It's an old, beautiful place offering plenty to do within walking distance. The people are friendly. The food is good, and it was well worth a quick getaway. Portland, Maine, is a wonderful place, and I don't even like lobster.
After a quick stop in New York's LaGuardia Airport - where workers and travelers greeted us by avoiding eye contact or with the occasional, "Watch where you're going" - the first thing we noticed about Portland was how friendly the people are.
Total strangers - apparently taking pity on us - weren't afraid to join us in cheering for the Buffalo Bills, offer directions, or give tips on where to eat and what to do. Sure, there are nice people and nasty people everywhere, but Portland just had a different vibe.
Highlights of the trip included a nighttime, Halloween-themed "Wicked Walking Tour," a visit to the Maine Historical Society and neighboring home of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and a walkthrough of Portland Public Library's exhibit, "Maurice Sendak: 50 years, works, reasons."
While hiking up and down beautiful city streets, it became clear to us Portland prides itself on its restaurants. Every block, it seemed, we would notice a sign outside a restaurant reading, "Did you see us on the Food Network?" With that in mind, we didn't have a bad meal anywhere. But, if you plan to visit the city one day, note that lunch and dinner don't come cheap.
Although we greatly enjoyed our time walking through Portland, the most memorable part of the trip came after a cab ride to nearby Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
Maybe it's just because it's fresh in my mind, but I believe Fort Williams Park is the most beautiful place I've ever visited, thanks to Portland Head Light in particular. The lighthouse, according to some, is the most photographed of its kind in the nation.
With wonderful fall scenery all around, there was no better place to spend an October afternoon than Fort Williams Park.
We'll return to Maine someday. That's for certain. When we do, we won't be disappointed by its charm.