Portland Travel Blog

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Posted a quick piece on a Bug Light and noticed my Portland entry has a “boat load” of reviews but no regular entry.  So its time to tidy this entry up and offer a few thoughts on Portland.


The important thing to realize is that Portland is a peninsula with an extended and well protected harbor that eventually led to successful settlement despite the bitter winters.  It would also lead to Portland serving as the home for the US Atlantic Fleet during WWII.  An interesting legacy of Portland is that Portland, Oregon is named after its sister in Maine – a Mainer was involved in establishing the town in Oregon and won a coin toss to earn the rights (otherwise it would have been Boston, Oregon).


Many things about Portland involve change – it was originally part of a town named Falmouth (now a town just north), with the harbor area becoming known as Falmouth Neck.  It wasn’t until after America gained independence that the village was re-named Portland.  And even then, the entire state was part of Massachusetts!


In 1820 Maine broke away to become an independent State, with Portland as its capital.  Even this changed, with Augusta becoming the capital in 1832 despite most of the population subsisting near Portland (today around 500,000 of Maine’s 1.3 million inhabitants live in the greater Portland area).  Receiving and building ships would be the hallmark of Portland industry, more recently being supplanted by tourism.


Old Port, replete with cobblestone streets, boat docks and old brick buildings is far and away the most prosperous district these days, but as late as the 1970’s it was a run-down bastion for derelicts.  Truly a testament to sage city planning, the town and community came together to rehab this wonderful area.  Still, there are many other great neighborhoods with interesting facets: do a web search on the East End, the West End, the Arts District or Munjoy Hill and you will turn up something of interest.  Or just ask me --- if you haven’t noticed I enjoy talking about Maine!

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photo by: mrgishi