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Macaroni & more…

A Portland Macaroni factory, 1924 Combing through old tax photographs of Portland’s Old Port from 1924, I happened upon this gem, which emphasizes Portland’s strong tradition of Italian-American food, one of my top recommendations, depending upon where visitors are from. Check out the kid smiling at the bottom too, he’d be 107 or so today….

The Big and the Beautiful

There is an old saying that it’s not always the prettiest woman or most handsome man that makes the best dance partner.  Sometimes, at a party, you don’t want flashy, you just want steady, reliable, and solid.  Portland has plenty of pretty buildings, a surfeit of them.  With our rich Victorian pedigree, this is easily…

Fiddleheads

Fiddleheads:  An outstanding example of Maine’s historical continuity, authenticity, and distinctively local culinary traditions! As I say on my food tours, this is opportunity knocking, fresh food in a small city with a short supply chain is as good as it gets, give them a try. Early spring is fiddlehead season in Maine. They are…

West End Views

I love the West End of Portland.  It’s architecturally significant and varied and every architectural style in America in play between 1870 and 1920 is on display there.  The Old Port section of Portland is beautiful too.  I’d take either of those neighborhoods out for dinner and drinks.   But, for my money, if you want…

Fire!

Did you know Portland, Maine has burned to the ground four separate times in its history?  We’re the newest old city that there is in New England.  Longfellow House, boyhood home of Walt Whitman (kidding…Longfellow) is pretty much the oldest building in town, built in 1786, just after the American Revolution.  Consider that the founding…

Valentine Bandit’s Day

It’s Valentine’s Day in Portland, Maine, or as we refer to it, Valentine Bandit’s Day.   Every 14th of February the city wakes up to our downtown festooned in red hearts.  Who does it?  Where do they all come from?  Who has that much tape?  Somebody knows – multiple people know because there are 1000s of…

The Longfellow Connection

You might be a poet and not even know it.  Look at your feet.  Are they long fellows? Longfellow, the poet, is no stranger to Portland, Maine.  He was born here in 1805, in room 346 of the Residence Inn on Fore Street.  Well, okay maybe not, but the Longfellow home was where the Residence…

Looking Back Through Time: Around Portland Nearly a Century Ago

In 1923 voters of Portland approved a new city charter. As part of this change in the city’s form of government, a tax reassessment was completed in 1924. For this reassessment, every taxable property in the city was documented and photographed. The 1924 Tax Records Digitization Project is a collaboration between the City of Portland,…

A Glimpse of Portland’s Past Hidden in Plain Sight

As you stroll past The Works Cafe and Temple Street Parking Garage on your way to the Nickelodeon Cinemas to take in another round of the Barbie movie, you may not notice an intriguing stone object lying nearby amidst a small patch of greenery. Here lies the Face of Mirth; a lone remnant of the…

The Fat Happy Seals of Portland Maine

Courtesy of Natural Resources Council of Maine   I have wondered from time to time, as I sat on the deck of Luke’s Lobster at the end of the Portland Pier, if the seals know how good the food is here?  Has somebody told them?  Is that why they’re here?  Do they read restaurant reviews? …

Of Ghosts, Boots, Stuff and Canvas Bags

I’m afraid of ghosts but I like to think that if I was a ghost, I would not be afraid of boots. This a picture of a boot that a coworker of mine found in her wall during a renovation here in Portland. Apparently, there is an old superstition (18th, 19th century, maybe older) that…

The Great Fire: How Hot Was It In There?

On July 4, 1866, Portland, Maine experiences the biggest urban fire in America to date.  Almost 2,000 buildings go to the ground and 10,000 people lose their homes in the space of a day. There’s nothing like it in America until the Great Chicago Fire which will come seven years later. The Portland Fire is…