What does Portland Maine compare to…?
It’s a yard worker, sitting beside the water’s edge, looking out over the harbor, his pant legs are frayed to the shape of his boots, and he’s eating a gourmet lunch from a high-tech lunchbox.
Portland is a happy mix of old and new. The waterfront is a real working commercial force – hauling $616.5 million in fish alone.
The wharves and quays are home to numerous tour boat companies, ferry boat companies, tugboats, container terminals, shipyards, yacht brokers, restaurants and bars. The balmy summer months bring schools of tourists swarming, and cruise ships spill thousands of souvenir–seeking–leaf-peepers every Autumn – like a pregnant seahorse.
Moving up the hillside into downtown; 18th century federal style buildings sit uncomfortably next to their modern, multi-storied, grandchildren. The new generation – made from; triple pained glass; brushed stainless steel; and polished basalt – stand brazenly against their aging ancestors.
The emerging modern city is rising from the clunky cobbled streets – which are quickly disappearing into the sinkholes of time.
Perhaps the most notable features of the city, though, are its food and people.
Restaurants are as numerous as lobster pot buoys on the bay. They produce a variety of fares – ranging greatly in ethnicity and taste – even a vegan will not feel out to pasture in this town. According to some experts, Portland comes second only to San Fransisco as a food destination. And if you consider the ocean resources within its arms reach, reports like above may not be a far stretch.
Add fresh local ingredients, unique New England cooking traditions, and the continual rising tide of local breweries – about 40 in Maine altogether, with 22 of them in the Portland area alone – and a perfect union is born.
As for Mainer’s, don’t let their modest demeanor fool you – they’ve been at this a long time. Hard winters have tempered their souls – while the bounty and beauty of this land softens it. But a cunning character dwells beneath that childish naivety, like a dormant perennial, it awaits the right season to rise.
But they are kind and chatty – and appear genuinely concerned about their fellow man, or woman. And though some macho bravado may still linger on the fringes, both men and women appear happy to be called Mainers.