Thursday, May 26, 2011

Old Port, Portland, Maine


While New England has some world-class and interesting cities, one of the most interesting is Portland, Maine.
  • There is plenty to find if one in on a cultural quest, including The Portland Museum of Art with its Homers, Kents and Wyeths housed in its three buildings.  (One designed by John Calvin Stevens and another by Henry Cobb of I.M. Pei.)  My favorite is City Hall Auditorium,  now officially known as Merrill Auditorium, and its sizable pipe organ (in fact, the oldest municipal pipe organ in the country, donated by publisher Cyrus Curtis).  In the summer one can enjoy weekly concerts featuring major musicians from all over the world, including the brilliant organist and friend, Yale's Tom Murray.
  • Portland is also known for its working waterfront (which admittedly now includes regular stops by cruise ships). The Old Port section is famous for its small shops and cobblestone streets (especially pretty during the holidays), as well as some rough and tumble bars.   
  • The Jetport is one on the most pleasant and easy to access airports.
  • And despite Maine being one of the least diverse states in the country (and many years it tops the list) there are over 60 languages spoken in its public school system.

But there is one feature that is both especially impressive and representative.  Portland has become one of the top destinations in the country for its food.   As a result, not only can one enjoy fresh and exquisite meals in town,  but residents also enjoy the benefits of the growing number of organic farms that have sprung up in the outlying areas of the city to meet the needs of the restaurant business.  


















24 comments:

suburban prep said...

I went to Portland once when it was a stop on a New England cruise. I loved the whole New England area and Portland is such a beautiful town.

Raulston said...

M. You & C. Aldrich always capture New England so effortlessly in your storybook of photographs. Another exceptional showing

Susan R said...

I love this town. It reminds me of Newport, Or. or Mystic, Conn.

Tammy B said...

I spent a week in Portland two years ago. I loved it. I'm going again at the end of the summer. What's not to like about Portland.

Joy said...

This place looks so darling and cute. Definitely will plan for a road trip there.

Anonymous said...

My family makes a point to spend at least a day in Portland when we go to Maine each year. Walking around the Old Port is one of my favorite parts of the vacation.

Miss M said...

Another Portland lover here. I used to live there years ago and always have a great time when I visit now.Have you been to the newly revamped State Theater? Top of the East? They are on my must do list for my next visit.

Bourbon&Pearls said...

My heart is skipping a beat, I lived there from the ages of 21 to 23 when I wasengaged to A N Other. I would love to go back and show it to my husband some day, I really loved New England. Well aside from the freezing cold, I have never known anything like it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip. Looks gorgeous. Is there enough to do for a family with two girls aged 18 and 13? We live in Brookline, MA and so we can do it in a day but the kiddos tend to want "stuff to do".

Sum

Debra said...

Luckily I live here year round. It is quite something, isn't it?
Welcome to any visitors to Portland and beyond!
I will be there tomorrow, shopping for a Mother-of-the-bride dress for my sister.
Exchange Street and a few undiscovered special places!
Do come and enjoy.... xxx

Muffy Aldrich said...

@suburban prep - The view is so lovely from the water!

@Raulston - And you are always so exceptionally gracious. C. appreciates the nod!

@Susan R - Yes, Mystic has that old maritime feel and I enjoyed your pictures of Newport, OR.

lorrwill said...

I am thinking that I need to get the heck out of California and head back to that coast.

In fact, to New England, to get a little cottage by the sea and live an authentic life.

Buildings not using fossil fuels, organic farms, neighbors who actually talk to each other, SIGH!

Muffy Aldrich said...

@Tammy B - Have a wonderful trip. The end of the summer is an especially pretty time in Maine.

@Joy - Perfect distance for a road trip!

@Anonymous - What a nice tradition, and it is so non-stressful to navigate.

@Miss M - Yes and no!

Muffy Aldrich said...

@Bourbon&Pearls - I like the cold. It keeps the riffraff out! No one wants to swim in water this cold.

@Sum - Do they like to eat and shop? You can always add a stop in Kittery on the way back if its a bust. (Freeport would add another hour of travel.)

@Debra - Have a wonderful time tomorrow. It sounds so nice and at least you shouldn't have any rain!

@lorrwill - All the reasons I so love the Maine coast.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that works. Eating and shopping (although not for terribly expensive things) is exactly what they like doing. Thanks. Sum

Anonymous said...

Just to remind everyone that while as a state we have fewer people of color than others, the historic backgrounds of Mainers are diverse: French Canadian, Acadian, Irish, Swedish, Russian, Finnish, Italian, Micmac, Maliseet, Passamaquody, Penobscot, others I'm leaving out, and, you bet, old Yankees like Muffy. You can visit many of these old settlements and hear these varied accents in every day speech. And as noted, we've had more recent immigration from all corners of the world. So I always take a little issue with hearing that we are not diverse. Come and see!

Muffy Aldrich said...

@Anonymous - While many people to whom I speak know that Maine is one of the least diverse states (Census: Maine oldest, whitest state in nation, WolframAlpha), most do not know of the diversity of Portland (CityTownInfo). Having said that, I agree with your points about different cultures.

Anonymous said...

Greetings from the other Portland (Oregon)! I've always wanted to visit our namesake and my parents did get the opportunity last fall. It looks like a very lovely city in a beautiful state!

Anonymous said...

I can never pass the Portland airport on 95 going north without looking to my right and seeing the nondescript motel where Mohammed Atta and several other terrorists stayed the night before 9/11. I remember scrambling up to our house in Blue Hill from the NY Metro to escape the horror and realizing that there was no place in the country not touched by those events.

Muffy Aldrich said...

@Anonymous - Likewise! Thanks for stopping by.

@Anonymous - To this day, every time I drive past it, I get the same sick feeling in my stomach.

Issy said...

I'm so glad you did a post on Portland! I go to Bowdoin and my friends and I make it a habit to go to Portland on the weekends. We usually head out to Cape Elizabeth to pay a visit to the Portland Head Light, which is suprisingly incredibly beautiful in the winter as well as the summer.

Muffy Aldrich said...

@Issy - Bowdoin is fabulous and I'll probably do a post on it in the fall. Portland Head Light is beautiful in any season indeed.

Anonymous said...

Muffy, what's a romantic place to stay for a few nights in Old Portland? Thanks--I appreciate your thoughts!

Muffy Aldrich said...

@Anonymous 1:16 - Either The Danforth or Pomegranate Inn come to mind, as well as nearby Grey Havens Inn. Also check out some surrounding places mentioned in this older post and comments.