It’s lovely when Portland shows off for company. Last weekend, my Swedish friend Jennie, whom I met in Ireland when we were both wee lasses, came for a visit.

Company brings out the best in me. I’m nicer. I clean the house. I buy flowers. I’m kinder to Frederick. Having company also reminds me of all the things I love about Portland.

We have an airport. I can leave work at 5 p.m., drive home, let the dog out, do last night’s dishes and still make it to the airport for a 5:30 arrival – pull up, make the grab and drive away.

There are 3,000 places to buy wine and cheese in Portland – and that’s just on the way home from the airport.

Everyone in Portland has a fire pit. Visitors, especially from colder climes, are expected to bundle up and feed the fire while enjoying Portland’s generous stock of wine and cheese.

Frederick lives in Portland – my Frederick – and he’s the fastest cook on two legs. He starts thinking about dinner at breakfast and can pull together a meal for 10 people in under an hour.


If you shop at “The Hannaford” on Forest Avenue, you might catch him running through the aisles in his suit coat and tie, carrying a bottle of wine and a bunch of tomatoes. He buys tomatoes every day. We always have tomatoes. On the menu last Friday for our visitor and several other friends: chicken Parmesan. It needs tomatoes.

Yoga lives in Portland. Old muscles need stretching, and going to yoga class on a Saturday morning is a smart thing to do with a good friend who spends most of her weekdays hunched over a computer. Greener Postures is my yoga. The classes are vigorous and the teachers are kind.

The Atlantic Ocean lives in Portland. Every day. But that doesn’t mean I go. I go when company comes, which makes our dog, Millie, very happy. Standing on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean is humbling and inspiring. We stand. We look. We walk. We talk. We take lunch on a log. Millie does not stand on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Millie runs until we leave.

There are 10,000 places to buy pastries and bread: Scratch, Standard, Rosemont Market and Tandem live in Portland (ish). Carbs and pride. Carbs and pride. Carbs and pride.

“See, see! See how good we make bread here.” Bread, coffee and friends: the foundation of happiness.

Rosemont Market lives in Portland. “Meet Your Maker Dinner Series,” an event hosted by Rosemont Market, is a four-course meal with 20 strangers. They call it “Meet Your Maker” because the farmer who supplied the food on your plate is sitting next to you.


Last Saturday we met our maker, Lisa Webster from North Star Sheep Farm. The meal, cooked by Rosemont’s house chef, was as good as any served at the best restaurants in town, and the wine was divine. We also met our maker’s husband.

The music club Blue lives in Portland. We parked as close as we could, but still had a ways to run down freezing-cold Congress Street before ducking into Blue. We were greeted with warm air, interesting music and no cover charge. I’m here to tell you, adults still go out. We stayed well past our bedtime and were home by 11 p.m.

DiMillo’s lives in Portland. Sunday, our last day with our company, we sat at the bar at DiMillo’s and ate chowder and lobster stew. Really good chowder and lobster stew. Just go.

Thank you, Portland, you’ve been great! The weather was spectacular. The food was wonderful. The people were grand. I’ll see you the next time we have company.

Jolene McGowan lives and works in Portland with her husband, daughter and dog and has no plans to leave, ever. She can be contacted at:

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