Tuesday, November 2, 2010

May You Have Fair Winds And Following Seas

Spencer and Ross thinking "Oh no, not more pictures!
At least they have out grown making the weird faces!
"May You Have Fair Winds and Following Seas."
This is how the old sailing crews would
wish each other luck in bygone days!

Of all the things we loved about Maine, the one word that comes to mind is authenticity. It is what it is and proud of it. Portland is clean, uncrowded, friendly, community-minded and a little tired. By tired I mean the little city, (only 65,000 people and the largest city and seaport in the state) has been through a lot. The city was first settled in the early 1600's and many more historic buildings would still be standing today had it not been toasted by 4 major fires since then. It was lit by some Indians the first time, then the Revolutionary War took its toll, then something else and in 1866 it caught fire during a 4th of July celebration in the city down by the harbor. Each time it was rebuilt and the last time it was built with bricks vowing never to be burnt again. That seems to have done the trick with 150 years and no major fires to date!

We went down to Old Port, the old warehouse district near the wharf and harbor at Casco Bay. There we were able to catch a city tour that lasted 2 hours. The man who gave the tour is a teacher who does the tours for extra $ on various weekends and who loves his city with all his heart. He had enough of interest to keep us all listening and learning. Unfortunately when you don't get it down by blogging it that day or the next you forget a lot.

Old Port reminded us a lot of Europe. The kids kept saying this feels like Italy. All the brick, authentic in its oldness and protective qualities from the dreaded fires, with little shoppes and eateries all around.

Oldest structure in Portland.
Revolutionary War battles took place
in the vicinity of this gazebo.

Our Portland bus tour took us to many historic sights. It is interesting to see a city for this vantage point rather then just try to rattle around with your nose stuck in a map all day. It gives a nice overview.

This building is an original structure from the Revolutionary War days. It was inland and a watch tower made to look like a lighthouse. When the watchman would see an approaching ship the townspeople would be alerted so that the merchants, taverns and brothels could prepare to open for business.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is a favorite native of Portland, Maine.
This statue in the town center is to honor his contributions.

A portion of Longfellow's
Psalm of Life..

"...Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sand of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait. "

For those of you more interested in the living, Patrick Dempsey, the actor is a local boy, born about 36 miles from Portland. His contributions still unfolding. Oh, and Stephen King, the author is from here too.

A mansion they are quite proud of in Portland

Neighborhood Home

Portland Cemetery

The most photographed Lighthouse
in the world,

The Head Lighthouse
Our driver took us right to it for a close-up look at it!
The most famous of Maine's 66 Lighthouses.

The guys touching it.

Ross got a quarter from his Gramma
to check things out.

Spencer taking a look out to the Casco Bay Area
where we would take a ferry tour after lunch.

We did lots of tailgating at lunch time.
This day was pretty nippy and overcast.
The boys were pretty chilly all day.
Sometimes you just guess wrong!

Down by the water we saw this in port.
This cruise ship was immense.

Along the dock they even had a casino ship.

Pulling out from the dock we saw all kinds of fun boats.

The ferry provided blankets for the upper deck.
Spence was pretty happy about that as were many others.
the winds were high and the water petty choppy as we
headed towards where the bay becomes the ocean.

Spark Plug Lighthouse!
Looks like one doesn't it?
We saw 6 Lighthouses on our
cruise around the bay.

My favorite photo on this day!

We saw some gorgeous summer homes on the many islands off shore. We were curious about how there didn't seem to be a lot of color in Maine for autumn. We learned their colors come later. We learned that even though they have less daylight being farther north their indigenous trees are mostly pines and oaks. So they do have color just later and not as much as New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York.

Loved this perspective of the ferry
alongside the Cruise ship.

And here is Head Lighthouse from the bay.

Coming back into port

Portland skyline from Casco Bay

For the most fun and delicious flavored popcorn at a very reasonable price, check this place out. They have all kinds of flavors, my favorite is black licorice, Laura's is blue cheese, Spencer loves the kettle corn, Ross salt and vinegar and Grampa loved them all...and they ship. The best part for us~Spencer could have it! No allergy components used in its preparation and they had a list of every ingredient available in the shop! Their particular sensitivity to peanuts was so refreshing...they use no nuts at all in their products!


This was a very fun day but we were all pretty whipped by the time we got out of the cold and wind. Our hotel room felt pretty good that night. The only things that I remember about the hotel and it was tight in that room with 5 of us. Oh and poor Rossie slept on an airbed they gave us that was great at the beginning and flat in the morning both nights we were in Portland.

In the morning we went to Whole Foods and bought stuff for snacks and lunches for the guys! They had an adventure of their own while Laura and I got some mother/daughter time and a lunch out in Bath, Maine. As much as we enjoyed Portland, the little towns along the way are what make Maine a favorite place to visit. I think of all of us, Jim loved Maine the most.


Julie Harward said...

Thanks for sharing this vacation, I loved it! From the light houses to the summer homes..just great! I would so love to go there1 ;D

Caroline Craven said...

It looks cold there! That big cruise ship looks a bit out of place there, don't you think? Another cute, quaint town I would love to visit.

laura.elizabeth said...

I LOVE Portland, ME! It is SO personable. I met a woman who grew up in Portland today, she said it was awesome. I think I could live in Portland. Want to join me?