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Published: July 24th 2009
As we neared Portland weather was approaching
July 23, 2009
When last we wrote we were dealing with fog and had just experienced the coldest wettest June that the Northeast has ever seen. We were hoping that we would find the Maine we love when we headed "down east" and we haven't been disappointed! We arrived on the 4th of July and have been enjoying mostly sunny days since-- with the occasional magnificent fogs and pouring rain!
Our passage from Massachusetts was a motor sail in the sun-- but it started to cloud over when we neared Portland and we could see the rain approaching. Portland Head light is magnificent and welcomed us as it always does into Portland and Casco Bay. We anchored near Monjoy Hill on the Portland side, and soon realized that we had a front row seat for the City's fireworks display. Lauren joined us on board and we caught up with news as we watched the display. Portland is a lovely city that is easy for cruisers to enjoy. We dock the dinghy at Portland Yacht Services (they do have landing fees) and everything we need is a short walk away. Hamilton Marine, a large well-stocked chandlery, is right next door. Within
Portland Head Light
This lovely light house welcomes you to Portland and Casco Bay
a few short blocks you will find Micucci's Italian grocery (I know... a funny name) with lots of Italian things-- cheese, olive oil, fresh bread, capers and caper berries, Italian cold cuts... Mama Mia! Good thing we were walking so we could limit the amount we bought by what we could carry! There are several great stops on Commercial Street for chowder, but we like the longer walk that brings us to Becky's diner. Haddock chowder there is a meal. Portland also has many GREAT local coffee houses and they all offer WiFi so you can get cozy, sip your coffee and surf the web in comfort. Lauren manages a couple of shops owned by Maine Roasters and we sampled there with pleasure. Standard Bakery is dangerously close... with pecan caramel rolls, croissants and all sorts of other yummy baked goods at very reasonable prices. We are always thrilled to find movie theaters within walking distance of the dinghy dock and we saw several movies in Portland. Soon we needed to get out of town to stop eating and spending money!!
Casco Bay has many fun and beautiful places to visit. We stopped at Peaks to do laundry (good
This small grocery is LOADED with great Italian food, fresh and canned. Good wine, too.
rolls here too...) and Jewell Island to hike and see if the berries were ripe. It looks like it will be a good season for blueberries but the cold weather in June has delayed the ripening. Fog rolled in while we were there and I find it lovely (especially when you don't have to move!! Before it was too thick we dinghied over to a lobster boat working in the area. We asked for $20 worth and were surprised to get 5 nice lobsters! We used to be thrilled to get 4 for that price. While it is nice to get such a treat we lament the terrible prices the lobstermen are getting-- less than $3 a pound at the cooperatives. We have been told that they now welcome selling directly from their boats and there is talk of a strike to reduce the supply, but of course they need their income. Harpswell Island is a must stop for us. Friends, Bob & Sherry on Shamal spend their summers working in the area and it was fun catching up since we hadn't seen them in a while. It is a short hop over to Orrs Island for GREAT chowder. Their
One of Portland's local breweries. We liked the mural.
seafood chowder is just about our all time favorite... and the fresh peach & raspberry pie didn't hurt either. Orrs Island is a great place for a walk as there are lots of lovely houses (ditto on Harpswell) and you can see water from every turn. The bridge between Orrs and Bailey Islands is unique. Constructed of square granite "poles" that are posed in a crisscross crib design for most of the cut. The very center allows fishing boats to pass. It was being refurbished so we got a good look from all angles.
From Potts we hopped over to Eagle Island to visit Admiral Perry's home. After several expeditions his was the first to arrive at the North Pole. There was controversy, of course, and one "problem" was that Perry had no other "white man" on the last leg to the Pole and therefore no one to substantiate the feat! The Island is small but lovely and we enjoyed both the house with its memorabilia and a hike around the island.
We returned to the Portland area via the Goslings, this time choosing Falmouth Foreside instead of the Portland anchorage. Mike on Valkyrie is there and we
Coffee by Design
One of the many locally owned coffee shops in Portland. Great coffee and Wifi at a fair price!
enjoyed catching up with him AND having him drive us to the pizza place. Just as we were making plans Penny & Richard of Viking Rose arrived and joined in the fun. Christian and Richard piled in the back of the truck and we were off for a fun evening of pizza and draft beer. Falmouth is a good choice too, with good protection from nearly every direction (much more comfortable than the anchorage in town) and there is a great little market close by that sells "fresh native ice cubes". Just like South Dakota's Wall Drug that features FREE ice water!
So summer has come to Maine. If you watch you are sure to spy seals poking their heads above the water or sun bathing on shore. The wild rugosa roses are blooming everywhere in tall shrubs and their sweet clove-like scent perfumes the air. Near the water there is a fresh "Maine" smell that melds the seaweed and balsam and iodine in a scent that invigorates the soul. We are so glad to be here!
More soon, Mary & Christian / I Wanda
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