Thursday, September 10, 2015

Maine: Portland area (#3)

     There are hundreds of islands around the Portland area, each with its own personality and history.  The one in this photo is taken a point named Land's End on Bailey's Island, an island of several square miles.  According to legend a minister purchased it in 1742 for a pound of tobacco and a gallon of rum.

     Two more lighthouses grace this point, Pond Island Lighthouse and Seguin Island Lighthouse.

     In yesterday's article we took a "bird's eye view" of Portland.  An interesting aspect of this town is how they have maintained a working waterfront that directly abuts the downtown area.

     Most towns have pushed their industry aside in favor of development and tourism.  Here the residents made a decision when the first condo unit (pictured above) went up on the water front.  They wanted not just to keep the marine industries viable, they wanted them to be a part of the community.  And so they passed a unique building code.  

     There is a street that parallels the working waterfront named Commerce Street.  There are to be no buildings or any other changes done to this side of that street unless they directly enhance marine industries.

     What it gives is a lot of character to the downtown area.  Visitors can choose from dozens of fresh seafood markets and dozens of restaurants that are on the water.

     There are numerous murals and sculptures around the area - there is an impressive art museum for folks to enjoy as well.  Among its 17,000 items are some original works by Picasso and Monet. 

     I still thing a well maintained trawler is a work of art in itself.  

     Here is a new spin - a smaller boat hauled up on the back of the boat.

     I couldn't quite wrap my head around this sign though.

     Somehow it doesn't fit with the vision I had when we sang "Home on the Range" back in elementary school.

      I am told the specie of seagull here is the largest in the world.  That's a bagel in his mouth.

     The juveniles are brown in color, but mature quite quickly.  They are all quick to fight over a scrap of food, but the adults seem to let the juveniles "win" a good percentage of the time.

     Driving down the road I caught a flash in the sky - the Blue Angels were in the area.

     This last weekend there was an airshow at an old naval air station in Brunswick Maine.  I slid in on the tarmac on Friday night before the show got started.

     Locals say that the show was free for many decades, but now tickets cost up to eighty bucks a pop.

     How do these things even fly?  

     One of Portland's own is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

     This guy was the original "rock star" in this country.  Merchandisers fought to have his endorsement on their products.

     The house he grew up, along with all the original contents, in was donated to the Maine Historical Society by his sister back in 1902.

     It is a neat time capsule.  Longfellow lived from 1807 to 1882, and was the first American poet to make a living writing poetry.

     His published his first poem in the local paper at the age of 13.  He signed it under a pen name, and the evening it was published a friend of his father's visited.  His father's friend talked about his horrible poem that the paper printed, but obviously it didn't dissuade the young writer.  

    There are a number of houses with unique looks.  I am told this one is haunted - but details are conflicting.  

     There are a lot of stylish houses along the banks that overlook the water.  I like this entryway.

     But the Maine home architectural feature that has brought me the most enjoyment is the "build it to the barn" style.

     It gets pretty cold here - 30 below is not uncommon.  Perhaps the winter walk out to milk the cows motivated this building style. 

     Some of them are so well done they almost look like they were built that way to start with.  

     A tradition in downtown Portland has a chain link fence sagging.  

     It seems that over the years it has become tradition for engaged couples to write their names on a lock and attach it to this fence.  I estimated about eight thousand locks.  

     There seems to be an older Indian tradition here - basket weaving.  I only found it in museums so far, I would love to find some basket weavers.  

     The museum have some very attractive examples of the work.

     Here is a photo on the wall of the museum showing a man holding one.  It gives a better idea of scale.

     A couple of the local sculptures stood out to me.  This one is in a lake along the highway as you enter Portland from the north.

     If you were sharp-eyed in yesterday's article, you saw this next sculpture(?) in the photo of the cruise ship.

     It is called "Unpack" and was done by a fellow named Andy Rosen.  All he has to say on the placard is that it is a statement about mankind's queer relationship with stuff.

     I found a good shot to give perspective on what happens to the rivers here when the snow melts in the spring.  This is in the town of Topsham, an old mill that has been renovated.

     Here is that same mill during the spring melt.  

     Since this photo a dam was installed upstream.  

     That brings us to today's "Faces in the Crowd."

     I got a huge chuckle out of this guy.  This machine promptly ate the quarter he put in it.  After banging on the machine in frustration a couple of times, he caught himself and turning toward his girlfriend and I said in broken English:  "It took my sense !!"  (¢)  

     Today's parting shot is the reverse side of a sign welcoming you to Portland's working waterfront.  

     If you can contribute a few dollars to help with this effort, Click Here.  You can email me at

Make it a great day !!

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