12 Maine Holiday Gift Ideas – Shop Local


The holiday season is very important for many of our business insurance clients, especially retailers and manufacturers. We’re fortunate to have friends who create, design and sell some really cool things. We thought we’d share some to help you to choose the perfect gift for that special someone.

If you’re looking for Maine-themed gift ideas this holiday season, think about supporting these local businesses. We wish you health and happiness in 2016 and beyond.




1. The Honey Exchange – Bees Wrap

494 Stevens Ave., Portland

Our friends at The Honey Exchange sell all things apiary – even bees! One of our favorites is Bees Wrap, a natural alternative to plastic food wrap – and it smells great, too!

Made with organic cotton, beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin.  Warm Bees Wrap with your hands to create a seal around the top of a bowl, half a lemon, the end of a loaf of crusty bread, or a piece of cheese.  When cool, the wrap stiffens, holding its shape and seal.


2. Sunnyfield Farm – Lemon Ginger Biscotti


Liz from Sunnyfield has an inspiring backstory – and she’s a wiz in the kitchen. Each of her biscotti varieties is delicious, but her Lemon Ginger Biscotti is our favorite.

Freshly grated lemon peel and chopped crystallized ginger combine to make a fantastic taste combination. Perfect with a cup of tea! Six to a package.


 3. Nonesuch Books – The Adventures of Beekle, The Unimaginary Friend

Mill Creek Shopping Center, 50 Market St. South Portland

The youngster on your list will love the story of Beekle, the Unimaginary Friend, winner of the 2015 Caldecott Medal.

The magical story begins on an island far away where an imaginary friend is born. He patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child. Overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match and-at long last-is given his special name: Beekle.


 4. David Wood – Charlie Vest

229 Commercial St., Portland

David Wood has been outfitting Portland’s best-dressed men for decades. Their “Charlie” vest is their exclusive design, made for them in the Hertling trouser shop.

They have a variety of tweeds available at most times. You can special order too, made to their fabric or yours.




5. Allen Sterling & Lothrop – Herb Garden Kit

191 US Route 1, Falmouth

Perfect for the cook (or Simon & Garfunkel fan) in your family. They can grow their own kitchen herbs with these “Sterling Quality” herb seeds from Allen, Sterling & Lothrop.

Includes seeds to grow: parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, chives, Genoa basil and Purple Leaf basil.



6. Angelrox – The Flirt


Biddeford-based fashion designer Roxi Suger created this versatile piece. The Flirt is a lovely layer that provides gentle comfortshaping along with fabulous flair.

Our favorite feature of the Angelrox Flirt is its versatility. This one garment can be worn as a skirt (with adjustable length); a strapless slip; a cowl top; or a poncho!



7. Kurier – Envelope Wallet

615 Congress St., Portland

Kurier’s genuine leather Envelope Wallet is handmade in Portland. It’s perfect for a few dollars or a credit card and I.D., or great for sunglasses. Closes with a silver snap.  W: 7.5” X H: 4”.


8.  Flowfold – Navigator Passport Holder


Peaks Island-based Flowfold creates durable products from sail makers’ leftover cuttings. Flowfold is on a roll, gathering  new business awards, an appearance on Green Light Maine, and 12,000 Facebook fans.

Flowfold’s Passport Holder allows your traveling loved one to access their passport’s pages, or stow it away completely. Three inside pockets hold currency, passport, and tickets. The outer piece keeps cards and ID’s readily available.






9. Old Port Candy Co. – Bacon Gift Basket

422 Fore St., Portland

Doesn’t everyone have a bacon lover on their list? Anna & Tom at Old Port Candy have curated the perfect gift for them.

This Bacon Gift Basket includes; Bacon Mints, Bacon Lolli, House-made Chocolate-Covered Bacon (3), a Mini Vosges Mo’s Bacon Bar, Bacon Floss & Bacon Toothpaste, Bacon Air Freshener, and a goody bag filled with Gummi Fried Eggs (bacon & eggs – get it?).



 10. Sock Shack – Women’s Barn Owl Socks

564 Congress St., Portland

Owls are cool, and so is The Sock Shack, located in the heart of Portland’s Arts District.

These Barn Owl Socks are sure to make heads swivel. They’re 63% cotton, 34% nylon and 3% spandex.



11. Dobra Tea – Libre Tea Insfuser

89 Exchange St., Portland

Dobra Tea is an oasis of calm in the holiday-harried heart of the Old Port. Their comfortable and relaxing tea room has an exotic atmosphere. If you fall in love with what you’re drinking, bring some loose tea home.

Dobra also sells tea supplies. This Libre tea infuser allows you to drink tea on the go. It has a glass interior and plastic exterior.



12. Might & Main – Dirigo Enameled Mugs


OK, so Might & Main isn’t exactly a retailer. They’re actually the brand and design geniuses behind many of Portland’s hottest restaurants and other businesses.

But they’ve also focused their design talents on creating the 1820 Collection, a series of Maine-themed clothing, accessories and other goods. That’s where you’ll find these Dirigo Enameled Mugs. Your favorite beverage is sure to look just a little more elegant in these. Set of two.


Moving or Relocating to Portland Maine – An Insider’s Guide

Small enough to navigate and make friends easily. Large enough to have plenty of live music, arts and sports. Hundreds of restaurants and almost 20 breweries, Portland Maine is one of America’s hottest little cities. It’s a regular on “best of” lists from publications as diverse as Men’s Journal, Elle Home Decor , Conde Nast Traveler and Time Money. But what’s it REALLY like to live in Maine’s largest city?


What’s it Like to Live in Portland Maine?

It’s easy to fall in love with Portland by walking its charming brick streets, eating fresh seafood, and drinking even fresher beer. You can find plenty of flattering and glowing reviews of Portland from locals and travelers alike. But what’s it like to really LIVE here?

Like most cities, Portland is a city of neighborhoods. Each has its own quirky vibe. This cheeky map by a local resident gives you a light-hearted taste of the personality and characteristics of each:

Portland Maine Offbeat Neighborhood Map
Tongue-in-cheek Portland Maine neighborhood map by a local resident.


Do I Need a Car in Portland Maine?

Unless you live and work on the downtown peninsula, and can walk 1-2 miles with your groceries, you’ll probably need a car. Like most vibrant cities, parking spots can be scarce. Fortunately, it’s easy to walk anywhere on the peninsula.

The Metro bus  is Portland Maine’s public transportation.  If you’re from a bigger city, you’ll find that buses arrive less frequently than you’re used to. UHaul car-share service has about 8 vehicles on the peninsula. Uber and Lyft operate in Portland, and there are several taxi companies. Our airport (PWM) and Transportation Center are both very close to the city (see “Transportlandia” on the map above). The Amtrak Downeaster and Concord Trailways bus both loop to Boston several times daily. Concord also has a bus to New York City.

Cycling is a popular way to get around (the Portland Bike Commuters Facebook Group has almost 500 members). Maine has some of the most bike-friendly laws thanks to the efforts of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. You can bike year-round here, although cyclists’ numbers dwindle during our long winters.

Related Post: Portland Maine: Green Living in a Small City

How Much Do Apartments Cost in Portland Maine?

Portland is cheaper than Boston or New York, but it’s still a landlord’s market. Like many popular cities, Portland has had  a very low vacancy rate and a shortage of good apartments. But about 1000 new rental and condo units have been built or planned to meet the demand. Here’s a “heat map” of Portland Maine rents in October 2015:

Portland Maine rent heat map
Portland ME rent heat map, based upon October, 2015 apartments for rent.

The Portland Press Herald recently produced a very cool series of interactive maps of Portland Maine in 2015, showing rents, demographics and lifestyle features of Portland neighborhoods.

Looking for short-term rental between October and May? You might score an off-season cottage rental on one of Scarborough’s beaches or a nearby Casco Bay island (serviced by Casco Bay Lines). Off-season rentals can be a bargain – probably the cheapest you’ll ever pay to live close to the ocean.

Whether you rent an apartment or a cottage, we recommend that you buy Maine renters insurance to protect your property from damage and theft, and you from liability.


Related: How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost in Portland, Maine?


Can I Afford a Home in Portland Maine?

Portland’s home and condo market is strong. This reflects the desirability of the area and availability of jobs in Portland. The area has a wide range of housing stock, from old to new, townhouses to ranches, contemporaries to lofts. The median sale price in the Portland market in 2016 was $262,000 ($193 per square foot) for homes, and $269,550 ($280/SF) for condos, according to MREIS. Average prices for each were about $40,000 higher, due to the high price of some prime properties. Median pricing increased 7.3% from 2015.

Where Do I Park My Car in Portland?

As in most vibrant cities, parking is a premium commodity in Portland Maine. If your apartment doesn’t offer off-street parking,  get a free residential parking sticker for the area in which you live. This exempts you from 1-or-2-hour time zones on streets near your home. The stickers DON’T exempt you from parking meters, no parking zones, overnight parking, loading zones, etc.

The most hassle-free way to get to local businesses & restaurants is on foot or bike. If you must drive, the city of Portland Maine operates parking meters and pay and display parking stations . Hot tip: Portland Maine metered street parking is free after 6pm and on Sundays.

Portland has several public and private parking garages ($2.00 – $4.00 per hour). There are also private pay-and-display lots, which are NOT operated by the city. These have been controversial, as they will boot your vehicle if you leave your vehicle too long.

Parking Bans in Portland Maine

Portland Maine Parking Ticket
source: maine.gov


During winter storms, the city of Portland Maine parking bans to allow public works crews to clear the streets and remove snow. During a Red Parking Ban, no one can park on city streets. This means you! Don’t ignore the ban; your vehicle WILL be towed, and it’s an expensive hassle to retrieve it.  Here’s a list of where to park during a snow ban.

How Soon Do I Need to Register My Car After Moving to Maine?

You should re-register your car in Maine and get a Maine driver’s license within 30 days after moving here.  Here’s are the 3 steps to register your vehicle in Maine after you move here:


Related: How & When to Register a Car in Maine


Settling In

It’s easy to find arts, sports and cultural events in Portland Maine. Another great way to meet new people is to get out and enjoy the outdoors, learn more about our area, or to volunteer. Here are links to some of our favorites:

We hope you find this information useful as you think about moving to Portland Maine. Greater Portland has been our home for more than 80 years. We love it here. If we can help with insurance in your new city, please contact a friendly local Noyes Hall & Allen agent at 207-799-5541.