sam’s solo trip to portland, maine
I’d never been to Maine, but I’ve always heard wonderful things. Living in Boston, with Portland just two hours away, I had my best chance for a visit… so I took it.
I left the house early on a Sunday morning, arriving at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception just in time for 10am Mass. It was a beautiful cathedral, although small – as I soon learned, Portland, Maine, is a quaint little city.
After Church I ventured to the Portland Flea-for-All, a well-curated little shop filled with vintage furniture, clothing, and surprises. I found a few small treasures, but I’ll show those off in my next post.
I spent the Sunday afternoon exploring in the bright sun. I wandered through Portland’s Old Port, found a small fabric store (a classy place that quilters would love, but the opposite of what i consider “the best kind“) and a variety of cute little shops.
After I had done a fair bit of exploring, I settled in at an Irish pub for my requisite Maine meal: a lobster roll.
I quite like lobster – who wouldn’t, besides the unfortunate shellfish-allergic – so my first lobster roll was a tasty treat. I had a hard time forking over $20 for a sandwich, but it was a great vacation delicacy.
To finish out the day, I strolled through the L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport. It was… a store. Not nearly as cool as I expected. So it was a short stop before I headed to my hotel to watch the previous night’s Doctor Who episode while reclining on a mountain of pillows.
On Monday morning, I started my Lighthouse Whirlwind Tour bright and early with a visit to Two Lights State Park. There was a $5 admission fee, and as I parked I was skeptical. Five dollars, and so far all I could see were a bunch of trees and bushes.
But when I emerged from the bushes, I found this.
A rocky, slightly shimmery coastline looking out into a perfect sea. Oh, and yes, there was a giant, picturesque boat.
I was thrilled. This was the Maine I had hoped to discover.
I climbed among the rocks until I found a good perch… then I sat and watched for awhile. Watched and listened to Maine’s ocean.
It was a beautiful thing.
Next I trekked to Portland’s Head Light, allegedly the most photographed lighthouse in the world. It was beautiful, and so was its surrounding coast… but my favorite part was the rocks.
A wave would come in, covering all the big rocks…
…And then it would depart again, just as suddenly as it had come, pulling rocks with it. These large rocks (say, cantaloupe-sized) tumbled clumsily over each other as the waves dragged them toward the sea. That tumbling, the gentle rolling of rock against rock, was the most amazing sound. I can honestly say that listening to those rocks was my favorite part of this little adventure.
After sitting for a long while, just listening to the waves and the rocks, I ventured back to the Old Port for my second fishy meal: seafood chowder.
(it’s very hard to take an appetizing photo of chowder. but i did my best.)
The last stop was the Spring Point Ledge lighthouse, a small lighthouse distanced from the shore by a long strip of huge rocks. Walking atop the ledge, jumping between giant rocks, situated between the bright blue sky and the turquoise water, was as much as I could ask for. But I got even more than that as the two families who had been exploring the ledge headed back to the shore and I had the lighthouse’s little island all to myself.
Throughout this trip, I had a minor obsession with self-timer self portraiture. Somehow, the idea of a “Sam-only” trip created a need to prove I had been there. It was just me, the lighthouses, and the sea – but that wouldn’t stop me from documenting it. And it was a beautiful mini-vacation. I danced for my camera, and it soaked up the light. Maine light.