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A Visit to Portland, Maine


 We love to travel places. I personally don't like 'things' very much. I don't own a video game system, I don't care about the latest trends, I have my guitar and my laptop and that's about as much as I need. So for my birthday, instead of something material I said "Let's go to Maine! We can do Portland and Acadia National Park!". And so we did. We knew this would be our last East Coast National Park trip for a while because late July we are set to move to Seattle. 

When we landed in Portland it was a dreary day, on and off pouring rain showers. We didn't want to just walk around downtown in the rain, so we went to South Portland to see a few sights before we got a bite to eat and of course, a few beers...

Portland Head Light and Fort Williams Park

Visiting Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine (Near Portland), is like stepping into a different world, where history and nature blend seamlessly. Built in 1791 and commissioned by George Washington, it's the oldest lighthouse in Maine, a silent guardian overlooking the turbulent waters of the North Atlantic. The driving rain on the day of arrival really set the mood for this place. I don't think it was anything above 60 degrees that day either. In late May.

Portland Head Light in the rain
The Portland Head Light on a moody May afternoon
The journey starts with the lighthouse itself, a symbol of America's maritime history. It's been a beacon for sailors, helping them navigate the rocky coastline and avoid potential disasters. Each stone in its structure seems to whisper tales of the past, of shipwrecks avoided and storms braved. It’s not just a navigational aid but a living, breathing piece of history.

Surrounding the lighthouse is the equally enchanting Fort Williams Park. It’s a paradise for nature lovers, with its lush landscapes and spectacular cliffside views of the ocean. Here, the greenery dances with the ocean breeze, and the cliffs stand tall, narrating tales of the bygone era. It’s a place where you can lose yourself in the beauty of the moment, forgetting the chaos of the outside world.

Rocky Coast of Fort Williams Park
A rainy day at Fort Williams Park

The Keeper's Quarters, now converted into a museum, offer a fascinating glimpse into the lives of those who tended the light. Maritime artifacts and historical exhibits reveal the evolution of seafaring and the challenges faced by sailors and keepers alike. It’s like a treasure trove for anyone with a hint of interest in history or maritime adventures, providing a deeper understanding of the legacy of Portland Head Light.

Down By The Water at Fort Williams Park
Down by the water. Man I should have brought a rain coat on this trip!

But the experience doesn’t end with the museum. Fort Williams Park invites exploration with its myriad of walking trails, and the remnants of military fortifications add another layer to the historical tapestry of the place. It’s a spot where you can enjoy a leisurely picnic, walk the trails, and immerse yourself in the panoramic views, absorbing the essence of a place where history and nature coexist.

Portland Breakwater Light (Bug Light)

Portland Breakwater Light, or as the locals lovingly call it, Bug Light, is this cute, little lighthouse tucked away in South Portland, Maine. It’s not as grand as some others, like the Portland Head Light, but it’s got its own charm and a warm, welcoming vibe.

Portland Breakwater -- Bug Light
The Portland Breakwater Lighthouse sign

Built in 1875, Bug Light is a tiny gem with a design inspired by ancient Greek architecture. It's got this elegance to it, with neat lines and fancy details. Even though it’s small, it has played a big role in guiding ships through Portland Harbor.

Right next to the lighthouse is Bug Light Park, a perfect spot to chill, unwind, and catch some amazing views of the Portland skyline and the harbor. It’s this peaceful spot where you can go for a walk, fly kites, or just sit and watch the boats pass by.

Rock pile on the coast of portland
Portland ROCKS!

The lighthouse isn’t open to the public, but the park is a great place to snap some pictures. The way the lighthouse sits against the backdrop of the ocean and the city is just beautiful, making it a favorite spot for photographers.

The water and a ferry Portland
A look out over the water. Hey a ferry!


And, there’s more to Bug Light than meets the eye. During World War II, the area around it was a hub for building Liberty ships. There’s a memorial in the park, a nod to the people who worked in the shipbuilding industry during the war.


Portland Bug Light
There's the Bug Light!

 After the Bug Light we had enough standing around in the rain. We went straight to these places after getting our rental car from the airport so we headed over to Bissell Brothers Brewing for some much needed food (Pork Katsu sando?!?) and beer!


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