As you know, all roads lead to the coast and Portland, ME. on Wednesday of Shark Week. GMAN has put together a great whale watch boat tour that is almost sold out - call to reserve your tickets now.
If you don't care to do the whale watch there are plenty of things to do in and around Portland. Portland has more restaurants per capita that does San Francisco! It's one of the most happening foodie cities in the country the past 5+ years. Most are located in the Old Port district so you're never more than a few steps away from great food. Portland also has numerous brew pubs waiting to serve you up a cold one. The Old Port district also has a couple hundred small specialty shops, galleries, artisan co-ops, and many other types of stores. Hell, there's even a store that specializes in condoms! (www.qualitycondoms.com/
Here's a short list of some things to do:
Visit "Big Moose HD" on the northwest side of Portland
A short 20 minute ride north on I-295 puts you in Freeport, home to L.L. Bean (www.llbean.com
). They have about 5 different buildings to browse through as part of their store 'campus'. Also, there are about 100 outlet stores within a couple blocks in any direction. Try "Gritty's" for a cold beer and lunch. Or for a more upscale lunch or dinner try the Harraseeket Inn. www.harraseeketinn.com
. It's only a block or two north of LL Beans, and won't disappoint you. It's one of my wife's favorites.
There are several lighthouses within 30 minutes ride of Portland. The most famous, most photographed being "Portland Head Light" (www.portlandheadlight.com
You can jump on one of the big yellow ferry boats for a quick 20 minute ride to Peak's Island to grab some lunch.
If you're a history buff there are also several old granite forts that date from pre-Civil War to WW2, or visit the Eastern Cemetary where you'll see plenty of civil war, War of 1812, and other war veterans' headstones. Or check out the Wadsworth-Longfellow House on Congress St.
If you want to enjoy an actual beach, head south about 25 minutes to Old Orchard Beach. Miles of white sand beach. Grab some great seafood at Ken's Place or The Clamshack just before getting to OOB.
A favorite tactic is to give momma 3-4 hours to roam the Old Port district with the credit card, (there are 100's of specialty shops, galleries, and artisan co-ops, etc. right there in the "Old Port"), while you go try one or more of the several brewpubs in the Old Port district (http://www.blogaboutbeer.com/beer-cities/portland/
). Meet her for a late lunch or early dinner at DiMillos floating restaurant on Commercial St. If the weather is nice, go to the upper aft deck and eat outdoors.
I guess that's enough to get your planning started.