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Designer Alex Carleton's Portland, Maine

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“Maine feels like the essence of New England to me,” says Alex Carleton, creative director of outdoor clothing brand Filson. “The coast, the mountains, the elegant small towns.” He looks the part of a rugged local, too, for good reason: Before moving to Filson’s headquarters in Seattle, Carleton lived in the state. Today, he still keeps a home in Portland, a town he just can’t seem to quit.
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2 Fort Rd, South Portland, ME 04106, USA
"I had a dog when I lived in Portland, Maine," says Filsen creative Alex Carleton, "and I always took him to Spring Point Lighthouse. It's a great little Victorian lighthouse at the end of a jetty, surrounded by a park and next to a great beach....
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Bath, ME 04530, USA
"I love Bath because it's a great working town," explains Alex Carleton. "It's known for BIW—Bath Iron Works—and it has that industrial vibe. I like going to the shops there; I always find the most incredible treasures." This appeared in the...
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25 Custom House Wharf, Portland, ME 04101, USA
"I discovered Sea Bags back in 1998 or 1999," says Alex Carleton. "I was just sort of poking around Old Port, and there was this amazing little wharf building that had a shingle on the door that said 'Sea Bags.' It was an incredibly funky little...
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229 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101, USA
"I love how David Hodgkins (of David Wood Clothiers) has an old fashioned sensibility," says Alex Carleton. "He’s probably a little more formal than where most sportswear companies are today. He believes in a good neck tie, and all that. He has...
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33 Wharf St, Portland, ME 04101, USA
“Things in Maine tend to be very understated," explains Alex Carleton. "Street & Company restaurant is a great example: It’s casual and humble with incredible seafood. Get the daily catch paired with one of their incredible...
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25 Two Lights Rd, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107, USA
"This place has a lot of charm," says Alex Carleton. "They're known for their lobster rolls, which I definitely recommend. Also bring a six pack of beer and some friends, and you have the perfect evening." 
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5 Portland Pier, Portland, ME 04101, USA
"J's Oyster is down in the marina area," explains Alex Carleton. "It’s one of these cozy, full bar, and they of course have seafood on the menu. It's a casual spot, the kind of place people blow into after being out sailing all day." 
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158 Benjamin W Pickett St, South Portland, ME 04106, USA
"Locals just call it 158. This place is the best for breakfast," says Alex Carleton. "It's as simple as a homemade toasted sesame bagel with homemade lox and cream cheese, or an egg, ham, and cheese sandwich.Their pimento cream cheese, though, is...
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416 Preble St, South Portland, ME 04106, USA
"I love their delicious, sugary cookies, cakes and desserts," divulges Alex Carleton. "And they definitely have the best homemade breads in Cape Elizabeth. They also have a lunch counter with take-away salads and sandwiches."
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554 Shore Rd, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107, USA
"These are my absolute favorite doughnuts on earth. Old school. No frills," says Alex Carleton. "To me, maple glazed donuts with a piping hot coffee from Cookie Jar is the quintessential autumn morning in Maine."