Who could not love a city that boasts miles of bicycle lanes, a scenic harbor, a couple of microbreweries, miles of ridiculously beautiful coastal byways, AND a cemetery chartered in 1668? Portland, Maine – we have hardly touched these beautiful sights, but we are hooked.
We decided to explore the city from our (somewhat) nearby campsite at Bradbury Mountain SP by bicycle. We drove about 10 miles toward the city, then parked the truck in a Forest Preserve trailhead about 6 miles outside the city. The bicycling roads from that point into the city were fantastic – wide bicycle lanes and fairly low-traffic roads. Even a construction zone had its own bicycle lane! If you’re not a regular cyclist, you can’t imagine how wonderful this was to find.
Our first stop in the city was (of course) a bicycle shop. We perused all the shiny new bikes (wishful thinking), and purchased a local bicycling map. Armed with this, and the helpful advice of one of the bike shop guys on what sights we should see, we headed off to the harbor area. So much going on here, that it’s hard to imagine – my favorite remembrance will be the loud woman announcing, “here we ahr – pahrk the cahr.” I LOVE these Maine accents.
The Eastern Cemetery, chartered in 1668 is on the National Historic Register – it’s a treasure. Over 3000 graves tell the stories of 350 years of life in this area. So many of the graves mark the final resting place for babies, toddlers, and those barely old enough to have come into their own in their early 20s. It’s hard to imagine such an inhospitable life. I always wish that I had equipped myself with tracing paper and a pencil or chalk when I visit such a place.
We cycled around the city to the Liberty Ship monument – these were supply ships built in Portland, as quick and easy freight/supply haulers for WWII needs.. They were not glamorous – just war horses to haul goods. You are all familiar with Rosie the Riveter – Portland celebrates Wendy the Welder. Near the Monument is the Bug Light Lighthouse – one of the most ornate lighthouses I have ever seen. The park for this area is green and clean – we had bought a wonderful rosemary foccacia and some smoked salmon tartare to enjoy while taking in the sights. Can’t imagine a more wonderful setting to enjoy an impromptu picnic lunch.
Back at camp, we were delighted to discover that another T@B trailer had landed! It’s a breath of air in a jungle of RVs and noisy generators. We shared a campfire with our new friends Dave and Sheila from Newport News, VA.They’re using their furlough from government jobs to explore territory north of their home. Of course, we exchanged tips on favorite campsites, and the awesomeness of being T@Bbers (we include ourselves in this elite group).
Tomorrow, we’re moving onto Lake Sebago SP for one last night in Maine woods.