Portland by Land

Maine is a really beautiful state. I’ve read about Portland in many travel magazines and had good intentions of taking the Down’easter from Boston to spend the day. Of course it’s one of those things still on my bucket list. So finding myself staying in the Super 8 on the Portland Line I decided that the city deserved at least one day to see what it’s all about.

Based on the directions the desk clerk gave me the previous night I figured asking more directions was useless. “Right down the road”  and “just a little way” weren’t very helpful. The just a little way was over 3 miles! I guess I’ve gotten away from my rural roots.

Anyway with the help of my trusty GPS I managed to navigate the street maze down to the waterfront. I found a parking lot that was pretty reasonable where I could pay hourly or have a discount by paying for the whole day. I took the day option and handed over a $10.00. I found a spot to park in the lot that was right on the waterfront. I recognized the spot as one I’d seen in an article about Portland.

I snapped some pictures and wandered back to the main street. There was a trolley tour right nearby and those of you who have followed my blog for any length of time know I always take the trolley tours. They are a great way to get familiar with an area.

Known as the “Discovery”  trolley you can take a land tour or opt for a land and sea combo ticket. That was my choice. More on the sea  later.

The Land part of the sightseeing  is a 90 minute narrated tour and we had a wonderful driver/guide. She was humorous without being forced and had a wealth of knowledge about the city.

The tour took us by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s childhood home, a stop at Portland Head Light, and loads of other landmarks.

The city of Portland is like a Phoenix, it keeps rising from the ashes. The driver pointed out where time after time the city burned and then was rebuilt. We drove slowly by beautiful stately homes, mansions if you will and a park with views of Portland Harbor.

Back at the trolley stop I picked up a hot dog from a street vendor. I had a choice…red or brown! I was puzzled and must have shown it because the vendor quickly told me I would prefer the “brown”. Sure enough, that was the kind of hot dog I was expecting. She showed me the red ones. I don’t know if they taste different but the casing was definitely red!

My snack out of the way I shopped a little in one of the gift shops picking up a sweatshirt to wear on the boat then headed to the boarding section of the dock. There were several options for the “Sea” part of the combo. One was a harbor cruise in the afternoon, my choice, and the other option was the Sunset Lighthouse cruise which sounded nice but I didn’t want to be hanging around all afternoon. There was too much to see.

While I waited I made the acquaintance  of a “Crusty” native Mainer and some of his friends.

If you take the lobster boat cruise you get to pull your own traps and then take your catch to dinner. The restaurant next door will steam them up for you.

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