We should all act like strangers in familiar territory now and then. I tried it the other day when I joined a Maine Foodie Tour. It was a 2-½ hour culinary walking tour around Portland, eating as you go. A little history, a little lore, and a lot of foodie facts.
I loved it, but (and I’m a little ashamed to admit this) it took me awhile to loosen up and have fun. Here’s why: I had to keep my mouth shut.
My natural inclination was to make sure everyone in the group knew that I knew just as much as the tour guide. (Fat chance!) Out of courtesy, I refrained from pointing out all the really hot foodie spots she was bypassing (Hugo’s! Bard Coffee! Standard Baking!) and instead, I listened. And that’s when it got good.
By listening, I found out why Wharf Street is called Wharf Street, so far from the wharves. And where the lobsterman statue came from. And which Maine-made cheeses took first prize in national competitions (City of Ships, Hahn’s End). And how you measure a Maine lobster to make sure it’s a legal catch. I looked through my familiar surroundings through stranger’s eyes and liked what I saw (and really liked what I ate). And let’s face it, if you stopped at every foodie spot in Portland, it would take 24 hours, not 2 ½.
So I recommend it. Any tour will do…Duck Boat anyone? But if you like food (capped off with a Whoopie Pie from Two Fat Cats), the Maine Foodie Tour has the advantage of letting you walk it off.