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Shannon Bryan

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Posted: October 1, 2015

Outdoor ice rink (plus warming hut, skate rentals and BAR) at Thompson’s Point in Portland

Written by: Shannon Bryan

A mockup of the ice skating rink planned for Thompson’s Point in Portland this winter.

UPDATE 1/7: The Ice Rink at Thompson’s Point is now open! More info on the rink’s Facebook page:

It’s early still, which means there’s still plenty of time for us to keep romanticizing winter (The first snow! The sleigh rides! The hot cocoa and fireplaces!) before the first big storm escorts in the harsh winter reality (in the form of high winds, waist-deep drifts and a car that just really likes to nose dive into snowbanks).

It’s a reality we like to forget every year, maybe because it hurts us emotionally, or because thinking about pond hockey and amateur biathlons is simply way more enjoyable. Those fun winter activities are highlights of the season, after all, and they’re the things we look forward to year after year.

And this year, there’s something new to look forward to out at Thompson’s Point in Portland: an outdoor ice skating rink.

We’re not just talking a big slab of ice out there. This rink will be covered (it’ll live under that existing roofed structure you see from I-295, pictured in the mockup above) and there will be a warming tent and ice skate rentals. The rink will also make use of an ice resurfacer, which means the ice will always be nice and you won’t have to shovel off the snow or worry about errant sticks, leaves or the sudden appearance of open water.

And while all that’s splendid (I’m already envisioning a clumsy and sweet rom-com-esque couples skate scene there in early December) it gets even better. There will be food trucks. And A BAR.

It’s true. The rink is slated to open to the public the week of Thanksgiving, according to Chris Thompson, a principal in Forefront Partners, the developers of Thompson’s Point. Some details are still being finalized, but Thompson said they expect the rink to be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily from Thanksgiving week until the end of February (longer if the weather cooperates). There will be food trucks on site (Thompson mentioned PB&ME as one possibility) and an outdoor bar serving beer and wine and probably other things, too. Bramhall Pub‘s Mike Fraser is heading up that effort, said Thompson, and the plan is to have the bar open Thursday and Friday evenings, Saturdays and possible Sunday afternoons, too.

There’s talk of a pond hockey tournament in February (additional ice rinks would be made for the tournament), occasional events (like skating with Santa), music and maybe a snack bar, too.

Thompson said the rink is just another part of Forefront Partners’ efforts to turn Thompson’s Point into the kind of neighborhood they envision – a place where people can hang out, even in the winter, and maybe relax in a warming hut with a PB&J and a beer as ice skaters whiz by. “It’s all in finding the right partners,” Thompson said, “It’s really finding that right mix of folks to build the neighborhood we want.” That includes partnerships with businesses like Rink Specialists, the company designing the rink and the city of Portland (Thompson credited Portland city staff with helping to make ice rink happen).

Also reportedly on the horizon at Thompson’s Point: a small-batch distillery (in May 2016).

Talk about things to look forward to. Come on, winter. Hurry up!

What’s The Rink like now that it’s open? Like skating into a fabulous winter sunset!

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