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MaineCon Info

NPL Convention 2014
July 17th-20th

organized by Wesley

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Portland, Maine.


Portland is a small city of about 60,000 people and is not particularly difficult to navigate. There are two parts to the city – what we call downtown or “on peninsula” (anything south of 295) and the part of Portland that is on the mainland and is more residential. Downtown is divided into districts and the Westin is in the Arts District where you will find galleries, music venues, theaters and museums. The Old Port is to the south of the city down by the waterfront and is where you will find the lobstermen coming in, local shopping and restaurants and traditional New England coastal charm. The West End boasts unique old architecture and the East End has amazing views of the bay and ocean. Bayside is to the north and features the beautiful Back Cove Bay and the trail that runs a full loop around the bay is a great place for a run or a long walk. “South Portland” is actually a completely different city that is, you guessed it, immediately South of Portland across Casco Bay. It is not a part of Portland itself and we are all aware that that is very confusing.

HOTELS

Hotel web site
157 High Street
Portland Maine 04101

There is free public WiFi available in the lobby. Con attendees have access to free WiFi in their rooms as well. Sign in to the Westin_Guest WiFi network with your room number and last name and accept the $9.95 charge. The charge will be removed from your account when the accounts are reconciled each day at midnight so it will not show up on your final bill. THis only applies to con-goers who are part of the NPL block at the Westin.

Westin: 207-775-5411
Fireside: 207-774-5601

If you still need reservations, contact the Fireside and ask for the Jennifer Braun Group. The rate is $112/night for Wed, Thu and $160/night for Fri, Sat. There will be a shuttle running between the hotels. If you are looking for cheaper options, there are a Motel 6, a Super 8 and a Travelodge in Portland. All of them are farther out of the city and not super nice but they currently have rates less than either of our hotels. If you are looking to be right downtown there are other hotels in Portland that are on the waterfront or in the middle of the city but anything downtown will be considerably more expensive.

TRANSPORTATION

There is a bus system in Portland but I honestly have never used it – to walk from one side of the city to the other can be done in 30 minutes. The bus system information can be found here: http://gpmetrobus.net and there are taxis throughout the city as well.

there are taxis throughout the city as well.
207 Taxi 207-774-2255
ABC Taxi 207-772-8685
Alliance Cab 207-653-3409
ASAP Taxi 207-791-2727
National Cab 207-766-6669
Jetport Cab 207-807-9797

The Westin also has a shuttle that will take you down to the Old Port

LOCAL STORES

Kinko's
There is a Fed Ex Office aka Kinko’s Copy/Office Center within a few blocks of the Westin at 50 Monument Square for all of your con handout copying needs. http://local.fedex.com/me/portland/office-0168/ Open 7-11 weekdays; Saturday 8-9; Sunday 9-9
0.4 miles Show on Map

Paul's Food Center
Convenience store/small grocery. Make a left out of the Westin and then a left onto Congress, it's the third store on the left side of the street.

CVS Drugstore
Make a left out of the Westin and then a left onto Congress, it's on the opposite side of the street, a block and a half down.

ATMs
TruChoice FCU (Co-op Network): 144 State St
7-Eleven (Co-op Network): 704 Congress St
Bank of Maine: 2 Canal Plaza
Bank of America: 15 Casco St
Key Bank: 1 Monument Way
Bank of America: 1 City Center"

PROGRAM

Rooms
Eastland Grand Ballroom (and balcony) -- all program meals and activities
Marsden Hartley Room — the hospitality suite
Rines A and B — breakout space

Hidden Contest
The hidden contest may be presented at any time. Find it. Solve it. Do what it says.

Thursday, July 17th

8:00PM Welcome! An evening of puzzles and games

Meet Your Match by T McAy

In this "get acquainted" game, try to predict the most popular answers to opening night questions.

Ten Clued Very Much by Qaqaq

How few clues do you need?

Par Fours by Tortoise

Use sets of four letters from a grid to form words, the shorter the better

There, Wrong Number by Wrybosh

A creative over-the-weekend competition

Portlands by Jigsaw and Marcus Asparagus
Teleportland 2: Teleparty! by Trick
Tales from the Cryptic by Zebraboy

Over the weekend cryptics for pairs solving. Solutions are due by 8:00 PM Saturday


Friday, July 18th

Daytime - Sightseeing around Portland [on your own]

8:00 PM - Another evening of puzzles and games

On Beyond Initials by Mr. E

Come up with phrases using given letters — but the letters can't be the initials

Record Turnover by by Witz and Fraz

Trivia these days just isn't what it used to be

Snake Oil by Squonk and Cecil

Prepare the perfect pitch to pile up points


Saturday, July 19th

10:00AM - Business Meeting

2:15PM - An afternoon of pencil-and-paper competitions

Camouflage by Willz

In which, e.g., IMAGINE (clue: U.S. State) conceils the letters of MAINE in left-to-right order. Sixty examples, 25 minutes

Opposable Sums by Manx

Can you tease apart the pairs of anagrammed antonyms?

Starting Lines [flat-solving competition] by compiled by Saxifrage

Poetry lovers will find the contributions in this year's flat competition familiar at first

5:30PM - Convention photo (dressing up is welcome)

7:00 PM - The Golden Sphinx Awards presented by Teki

New! Recognizing outstanding achievement in contributions to The Enigma in 2013.

8:00 PM - Extravagawesome! by Rubrick, Sidhe, Trazom and Wombat

The traditional Saturday night extravaganza, now with more awesome!


Sunday, July 20th

Awards for all the weekend contests


Meal Times

Friday dinner 6:00-7:30PM
Saturday breakfast 8:00-10:00AM, lunch 12:00-1:30PM, dinner 6:00-7:30PM
Sunday breakfast 8:30-10:30AM



A few of Wesley’s favorite things

RESTAURANTS

Silly’s
one of my favorite restaurants in Portland. A bit farther out but totally worth the walk, they have a huge menu of tasty goodies - I have never had the same thing twice and I have never been disappointed. Ask to sit on the back porch if it's nice out, the atmosphere is unbeatable. Fantastic sangria. Veggie and Vegan friendly. If you head out here be sure to check out Maine Mead Works (see attractions below), which is right across the street.
1.1 miles Show on Map
http://www.sillys.com/

Nosh
featured on "Man vs Food" for their amazing Nosh Burger with bacon, garlic balsamic, blue cheese, a fried egg and as many patties as you can handle. Their Apocalypse Now burger with fois gras and pork belly, among other things, is a once in a lifetime experience. Their bacon dust French fries are legendary but I prefer the salt and vinegar, which I crave more than any other food I have ever eaten.
0.2 miles Show on Map
http://www.noshkitchenbar.com/

Otto
those of you from Boston have probably become familiar with Otto, which recently expanded down to Cambridge and BU. But the original is in Portland Maine less than a block from the Westin. This is gourmet pizza at its finest with toppings like tortellini, summer squash or the potato, bacon and scallion. Open late, they are the traditional Portland stop after the bars close for the evening. Get some hot tasty triangles for your face and thank me later. They have both a sit-down restaurant and a kitchen where you can buy slices.
0.1 miles Show on Map
http://www.ottoportland.com/

Local Sprouts Cooperative
a lovely cafe that specializes in locally sourced and organically grown ingredients. Great for vegetarians and vegans and their live music and comfy couches make this a great place for brunch.
0.2 miles Show on Map
http://www.localsproutscooperative.com/

Grace
if you're looking to take that special someone out for a romantic meal you're going to go to Grace. This place has some amazing food but it's the atmosphere that really makes it special. Grace is a high-class restaurant in a gorgeous repurposed an old church. It's worth it to go and just get drinks to take a look around if the food price tag is out of your range.
0.6 miles Show on Map

Ohno Café
the best breakfast sandwich in the city (or, dare I say, any city). It is not unusual to have a wait for your morning grub but it is totally worth it.
0.6 miles Show on Map
http://www.ohnocafe.com/

The Grill Room
Portland's fancy steak house near its sisters, The Front Room (comfort American cuisine) and The Corner Room (Italian). The kind of place where you order steak and you get an amazing cut of meat on a plate.
0.7 miles Show on Map
http://www.thegrillroomandbar.com/

The Salt Exchange Restaurant and Bourbon Bar
A fine dining restaurant focusing on multi course dining of locally sourced, simple, clean ingredients. Also Bourbon.
0.7 miles Show on Map
http://www.pressherald.com/2014/02/16/dine_out_maine___salt_exchange__/

Slab
One of Portland's newest restaurants but also one of the most well known. After being wrongfully let go from the bakery where there were lines out the door to get a slice of his legendary pizza, called a "Slab", the chef who created this delicacy decided to open his own restaurant featuring the cheesy, crusty, saucy squares of amazingness. The new restaurant only opened in June but thank goodness it did because Spelvin, after trying a Slab from the bakery, was going to burn the city to the ground if the restaurant didn't open in time for MaineCon. A "Hand Slab" is what you want to order, they are only $6, huge, and are good enough to warrant a conflagration.
0.4 miles Show on Map
http://slabportland.com/

Paciarino
A small rustic atmosphere with the best authentic Italian in Portland. More on the fine dining scale, I would recommend a reservation because they do reserve out for the evening.
0.5 miles Show on Map
http://www.paciarino.com

SEAFOOD

(full disclosure: I don't eat seafood. Like at all. But I've lived in Maine so I learned a little something about it. These places all have non-seafood options as well.)

Bite Into Maine
across the bay in Cape Elizabeth at Fort Williams Park this is the food truck with the best lobster roll in Maine. Boom. I have brought a number of people here and all of them have said this was the best food they have ever eaten. Not just the best lobster roll, but the best item of food. Ever. Picnic style is the way to go. Combine a visit here with a trip to the Portland Head Light (see attractions below)
4.7 miles Show on Map
http://www.biteintomaine.com/

Portland Lobster Co.
Down on the docks in the Old Port you’ll find the Portland Lobster Company. which has been repeatedly voted best seafood in Portland. Lobster straight off the boat and on to your plate.
0.7 miles Show on Map
http://www.portlandlobstercompany.com/

Dry Dock Restaurant Tavern
the Dry Dock is one of my favorites for straight up good food. When it’s nice out be sure to sit on the back deck and watch the boats come in.
0.9 miles Show on Map

Gilbert's Chowder House
come here for awesome chowder in a bread bowl, plain and simple (I’ve had the chicken/corn and it’s amazing). If you want a big plate of fried fishy goodness or a lobster roll this is a great casual option.
0.9 miles Show on Map
http://www.gilbertschowderhouse.com/

Eventide Oyster Co.
a more upscale seafood experience but you get what you pay for - some say Eventide battles it out for the best seafood in Maine. If you want shellfish and fancy cocktails this is your place.
0.9 miles Show on Map
http://www.eventideoysterco.com

Dimillo’s on the Water
this is on here more so I can recommend against it. The food is fine (any lobster you get in Portland will be good) but it’s a bit of a tourist trap. If that sort of thing is up your alley and you want to eat dinner on a boat docked the in harbor then go for it!
0.8 miles Show on Map
http://www.dimillos.com/restaurant/

The Porthole Restaurant and Bar
simple classic seafood in a bucket at a picnic table under an umbrella on the wharf. Doesn’t get much better than that.
0.9 miles Show on Map
http://portholemaine.com/

SNACKS

Bubble Maineia
see what they did there? This place is my home away from home in Portland and the only place in the city where you can get tasty authentic steamed buns and bubble tea.
0.5 miles Show on Map
http://bubblemaineiaportland.com/

Gelato Fiasco
I have heard about the mythical gelato place in Vancouver. I have never been there so I can't compare but I can say that Gelato Fiasco makes the best gelato I have ever had with unique flavors (ask for tastes!). I want to go swimming in a bathtub full of their Dark Chocolate Noir.
0.6 miles Show on Map
http://www.gelatofiasco.com/

Coastal Maine Popcorn Co.
this place treats popcorn kind of like Jelly Belly jellybeans. There are a ton of different flavors and you can combine them to make all sorts of sweet and savory popcorn tastes (for example, combine the Maple Syrup with Rosemary and Cheddar and you have a reasonable proximity of a sausage breakfast sandwich).
0.6 miles Show on Map
http://www.coastalmainepopcorn.com/

Holy Donut
not your average donut shop, Holy Donut makes donuts from Maine potato flour in amazing gourmet flavors (ever wondered what is in northern Maine? Lumber and potato farms). The ginger sweet potato is delicious, as is the dark chocolate sea salt. There is also a bacon cheddar donut that is half donut, half breakfast sandwich and worth every calorie. If there's a line don't be deterred, they move fast.
0.7 miles Show on Map
http://www.theholydonut.com/

Duck Fat
you're going here for the most fantastic classic Belgian French fries you have ever tasted. Guess what they are fried in. The head chef was named Best New Chef by Food and Wine magazine. They are not messing around with these fries.
0.9 miles Show on Map
http://www.duckfat.com/

Beal’s Ice Cream
the best hand crafted, small batch, home made ice cream that Maine cows have to offer.
0.7 miles Show on Map
http://www.bealsicecream.com/

BARS

Top of the East
one of the most popular bars in Portland and you don't even need to leave the hotel to get there! Head to the top floor in the Westin elevator for fancy drinks and fantastic panoramic views.
0 miles Show on Map
http://www.westinportlandharborview.com/top-of-the-east

Novare Res Bier Cafe
my favorite bar in Portland is the lovely Novare Res. Bringing authentic German beer bar atmosphere to Maine, they have 25+ taps and over 500 different bottles. The porch full of long picnic tables outside makes it a great place to socialize on a summer evening. A bit hard to find, you are looking for a small alley at the Key Bank sign on Exchange St, behind the Urban Outfitters. Or just ask me, I'll probably go with you.
0.6 miles Show on Map
http://novareresbiercafe.com/

Three Dollar Dewey's
another Portland must visit, $3 Dewey's features tasty bar food and a number of beers for, you guessed it, $3 (along with some more expensive options for you fancy beer folks).
0.6 miles Show on Map
http://www.threedollardeweys.com/

Sebago Brewing Company
one of the many craft breweries that Maine has to offer they have a sampling of all their own creations. I like the Local Harvest.
0.8 miles Show on Map
http://sebagobrewing.com

The Great Lost Bear
a bit farther out from downtown the Bear is a Portland institution. Featuring a ginormous food menu and sixty-nine beers on tap, including many local and craft breweries. They have been voted one of the best beer bars in the country. The food is fine (I like the chili, cheesesteaks and spanakopita) but the drinks are why you come here. Gourmet magazine said "it is one of the greatest bars on Earth" and Beer Magazine has it as one of the top 100 bars to visit before you die.
1.3 miles Show on Map
http://www.greatlostbear.com/

Bubba’s Sulky Lounge
oh, Bubba's. A dive bar and club in every sense of the word, Bubba's is a Portland tradition for their weekly Friday night 80s dance party on their light up dance floor that brings together Mainers from all walks of life. 80s clothing gets you in free and I have spent many a Friday there.
0.3 miles Show on Map
http://bubbassulkylounge.com/

Bull Feeny’s
Portland’s default Irish Pub, for tasty Irish Pub things with a Maine twist.
0.7 miles Show on Map
https://plus.google.com/103737969724434135801/about?gl=us&hl=en

ATTRACTIONS IN PORTLAND

Portland Museum of Art
across from the Westin and it is what it sounds like – Maine’s premiere Art Museum. They are currently running a special exhibit on Richard Estes, one of the leading artists of America photorealism. Also a great place to catch documentaries and indie movies. Admission is $12 plus $5 for special exhibits.
0.1 miles Show on Map
http://www.portlandmuseum.org/

Portland Children’s Museum
it’s a Children’s Museum! Admission $9
0.1 miles Show on Map
http://www.kitetails.org/

International Cryptozoology Museum
you heard me. This is the only cryptozoology museum in the world. IN THE WORLD. And it's in Portland Maine. How can you not go? Be sure to pick up a copy of the walk around Fuldu and I wrote. Admission is $7
0.2 miles Show on Map
http://cryptozoologymuseum.com/

Portland Observatory
this is the last surviving maritime signal tower in the US, offering spectacular views of Portland Harbor since 1807. There are 45 minute guided tours for $9.
1.3 miles Show on Map
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portland_Observatory

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum
I have never been to the museum but the actual narrow gauge train is a really neat way to see Portland Harbor. The trip is about 35 minutes and goes around the peninsula and back again. Closed Fridays. $10 gets you a train ride and museum admission, $3 for museum admission only.
1.4 miles Show on Map
http://www.mainenarrowgauge.org/

Portland Freedom Trail
the Portland Freedom trail is a series of 16 marked sites that commemorate the folks who ran the Underground Railroad and anti-slavery movement in Portland. It is a great way to learn a little something and explore the city. There is a downloadable map at their website.
http://www.portlandfreedomtrail.org/

Casco Bay Lines Ferry Service
Portland harbor is full of small islands to explore. I recommend Peaks as my favorite with an adorable small town island feel, museums and restaurants. Rent a bike or a kayak while you’re there. It doesn’t get more Maine than this. Round trip is $7 to $12 depending on the island.
1.2 miles Show on Map
http://www.cascobaylines.com/

Odyssey Whale Watch
if you want to get your whale on, Maine is the place. They also offer deep-sea fishing. I would recommend a reservation in advance. $48 for a 4-hour tour, they also offer deep sea fishing.
0.7 miles Show on Map
http://odysseywhalewatch.com/

Maine Mead Works
if you have never tried mead before, or even if you have, Maine Mead Works is a must see. They will take you on a free tour to see how their nectar of the Gods is produced and then follow it up with a free tasting of all their varieties of Mead (and they don't skimp on the pours!). A fascinating look at a lost beverage that is making a comeback in the Pine Tree State. If you come here be sure to grab lunch or dinner at Silly's, which is right across the street (see Restaurants above).
1.1 miles Show on Map
http://mainemeadworks.com/

Lucky Catch Cruises
want the real Maine lobsterman experience? These guys will take you out on their boat, show you how to pull some traps and get in some sightseeing in the harbor. $30 for a 90-minute cruise. Reservation in advance recommended.
0.7 miles Show on Map
http://www.luckycatch.com/

Portland Farmer’s Market
Portland has a superb local farmer scene and a beautiful farmers market that meets twice a week and has been named one of the 10 best farmers markets in the country. Wednesdays you will find them in Monument Square and Saturday morning they will be easy to spot in Deering Oaks Park.
0.4 miles Show on Map
http://www.portlandmainefarmersmarket.org/

Eastern Promenade
the Eastern Prom is one of my favorite places in Portland to relax. With picnic benches, playgrounds and lots of grassy spaces, this is the perfect place to read a book or play a game on a blanket while watching the boats go by.
1.6 miles Show on Map
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Promenade

The Old Port
with winding cobblestone streets, brick buildings and piers the old port is where you should head for all of your shopping needs, restaurants and the traditional New England experience. The Old Port is awesome because it is full of local boutiques and small personal family run restaurants.
<1 mile Show on Map
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Port

ATTRACTIONS OUTSIDE PORTLAND

Portland Head Light
You can’t visit Maine without going to a lighthouse, it’s not allowed. This one is about 15 minutes south of Portland in Cape Elizabeth at Fort Williams Park. It has been in some books as one of the top 100 places to visit before you die. Every photo I have taken here looks like a beautiful post card. There is a museum and a gift shop and Fort Williams has hiking trails, historic buildings and unbelievable ocean views. If you visit here be sure to look for the Bite Into Maine food truck for the best lobster roll in the state (see above).
5 miles Show on Map
http://www.portlandheadlight.com/about.html

LLBean/Freeport
Mainers love their LLBean! Freeport is a 20-minute drive north of Portland on 295 and is an outlet shoppers dream. It is also where you will find the LLBean headquarters and flagship stores that are larger than you could possibly imagine and contain everything an LLBean enthusiast could ask for. It is also open 24/7/365. That’s a lot of flannel. The Amtrak Downeaster goes up to Freeport twice a day.
http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/1000001704?page=campus-lander

Eartha
If you’re heading up to Freeport stop at the DeLorme headquarters along the way and take your picture with Eartha, the world’s largest rotating globe. There’s also a fun gift shop for map geeks.
http://www.delorme.com/about/eartha.aspx

Acadia
The oldest national park east of the Mississippi is unlike anything you have seen before. As part of the gorgeous mid-coast the mountains, hiking, ocean views and lakes are without compare. If you hike Cadillac Mountain before dawn you can be the first person in the US to see the sun rise that day. Be sure to stop at Bar Harbor and enjoy seeing all of the towns along the coast on your drive (particularly Wiscasset, Rockland and Camden). If you’re heading up this way stop at Red’s Eats in Wiscasset along the way for a tasty lobster roll straight from a riverside shack.
http://www.nps.gov/acad/index.htm

Old Orchard Beach
A traditional New England beach and boardwalk straight out of the 50s. OOB is your stop for cotton candy, wooden rollercoasters, a huge arcade, 3 for $10 t-shirts, seafood on the pier, mini golf and a walk on the beach. The Amtrak Downeaster goes to OOB from Portland five times a day.
http://www.oldorchardbeachmaine.com/

Skydive New England
My friends would kill me if I left off a plug for SNE. One of my homes away from home, this is one of the best skydiving drop zones in the country. About an hour west of Portland the good vibes, great people and amazing views are sure to take your breath away. You know you’ve always wanted to try a tandem skydive – now is your chance!
http://www.skydivenewengland.com/