Nick Schroeder’s perfect day includes a show in South Paris and vintage shopping in Biddeford (2024)

Nick Schroeder, 42, of Portland, is communications manager and multidisciplinary programmer for Space, a nonprofit arts venue in Portland. He’s also an actor, director and ensemble member with Mad Horse Theatre Company in South Portland. A native of Old Orchard Beach, he’s worked as a journalist and editor at several local publications.

As much as I like bopping around the state by myself, I’ll spend my perfect Maine day with my partner, Mallory, and our nearly 3-year-old toddler. The kid’s in the stage of life where she asks why to just about everything, and that question makes for good conversation.

Getting dressed (finding pants, socks, etc. and negotiating their deployment) can take a while in my house, so we’ll put on WMPG to keep the energy loose. I’ll pour a good cup of coffee, Speckled Ax Early Riser preferred, in my clunky travel mug. Then we’ll get things cracking at that one real good climbing tree in the park for a little proprioceptive rinse. The branches are real low to the ground and I don’t have to worry about my kid taking any nasty falls.

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The Palace Diner in Biddeford. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Will Zu Bakery still have croissants by now, or is that too much morning meandering? The neighbors tend to swarm the little West End spot – how is it this good? – and it can quickly sell out. If that’s the case, we’ll drive south. Actually, scratch that – Mallory will drive this leg, and I’ll bike. Our destinations will be the same, Palace Diner (in Biddeford). I’ll have the omelet du jour and those great big potatoes, and maybe a bite of my kid’s pancake – the dad handbook clearly states that you must eat your children’s leftovers. We’ll all poke our heads inside Biddeford Vintage Market and see what new vendors they’ve got (my aunt Barb runs the place with some friends) before making a quick spin into Color.Sound.Oblivion to check their newly stocked records.

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The Basico – an arepa stuffed with chicken, cheese and pico de gallo – with a side of pan de bono and a cup of verduritas (spicy green sauce) from Maiz in Portland. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

With family who live nearby, I’ll be able to ditch the bike and hop into the car, heading north. We’ll stop in Portland to grab a couple of arepas for the road from the outrageously good Colombian food restaurant Maïz, and head to South Paris. In this fantasy, the Celebration Barn has a perfectly timed matinee show, and true to form, it’s equally enchanting for kids and adults.

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The Celebration Barn in South Paris. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

After that, we’ll drive to Rockland (here’s where the kid naps) and head to a beach (any beach) before I pop into Curator, one of few consignment shops that bothers to stock nice stuff for tall fellas. Then it’s over to Rock City Cafe for a refill and a poke around Hello Hello Books behind the cafe. Last time, I found a nice used paperback of a Judy Chicago biography. Will I get this lucky again?

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A stack of books at Print: A Bookstore in Portland. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Returning to Portland, we’ll have had our fill of driving and Raffi sing-alongs. It’s time for our A-list East End retail trifecta – Ferdinandfor handmade wonders, Starry Eyesfor snazzy kids’ stuff, and Print: A Bookstore (more books!).

For dinner, the ideal is Asmara, the great Eritrean gem, where we as a family can share big communal plates of colorful food using only our hands as utensils. After we put the kid to bed, I’ll text a friend, and if his kid’s asleep, too, we can sneak out for a little nightcap at the Continental and discuss the news.

How would you spend yourperfect Maine day? Send your itinerary, in 500 words or less, with a little about yourself, to go@pressherald.com.

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A Belhaven beer, a Negroni and a pint of Guinness at The Continental in Portland. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

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