Portland, Maine

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Sophie Nelson

I talk and think and read and write about my favorite state and the people who live here

Job Associate editor / Maine magazine

Lives In The West End

As a little girl in western New York I conjured up a romantic notion of Maine that is far less interesting than the place I find myself living in today. And it's more beautiful than I imagined! I studied English and creative writing at Bates College and doodled around Rome before moving to Taipei for a year. Teaching on the other side of the world I pined a little for this one. My partner and I moved to Portland in January of 2011 thinking we'd stay for just a few months. Ha! After finding my way into a dream job at Maine magazine, befriending some of the best humans on Earth, and sleeping under the stars in Baxter State Park, it became clear I wasn't going anywhere but everywhere in Maine for awhile. When I'm not reading amazing articles and looking at amazing photographs and writing about the inspiring people I get to meet for work, I like to make sentences at Crema, jog around Back Bay, and cook soup for Max.

Why did you choose Portland? At 18 I went to Flatbread for the first time. There weren't chicken wings on the menu and the friendly, tan, feather earring-wearing servers reminded me of my favorite cousin. I thought this was where all the cool people are. I moved here in my mid-twenties. As it turned out, the people of Portland are way more than cool. They're generous, substantive, creative. And the pizza is good, too!

What do you like to do with out-of-towners? Neighborhood hop. And if it's a little chilly out I like to take them to nearby beaches. What is richer than walking along an empty beach?

Where's your "happy place" on the peninsula? I have a lot of them. I like where the West End slopes down toward the Casco Bay bridge and the overlook on the East End. I like Pleasant Street. Sometimes during my lunch breaks I sit by the Ferry Terminal and watch for seals. If I'm feeling out of it--or not out of it enough--I stop by Space on my way home from work.

What's your favorite indulgence and where do you find it? Papusa covered in pickled goodness and hot sauce at Tu Casa. Everything at Eventide. Books from Longfellow.

Do you have a serendipity spot? Where do you always bump into good people? Blue!

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