Maine, I Did it My Way Day 2
With one successful day behind me, it was time to figure out how to spend the next 24 hours in Portland. I had already decided I wanted to take a run not so much for the exercise, but for a bit more sightseeing. When we lived on the road I kept up my running and most of the time my runs led me places that I would have never seen if I hadn’t had to find a running route. I figured if I got an early run in, thanks to early sunrises, I would see more of Portland than if I just explored on foot for the day.
I was a bit right and a bit wrong. I had made a route before arriving, but me and my great sense of direction had me to turn the wrong way and so my run went from 3 miles to 5 miles getting lost was fun and annoying all at the same time, but I saw stuff I would have never seen during my day on foot. I guess that makes it a slow long run for the win.
After returning from my run, I hopped in the shower and then went back to bed for a morning nap. My first stop didn’t open until 9am, and well lets just say I had a couple of hours to kill. A nap seemed like a great idea.
Nap napped, breakfast eaten, it was time to head to the one place I had on the agenda Longfellow Books. I was trying to research a bookstore vibe for a story I am writing. While Longfellow didn’t quite inspire me for that situation it inspire me to purchase two books. Later on in my day I did find a bookstore that filled my creative spirit. Can I just say there are quite a few independent bookstores in Portland, and I love it. My one and only to-do knocked off my list, I headed back to the hotel to drop my purchases off and head out to see what trouble I could get myself into for the day.
I headed down to the Eastern Promenade for a nice water view trail. I did pass the Portland Observatory, but I was too early and they were not open. Not worried I continued on my path to the Promenade and enjoying the Maine weather. While on my walk, I stumbled upon the Narrow Gauge Train Railroad Company & Museum. They have a working narrow gauge (narrow gauge refers to the size of the tracks) that takes you on a short ride along the promenade. At first I walked by the train and museum, but I turned around and figured I was here to experience life so why not a train ride. I will admit to being the only single adult, but I was not the only adult without children. On our ride we learned that narrow gauge was used in Maine because it was cheaper to install and could be installed in landscapes that could not handle standard gauge rails. It is how people got themselves and goods around Maine before cars became abundant.
Happy with my train ride, it was time to head to the Old Port and find my lunch and maybe an adult beverage or two. Having run along the Old Port earlier, I had my bearings there (getting lost has its perks) and a bit tired of walking I stopped at Boone's for my New England style Lobster roll and some local beer. I had a prime seat on the second story deck where I could watch the water and the boats move around.
After lunch I decided I would head over to where all the boat tours were located and see if I could get on one in the near future my feet were not super happy with all my running and walking. I was lucky enough to catch a lighthouse and sightseeing tour and only had to wait a few minutes. The boat wasn’t even crowded so it was easy to get a good seat and move around when needed. So many lighthouses, so many islands, so much it made me love Maine more. The boat tour was awesome, our tour guide was quite fun and knowledgeable, and our captain was awesome at spotting wildlife. We got to see a bald eagle, grey seal, harpoon seal, and an osprey in the nest.
Three hours later we pulled back into dock and I was exhausted! I noticed that they large number of bachelorette and bachelor parties that are quite popular in Portland were getting started on their mission of celebration. Aside from being too tired to walk much more, I also knew I was in no mood for all the party fun that was about to happen.
After wandering aimlessly for awhile in search of just a bar where I could have a drink and maybe some nibbles in a low key environment. I was just about to give up and eat at the hotel, when I stumbled upon The Grill Room & Bar I think my biggest win of the day.
Not only was it just what I was looking for, the bartender knew every person who walked in behind me aka it was a local haunt, and last but not least they have the best happy hour in town, even on Saturday.
I enjoyed a few very cheap drinks, some very yummy cheap food, and the company of a local woman who had just moved back to her hometown two weeks ago from Vermont. I was in heaven. Once the happy hour went back to just an hour, it was time for me to head back to the hotel and finally put my poor tired feet up, thankfully it was only a few blocks to get myself home and comfortable.
The next morning I actually got myself to church for the first time in a long time. After spending time with the living I headed to Eastern Cemetery to spend time with the dead and all the history they hold. Eastern Cemetery was established in 1668 and is the oldest historic landscape in Portland. They do provide tours of the cemetery, but I would be on a train back to Boston when that would happen. However, there was a free map provided so that you could navigate the gravesites for some of the more “famous” grave sites. I do love a good cemetery, this one did not disappoint.
After a late breakfast it was time to head back to the train station and get on my way back to the city. I was a little sad to leave Maine, but all good things must come to an end. I couldn’t complain a nice long train ride was a vacation in itself.
Having a weekend alone and no phone was exactly what I needed to relax, I would recommend it to anyone. Heck even a day alone with no phone is a freedom that you can not imagine. Make sure you try it sometime, if not a weekend, if not a day, why not try an hour or two. Time alone for everyone is needed and you will be amazed at what great company you really are.