A June 2001 trip
to Portland by Tombrew
Quote: I decided to take a nice relaxing weekend trip up to Maine, where I had never been. I have always loved lighthouses, and wanted to see the famous ones in the Portland area.
Hotel | "Hilton Garden Inn"
The location is good in that once you fly in you can get the hotel check-in over quickly. The room was quiet, for an airport location. The city is only a few minutes away, and I was able to drive and park in downtown in about fifteen minutes. As a Garden Inn, there is a small convenience store in the facility, and a restaurant with booze available. The breakfast is a buffet, with eggs, ham, bacon, etc. as well as cereals and fruit. There were no noisy children running all over, which was nice. I stayed at the government rate of $60, but the posted rate is $119 during the summer. All in all, this place was satisfactory and convenient.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 21, 2001
Hilton Garden Inn Portland Airport
12048 Northeast Airport Way
Portland, Oregon 97220
The first on-premesis beer I ordered was a Bitter - the classic English ale characterized by its maltiness and biting hops. This one was pretty good, not the best, but definitely not bad at all. The bartender was very attentive, and gave great service. All of a sudden, a bunch of locals came in and he knew them all. I could tell because he handed them all their personal mugs which were hanging above.
In the meantime, I ordered a lobster roll, with the usual side of fries. I finished the Bitter, and ordered a Pale Ale. This is an American style beer, characterized by a sweet hoppy taste. It is usually brewed with hops from the northwest region. This beer was very good, and I just started it when the lobster arrived. At $10, this was a good deal. The lobster meat was very fresh and very tasty. The portion was good, and the accompanying fries were tasty as well. All in all, a good experience, and a nice break before facing the crowds in Freeport.
There is also a smaller Gritty's located in downtown Portland.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 21, 2001
396 Fore St.
Portland, Maine 04101
Restaurant | "Sebago Brew Pub"
The first beer I tried (in a 22 ounce glass) was a very tasty India Pale Ale (IPA). I have described these in other journals - they are a very hoppy, almost spicy, bitter English style brew. I love them, particularly on a hot day. This one did not disappoint - it was quite good and fresh. I ordered a lobster sandwich, with a side of fries. Not too fancy, but that's what I like. And, since the first IPA was so good, I had another.
The sandwich was huge, and not too bad. For one fleeting paranoid minute, I thought it may have been "cut" with some pollock or something fake, because the texture was odd. I was assured this was not the case. For $10.95, this was a pretty good deal sizewise. It was good, but not excellent.
All in all, I would definitely go back for the beer and for the cool location.
Sebago Brewing Co
164 Middle Street
Portland, Maine 04101
Attraction | "Lighthouses in Cape Elizabeth area"
After leaving here, you will of course want to see the Two Lights Lighthouse. To get there, leave the park, and go left on Shore Road for about three miles. Go left on Highway 77, pass through the "downtown" of Cape Elizabeth, and after a couple of miles, go left at the sign for Two Lights State Park. Drive for a few miles, and do not enter the park. Instead , bear to the left at a fork, and go to the end of the road. And there it is. You can see another inactive lighthouse as well (hence, "two lights").
There are some really cool rocks that jut out into the water here, and you can walk on out there. There is also an excellent restaurant here, but I was too early for that. Once you leave, you will want to see the lighthouses of South Portland, so go back out the way you came in, and read the next journal.
Portland Head Lighthouse
1000 Shore Road
Cape Elizabeth 04107
The first one was the Spring Point Light. This is set in an area between two old forts, one on the mainland and one on an island. This lighthouse is on a jetty that extends out a couple of hundred yards into the water, and you can walk out there and touch it. There is also a small but nice Maritime Museum next to it. To get there from the Two Lights, head back up Highway 77 and back onto Shore Road (a right). Pass the Williams Park that you visited previously, and when you get to an Irving gas station, hang a right on Preble Street. Drive for a half mile through Willard Square, and turn right on Fort Road. You will be on a campus of a technical school. Keep driving to the water, and park. You are there.
After seeing this lighthouse, you will now proceed to the Bug Light - a little guy. Go back onto the campus, and hang a right at the four way stop. Keep driving along the breakwater, curving through some industrial buildings. Go into the Spring Point marina, follow the road to the end, and you are there.
This location is great, because you are looking right across the water at Portland. This is a great view, and a good photo op.
Lighthouses of South Portland
Attraction | "Downtown Portland"
I love the towns where downtown is the central focus. Atlanta is not like that at all, and that is too bad. These are the towns of character and continuity.
Parking is a bit tight, and I have no real recommendations on where to park. I finally found a spot on the street in a lesser inhabited area. But it was safe. I recommend a visit to this neat city for anyone wanting a "romantic experience."
Downtown Portland/City Center
Between Interstate Highway 5 and 405
Portland, Oregon 97204
I always had this image of an old rustic building standing alone in a bog somewhere; what I saw was an ultramodern building alongside what appeared to be 783 outlet stores of every retailer in the US. Parking was a bit scarce, but I found a free spot nearby off of Main Street, walked over, and entered.
God, I love this place!! All the cool stuff was in there!! There were tons of clothes for camping, fishing, hiking, biking, and travelling; there was an incredible bicycle section, and equally impressive camping area; backpacks, luggage, books, shoes, kayaks, canoes, fishing stuff. I could have spent days in this place, but only was here for two hours.
For you shoppers out there, and you know who you are, Freeport is your Nirvana. I will give them credit - it is tacky, but the buildings are in the old Maine style, so it is not too much of a visual nightmare.
As I have said, you can get there by using Exit 19 off of I-95, go right and then a quick left on Highway 1, which becomes Main Street. One great thing about using this exit is that on the way, you guessed it, there is a brewpub called Gritty McDuff's (or just Gritty's).
Marina del Rey, California