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Karen Beaudoin is an online editor for Maine Today Media and contributes two blogs to the company's websites.

In the City tells readers what to know if they want to know Portland. Pedal On offers info, events and advice for people who love their bikes more than, well ... almost anything.

Get in touch at kbeaudoin@mainetoday.com

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July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

Tuesday July 23, 2013 | 09:53 AM

What to do on a cool, rainy Tuesday evening in July?

How about checkling out the revamped and reportedly much-improved Porthole restaurant during this month's version of the DownEast Pride Alliance social?

The free event takes place at the 20 Custom House Wharf location from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. There will be a cash bar, light apps and conversation with other LGBT-friendly folks.  

Maybe best of all, you'll get an inside view of the new Porthole digs. Plenty of people have been impressed with the changes and, should the weather clear, the place is known to have one of the best decks around.

Wednesday July 17, 2013 | 12:31 PM

The first time Portland Trails tried to hold the Casco Bay Sunset Cruise portion of its Discovery Trek Series the weather failed to cooperate.

This time around the weather looks great for the rescheduled Thursday event. 

Cruisers can join guest presenter Brian Marcaurelle, program director of the Maine Island Trail Association aboard one of the Casco Bay Lines ferries from 5:45 to 8 p.m. The cost is just $18 for Portland Trails members and $25 for nonmembers. Sign up here.

During the cruise you'll see the gorgeous sites of Casco Bay (one of them will likely be Fort Gorgeous) and learn a little more about the islands off the coast of Portland. If you're lucky, you'll also see something like this:

A visit to the Portland farmers market is always an experience. There's plenty to see and hear, whether it's the produce and plants, the people milling about and meeting up or the entertainers sharing their music or their skills.

And with July now fully here, there's is so much more to taste. From kohlrabi in either purple or green, to cukes in a multitude of varieties, to rainbow chard and garlic scapes there's plenty to bag up and take home thanks to our local farmers.

Here are a few items from Saturday's market at Deering Oaks Park (7 a.m. to noon):

If you happen to see hundreds of swim-cap-covered heads bobbing along through the water toward East End Beach Saturday morning it isn't because the residents of Peaks Island suddenly decided isalnd life isn't for them. 

It's because nearly 400 swimmers - of all kinds of experience levels - decided a 2.4-mile swim would be a good challenge. 

Scott Nelson, 63, of Dover Foxcroft celebrates as he approaches the finish line during the 2012 Peaks to Portland swim. Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

Portland's a city small enough that most people get to know their neighbors. But not everyone decides to write a book about those who live nearby.

That's exactly what the "I'm Your Neighbor, Portland" city-wide reading series is promoting - book characters and subjects that have made Maine their home and made Portland a multiracial and multicultural city.

The latest in the nine-book series in Terry Farish's "The Good Braider," which will be celebrated Thursday at Rines Auditorium in Portland Public Library's Monument Square location at 6 p.m. The event will highlight the award-winning novel, which follows Sudanese main character Viola's dreams of the strange world of America - where girls can wear short skirts and get tattoos - which differs so vastly from the traditional world her mother grew up in.

"I approached the work as documentarian, spending a lot of time with families and learning how they spent their days, about their art, the work of their hands, the music they love, the stories they  tell," Farish said. "However, I used this research method to create a novel. 'The Good Braider' is fiction and based on research and dozens of stories I recorded."