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Portland - What to see


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We are doing Canada/NE end of August.   We've been to Portland before on a previous cruise 20+ years ago and went to LL Bean and walked along the main shopping district.  Is there anything worth seeing other than that?   I'm thinking perhaps it's the place to go have a lobster lunch if nothing else.  Anything close by to the pier or better off taking an excursion?

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Try Becky's Diner for lobster and seafood chowder in an old style feel restaurant. And Holy Donuts for dessert. Both have been featured on Food Network. And a beer sampler at Shipyard Brewery.

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31 minutes ago, mets123 said:

Try Becky's Diner for lobster and seafood chowder in an old style feel restaurant. And Holy Donuts for dessert. Both have been featured on Food Network. And a beer sampler at Shipyard Brewery.

"Holy Donuts" always our go to place...get in line early !!!

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Narrow gauge railway, and museum, right across from the port.

Walk to the right and up the hill, passing a couple of blocks of fabulous Victorian houses, to end up at a park overlooking the bay.

Take a local ferry to one or more of the small islands.

Vintage fire engine tour of Portland.

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Several years ago, we had a wonderful and fun tour of the old port area of Portland and then out to the Portland Head Light with Portland Discovery Tours. It was a great way to see part of the city and then spend some time at the Light. Yes, you may see the Light from your ship, but it was very different seeing it up close from land. 


We than had the afternoon to ourselves. Had a lobster roll lunch and then Holy Donuts for dessert (do NOT miss the latter), and then walked around on our own. Portland turned out to be far more enjoyable than we’d expected. 😊

 

https://portlanddiscovery.com/tours

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On 6/25/2022 at 9:06 AM, Turtles06 said:

Several years ago, we had a wonderful and fun tour of the old port area of Portland and then out to the Portland Head Light with Portland Discovery Tours. It was a great way to see part of the city and then spend some time at the Light. Yes, you may see the Light from your ship, but it was very different seeing it up close from land. 


We than had the afternoon to ourselves. Had a lobster roll lunch and then Holy Donuts for dessert (do NOT miss the latter), and then walked around on our own. Portland turned out to be far more enjoyable than we’d expected. 😊

 

https://portlanddiscovery.com/tours

Thank you! This is helpful!

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On 6/25/2022 at 9:06 AM, Turtles06 said:

Several years ago, we had a wonderful and fun tour of the old port area of Portland and then out to the Portland Head Light with Portland Discovery Tours. It was a great way to see part of the city and then spend some time at the Light. Yes, you may see the Light from your ship, but it was very different seeing it up close from land. 


We than had the afternoon to ourselves. Had a lobster roll lunch and then Holy Donuts for dessert (do NOT miss the latter), and then walked around on our own. Portland turned out to be far more enjoyable than we’d expected. 😊

 

https://portlanddiscovery.com/tours

Where did you have the lobster roll? 🦞 

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6 minutes ago, KATHYMAC68 said:

Where did you have the lobster roll? 🦞 

 

At Becky's Diner, based on the excellent reviews.  Sadly, the lobster had no flavor.  I did not understand why that could be until I'd posted about this in my review, when a lobster expert in Maine explained why that can happen.   See my comment 42 on the thread below, and then comment 67.   (And while you're at it, you can see my description of what we did in Portland, along with photos.)   

 

 

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18 hours ago, Turtles06 said:

 

At Becky's Diner, based on the excellent reviews.  Sadly, the lobster had no flavor.  I did not understand why that could be until I'd posted about this in my review, when a lobster expert in Maine explained why that can happen.   See my comment 42 on the thread below, and then comment 67.   (And while you're at it, you can see my description of what we did in Portland, along with photos.)   

 

 

I just read the thread during my lunch. Excellent reviews and pictures!

Thank you for sharing that!

I will rethink Becky’s…

any other suggestions?

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4 hours ago, mets123 said:

High Roller makes great lobster rolls too. With a great selection of local craft beers. It's about two blocks from Holy Donuts.

I’m sooooo looking forward to Holy Donut!!

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On 6/24/2022 at 11:53 PM, ericosmith said:

We enjoyed the Mail Boat run to the islands.  The dock was just one pier over.  

We go to Portland fairly frequently and love the Casco Bay Ferry offerings. There are a handful of different options that just go around to the different islands, or you can take the ferry to Peaks Island and grab lunch and walk around (although availability of public restrooms on Peaks is iffy).

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On 6/24/2022 at 4:45 PM, steveknj said:

We are doing Canada/NE end of August.   We've been to Portland before on a previous cruise 20+ years ago and went to LL Bean and walked along the main shopping district.  Is there anything worth seeing other than that?   I'm thinking perhaps it's the place to go have a lobster lunch if nothing else.  Anything close by to the pier or better off taking an excursion?


Note that the LL Bean complex is in Freeport, surrounded by mostly outlet shops. 
 

Portland itself had a ton of interesting shops, restaurants and bars in the port area. If it’s me, I’d explore those over taking some sort of excursion. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/28/2022 at 5:11 PM, Rubyfisch said:

We go to Portland fairly frequently and love the Casco Bay Ferry offerings. There are a handful of different options that just go around to the different islands, or you can take the ferry to Peaks Island and grab lunch and walk around (although availability of public restrooms on Peaks is iffy).

Does the mail ferry run on Sunday? If we catch the one at 10, we should have time to walk around the town. Maybe we will try to get a donut at Holy Donuts before we catch the ferry.

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29 minutes ago, prekteacher1 said:

Does the mail ferry run on Sunday? If we catch the one at 10, we should have time to walk around the town. Maybe we will try to get a donut at Holy Donuts before we catch the ferry.

 

Per the website they do: https://www.cascobaylines.com/maine-boat-tours/specialty-cruises/mailboat/

 

You can always call to confirm, but that sounds like a good day in Portland to me.

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We often visit Portland area, but never visited lighthouses, so we are taking this tour

 

Lighthouses of Maine

 

Highlights

  • Bug Light: Nicknamed for its small size, elegant Portland Breakwater Light was first lit in 1875.
  • Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse: View a typical sparkplug-style lighthouse constructed of brick on a cylindrical cast-iron caisson, dating from 1891.
  • Portland Head Light: Explore Fort Williams and visit the impressive museum located in the former lighthouse keeper's quarters.
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Unfortunately, many of the restaurants that give our town it's foodie reputation are not open for lunch, so unavailable to cruise passengers.  Check out restaurant rating sites to see what appeals.  There is the Victoria Mansion, Longfellow's House, the Museum of Art (Winslow Homer and the Wyeths), the Portland Observatory for views of Casco Bay, an antique fire truck tour of the town, schooner sails around Casco Bay, and the above mentioned "mail boat run" that brings not only mail but supplies to the island community (they grocery shop on the mainland, and the food is delivered to the ferry for palletizing by island, and dropped off and the families come down to the pier to pick up their groceries).

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