Buses, Bikes, and Buggies | Navigating Your Way Around Portland Maine

Buses, Bikes, and Buggies | Navigating Your Way Around Portland Maine

Shortly, the constraints of the COVID19 virus will be lifted. Life will return to a new normal with meetings, tours and events with transportation included.  At Portfire, we recognize the importance of the health and safety issues involved when it comes to transportation.  We are taking extra precautions with our vehicles, staff, and safety precautions. Our trained staff will be onsite to coordinate and to ensure all precautionary procedures required will be adhered to.  We know your guests aren’t coming to Maine to see the inside of a motor coach, so our new policies will be as non intrusive as possible. That way your guests can actually enjoy Maine!

Portland has the perfect blend of past and present and is a cauldron of varied attractions.  There’s something for everyone!  Museums, quaint shops, mansions, microbreweries, waterfront scenery, galleries, historic homes and a variety of diverse restaurants catering to every taste.  But how is you’re your group going to get there from the hotel?

The Old Port is dotted with quaint streets, cobblestone alleys, and one ways. The best way to see this area is by foot, the oldest form of transportation! One of our friendly, expert guides will escort your group down these enchanting streets. As they amble through town and down to the waterfront guests will learn of its historic past, its present and its future plans to keep Portlandas one of our nation’s top and fastest growing destinations for tourism, meetings and events!

If walking is out of the questions, we have plenty of other modes of transportation for your group. We offer both traditional and nontraditional modes of transportation. Whether that be on luxury coaches, bicycles, trolleys,to horse drawn carriage, we have something to please everyone.  Larger groups can sit back and relax in a luxury motor coach as one of our local knowledgeable guides informs them of local facts, legends and folklore.  Perhaps a step into the past via a ride in an open-window trolley enjoying the warmth of the sun, the inviting sounds of the city and distinct fragrances of the coast.

Maybe a more intimate mode of transit is to their liking?  Available for a very limited number of people at a time is a horse drawn carriage tour, rewarding guests with the sounds bird chirping while the horses’ hooves clip & clop along!  Another slower paced option with the obvious health benefits of bicycle tour is an obvious choice.  Your guests will enjoy access to smaller, less visited locations often overlooked from within a larger vehicle.

And what of transportation by sea you ask?  Perhaps a group trip with an island excursion is in order.  Portfire Events will charter a vessel suitable to the size of your group to one of the many islands for a one of a kind event.

There are many options available to get around Portland.  Let Portfire Events get your guests where they need to be in memorable fashion.

Meet the Team: An Interview with Kim

Meet the Team: An Interview with Kim

Kim McCarthy | Professional Storyteller of Events/General Manager

She has always been THE planner in her personal life and in a professional setting. From the beaches of Endicott College to the mountains of Les Roches, she built her foundation and passion for the hospitality industry while receiving a Dual-Degree program with a Bachelor’s degree from Endicott College in Hospitality Management and Concentration in Event Management and also a Diploma in Hotel Management from Les Roches International School of Hotel Management in Switzerland. Over the past six years Kim has been designing, planning, managing, and executing corporate events for some of the country’s most notable brands and companies. She has worn many hats in the industry and has worked her way up from Intern to Director. Her friendly and can-do attitude around the office is infectious and she leads by example.

Her true passion lies in creativity and design. Kim has an eye for different aesthetics and loves customizing perfect themes for each event. She knows that not only does the event have to look beautiful, but it has to run smoothly. At Portfire, Kim fulfills her true role as “a professional storyteller of events” at Portfire as the Director of Creative Services. She composes and creates proposals driven by stories from her clients. Each client has a different story to tell. Their stories inspire her creativity, allowing the thoughtful detail to come together to truly capture the reason behind the event.

What does your regular day look like?

One things that I love about this industry is that every day is different. This means that my day-to-day work can vary a lot, but it requires me to have good time-management skills. I need to be able to handle the arrangement and organization of events that are happening now, while also simultaneously planning upcoming events and proposals. As Creative Director I also manage our digital and print materials as well as our social media accounts. Once, we get out of the COVID-19 quarantine, you also better believe, that I will be visiting as many networking events as I possibly can! I miss my industry friends! 

What are your favorite things to do outside of work?

As a native New Englander, I love to be outside! I enjoy taking day trips to little towns all over New England, exploring new restaurants, boutique shopping, hiking through wildlife parks, paddling down rivers and on the ocean, and of course enjoying some cocktails on roof decks with my boyfriend, friends, and family.

What do you enjoy most about your day?

Our morning team meetings always put a smile on my face and really set the tone for the day! I also enjoy reading up on new trends, new local businesses and connecting with the Maine community.

What about the best part of your work?

The best part is that I am working with wonderful, talented people who are experts in their fields. Teamwork and team culture is crucial here. At Portfire we have created a work culture that is fun and educational. We promote asking a lot of questions and to always be true to yourself. 

What advice would you give someone who’d like to work at Portfire?

Be who you are and take risks. We always say “you can’t teach personality, but you can teach new skills”. If you are a team player, have a good spirit, and a can-do attitude then you will fit right in at Portfire, and the rest will come! When you are in the office listen in on phone calls, participate in group meetings, and take a hands-on approach and we promise you will love this industry as much as we do! 

Lastly, for those who want to know more about you, what are some of your favorite….

New England Foods: Lobster Rolls

Cocktails: Spicy Margarita in the Summer and Espresso Martinis in the Winter

Locations: Any place that has a view of the water, especially the Cliff House

Music: Country, Singer/Songwriter, and Indie/Alternative

Event Kits Every Event Planner Needs

Event Kits Every Event Planner Needs

Expect the unexpected in events! We have been doing this for years, and even with years of experience there are just sometimes when you need something you didn’t pack. We can’t tell you how many times we have had to rush to the local store, hotel or venue staff, or even back to the office because something was missing! Don’t worry it happens to the best of us. You have been planning this event for months in advance and every tiny detail has been combed over multiple times until it was perfect. That’s just it though, nothing is ever as planner or perfect!  

The client adds on an electronic sign to the registration table the day of the event, but you don’t have any outlets left.  

The votives you ordered didn’t come with extra batteries.  

The entertainment company forgot tape for taping down loose wires.  

The list goes on and on, but our mistakes are going to be a lesson for you. We have put together a list of what have in our on-site event kits. Each event has two kits, a personal kit and corporate kit. 

Corporate Event Kit  

Let’s Get Handy: It’s happened before, there was a nail sticking up from the floor board, and the venue didn’t have anything to put it back in place. Hooray for the event kit. We carry a set of pliers, screwdriver, hammer, tape measure, wrench, zip ties, string, and fishing line. We can’t stress this enough… but scissors will be your best friend on load-in days!  

Let’s Get Sticky: Tape! It’s a quick fix and does the job.  Gaffers tape. Clear shipping tape, double-sided tape, and fabric tape.   

Let’s Power Up: Extra batteries, extension cords, phone chargers, and USB chargers are the most used items in our kits, and there is no surprise why! We also carry a few extra backup phone chargers for those long days where you just can’t sit down and charge your phone!  

Let’s Get Creative: The room location has been changed or something has been added to the menu. There are countless things that will change on the day of the event. So it’s time to get creative with some solutions. We have sign holders, easels, pens, paper, and frames all ready to mix and match to solve that problem. 

Let’s Get Clean: We also like to carry Pledge and some rags, along with Windex wipes. The mirror top table that you rented will look a lot better without all those pesky fingerprints from set-up!  

Let’s Be Extra: A few “just in case” items that we pack are lighters, matches, and votives!  

Personal Event Kit 

When we are on-site for events, we are often there for 10 or more hours with set-up, execution, and breakdown. It is important for us to keep our focus creating that memorable event for guests, so we don’t have time to be scurrying around asking for Advil! Each event coordinator has a different kit, depending on their personal needs, but we put together the most common items here.  

Let’s Stay Health: Thanks to COVID-19 every planner will carry hand sanitizer! Band aids, blister blockers, Advil, and Benadryl are also in the first aid kit.  

Let’s Eat: Grab and go snacks are the best for those on the go planners, that just don’t have time to stop!  

Let’s Stay Pretty: Often during set-up we are managing multiple vendors, our client, and guests. When it comes to showtime, we like to freshen up a bit. We will pack our makeup, extra deodorant, perfume/cologne, oil blotting papers, and a lint roller!  

Of-course every event is different, and that’s what we love about it, so our kits will vary on the event! 

What are your must have products for your big day? 

Plan An Adventure in Maine

Plan An Adventure in Maine

Here we are, almost three weeks into the COVID-19 Social Distancing Challenge.  As we all know, staying home and distancing ourselves from other people is a great way for everyone to contribute in the fight to end this pandemic.  The sooner this is over, the sooner we will all be back to our personal and professional lives. We are staying positive, knowing that in the future hotels will be opening back up soon, the airline industry will be taking off, and the meetings and the convention industry will be re-booking postponed programs. People attending conventions and meetings will be right back in the thick of things, flying in from other countries and crisscrossing back and forth the United States.

And when considering the United States’ East Coast, you should be strongly think about New Hampshire and Maine. These states are rich in both history and natural beauty and they offer the attendees unique opportunities during their stay. When scheduling your programs here, remember a great enticement for people to register and attend is by offering activities outside the hotels and convention venues.  These activities can be both rewarding and relaxing.  The unproductive consequences resulting from attending mandatory daily meetings and seminars are higher levels stress and anxiety.   The importance of scheduling downtime or personal time during these programs goes without saying.  Offering activities and tours to be taken are a great outlet to relieve the stress and bring some much appreciated, personal fulfillment to your attendees’ lives.

For instance, Trolley tours from Perkins Cove in Maine, a fishing or lobstering excursion, or perhaps a visit to quaint, local shops provides opportunities to experience the look and feel of New England.  Or how about a photo walk along Cape Neddick’s Marginal Way, a hike up one of Mount Agamenticus’ trails?  Consider offering a tour and photo opportunity to the Nubble Lighthouse in York Maine the day with a sunset at the Western Promenade in Portland Maine.  The fresh air and exercise are welcome treats to someone who has been inside a hotel for hours.

From Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Portland, Maine, making the majestic, natural beauty of these states easily accessible to a weary traveler is a way to garner their appreciation for the opportunity they may not otherwise have had. Fresh minds and positive attitudes from your attendees result in you getting the most positive, productive results and return on investments from these programs.

Fishing boats docked in Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, on coast of Maine south of Portland, USA
Outdoors and Unplugged: Behind the Lens

Outdoors and Unplugged: Behind the Lens

I am just returning home from a spring time stroll down a local foot-trail feeling both energized and positive.  When I set out on my little endeavor, a couple of hours ago, I did it solely to stretch my legs. Then I quickly realized the walk was much more than a physical endeavor, it was a much needed, therapeutic boost to my state of mind. Over the last week I have learned to embrace the fact that this year’s start of Spring is not the typical, much-anticipated season of rebirth. Normally, people would be outside enjoying parks, but now we are inside practicing  social distancing. Local businesses would typically be running their spring promotions, instead these non-essential businesses are closed. We can’t escape the  continued barrage of news stories, many of which are peddling gloom and doom versus facts, it is easy to begin feeling trapped in your own home. But now I realize there is an obvious remedy…the great outdoors!  And despite our new health awareness responsibilities and rules, getting outdoors is still allowed and there is no better therapy for the “stay at home blues” than being outdoors, especially outdoors in Maine!

Being outside in this season’s crisp, fresh air immediately stimulates your senses and bolsters the feeling of freedom. Coupled with Maine’s majestic scenery, combining mountains, rocky coastlines and dense forestry not only infuses your senses, it inspires a new, fresh perspective of the future.

Both natural and man-made scenery are available for your enjoyment.  Lighthouse discoveries, wildlife watching, rocky coastlines strolls with both pounding swells and the gentle, soothing, rolling waves can entertain and mesmerize any person of any age.  Maine’s natural beauty beckons the artist in all of us.  Photographers, painters and artisans of all medium flock to Maine yearly in hopes of capturing its beauty and majesty.

When life as we knew it returns and a sense of normalcy is restored, and it will be back soon, all these enjoyable, beneficial and life enriching activities will be available to us as they always have been.  Both singles and families alike, will be grabbing a camera, packing a lunch, jumping in the ol’ family buggy and heading to the beach for a stroll or to a state park for a hike.

At Portfire, we want to share these experiences with our corporate groups too. After a long meeting in a hotel ballroom, guests will be craving that similar need for some fresh air and coastal breeze. We have outdoor and activities for every activity level and guests don’t need to travel far from the hotel. We will lead them on a Steadman’s Stroll, amble around on Marginal Way, paddle the local river, or simply enjoy a brew while birding or a photography tour!

I must admit, I feel I am so lucky and proud to be in an industry that can make these treasures available to visitors to New England while they are attending meetings, conferences and conventions and which may not otherwise have an opportunity to experience.

So we encourage you, if you can do so safely, get outside, grab a camera and capture the beauty of your surroundings! I was lucky enough to capture these shots, and we would love to see yours!