River Brewing Company in Maine.

 

We were able to explore Portland in our search of an ATM (there is a lot there that is cash only), and not all areas were the nicest. But I loved the harbor.

 

 

I can’t say that I would return to anywhere but the harbor area*, which was supremely cute and had a distinct lack of tackiness of which I approve. Despite tourist season, there were few vendors and those that were there were artistic and original.

 

The Bark on the Street

 

Cries and shouts of “Heather, I found a dog!” were common throughout the entire weekend and could be heard across a brewery, restaurant, or street. The beautiful weather ensured optimum walking conditions whether downtown or on the waterfront.

 

Dogs in the Restaurants

 

Many of the restaurants have outdoor seating, especially along the waterfront. Porthole is a restaurant and also has a walk up bar, which seemed to be quite popular with the canine crowd.  I met a 14-week old Czech German Shepherd Dog being socialized, as well as a friendly Doberman named Star.

 

 

Another day I enjoyed deliciously fresh lobster at the famous, Portland Lobster Co. next to a handsome beagle mix and his owners. He was very attentive in case any one nearby were to spill.

 

 

 

Dogs in the Hotels

The boys stayed at the Westin while my girlfriend and I were at the Portland Harbor Hotel. We wanted to be as close to the water as possible. The Portland Harbor Hotel is beautifully nautical and within a block of Commercial Street. Both hotels were also dog friendly!

 

Breweries Have Gone to the Dogs

I honestly was so in love with how dog-friendly Portland is. I think my friend Brynn Nowell from A Dog Walks Into a Bar would love to “research” here if she hasn’t already. The breweries were unbelievable and we were able to travel on The Maine Brew Bus to tour an assortment of craft breweries.

 

  • Urban Farm Fermentory Cool, hipster vibe and lots of choices. Not strictly a brewery we tried beer, mead, cider, and kombucha. They used no hops during fermentation and told us this was the new “old” way of doing things. Basically taking fermenting back to its origins. 

 

Urban Farm Fermentory

 

 

Sleepy head
  • Lone Pine Brewing Company– where I met the handsome Cooper, a 5-month old Golden Retriever Pup. His “fur mom” is a current Maine resident but was born and raised in New Jersey. Yay Jersey Girl!

 

Lone Bone Brewing Co.

Cooper the 5-month old Golden Retriever.

Homeless Humans and Dogs

One thing that made me sad was the large amount of homeless with dogs. It’s one thing in summer, but I can’t imagine the winters and how intense they are for them. Some dogs were in pretty good condition. 

 

Sadly others were covered in mange and had critters in their eyes. It really does make my heart hurt. However, I must say that I did see a mutual love and trust between vagrant and pet that warmed me. It seems to be a common phenomenon. 

 

Spreading the Word

When I returned home I contacted Beth Miller of Wagtown who is on a mission to make everywhere more dog-friendly. I think Portland could be “Where the Wag Happens”. She told me she’d already booked a trip there in September. She is so on top of things. Funny though, it turns out she was talking about Portland, Oregon! Too many dog-friendly cities and not enough time….could be worse I guess.

 

The best thing about Maine was the lobster, the dogs, and my friends. We can have fun anywhere. I can’t wait for the wedding in September. I wonder if the hotel will be dog-friendly? Hmmmm…..

 

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All in, Portland’s dog friendliness was a wonderful surprise. I came to celebrate my friend’s pending nuptials and also spent time with some amazing animals.

What’s your favorite dog-friendly city?

 

*Outside of the waterfront I recommend a visit to Bubba’s Sulky Lounge. If you like amazing music, and alternative decor (think lunchbox collection on the ceiling and a light up dance floor) then this is your kind of place.


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29 thoughts on “Dog Days of Summer in Maine

  1. We’ve been talking about going to Maine – so your post is very timely! We were wondering how dog-friendly the area would be and it sounds like it is welcoming of pups. Loved that the visit was a bachelor party with ladies and some doggos added to boot – sounds like a great group of people!

    1. It was certainly a nice surprise! My first trip to Maine was certainly a memorable one.

  2. It’s been 11 years since I visited Portland, but I loved the artistic area. I don’t remember seeing a lot of dogs at that time. I’ve also wondered about homeless people with pets. I truly understand the comfort they bring each other, but I’m also concerned for their welfare.

    1. Oops! I just realized you were talking about Portland, Maine! I’ve never visited Maine before, but would love to.

      1. Well I would love to get out to Portland, Oregon at some point too. I used to live in Washington State when I was quite young and I’m due for a visit back.

  3. I’ve only heard good things about Portland, ME. Denver is pretty dog friendly despite its BSL. Otherwise businesses are pro-dog and parks & hikes are all about the pups.

    1. I love that. My husband would move to Colorado in a heart beat if our girls weren’t so much a part of the amazing school system here. Cameron really benefits from the program. But still, would love to experience dog-friendly Colorado myself. Soon!

  4. Portland is such a great city! I haven’t had a chance to visit there with my dog yet, but it’s definitely on the to do list. My friend grew up there and always talks about the great adventures you can have with a dog there.

    1. I would love to have spent more time in Portland to really explore how dog-friendly it is.

  5. Sounds like a great bachelor party! I am totally that person who is always scouting for pups too. I love it

    1. One eye out for furry friends always! And I always pick a table near a pup so I can talk to the owners about them.

  6. Chicago of course. But it’s pretty funny how your friends tried to make a horse mom a dog mom. My sister, the horse crazy one, is also dog crazy so it’s a good fit.

    1. Well, I’m both horse-crazed and dog-crazed to be fair. I think if there were horses around they would have been terrified. Most of these boys have never met a horse. It would have been nice to introduce them.

  7. Cookie thinks that the best way to spend dog’s day of summer is splashing around in the ditch hunting froggies. It works out quite ideally, for her to get some fun and exercise while being able to keep cooler.

    1. I used to love going frogging when I was a kid. I think Cookie and I would get along just fine.

  8. We have a friend in Maine. I think it’s time to couch surf!!

    1. Book your tickets now! 😉

  9. Never knew Portland, Maine is so dog friendly. The west coast one definitely is! Thank you for showcasing another place where businesses allow dogs, they are the ones that get our patronage:-)

    1. Here’s to hoping more well-behaved dogs are welcomed to shops and patios everywhere.

  10. I’ve been to Maine several times myself, but not with my dog. I MUST go (maybe next week? …..) because I have heard that it is really dog-friendly, even Acadia Park.
    Next trip, I want your friends to yell, “Heather, I found a horse.” Set the bar higher….

    1. Don’t encourage them! They would probably get one of those horse masks and jump out at me everywhere. Oh no, I’m giving them ideas…..but it would have been so exciting to see a horse in Portland! You should definitely go…..

  11. I have always considered Maine to be fabulous, but have never visited myself. I love how dogs are allowed to enjoy the summer time with their owners! Great photos!

    1. Thank you! Yes, there were so many four-legged visitors it was really lovely although a lot were locals as well. Everyone seemed to be enjoyed the sights and smells.

  12. Did you visit the Planet Dog flagship store while you were there? We spend a lot of time in Maine during the summer, but unfortunately it’s usually just driving through Portland on the way to race tracks. Love the area and how dog friendly they are!

    1. Sadly we didn’t have time to visit Planet Dog. Our itinerary was pretty tightly packed and it was a short trip. But definitely on the next visit!

  13. Being from MA, we make frequent trips to Maine in the summer. Portland is my fav for the breweries but my all time favorite place to spend time with my Goldens is in Kennebunkport. It’s a quaint little place that is very dog-friendly.

    1. I would love to visit Kennebunkport. This trip was my first taste of Maine. I would definitely go back and explore more.

  14. I’m glad you had such a great time at the bachelor party! I love the concept that women were invited as well. I haven’t been to Maine in many years, but now I want to go back!

    1. It was so much fun. We’ve been friends with the groom-to-be for 20 years and so he felt it wouldn’t be the same without us. And we’re friends with all the others as well, so it was no big deal. Maine was definitely a fun time!

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