AARP, Frommer’s writer pick Portland as No. 1 destination for travel in 2012

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know that I like to point it out when Portland, its people or its establishments earn recognition from a nationwide publication or organization.

Not to belabor the point, but I’ve now written blog posts about how Portland bars, restaurants, coffee shops, gelato and women have been named among the best in the country by one influential magazine or another.

A statue of George Cleeve, who established a permanent settlement in the 1630s that later became the city of Portland, stands watch near Portland's new Pier II in September of 2011. Docked is the Celebrity X Cruise ship. (BDN photo by Seth Koenig)

Well, in case you missed it (as I did initially), Maine’s largest city was recently also listed as the No. 1 destination for 2012 in a story written by Alexis Flippen of Frommer’s Travel and posted on the AARP website.

That’s probably good news for the shopkeepers and restaurateurs in Portland, who would benefit from a steady stream of tourists taking Flippen’s recommendation. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here to point out also that the AARP — the country’s top organization representing the interests of those over 50 and retirees — has a lot of members who travel.

Following Portland on Flippen’s list is Clearwater, Fla., followed by some place named New York City.

Here’s what Flippen wrote about Portland:

Modern-day Portland is the state’s largest city, a commercial hub where glass-and-steel high-rises house multinational corporations. But it’s the revitalized, working Old Port that makes the city so appealing. Lobstermen still commandeer wooden fishing boats, and the air rings with the music of ship bells and foghorns. Stroll the wooden wharfs and cobblestoned streets. Dine on fresh seafood, including lobster, at spots like Portland Lobster Company and hip Fore Street. In fact, in 2009, Bon Appetit named Portland the Foodiest Small Town in America for its roster of award-winning restaurants and top chefs. It also has some 20 microbreweries serving handcrafted pints in local pubs or the breweries themselves. Don’t leave without a photograph of the Portland Head Lighthouse in nearby Cape Elizabeth. The inspiration of artists like Edward Hopper, the whitewashed stone landmark rises above craggy cliffs and Casco Bay. Also nearby is Freeport, home of famed outdoor outfitter L.L. Bean, open around the clock, 365 days a year.

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.