Today was a day of hurry up and wait. Our flight home doesn’t leave Portland until 8:30 p.m. so my plans were to go slowly, to kill time, see some sights in Portland, and get to the airport a few hours early.
We planned to get up and have a leisurely breakfast and leave the hotel at 10 a.m. so we could visit Halcyon Yarn, the shop that sponsored the fiber tour, do a little shopping, and have all my treasures shipped home. There’s no way I could fit all those fiber goodies in my suitcase! I think I’ve maxed out the tensile strength as it is.
Well, you know all about those best laid plans… I checked and discovered that the yarn shop opened at 9 a.m. So that put me one hour ahead of schedule. Shopping and arranging for shipping only took about one half hour. OK, I’ll just meander down US Route 1, slowing for all the small towns and reduced speeds. Oops! I missed the turn for US 1 and found myself on I-295 and coincidentally, today was the day they raised the speed limit to 70 mph. We made it from Bath to Portland in about thirty minutes, not the hour I thought it would take.
I had planned to visit the Portland Observatory first. After circling the block several times, I only saw warning signs.
-No parking from here to there
-No parking at anytime
-No parking 8 am to noon on Mondays for street maintenance (of course, I came on a Monday)
-15 minute parking
-5 minute parking
I did see a bus/trolley stop in front of the observatory, so we headed down to the harbor to take a trolley tour and get off at the observatory. No luck! This trolley tour doesn’t do on/off stops.
Now what? It was only 10:30 a.m. We decided on activity number 2; The Portland Museum of Art. They had an special exhibit of paintings by Richard Estes. His style was photo realism and the intricate detail made the paintings look like photographs. We wandered all through the museum and when we exited, it was only a few minutes after noon.
Well, at least the street parking prohibitions were over so we headed back to the Portland Observatory. It seems that back in the mid 1800s, an enterprising business man found a way to expedite the unloading of ships in the port by literally notifying merchants when their ship was about to come in. The observatory was built on the highest land in Portland and affords a panoramic view of the ship channel, harbor and surrounding city. When a ship passed the Portland Head Light and entered the deep channel, observers would hoist the merchant’s flag and the ship flag. Later when steamships replaced sailing vessels, they would hoist balls to indicate the expected time of arrival with each ball representing 15 minutes. Merchants paid for this service because, after all, time is money.
Having exhausted all planned activities, we reluctantly headed for the airport. When I printed the boarding passes, they were marked with TSA Pre Check. So, we breezed through security without stripping down to the bare minimum and exposing our toiletries for all to see. It was so easy it was almost scary.
So after having as lengthy a lunch as we could manage, here we sit in the Portland Jetport with another 5 hours until our flight. We had a great time on this trip, met some interesting people, saw lots of sights, and enjoyed the wonderful Maine hospitality. Traveling is fun but as Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home.”
Some observations about Maine:
1. You get 5 cents return on plastic and glass bottles.
2. You only have to hover your foot over a crosswalk and traffic in both directions will stop for you.
3. Street signs at the corners on thru roads tell you the cross street but not the road you’re on.
4. Residents in Bath and other towns are very supportive of local, small businesses, including independent grocery stores, drug stores, and retail. There are very few franchise eateries.