Day 4: Lobsters and Lighthouses
June 9, 2019
Lobster rolls are a well known local food. They consist of Lobster salad, put on a hotdog bun. They are quite tasty. They're also at least 8 bucks apiece.
We started out slowly today, and I like it. A breakfast sandwich from the deli down the block, lattes from a coffee place along the way, and a wander through Portland. Our intent was to go to the 48th annual Old Port Festival, a major event here and one we used to go to back when we lived here. The rest of the day will shake out how it shakes out and we'll take it as it goes.
New Englanders have an unnatural attachment to Dunkin Donuts. I'm talking to you Ed Asci (a Tennessee friend originally from Boston).
It is supposed to be the last Old Port Festival ever. We ask people why and in typical Portland fashion (something we remember from when we lived here), someone in city government had made the decision and given no reason. We found that a lot when we lived here, it was one of the more frustrating things we dealt with. It seems this has not changed. We thought that perhaps the crowds had fell off or the merchants no longer wanted it around. So we decided to investigate for ourselves.
They can't say that the Old Port Festival doesn't draw a crowd.....
What we found defied all logic (at least Portland city government logic, or lack thereof). The crowds were HUGE. Tens of thousands of people had turned out to enjoy the festival. Maybe the merchants in the area didn't want it anymore. Funny....every merchant we went in had a petition on the counter to keep the Old Port Festival going and they were mobbed with customers. This brings back memories of some of the things we DIDN'T like about Portland when we left, and the city government was way up on the list.
We jump into the crowd, enjoying music on several different stages, food booths selling all sorts of unhealthy but very fun foods, artists from the area selling their work, it was quite the party! And it seemed that half the people in Portland were there. Lots of kid friendly stuff, the bars along the way were rocking, the restaurants were at capacity, it was a huge addition to the local economy. It will make a huge dent when it is gone. Government here showed very little foresight when we were here and 32 years later......nothing has changed.
Another northern thing. The metal rod on the fire hydrant is there for a reason. It is painted in stripes so it is very visible........sticking out of a snow drift. They do this so the snow plows don't destroy them and the fire department can find them.
After wandering the festival, we grab a great lunch at Bao Bao Dumpling House and head out to the eastern promenade to take in the view. We follow this up with a trip to Spring Point Ledge Light in South Portland. The lighthouse meets land at the local community college and the two have coexisted together for decades. The lighthouse is like a defacto mascot for the college, not to mention a great landmark to find it by.
Fishermen, photographers, and people out for the day love to come to Spring Point Ledge Light. Great views all around make it a great place to visit.
The rock jetty going out to the lighthouse is open to the public and we used to walk it when we lived here. It is made of huge chunks of granite with rather large gaps between them. While you don't have to be in great shape to take the walk, I wouldn't take someone with stability or balance problems as the risk of falling is too great.
Spring Point Ledge Light, with Fort Gorges in the background. To the right is Peaks Island, where we used to live. Every day on the ferry we went past these places, and the gorgeous became commonplace.
Kids love it as they climb and jump from rock to rock. A photographer was shooting a model on the jetty while we were there with the lighthouse as a beautiful backdrop. The view of the harbor is unmatched, and some weekdays you can actually go up in the lighthouse itself. The city is right across the harbor and you can be there until ten at night and watch the city light up as the sun goes down. Suffice to say......it's cool.
Fort Prebble, an old civil war fort, at the community college and lighthouse. If you look southward (in the background), you'll see the world famous Portland Head Light.
We start back towards Portland and stop at a South Portland institution open since 1952. Red's Dairy Freeze has tasty ice cream and big crowds. The place was even around when Laurie was a kid living in South Portland. We had a treat, then headed back to Portland for a stroll along the waterfront.
The new Portland cruise ship terminal!
We walk in the area that used to be Bath Iron Works, a military contractor that builds naval ships. BIW (as it is known locally) is actually in the town of Bath, north of Portland. They would use the Portland shipyard and drydock for repairs and final fittings on BIW ships. I don't know the full story but the ship yard is now gone, with a waterfront path running through and a new terminal that welcomes over 80 cruise ships a year. There are multiple cruise lines doing the New England circuit. If that's your thing, you can get here that way.
Dinner at Becky's Diner. Lobster for Laurie and whole fried Maine clams for me.
From here we decide to get a bit of dinner then head back to the apartment to get things ready for tomorrow (we start heading home). We stop at Becky's Diner, down on the working part of the waterfront. We have a wonderful seafood dinner, Laurie of course opting for lobster and I having fried Maine clams. The waitresses are great, the food is superb, and the desserts are sinful. We split a piece of blueberry pie and vowed to stop our decadent vacation eating habits.
Today was simple.....but it was nice. I love just wandering around with Laurie and today was exactly that. I had a good day. Tomorrow we start our trip home.