Exploring Portland: Concerts and More

Only about an hour’s drive away, downtown Portland’s historic artictecture, delicious food and eclectic music scene make for a refreshing weekend away from Colby

Given that Colby is situated in a rural  setting, many students feel that there is not much to do on the weekends besides sports games, homework, and a classic Saturday night in the senior apartments. However, just an hour and 15 minutes away lies the coastal city of Portland.

“Not enough students take advantage of Portland. There’s so much to do there and it’s really not that far,” said Haley Andonian ’18.  Last Saturday, she and her friends spent a fun day in Portland and went to a Head and the Heart concert that night. “It was really fun to do something different than just hang around campus,” she said. Whether walking around Old Port, trying out new restaurants, checking out the Portland Head Light, or discovering new concert venues, Portland is filled with adventures for every Colby student.

Andonian saw the band at Thompson’s Point. Mainers from all over gathered on picnic blankets enjoying the sunset and the crisp fall air as they listened to the band’s openers, The Shelters. “I love Thompson’s Point. It was my first time at a concert there but there were delicious food stands and a bar in the back,” said Courtney Brenner ’18.

The Head and the Heart is composed of bandmembers Josiah Johnson, Jonathan Russell, Charity Rose Thielen, Chris Zasche, Kenny Hensley, and Tyler Williams, who got together in 2009. They have released three albums, The Head and the Heart, Let’s Be Still, and Signs of Light. When the band came on stage, colorful lights projected into the audience and the crowd went wild as they began their set. Charity Rose Thielen stole the show with her red and hot pink outfit, insane violin skills, and unique voice. “It was the greatest experience of my life,” said John Egner ’18, another Colby student who attended the concert.  

If you’re headed to Portland for a concert or event, it can be enjoyable to make a day of it and explore all that the city has to offer. With a vibrant and hipster personality, historic Downtown Portland is flourishing with waterfront restaurants, art galleries, and independent shops. The cobblestone streets take you back in time and the strengthening smell of the sea as you near the water brings back memories of summer. Bliss, Blue Lobster, Blanche and Mimi, and Alex and Ani are among the numerous shops visitors pass as they make their way to the water. Of particular note is Chart Metalworks, a store that specializes in nautical based jewelry and accessories, capturing the heart and essence of Downtown Portland in bracelets and necklaces.   

The wharfs and piers comprising the Waterfront District are filled with restaurants and bars surrounded by boats and water. Located on one of these piers is the trendy Flatbread Company, popular for its wood-fired pizzas made in traditional clay ovens. With outdoor picnic tables, it feels as if you’re dining on a boat. “Every time I come to Portland I eat here. I love the vibes and the pizza is amazing,” said Sarah Taft ’18. With great service, delicious pizzas, and refreshing drinks, the Flatbread Company is a fun and quirky spot, perfect for a casual meal with friends. After pizza, try The Holy Donut for a creative, handmade dessert. The unique donut flavors such as Pomegranate, Allen’s Coffee Brandy, and Maple Bacon, make for an exciting experience for adventurous food-lovers.   

After some shopping and a bite to eat, the Portland Head Light is a must-see. In Cape Elizabeth, the lighthouse and museum is located at the entrance of the primary shipping channel into Portland Harbor and next to Fort Williams Park. The museum was built within the former lighthouse keeper’s house, which was originally built in 1891. Besides the lighthouse, the park is home to a rocky beach, an arboretum, and historic sites including Battery Keyes, Goddard Mansion, and Battery Blair. Perfect for hiking and scenic walks, and surrounded by jagged rocks and crashing waves, the Portland Head Light is a spectacular sight to see.

In the upcoming months concerts in Portland include the following: Ron Pope, Modest Mouse, O.A.R, Yo-Yo Ma, Eli Young Band, Elton John, and Bon Iver. Be sure to make the quick drive down to Portland in the morning, spend the day shopping, exploring and eating, and enjoy something a little different than your typical night on campus.