Finally, as promised, Portland, Maine!
Like Boston, entering a historic New England city by sea is a good way to do it. It was the way that English Naval Captain Christopher Levett arrived in 1623 to settle the Portland area. His ship would probably fit in a dining room of the Carnival Triumph, the cruise ship I was on.
Like so many old cities in the United States, the old downtown area, now called the Old Port section, with its art college and art colony, entertainment venues and many restaurants is the city’s main tourist attraction. Also like many cities, a modern mall in another area of town is the main shopping center. Our tour bus didn’t go there. It’s the historic stuff that pulls in the tourists.
When you get into the names of historically significant Portland natives, number one would have to be Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the most popular poet in the world during the middle and late 1800’s. His poems include The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere and Hiawatha. He is the only American represented with a bust in the Poet’s Corner of London’s Westminster Abbey. Buried in that corner are the great English writers including Chaucer, Dickens, Elliot, and Wordsworth.
Probably the biggest tourist attraction in the Portland area is the Portland Head Light Lighthouse. This New England icon was built at President George Washington’s insistence. Using whale oil as fuel, it was first lit in 1790. It attracts more than a million visitors a year. The one negative is that it has no public restrooms with plumbing, only a long row of porta-potties. Come on, folks, restrooms don’t cost that much.
Part of the attraction for taking a New England-Canadian cruise in October was to see the turning leaves in all of their glory. We saw very few that would make you want to start humming “Autumn Leaves.” In fact, you really don’t have to leave Georgia to see beautiful turning leaves.
Now, on to St. John, New Brunswick, Canada.