Bar Harbor didn’t want us but Portland did!

Sunday, April 23, 2023

We decided on an early dinner in the main dining room. We each had the grilled and chilled veggies, salmon chowder, and chicken cordon bleu.

After we listened to the first set of the Ocean Bar Band. We played some slots and then I went to the room. Chuck stayed to play some cards.

Our port today is Portland, Maine from 7:00 to 12:30. We were supposed to be in Bar Harbor today. Bar Harbor was the second port of the cruise that was replaced. I had read that Bar Harbor residents had voted recently to limit the number and size of cruise ships so maybe we didn’t make the cut.

We visited Bar Harbor during the Voyage of the Vikings and went to the Acadia National Park. For this visit, I was looking forward to spending more time in the town. Fellow passengers who had never visited Bar Harbor were really disappointed that we were not stopping there.

Being Sunday and a very short time in port, I wasn’t sure what would be available to do in Portland, so we decided to take a HAL tour to Kennebunkport. I was glad that Portland had a dock. Bar Harbor was going to be a tender port and loading and unloading the tender boats can be a long and tedious process.

We were up at 5:00 a.m. Room Service delivered breakfast at 6:00 a.m. Our 7:30 a.m. HAL excursion today was called –The Best of Maine: Portland Headlight & Kennebunkport.

The tour description: See two of Maine’s most famous destinations: the Portland Head Light and Kennebunkport.

Visit Fort Williams Park on the rocky coast of beautiful Cape Elizabeth. Fort Williams was a military outpost for coastal defense serving the United States from the Spanish-American War to the Korean War.

Don’t miss the Portland Head Light commissioned by George Washington in 1791 — the oldest lighthouse in Maine and one of the most photographed lighthouses in the country.

You will also stop in the charming coastal village of Kennebunkport to view stunning Federal- and Victorian-style homes built by wealthy sea captains and merchants in the 1700s and 1800s. Watch for the Wedding Cake House and Walker’s Point — the Bush estate and former Summer White House, which world leaders often visited.

Stretch your legs at Dock Square in the center of Kennebunkport, where art galleries, antique shops, and upscale stores make a charming town center.

Notes: Wear comfortable walking shoes. Tour requires walking approximately five minutes each way at the Portland Headlight.

The bus we were on was comfortable and roomy. We docked in the heart of the city of Portland. Our tour started with traveling around Portland and viewing different sites, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s childhood home.

Longfellow’s childhood home

We crossed the draw bridge and entered the city of South Portland where they built Liberty ships in WWII. Our destination was the town of Cape Elizabeth to see Fort Williams and the Portland Headlight – the oldest lighthouse in the state and the 2nd oldest in the United States. We did have some gorgeous views.

I wish I hadn’t had to use the restroom because the only facilities available at this stop were port-a-potties and they were gag-enducing. However, I knew my bladder could not wait for another hour to the next rest stop so in I went. I believe I set the world record for holding my breath.

Once we left that stop, we crossed back over the draw bridge and took the interstate to Kennebunkport. The guide said the name meant “long cut bank.”

As we were heading to the town, he was trying to give us information, but it was hard to hear him sometimes because two women would not stop chatting with each other. Then they would periodically have to ask him to repeat things. That situation is not the first time it has happened on tours. In my opinion, it is rude to carry on private conversations during a tour even if you are not interested in the information. They did get “shushed” a few times.

Once we got near the downtown area, we drove around and saw interesting houses (including the one that was used in the filming of “Dark Shadows”) and more beautiful scenery.

House from Dark Shadows

We saw the Walker ‘s Point Estate (known locally as the George Bush compound – summer White House) from a distance. The guide said the Bush’s do still use the houses during the summer months. You know that they are in residence if the American flag is flying. Secret Service stay there all the time.

Secret Service vehicles

Once we stopped in the town, we were allowed an hour and a half to walk around Kennebunkport – perusing the shops and looking at the buildings.

Most of the restaurants were not scheduled to open until noon or after so the people who wanted to eat a Maine lobster roll were disappointed because we had to leave at 11:45. We were fortunate to have had a wonderful lobster roll and blueberry pie in Bar Harbor, so we were okay settling for homemade treats and hot coffee on this trip at H. B. Provisions.

Once our time was over, we rode back through picturesque farmland on US Route 1 which ends (or starts) in Key West, Florida.

We arrived back to the ship at 12:45 which was fifteen minutes past the “all aboard” time. I wasn’t worried. As I mentioned, we were on a HAL sponsored tour so if they had left – they would have to figure out how to get 40 people to Halifax.

When we got back to the room, we discovered that the HAL appreciation tiles had been delivered along with the laundry. The laundry came with a nice note thanking us for using the service.

However, we also got a note telling us to set our clocks forward an hour tonight. 😒

We went to the Lido for lunch, and I got a bowl of very good seafood chowder.

We watched the sail-away, played some slots, and then I went to the room to download my photos to the laptop.

Time passed quickly and it was soon time to get ready for our Pinnacle Grill dinner.

Travel Trivia

Maine – The Pine Tree State

The original inhabitants of the territory that is now Maine were Algonquian-speaking Wabanaki peoples, including the Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, Penobscot, Androscoggin, and Kennebec.

European contact with what is now called Maine may have started around 1200 CE when Vikings are believed to have interacted with the native Penobscot in present-day Hancock County, Maine. The first European confirmed settlement in modern-day Maine was in 1604 on Saint Croix Island, led by French explorer Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons.

The territory of Maine was confirmed when the United States was formed following the Treaty of Paris ending the revolution.

Maine officially became the 23rd state on March 15, 1820.

In 1873, Chester Greenwood, a 15-year-old resident of Farmington, Maine, invented earmuffs when he was looking for a solution to chilly ears. He patented the first design of his earmuffs in 1877 and later went on to make improvements.

West Quoddy Head, in Lubec, Maine, is the easternmost point of land in the 48 contiguous states.

Maine has more than 60 lighthouses. The Portland Head Light is the oldest lighthouse in the state and was the first lighthouse completed after independence from the British. It was completed in 1791 and was automated in 1989.

Freeport, Maine is the home to the L.L. Bean Company, the first retail clothier to be open 24/7/365, founded in 1912.

Joan Benoit Samuelson from Cape Elizabeth, Maine was the first-ever women’s Olympic Games marathon winner. She won the Gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Maine is the only state in the United States whose name has one syllable.

It is the only state bordered on three sides by Canada.

Maine Lobster yield annually is 40 million pounds, nearly 90 percent of the nation’s lobster supply.

Maine produces 90% of the country’s toothpick supply.

Maine’s coastline has so many deep harbors it could provide anchorage for all the Navy fleets in the world.

Portland, Maine

Native Americans originally called the Portland peninsula Machigonne (“Great Neck”).

Portland was named for the English Isle of Portland, and the city of Portland, Oregon, was in turn named for Portland, Maine.

The first European settler was Capt. Christopher Levett, an English naval captain who was granted 6,000 acres in 1623 to found a settlement in Casco Bay (now Portland).

In 1820, Maine was established as a state with Portland as its capital. In 1832, the capital was moved north and East to Augusta.

In 1851, Maine led the nation by passing the first state law prohibiting the sale of alcohol except for “medicinal, mechanical or manufacturing purposes.” The law subsequently became known as the Maine Law, as 18 states quickly followed. On June 2, 1855, the Portland Rum Riot occurred.

The Civil War came to Maine’s doorstep in 1863. The Battle of Portland Harbor—a conflict that was started by a group of undercover Confederates—took place on June 27. Led by Lieutenant Charles Read, the southerners decided to sneak into Portland’s Casco Bay and steal a federal cutter, the USRC Caleb Cushing. But before long, news reached federal authorities, who sent four Union ships out to capture them. Read was eventually forced to surrender and was imprisoned.

No transatlantic port in the U.S. is closer to Europe than Portland.

Acclaimed poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and author Stephen King were both born in Portland.

The world’s largest independently owned bookstore can be found in Portland’s historic Pioneer Square.

Like Bigfoot? Visit the International Cryptozoology Museum. In 2003, Loren Coleman established this unique museum inside of a Portland house he’d purchased. Visitors can see stuffed jackalopes, yeti footprint casts, and a fully-furred Bigfoot model.

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