With its cobblestone lanes and photogenic harbor, Portland’s Old Port district has long been a draw for travelers seeking a quick dose of urban New England charm before moving on to Maine’s more bucolic pleasures. These days visitors are dropping in for longer spells as Portland’s allure spreads to the Congress Street arts district and indie-spirited neighborhoods like East Bayside and Munjoy Hill. Much of that allure has to do with food. Portland’s reputation as a great dining town is well-deserved, but no one here rests on his or her laurels, least of all the chefs and restaurateurs behind renowned spots like Fore Street and Eventide Oyster Co.; both parties have recently opened new restaurants, adding to the quandary of travelers already stymied by an abundance of choices. Meanwhile, a new generation of Portlanders and newcomers is pushing the boundaries with a fresh take on everything from doughnuts to kombucha. Visitors are also discovering what residents have long loved most about their town: local art and music, gracious parks, a stunning array of 19th-century architecture and the city’s layered history.
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