Maine's largest city has unapologetically gone to the dogs.
- By: Michaela Cavallaro
Americans' love affair with their dogs continues to boom, and nowhere is that trend more evident than in downtown Portland, where dozens of businesses host canine helpers and many a shopper is trailed by his or her furry alter ego.
SHOPS The epicenter of Portland's hipster dog scene, Fetch (195 Commercial St.; 207-773-5450; www.fetchportland.com) stocks earth-friendly, ergonomic toys, fashionable outerwear, and organic treats, not to mention an extensive supply of leashes and collars. Planet Dog (211 Marginal Way; 207-347- 8606; www.planetdog.com) uses its company store to test its products, as well as hosting the occasional singles night and puppy play-date. If you're in need of a china plate featuring a poodle or pillows embroidered with the face of a schnauzer, Agatha & Louise (399 Fore St.; 207-879-7297; www.agathaandlouise.com) should be your destination. Like many of the city's bookstores, Longfellow Books (1 Monument Way; 207-772-4045) is extremely dog-friendly, with a basket of biscuits on the counter and, frequently, books on canine topics displayed near the cash register. Cineaste and audiophile dogs and their owners can browse the funky aisles at Videoport (207-773-1999) and Bull Moose Music (207-780-6424), both at 151 Middle St.
CHEAP EATS While your pooch waits outside, Beals Old Fashioned Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt (12 Moulton St.; 207-828-1335) will serve up a dish of vanilla ice cream with dog treats sprinkled on top for the same price as a kiddie cone. At the Porthole Restaurant (20 Custom House Wharf; 207-780-6533), dogs are welcome on the deck, but they have to order from the regular menu.
LODGING Your dog may be treated better than you are at the Eastland Park Hotel (157 High St.; 207-775-5411; www.eastlandparkhotel.com), whose Pampered Pets program (cats are also eligible) includes a pet-friendly room service menu along with an edible treat at checkin for $25 per stay. The Hilton Garden Inn Portland Downtown Waterfront (65 Commercial St.; 207-780-0870) welcomes dogs for a $50 fee.
HANGOUTS To see and be seen - not to mention sniffing a million apparently delightful scents - Post Office Park (corner of Exchange and Middle streets) is the place to be, especially at lunchtime. If a dip in, or a slurp from, a fountain is your idea of a good time, head to Lincoln Park (corner of Congress and Pearl streets), which also has a wide expanse of grass that's perfect for rolling or other canine duties. Salty dogs may prefer a ride on one of the Casco Bay Lines ferries (56 Commercial Street; 207-774-7871; www.cascobaylines.com ), which welcome leashed dogs for just $3.25.