Portland Maine

Portland, Maine: Home to a Vibrant History, Welcoming Locals and Some of the Best Lobstering in the World

Portland Maine - Portland Head LighthouseA beautiful coastal city perched on a peninsula that shares the water with the many islands of Casco Bay, Portland embraces its past, while progressing towards the future in easy strides and with friendly smiles. The residents here are hardworking and friendly, always ready to share a laugh with a visitor or to help out a neighbor in need. The area is known for its fresh ocean air, breathtaking coastline, small town charm and high quality of life, enticing new generations to stay close to home as they begin their own families and encouraging newcomers to make Portland their permanent home and share the easy-going, coastal living enjoyed here.

In 2008, Portland, Maine was named one of the top ten places in the country to retire, and over 15 percent of the population, which exceeds 64,000 in the city proper, is composed of retirees who have settled in to enjoy their golden years by the sea. The Greater Portland Area is home to well over 200,000 residents, many of who make their living at sea or as part of the growing tourism industry.

History Comes Alive in Portland, Maine

Portland, MainePortland, the largest city in all of Maine and the biggest city north of Boston, has managed to grow into a bustling cultural and economic center without losing any of its small town charm. With its mix of brick buildings new and old, clean streets and historical landmarks, Portland is a perfect example of a seaside town that effortlessly balances celebrating the past and opening its arms to the future.

The area where Portland, Maine stands today was first named Machigonne by the Abenaki residents who first inhabited the peninsula. It then became known as Casco upon the establishment of the first permanent European settlement, which changed to Falmouth in 1658, and changed again to Portland.

Before the U.S. had even achieved independence, the city had already been destroyed and rebuilt three times. Being no stranger to disaster, be it natural or an act of war, Portland has also experienced four major fires that devastated the city and gave rise to the city’s motto, Resurgam, which translates from Latin to “I will rise again.” The Great Fire of Portland, which began on July 4, 1866 (the first Independence Day after the Civil War ended) was the most devastating fire ever experienced in a U.S. city up to that point, taking place five years before the better known Great Chicago Fire. This single fire destroyed more than 1,800 buildings, and coming together to rebuild and manage the aftermath is part of what forged the strong sense of community that has been passed down through the generations and is still clear today.

The city seal proudly bears the image of a phoenix rising from the ashes; a fitting symbol of the community’s ability to prevail over struggle and continue to thrive as an important port city serving both the U.S. and Canada. As this waterfront town has modernized to accommodate the changing needs of those who use the port, it has never forgotten its roots, and entire neighborhoods of original late 1860s red brick buildings and homes that are splendid examples of Victorian architecture can still be easily spotted throughout the city. Portland prides itself on its preservation of heritage and the Old Port area is an excellent display of just that, being one of the finest examples of restored warehouse districts in the country. This revitalized district acts not only as a working port, but a lively run of cobblestone streets, quaint shops, local eateries and barbeques, and other forms of entertainment. From quiet residential streets to the rugged coastline, Portland, Maine is one of those places where visitors quickly discover that they never want to leave.

The People Who Call Portland, Maine Home

Portland is less about the city and more about the people who live here. The legendary poet Longfellow was born in this seaside town and wrote moving poems about his love for Portland and its deep, abiding beauty, the people who call it home and the mark it leaves on the hearts of all who come here. The locals live these sentiments and experience Longfellow’s passion every day, because Portland is a bit of everything Maine. It embodies the Maine way of life, the scenic views, the historical pride, the waterways providing nature’s bounty, and the gentle but confident spirit of the people who call this state home.

Generation upon generation of community has formed ties that remain strong and deep, like the roots of an old oak, and just as impervious to storm and weathering. Not unlike the rugged coastline fifteen minutes from downtown, the attitude of Portlanders is resilient, unflinching and stalwart. While Portland is the business hub of Maine and the heart of the state’s banking, finance, and trading, the high rises blend seamlessly with buildings that are centuries old, and the people have not lost that strong community bond forged by coming together to keep this city alive and thriving throughout its history.

The Atlantic is in their blood, from the beaches on which children play during summer months to the lobstering and fishing that provides a living for many of the residents. Many visitors come solely to enjoy the seafood and experience the local cuisine, and it is this bounty that is the lifeblood of the locals and the fishermen and lobstermen of the Casco Bay Islands. There is a huge emphasis in Portland on sustainability and organic pursuits, such as farming and produce, the ethics of which extend into the lobstering industry.

Portland’s food is simple and delicious with an emphasis on gourmet seafood meals served in mom and pop cafés and dockside eateries where lobster, clam chowder, fish, and local brews are the main draw. These local specialties are also celebrated at festivals and fairs throughout the year where residents come together to swap stories while enjoying local music and food.

Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine is consistently awarded for being among the top 10 places in the nation to raise a family, as well as for being the safest place to live and the city with the best standard of living. This thriving port town continues to live up to those awards year after year, and Portland is proud to boast of its standing, where the schools and healthcare are excellent, housing is reasonable and jobs pay well. There is something for everyone here, including museums, an art district, shopping, a vibrant nightlife, family-friendly attractions, cultural activities and historical sites.

With so much to experience, taste, and explore, it is no wonder that so many visitors flock here each year and that so many long-established families are proud to call Portland, Maine home.