Welcome back to Maine…
After the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Home the next stop on the walk is the oldest skyscraper in Maine, The Fedility Trust Co. Building. Which is festooned with the faces of the Beaux Arts movement.
As well as one of the most decorative Night Deposits I have ever seen. I made my way to the public library.
Outside the gleaming glass and concrete cubist designed building are various works of arts depicting the cultural influences inherent in a port city.
After the modern structure of the library, I moved onto the oldest church in Portland. The First Parish Church became a meeting site for colonists in the 1740s, however, Portland numerous fires hindered the survival of the initial wooden structure. The Freeport supplied granite structure you see here was completed in 1826.
Inside the doors, which were locked (shaking my hand like an old curmudgeon) is a relic cannonball. Actually, Portland’s humor comes through with this little tidbit; see in 1775 a British Navel Captian, Henry Mowatt bombarded the fine freedom seeking citizens of then called Falmouth Neck and succeeded in destroying 2/3rds the town. The citizens of the city have preserved at least two of these cannonballs for posterity. One…is woven into the chandelier of this church. I don’t know about you, but that gives me a fit of chuckles.
City Hall sits at the end of Exchange Street. The imposing structure was erected in 1912 and boasts one of the most beautiful gilded halls known as Merrill Auditorium…or so I have read since, I wasn’t allowed to go in there either…hmm. I did see some of the fine features, before I was asked “Can I help you?” You know that tone that says “You really shouldn’t be here, and why ARE you taking pictures?”
Outside, many Mainers (as I think they preferred to be called) reveled in the warmth of the sun.
These guys were trouble personified walking through the town. Seemed there were many men who had free time to roam the city streets that day. I am not sure if they were summer workers who were wanting for something constructive to do or not. I do know they were a little loud, exploring possible drug purchases and swore like sailors. Just when I thought the day would take an uncomfortable turn, I spotted PeeWee spray painted on the Visitor’s Center Booth. How scary can a place be when PeeWee is in the vicinity?
Here is Mark’s Dog’s. His photo was recently featured in PortCity Life’s April foodie issue.
Heading down Exchange Street is the second cannonball to thumb it’s nose at any would be harm doers. I tell you this makes me so happy to see this kind of expression in city architecture. New York is so serious with glass and concrete, Chicago has so much building competition, it’s just nice to see a city display a little whimsy.
Much of the Old Port section of Portland still retains the charm of European influence. As seen here…
Part of this time warp effect is owed to the longstanding traditional port activity. As a matter fact, Portland boasts the longest continuously used U.S. Customs House.
(Vintage effect provided by The Pioneer Woman‘s Actions, Thanks Ree!)
Ahh..back to reality of today. Last week, the city was in an excited state. Repairs were being done in anticipation of the burgeoning tourist season (Official start May 1). Hopes for a busy summer were on all shop keepers lips.
Shops were opening and sampling their wares. Portland has a robust “Buy Local” Campaign encouraging customers to support locally owned shops and local artisans.
Check out this herringbone weave.
And now we come to what people visit to see…The Perfect Port City
And to see sights like…
Ring, Ring…”Hello? “
“Do you have Prince Albert in a can?”
“Why yes, yes I do.”
“Let him out, let him out!”
Okay, maybe people don’t visit for THAT sight. But they certainly come for terrific seafood. Most of the take out places, like Portland Lobster Co. are closed until May 1st.
“Umm, yes. I would like an intelligent, funny kind guy with a side of strapping good looks to go please.”
I was advised one of the best places Portlanders go for fish fry is the Porthole on Commercial Wharf. AND HOW! Friendly, clean, fresh and economical.
And they serve beer too!
One final take-away I have about Portland is it is a dog friendly place. There were at least three dog doodad stores that I saw on my tour, including the HQ for Planet Dog.
I bought Beau a lobster at Fetch.
Well…that was my day in Portland…on to Cape Elizabeth Monday.
You know…I will…and I can’t wait.