Every year in the middle of winter I start to think about Maine in the summertime. This usually happens at the lowest of cold weather lows and without fail it drives me to start to planning my summertime escape back to my favorite place on earth. That sounds like hyperbole, but it is definitely not. Anyone who knows me will tell you that Maine my happiest of places. Granted, there’s nothing that can replace NYC on a fall day, or lunch near the sea in Southern Italy, but if I had to be one place for the rest of time…drive north to Maine and that’s where you’ll find me.
Everything about Maine is great. The friendly people, the food, the picturesque landscapes and even the bitter cold salt water — it all comes together to make for an especially wonderful escape. I recently had the privilege of listing my favorite Maine spots for RL Mag as a sort of travel guide to Southern Maine.
We drank at The Ramp and had lobster dinners at Nunan’s in Cape Porpoise. In Portland we proved again that Eventide Oyster lives up to every bit of the hype. (If you were wondering, they make the most unique and delicious lobster roll on earth.) We supported used book sale the Atlantic Hall library and didn’t miss the pancake breakfast at the Wayfarer.
In the evening, Hidden Pond’s fire pit was the perfect place for a nightcap — especially when preceded by dinner at Earth. A beach day at Goose Rocks isn’t complete without drinks on the Tides Beach Club lawn. Afternoons are always the perfect time for twilight golf at Cape Arundel followed by a delicious seafood dinner straight from the Langsford Road Lobster and Fish House. What could make for a better summer escape?
In-between sea kayak sessions and lobster rolls we stopped in to see David Hodgkins who owns several great menswear shops —David Wood and Portland Dry Goods — on Commercial Street in Portland’s Old Port neighborhood. Both of David’s shops have great perspectives on menswear and excellent service. It’s a great place to find some of the best clothing made in surrounding New England. At David Wood they have Southwick, New England Shirt Co., Alden and of course Rancourt which is based in nearby Lewiston, Maine. You can also find Hertling Trousers, what is probably the finest and most overlooked pants maker in the United States.
But what really makes these shops unique is the kind service and attention to detail. Like Maine in general, David Wood and Portland Dry Goods are throwbacks to a time when the guys on the floor know how to fit and have expert level knowledge of what they are selling. It’s what I imagine men’s shops were like in another era. Where one stop (or in this case, two adjoining store fronts) and you can buy everything you need from suits to boots.
Plus a quick side trip to China Sea Marine Trading. More to come on this place.