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Portland, Maine…

Posted by on June 15, 2015

JUNE 15, 2015


Portland Head Lighthouse.

ABOUT PORTLAND. Portland is located on a peninsula in Casco Bay on the Southern Maine coast, approximately 100 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts. It’s a small seaside city with a high concentration of shops, restaurants, museums and galleries. Portland Head Light and Museum, located adjacent to a World War II artillery emplacement, is one of the most scenic lighthouses in the entire country. And other lighthouses in Portland also help guard the often foggy, stormy coastline. Historical buildings abound on the cobblestone streets, and walking along the breathtaking Eastern Promenade offers views straight out of a Seurat painting. A visit to the authentic working waterfront offers restaurants with al fresco dining and good views of the boats arriving at the docks, and local fishermen unloading their catch. Shops and galleries occupy revitalized warehouses with exposed brick and beams, making some as unique as the wares they display.


Cobblestone streets and historic buildings in the Old Port District.

GOOD NEWS – BAD NEWS. AND A SHORT RANT. Well, you’ve just read the good news about Portland. It is a beautiful and engaging town to explore, as I’ve described in the preceding paragraph. We had a great time during our day-long visit. The bad news is that the city is a “gay mecca” and has been named the “3rd Gayest City in America.” And it’s pretty obvious just walking down the streets. Portland is a place where members of the LGBT community are visible, out and about. I don’t think I’ve previously disclosed my views about this topic or same-sex marriage, but if you’ve followed my blog you’re probably not surprised. I mean, come on, if you’re born male you’re a male. Period. We don’t get to choose our sex any more than we can choose our race. We can wish or pretend, but we can’t effect a change. And “marriage” is a word. Webster has a definition for it. It’s a union between a man and a woman. Just because someone wishes it were different doesn’t mean we can change that definition. And just because a jurist doesn’t like the definition doesn’t mean he can legally change it, either. It’s not a legal issue. So just call it something else and be on your merry way for God’s sake! I don’t begrudge LGBT’s happiness or companionship. Quite to the contrary, I wish them well. I just don’t agree that they should be allowed to change the rules and impose their beliefs on us or make them the law of the land.

OLD PORT TAVERN. We spent an enjoyable day in Portland. It was only about a 20 minute drive from portour campsite at KOA in Freeport. When we arrived, the first order of business was getting lunch. I’d decided I wanted to try a restaurant in the “Old Port” district…that’s a part of town near the wharf, with centuries old churches and brick warehouses converted to shops, lots of boutiques, galleries and some fine restaurants. I picked a place aptly named the Old Port Tavern, housed in the historic Mariners Church Building. We stepped down from the sidewalk and entered under an archway leading through heavy doors into a dimly lit dining room with brick walls, some interesting artwork (Oh, yeah!) and church-pew-type wooden seating around heavy wood tables. Two wood-burning fireplaces cast a flickering light across the room and gave it a perfect ambiance for a chilly, overcast day. And since I’m sure you’re dying to know, my New York steak was perfectly prepared, as was the Caesar Salad that came with it. The hot crab dip we enjoyed before our entrees arrived was darn good, as well.




SHOPPING AND EXPLORING. You could easily spend an entire day poking around the shops and galleries in Portland. We had some time constraints because we only allotted one day to visit Portland, and by the time we finished lunch we wanted to make sure we reserved enough time to see the sights before it was time to head back to our campsite. So we passed on the shopping. But I did take a few pictures to give you the idea of how the shopping area looked in the old part of the city.



MAINE’S RUGGED COASTLINE. We’ve stayed along Maine’s rugged coastline for almost two weeks now and the views have been breathtaking…from the northernmost part of the state all the way to the southern section where we are now. There are very few sandy beaches like we have in San Diego. Most often we found granite cliffs or rocky shorelines meeting the sea. When we visited the Portland Head Lighthouse this afternoon we saw more of this  striking coastline and some classic New England cottages nearby. Here are some of my photos.



That house on the bluff in the foreground is pretty special, I bet.



On foggy days, this powerful lighthouse horn alerts mariners to the dangerous coastline.


Every day in Maine seems to offer us at least one history lesson.


This house and the one in the picture below are typical of those in the neighborhood near the Portland Head Lighthouse.


Rhododendrons are bursting with color all over the state of Maine at this time of year.


Tomorrow we’ll drive to the town of South Hampton in New Hampshire, where we’ll really begin immersing ourselves in early American history. We’ll visit the famous New England seaport of Portsmouth, New Hampshire and we’ll tour Salem and  Gloucester, in Massachusetts. We’ll also photograph the popular art colony and picturesque harbor in Rockport, Maine.

Do you remember reading about the witch hunts in Salem? Or reading Nathaniel Hawthorn’s book, The House of Seven Gables? What about the movie “The Perfect Storm?” The creative fictional story-line takes place near the major fishing port of Gloucester. Have you seen these places? Do you remember reading about them? I’m excited. The last time I visited these places I was all of 15 years old. And that, folks, was one heck of a long time ago! Come back in a few days and I’ll give you an update.


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