Our Visit to Portland, Maine

18 10 2010

Our trip to Portland, Maine began at 4 AM September 23rd. For some reason, we thought the 6:50 AM flight out of RDU to LaGuardia was a good idea. When it’s 4 AM, it’s hard to come up with good reasons for flying so early. Especially when you’re on vacation.

Our flight brought us into New York City a little after 8 AM. Most folks at home were just arriving at work and we were already half way up the eastern seaboard. The sky was clear so the view coming into New York City was spectacular. You could see the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the Brooklyn Bridge.  During our trip, we stopped in NYC twice – coming and going. First by plane and second by train.

We arrived in Portland a little before noon. We were quite surprised to find warm sunny weather – 70 degrees. We had watched the temperature yo-yo up and down for weeks and were concerned we’d arrive when it was in the 50’s. We were surprised by the number of people running at lunch. It was a Thursday and you didn’t expect to see that many people out running or riding bikes. We assumed they were making the best of a nice fall day.

We stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn. It’s located downtown on the waterfront. Our view was of the parking garage across the street but that’s OK. Behind the hotel, was a local brewery called the “Shipyard Brewery”. I wanted to get a picture of their flag staff but forgot. Instead of a flag, they flew a keg.

We ate lunch at “J’s Oyster Bar”. Like I said, the weather was so nice we ate outside on the water – Casco Bay. This is where I had that wonderful Lobster Roll.

After lunch, we jumped on the Portland Trolley Tour to see and learn about the area. We saw Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s house and learned why he wore a beard. His house had caught fire and his face was badly burned. He wore a beard to cover the scars. Sadly, his wife did not survive the fire.

During the trolley tour, we saw the USS Portland memorial, a cannon from the USS Maine, the Portland Head Light, the Portland Observatory, the narrow gauge railroad, and fantastic views across Casco Bay. We learned how indentured slaves were fed lobster. At the time, only poor folk ate lobster. How times have changed.

Our stay in Portland was wonderful but not long enough. Lucky for us, we took the early flight out of Raleigh. 🙂 The area is beautiful and the people are extremely friendly. The waterfront is lined with restaurants and shops. They have done a great job keeping chain restaurants out of the historic waterfront area.

I definitely want to come back and spend more time in Maine. I think a driving tour would be nice. Do some exploring of Acadia National Park. Take a cruise through the islands.

Visiting Portland was a nice start to our vacation.