the maine event: portland

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Happy New Year!  I did not get to post last week because I was out of the country and I definitely locked myself out of the account because of deleting cookies and not trusting public wifi (travel tip: you shouldn’t).  But I’m back and ready to go!  I’m not a big resolutions person (other than drink more water which never happens, coffee is just so much better), but my goals always involve wanting to travel to new places.  I have a few places and experiences on the horizon for 2020, and hopefully you do, too!

And at least I’m one state closer to reaching my 50 states visited now that I’ve been to beautiful Maine.  I was able to road trip from Boston and enjoy a crisp, autumn day with the wind whipping my hair, pretending that I was in a moody novel from the 1800s.

maine line some lobsters with me…

It’s about a two hour straight shot up I-95 from Boston to Portland, if you leave at the right time and there’s no construction.  Big ifs.  Once you get beyond the grey of suburban Boston, wind up through New Hampshire, the craggy Maine coast stretches in front of you.  And no New England coast trip is complete without a lighthouse.

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Cape Elizabeth, Maine is home to Fort Williams, former military outpost and home of one of the most recognizable lighthouses in the US: Portland Head Light.  This literal beacon of light (I know I’ve said that before, but there’s only so many ways you can describe lighthouses) was built at the behest of George Washington in 1787.

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Violent Atlantic waves crash against this unusual coastline made of quartzite and phyllite layered rock formations.  It’s all very moody and poetic.

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Fort Williams is at the edge of South Portland, and so continuing onwards, you’ll run into the very compact and quaint seaside town of Portland.  It is the most populous city in the Pine Tree state and is a peninsula in Casco Bay.

It’s an amazingly artsy town with a bohemian vibe.  Driving down Congress Street, it’s a mix of Americana with its neon marquis’ and economic growth in its bustling banks and commerce.  The downtown area leading up to monument square is lined with ethnic cafes and boutiques.  There are theatres and murals and right in the middle of it all is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s house.  Because of course it is.

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lots of wadswords written here (sorry not sorry)

On the waterfront of Portland Harbor, you’ll find the usual shorefront seafood shacks and a collection of some of the most handsome architecture from colonial times (i.e. neoclassical custom houses, government buildings, etc).

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There is only one thing you absolutely need to do in Portland and that is to eat lobster.  Possibly of the most famous thing to come out of this region, there is something to be said about a Maine Lobster.  A lot of things: juicy, sweet, succulent, tender, flaky, soft.  And even though it’s good anywhere you eat it, at the source it is perfection.

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The Porthole is one of the establishments in the old port area, and I bet it would have been amazing, except that they ran out of lobster the day we were there!  I know!  This is a thing apparently.

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Luckily, there are a ton of other choices, and one of the more popular and modern/trendy is the Portland Lobster Co.  Get your bibs on and butter up because you’re in for a treat.  There’s steamers of mussels, clams.  Fried everything, and of course lobster rolls and whole shellfish dinners.  Market price is also way more affordable here.

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he’s my lobster

I dream of these lobsters, I could have eaten like four of them.   And their fries were way better than they had to be.  So delicious, a perfect cap to a morning of exploring.  Stay tuned for part 2 of the maine adventure…

 

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