"" Writer's Wanderings: New England/Canada Cruise: Sunny Portland, ME

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

New England/Canada Cruise: Sunny Portland, ME

The early morning sun was a welcome sight as we ate breakfast. (If you’re on the Celebrity Summit, I recommend the French toast in the dining room.) We gathered our things and I was happy to be able to take my camera and not worry about it getting wet.

As we headed for the exit gate from the terminal, a lady asked if we needed a guide. Just beyond her we saw David’s smiling face and hand waving at us. “Nope,” I said, “I see our guide now.”

David’s wife, Cindy, was waiting in the car across the street and after hugs all the way around, we were on our way. Cindy pointed out lots of buildings and some history of Portland and then we were out of the city and into the surrounding areas of Falmouth and eventually Yarmouth.

David drove through beautiful countryside. Did I mention the sun was shining? Wonderful New England style architecture and lovely manicured yards made for a feeling of peace and contentment. I relaxed. After our soggy day in Bar Harbor this was heaven.

Cindy and David showed us around their warm and inviting home. They are situated near the water with wonderful views. Later, we drove through the downtown Yarmouth area which has numerous church buildings. Yarmouth is also known for over 50 former sea captains homes dating back to the late 1700s and early 1800s.

The truly exciting moment to come though would happen when we drove to Cape Elizabeth and arrived at Fort Williams Park. It was very windy but the sun was still shining brightly keeping the temperature tolerable. We strolled around the park and over to the Portland Head Light, the historic lighthouse at the point.

The lighthouse  sits on the head of land that is the entrance to the primary shipping channel to Portland. Built in 1791, it is the oldest lighthouse in Maine. Henry Wadworth Longfellow is said to have often walked from Portland to the lighthouse and it is believed that his poem, The Lighthouse, was inspired by his visits.

Cape Elizabeth, where the park and lighthouse are located has quite an early history as does most of the eastern coast. The headland was mapped as early as 1529 but remained nameless. Seventy-five years later, Samuel D. Champlain charted it but it wasn’t until 1604 when John Smith explored it that it was named after Princess Elizabeth, the sister of Charles I of England.

But the “Maine” reason for being here was to sample the best lobster rolls in the state. The food truck business is called Bite Into Maine and was begun in 2011 by Karl and Sarah Sutton. The traditional lobster roll was topped with butter or mayo but the Suttons got creative with adding other flavors to the mayo like chipotle or wasabi, not much so as not to overwhelm the delicate flavor of the lobster. It became quite popular. Dave and Cindy ordered traditional rolls for all of us and we carried them to a nearby picnic table.

Now you have to imagine the challenge of eating the roll with one hand and trying to anchor the basket of French fries with the other because the wind was so strong. It was well worth the battle. The lobster was fresh and delicious. I suspect the one we had in Boston had come from the freezer. I could see why the company has gotten so many high accolades from food shows and travel magazines. It was truly the best.

All too soon we had to say goodbye to Bob’s cousin and his wife. We were due back at the ship by 3:30 as sailing was scheduled for 4 PM. Little did we know that while we were gone, the captain had decided to overnight in Portland and let Fiona pass us by. Our itinerary had changed again. The concern now though was for Nova Scotia which was about to take a direct hit from a hurricane that had gained strength somehow over the North Atlantic. I was happy to stay an extra night.

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