October 6, 2011

The Best Tour of Portland We've Ever Had

We started the morning at the prison store.  Yes, the prison store.  You see, prisoners in Maine produce beautiful, handcrafted items, and the State Prison Showroom in Tomaston sells the items.  The store is a regular stop for tour buses, and with good reason.  Most of the items are crafted of wood and are extremely well-priced.  From wood cutting boards to model ships to small tables and chairs, you can find lots of things to spend your money on.  We left empty-handed, but the visit was a fun one.

The Maine Prison Store, Where Even the Sign Is Handcrafted
We meandered our way down Route 1 and stopped for lunch in Bath, Maine, a shipbuilding town that is reinventing itself.  Lunch at Betty’s was perfect, particularly the apple pie.  Who says that you can’t have apple pie two days in a row?  Besides, this one was so much better.  Plus, we got to meet Betty, who made the pie.

Bath City Hall
Downtown Bath

Only One Of Us Wanted Whipped Cream on the Apple Pie
We couldn’t pass Freeport without a stop at L.L. Bean.  Freeport is the flagship store of L.L. Bean, and the store seems to be a mecca for the outdoor enthusiast.  We did not leave empty-handed here, although we did restrain ourselves.

The Quintessential L.L. Bean Canvas Bag
This evening we are visiting an old friend who lives just north of Portland, Maine.  I’ve known Steve for years, but haven’t seen him in a very long time.  Steve treated us to a fabulous tour of downtown Portland, as well as several historic neighborhoods in the city.  Then it was off to Cape Elizabeth and the Portland Head Light, the area’s signature lighthouse.

A Very Windy Day for Sarah and Steve

Portland Head Light

A Stately Lighthouse

The Rocky Coast of Maine
The whirlwind tour continued with a loop through Prouts Neck, an exclusive area dotted with fabulous “cottages,” many of which were built by wealthy seasonal residents during the nineteenth and early twentieth century.  Dinner at Joe’s Boathouse on the harbor was delicious.  I couldn’t resist the risotto with spinach and shrimp, while Tim had the swordfish special.  We ended the evening at Gingko Blue, a jazz and blues lounge in the Old Port area, where we listened to a local jazz band perform. 

Having Steve show us his city was wonderful.  We could sit back and enjoy the tour and not have to worry about which way to go.  Being able to stay out late at night was an added bonus.  We’ve shied away from that because we don’t want to return to a campground when it’s dark.  It’s often hard enough to back into a site, level the RV and hookup in the daylight, plus we don’t want to disturb our neighbors.  We’ll probably save evenings out to those nights we stay in hotels.

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