Class: Travel Tips/Advice
Date: 23rd November, 2017
Portland has grown from a small colonial seaport to Maine’s largest metropolitan area (and one of the hippest towns on the East Coast) over the past 400 years. In the last few decades, urban renewal projects breathed new life into the historic waterfront and downtown areas, where trendy restaurants and galleries sit side by side with handsome heritage landmarks. Despite this city’s cultural and culinary flair, it is still a thriving fishing port offering a bit of classic grit alongside its new graciousness.
Historic and Architectural Landmarks
Portland is blessed with well-preserved structures once occupied by prominent residents. Pay a visit to Victoria Mansion, a brownstone Italianate villa completed in 1860 as a summer home for hotelier Ruggles Sylvester Morse. The Wadsworth-Longfellow House, once owned by the family of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, is now a museum with beautiful gardens. Look up at the chandelier in the family’s home church, First Parish. It contains a cannonball shot into the church during the 1775 attack on Portland by the British Royal Navy. The Tate House was constructed in 1775 for Capt. George Tate, senior mast agent for the British Royal Navy, and is one of the oldest Colonial-era mansions in the USA.
For a dose of maritime and military history, head across the bay to Bug Light Park, a former World War II shipyard that launched a record number of ships in a single day. Now, it features sweeping views of the Portland cityscape and is home to Portland Breakwater Light and the Liberty Ship Memorial. Further down the coast, you’ll find Portland Head Light, the first U.S. lighthouse commissioned by President George Washington in 1787.
Population: 640,000 (2016)
Fun fact: Portland is home to the International Cryptozoology Museum, which holds stuffed jackalopes, yeti footprints casts and a model of Bigfoot.