MEET THE WRITER
Since 2009, Meagan Drillinger has been traveling the world and writing about it. But her love of travel stems from childhood when her family would take bizarre, off-the-beaten-path trips that have shaped her own style of travel today. Her writing has appeared in Lonely Planet, Travel + Leisure, InsideHook, Men's Health, and more. Plus, she is the Mexico reporter for Travel Weekly magazine.
When was the last time you visited Portland? What drew you there?
I last visited Portland in September 2019, but initially what drew me to Portland were the rumors that have been churning about it for the last couple of years: I had heard that friends of friends had been making the journey up there and were delighted by what they found in terms of restaurants, bars, a laid-back vibe, plenty of nature, and a waterfront scene that centered around eating and drinking. As I started making my own trips, what kept me returning was the constant rotation of new things to try.
What was the most surprising or impressive thing about Portland you didn't expect?
The diversity. I had always thought of Maine as a very homogenous state. Turns out Portland defies that, with dozens of international restaurants helmed by people who are actually from the destinations these restaurants represent.
What's the thing about Portland that sticks out most in your mind?
The waterfront. The city lives and thrives around the sea and it's evident in nearly everything, from the fantastically fresh seafood, to boating activities, the islands you can explore, and more. I love sailing around Casco Bay with a bottle of something cold and endless views out to the Calendar Islands.
Number one can't-miss recommendation for a visitor?
Eat seafood. Whether it's oysters, a lobster roll, or fresh fish, you can't go wrong with what's coming out fresh from the bay. The Portland Head Lighthouse is also pretty cool for a quick photo op, but you're not going to be there with any locals. Still, it's worth the picture.
What's your top tip for someone going for the first time?
Stay downtown or in Old Port. You can walk nearly anywhere on the peninsula. You won't need to rent a car, and you can explore pretty much everything that makes a quintessential Portland trip complete.
Next big trip you have planned in 2020?
Each year I go down to Mexico for the winter, so I'm continuing that tradition. But I have never really explored much of the Baja Peninsula. I am hoping in April to do a road trip from Tijuana down to La Paz.
Ultimate bucket list destination you've always wanted to visit?
Last year I crossed two major ones off my list: Indonesia and the Philippines. Now I'm chasing Bolivia and New Zealand.