Monday, February 24, 2014

Maine Monday: Art & Cocktails

February break is usually a staycation for us, so it's a lot of work (and motivation) to keep us all busy for nine days. Most everybody heads out in search of warm weather or perfectly groomed powder so it's the ideal time to play tourist in Portland.

The Portland Museum of Art always has special school vacation week activities, with drop in drawing sessions to entice your little Picasso's (or you) out of their comfy pajamas. The latest exhibit, Fine Lines: American Drawings from the Brooklyn Museum is on now through April 27th, so you can put it on your calendar for the next break if you missed it this time around.

The gift shop has a great selection of toys and books
All of the displayed works are done in pencil, charcoals, pastels, chalks, or colored pencils. Not many of us can break out the paints and brushes for some creative kiddo time, but we all have lots of colored pencils (sometimes we even have sharpeners!) lying around in the art supplies box. This exhibit provides plenty of inspiration for when you get back home and the rest of vacation is looming ahead of you.

The best part of the exhibit has the be the giant magnifying glasses for use throughout the exhibit. Even when they weren't looking up each others nostrils, the little C&Gs loved getting up close to check out the shading and lines that add shadows or light to the drawings. Also in the center of the gallery is a drawing station with paper, pencils, and a trio of sculptures to choose from.

Of course a trip to a museum has to be followed up by snacks and cocktails. The current hot spot in Portland is located right across the street from the Portland Museum of Art. The Top of the East rooftop lounge just reopened in mid December as part of a $50 million dollar Westin hotel renovation. The sleek dark wood bar with stunning ocean and city views has become the place for drinks and because it's part of a hotel it's the perfect spot for afternoon cocktails with your kiddos.

The Portland Museum of Art closes at 5:00 and the bar opens at 5:00*, so it's perfect timing if you can plan it just right. Tugboats, barges, and giant container ships passing through the channel will keep your kiddos occupied while you choose from one of the signature cocktails. There's not much on the food menu that appeals to young palates but the cheese plate gave us all a little energy boost to make it till dinner time.

All the seats and couches were taken by 5:20 and the buzz will certainly still be going strong as we get into tourist season. So take it from C&G with this insider tip, the elevator to the 15th floor won't start working until 5:00 on the dot. As long as you're waiting in the lobby by the elevators by 4:50-ish (send the kiddos to wander the main floor of the hotel if they get antsy) you won't miss grabbing a spot at the hottest kid friendly bar in Portland.  

(4/1/14 - the lounge is now open at 4:00 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I'll see you on line for the elevator!)




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