They say that with all the harbors, inlets, bays and peninsulas that create Maine’s really dramatic coastline, that you could fit all of the world’s Navies into the harbors and still have room!
The coast is almost the home of boats – both big and small, with small fishing villages scattered all along the coastline and rivers. They all are quaint, some big, some small – so just driving along and coming across a new village is what makes travelling so much fun. The bigger the village, the more likely you are to find shops and people, and the opposite is true if the village is small.
The whole mix of water views, hillsides, church steeples, old homes dotted around a harbor, a mix of yachts, small pleasure boats and working fishing boats, all create this picture perfect scene. These are just a few of the great little villages that you might look for or stumble upon – Castine, Belfast, Freeport, Wiscasset, Stonington, Lubec, Camden, Bath, Cutler, Permaquid Point, Damariscotta, Boothbay Harbor and Cundy’s Harbor – but this list is by no means all of the great little villages that you will find. Happy Exploring!
Portland – is Maine’s biggest city with a population of around 66,000 people. It is located on Casco Bay, with small islands just off its coastline, with a Ferry service that will take you from Portland to Peaks Island, Little Diamond, Great Diamond, Long Island, Chebeaugue and Cliff Island.
The City was first established by the British who arrived here in 1632 to establish the Fishing and trading settlement on the waterfront. In 1866 much of the then town was destroyed by fire, but was then rebuilt and today you can see many of the old mansions, warehouses, wharves and streets in the downtown around the Harbor from the 1800’s that give Portland much of its atmosphere.
It is still very much a working port city, with fishing boats lining the waterfront and other boats, ferries and yachts all here too. The Nova Star ferry that takes passengers to Nova Scotia is also located here too. Visit the Harbor Fish Market at 9 Custom House Wharf and you will see lobsters, but also mussels, crabs, and fish of all types here for sale, including Cod, Haddock, Sole, Flounder and many other fish types.
If you want to catch a Lobster yourself, check out www.luckycatch.com at 170 Commercial Street, Portland. Tel: (207) 761 0941.
These are some of the things to see in Portland –
- Portland Visitor Information Center – 14 Ocean Gateway Pier. Tel: (207) 772 5800.
- Down East Duck Tours – 94 Commercial Street. See downduckcruises.com Tel: (207) 774 3825. Travel on the land and water on this tour.
- Casco Bay Cruises – see cascobaylines.com 56 Commercial Street. Tel: (207) 774 7871.
- The Scenic Route Tour – 177 Commercial Street, see thescenicroutemaine.com Tel: (207) 518 3342. Travel in a group of 12 people in a van with commentary.
- HOUSES/MANSIONS – see Tate House (1755) 1270 Westbrook Street. See tatehouse.org Tel: (207) 774 6177; Victoria Mansion(1860) – 109 Danforth Street. See www.victoriamansion.org Tel: (207) 772 4841; Wadsworth-Longfellow House (1785-86) – 489 Congress Street. See www.hwlongfellow.org Tel: (207) 774 1822.
- Portland Museum of the Arts- 7 Congress Street. See portlandmuseum.org Tel: (207) 775 6148. There are other galleries close by here too.
- Portland Observatory – (1807) a wooden maritime signal tower at 138 Congress Street. Tel: (207) 774 5561.
- City Hall – (1909) is located at 389 Congress Street.
- Portland Head Light – (1791) the first lighthouse in the USA, it was commissioned by George Washington. It is located at 1000 Shore Rd. Cape Elizabeth, in Fort Williams See www.portheadlight.com Tel: (207) 799 2661. Also www.fortwilliamspark.org There is a beach here, and in winter you can sled, and sometimes skate too. The old ruins of the Goddard Mansion (1857) are here too.
- Fort Allen Park – is located on Eastern Promenade next to Casco Bay. The park was started in 1836 and occupies around 68 acres of grounds, with a 2.1 mile walkway along it. Eastern Promenade also has a number of big old historic homes here too overlooking the Bay.
- Kayak and Paddle Boards – see portlandpaddle.net Tel: (207) 370 9730. Located at Cutter Street and Eastern Promenade. Hire or take a lesson or tours. Also www.maineislandkayak.com 70 Luther Street. Tel: (207) 766 2373.
- Maine Narrow Guage Railroad – operates from May to October and is located at 58 Fore Street. See mainenarrowguage.org Tel: (207) 828 0814. It runs along a narrow 2 feet wide track.
- Spring Hill Ledge Lighthouse – (1897) is located at the end of the breakwater at 14 Fort Rd, South Portland.
- BEER TOURS – this can be a lot of fun to do, getting to learn about brewing and cart brewers. See mainebeertours.com 180 Commercial Street. Tel: 207 553 0898 and www.mainebrewbus.com at 181 State Street, Suite 301. Tel: (207) 200 9111. Also see www.shipyard.com Tel: (207) 370 9730.
- Food and restaurants – as you would expect, there is great food to enjoy here in Maine, from Lobster and seafood, to all other culinary delights. There is also a Foodie Tour too – see mainefoodietours.com at 227 Commercial Street. Tel: (207) 233 7485.
- SHOPPING – head downtown to the Arts area along Congress Street and for a big shopping Mall head to 364 Maine Mall Rd, South Portland. For Outlet stores head to Kittery Premium Outlets at Freeport (20 minutes north of Portland) located on Route 1, near the Southern Main Beach area. The massive 220,000 square foot outdoor clothing store LL Bean is here too at 95 Main Street, Freeport.