Updated: I've been waiting to announce this until everything was finalized, and now it is! My September 23 7:30 pm erotica writing workshop at Nomia is confirmed, as is my talk on erotica for Banned Books Week September 24th from 6:30-8:30 pm at Portland Public Library, so now seems like a good time to share 5 things I love about Portland, Maine. I first visited to celebrate my birthday in 2011 and get my heart tattoo on my arm, and have been back twice and loved it every time. I got the chance to visit in June and go to a street festival and just walk around and explore. It reminds me very much of my former home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but with a Maine twist.
1. The Holy Donut - these donuts made with mashed potatoes are some of the best I've ever had. This is a small local business with two Portland, Maine locations, and they are delicious, innovative and welcoming. They have interesting flavors like mojito, though my favorite is old-fashioned. They also have something that's so good I'm glad I don't live closer: it's like a donut pocket filled with bacon and cheese. I also love that it's so close I can bring these home to my boyfriend in New Jersey and they are still fresh and delicious.
2. Nomia - this feminist sex toy store is the reason I'm going back to Portland this fall (stay tuned for one more event, which I'll post about as soon as it's confirmed). I was walking down Exchange Street the first time I visited and stumbled across Nomia and was so delighted. For a sex toy store, they also have a huge selection of books, both erotica and nonfiction. They are a wonderful resource, have a wide range of products and have arranged them in a way that's easy to browse. See you there on September 23rd! The erotica writing workshop starts at 7:30 and is $25 and you can sign up by calling 207-773-4774. You can also friend them on Facebook.
3. Any town with not just one but multiple independent bookstores is good in my book (ha ha)! I visit Longfellow Books and the newer Sherman's Books and Stationery, which does this with their shelving:
4. Bard Coffee - this is where I'd hang out and work if I lived in Portland, Maine. Great coffee, plus pastries as well as real food, including soup, free wifi and they are one of several locations that are part of the Portland Public Library's Portable Library where you can grab a free book if you like. I got into the Kate Collins flower shop mystery series that way and am going to finish this novel I got last visit, The Partner Track by Helen Wan, and return it:
5. Last but never least, I got my second tattoo, the one that says heart on my left arm, at Sanctuary Tattoo. I picked them because I liked the look of their site and am honored to have this permanent attachment to this city and a reminder of what matters to me the most.
Bonus: pretty sights like this: