Portland is an intense blend of both old and new Maine. Victorian buildings with mansard roofs and turrets line cobblestone streets, while tight-pants hipsters weave through traffic on bicycles and loudly-colored amphibious trucks haul tourists from land to water and back to land again. Portland is a city shaped by both land and sea. Shops stock local craft beers and Maine-made maple syrups, and seafood caught that morning can end up on your plate by the end of the day. As always, I recommend stopping in Portland for as long as possible. It’s the only way you’ll experience all of the distinct flavors this city has to offer.
Waves splash over one South Portland’s rocky beaches. The rounded stones clatter with each movement of the sea, sounding like millions of fingers drumming on granite countertops.
The first rays of sun light up Portland Head lighthouse high atop the cliffs overlooking Casco Bay and the Calendar Islands. Portland Head is one of several lighthouses that line the coast, helping ships navigate safely into Portland harbor. As the fog rolls in, the horns at the base of the light can be heard for miles.
Portland Head is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the United States. It’s a beautiful building in a beautiful spot. Fort Williams State Park surrounding it has multi-use paths, historic buildings and rocky beaches great for fishing for striped bass.
Fog is a common occurrence along the coast, as are fleets of lobster boats. Portland harbor is a working harbor with fishing and lobster boats plying the calm waters along side massive oil tankers and cruise ships. Portland is the third busiest oil port on the east coast.
This lobsterman fills bait bags to lure lobsters into his traps, or “pots.” Though lobster hasn’t always been as popular as it is today (wealthy people used to serve it to their servants) lobstering has been a tradition for generations. Few things have changed since the early days. It’s still tough work and dangerous.
Just off of Portland’s waterfront is the Old Port district, the oldest section of the city. Unique shops line the cobblestone streets offering both maine coast trinkets and truly unique, locally-made items you can’t find anywhere else.
Portland is where famous food artists go to escape the crowds of New York and Chicago. Portland has a lot of top-end restaurants for a city of its size. For serious foodies, a glance at the lists of chefs may reveal some familiar names. If five-star is not what you’re looking for, there are a variety of pubs, bistros, cafes and food carts to choose from.
Sunsets in Portland can be nothing short of spectacular! The prevailing winds carry air pollution up the coast from New York and New Jersey filtering the sunlight into an orange glow that bathes the city.