Let the record note that Oregon has a great Portland. I fully understand why it’s celebrated as a model of urban planning and is a destination of choice for people looking to be mocked by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein.

It’s not Portland, Maine, though. Portland, Maine, is the better Portland. I know this because I left it yesterday and can’t wait to return. Here are the 13 reasons why it’s superior.

1. It has America’s least aggravating airport.
Technically, it’s an International Jetport: small enough not to get crowded and big enough to be a destination for JetBlue and major airlines. Flying in, you can land and go straight to the rental car counter, then through the door to the garage to get your car and be in downtown Portland in 10 minutes. And frankly, it’s hard not to be charmed by a place that put out an official statement titled: ”Porcupine Sculpture Donated to Jetport.”


2. It’s compact.
This Portland has a population of roughly 66,000, or 2.5% of the borough where I currently reside. Consequently, Portland is deeply accessible; wherever you may be staying, the Old Port is never far away. Yet while it’s small…

3. There’s a bizarre amount of stuff to do.
Apparently everyone in Portland spends all their time either starting hip businesses or hanging out at hip businesses, because the numbers just don’t make sense. We’ll start at the most obvious attraction…

4. The seafood is amazing.
If you go to Maine, you expect delicious fish and damned if you don’t get it. While there are many fine options, I highly recommend J’s Oyster Bar on the waterfront, where my wife and I gorged on oysters, raw scallops and buckets of steamers. (And yes, whenever a food is served in a bucket, it shall be amazing.) Of course, I leave off the most famous Maine offering of all…

5. Their lobster is the best lobster.
It’s not hard to find lobster in Maine—I think local banks offer lobster rolls when you open a new account—but it’s still surprising just how delicious it can be. For instance, we took a short drive to Portland Head Light lighthouse and encountered the Bite into Maine’s Mainecentric Mobile Eatery (a.k.a. a food truck), which serves multiple types of lobster rolls, including the tremendous Picnic style, complete with coleslaw and celery salt. But it’s good to take a break from lobster and even seafood completely because…


6. The food’s ridiculous in general.
Which is why you can pop in to Empire for superb dim sum and then drift over to the “very Thai” street vendor-inspired Boda. Of course, you eventually need to do more than eat. They have you covered, for…

7. There are awesome sodas.
Maine Root Blueberry Soda is simply delicious and at least in theory quite healthy, thanks to actual blueberry juice and no caffeine. Likewise, the Green Bee Lemon Sting combines carbonation and local honey magically. And if you require a real sting…

8. Portland’s a fine place to drink beer.
Most beer drinkers have enjoyed an Allagash or two, but it’s hardly your only local option. My wife and I stumbled upon Rising Tide Brewing and its samplers, not to mention Baxter Brewing Co.’s highly refreshing Summer Swelter. Should you be one of those people allergic to cans and pint glasses…


9. There are also kickass cocktails.
In particular, I’ll cite the drinks at Isa and The Bearded Lady’s Jewel Box. (At the Box, I mentioned a fondness for smoky alcohols from peaty single malts to mezcal, at which point the bartender served a cocktail I can only describe as a forest fire in my mouth.) And if you somehow do stop eating and drinking and explore the city, you’ll find…

10. It’s charmingly lost in time.
Do you collect vinyl? Portland has so many places selling it you can engage in an “epic record store crawl.” (Again, under 70,000 residents.) Or have you chosen to embrace 30 Rock’s Dennis Duffy’s theory that “Technology is cyclical” and declined to make the jump from CDs? Head to Bull Moose, which looks like a Tower Records in its prime. The feeling of having stepped back in time only intensifies as you find numerous bookstores and buy a ticket to the new X-Men for under 10 bucks. Then you discover…


11. They’ve got stuff that’s genuinely odd.
Like “the world’s only cryptozoology museum.” Or take a short drive to beautiful Mackworth Island, which includes the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf, Governor Baxter’s Pet Cemetery (the final resting place of his horse and 14 Irish setters) and a fairy village (yes, rules are posted on how you should construct your fairy homes; don’t even think of using artificial materials).

12. Oh, and they have a minor league baseball team.
With a tremendous Spot the Sea Dog statue. And finally…

13. The trip home is painless.
Flying out, the TSA line was short enough my wife and I considered hanging around so the guard wouldn’t be too lonely. Even if you get held up at the Jetport, it’s an inviting space with rocking chairs, a children’s play area and, most importantly, multiple bars. With massive travel delays predicted at airports across the nation this summer, it’s nice to know you’re at a place that always ranks low on the misery index.

Ball’s in your court, Oregon version.