If you’re one of those people who hears Maine and thinks, “Do they have running water?” you’re in for a treat. Besides being home to RedMonk HQ, Portland is a tremendous town of around 60,000 people. We’re Elle’s “Coziest City in America“. We’re becoming famous for our food; Bon Appetit gave us the prize for the “Foodiest Small Town” back in 2009, and the Boston Globe calls us “hardworking, unpretentious.” The New York Times, for its part, had nice things to say as well. Here’s what they recommend for 36 hours in town, by the way.
In most other ways, Portland’s a lot like Boston. Not big, streets occasionally cobbled and right on the water. Here’s what you need to know about getting there, getting around and getting out.
Portland (PWM) is by far the easiest, if you can manage it. It’s fifteen minutes from downtown. The only way you can do this from the west coast is by connecting somewhere close, such as JFK. From the east coast or even Chicago, you should be able to find a direct connection.
If you only fly direct, Google Maps says that Boston’s Logan Airport (BOS) is a two hour drive; in reality, it’s closer to an hour and a half by car. Or you can take the bus or train from Boston; see below.
Trains and Automobiles
Concord Coachlines offers bus service direct from Portland to either Boston’s Logan Airport or South Station (where the Acela and other trains from NYC / PA / DC arrive) that leaves on the hour and takes just under two hours. You do not need to book a seat ahead of time; at Logan, you can simply hand your license to the driver and collect in Portland when you pay for your ticket.
Amtrak’s Downeaster train, meanwhile, is a more elegant means of travel from a more civilized age. It makes six trips a day back and forth between Boston’s North Station and Portland. If you take the train, we recommend spending the $8 for a business class seat. You get your own recliner for the 2:25 trip with two power outlets. For the Downeaster, you need to prepurchase a ticket.
All of the hotels are an easy walk to and from the conference and dinner venues. Uber and Lyft are available for travel around the Portland area. So you probably do not need to rent a car, unless you’re making a weekend of it. If you do, the Portland Jetport has multiple rental options available to you.
The following hotels are convenient to the conference venue. Where possible, we’ve negotiated group rates and noted them below.
- Hampton Inn (207-775-1454). The Monktoberfest rate is $229/night with a 2-night minimum. If calling, please use group code “Red” or you can book online.
- Marriott Residence Inn (207-761-1660) rates range from $272-$309.
- Portland Harbor Hotel (207-775-9090) rates start at $339/night.
- Hyatt Place Portland Old Port (855-312-7274 or 207-775-1000).
Looking to road trip up to the Monktoberfest with other other tech and beer fans? Head over to the Meetups category in the Monktoberfest Slack channel.