On the last day of May I left NYC for Boston via the LimoLiner. After an early dinner I boarded the 7:30 train. It took until 11PM for the non-speedy train to get me to Portland (track work). It got even worse on my return trip. When I called Amtrak to confirm my return to Boston almost a week later I was informed they had cancelled all the Friday trains but could get me on a bus at 12:30PM. I already had plans for that day and luckily the CVB got me a Concord Bus ride at the same 7:30PM, which only took 2 hours to Boston. I am afraid I have nothing positive to say about Amtrak.
I will always be grateful to the management of Hyatt Place Old Port for allowing their shuttle driver to stay past his quitting time to pick me up at the railroad station. The hotel was perfectly located within the revitalized Old Port district and only a few blocks from the working waterfront and local shopping, residential and entertainment. They had the smallest indoor pool I have ever seen. One stroke and I was at the end. The free breakfast was terrific and the hotel had free Wi-Fi.
The next night I was traveling to Yarmouth Nova Scotia via the Nova Star and once again the hotel dropped me off for my voyage. It rained the first few days of my trip but that did not affect my Portland City & Lighthouse Tour using Portland Discovery’s trolley through Portland’s neighborhoods. I did not know that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow lived in Portland. I did a quick tour of his home and museum. The rain kept my lobster tour from operating so I saw the harbor by taking a Casco Bay Lines ferry to and from Peaks Island.
On my return to Portland I was accommodated at another downtown hotel- Hilton Garden Inn Portland Downtown Waterfront. They very promptly picked me up at the Nova Star on Ocean Gateway pier. What I liked about Portland was that almost all the shops in the downtown area were mom& pop owned. I only saw a Starbucks & CVS among the national chains. The hotels complimentary breakfast was quite good and I had time to relax before my Old Port Lunchtime Lobster Crawl with Maine Foodie Tours. We ate various lobster dishes at four stops. Chowder at Old Port Sea Grill & Raw Bar; lobster at Harbor Fish Market; lobster roll Vietnamese style at Ten Ten Pie& lobster mac & cheese at Blue Rooster Food Co.
The good news was the rain finally abated and I was able to avoid falling on the cobblestone streets. The nice folks from the Maine Brew Bus picked me up at the hotel for their Sips & Sea Dog Tour. The other members of the tour had a Portland Sea Dogs baseball game included in their tour price. The Sea Dogs are a AA affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. We visited Bissell Brothers Brewing Company, New England Distillery & Maine Mead Works. All were artisan companies producing small quantities of very high quality products. How nice of them to also drop me off at the transportation center where I caught my bus to Boston.
For More Information: www.visitportland.com, http://www.themainebrewbus.com/, www.portlandoldport.place.hyatt.com, www.gardeninn.hilton.com/portland, www.portlanddiscovery.com, www.mainefoodietours.com, www.amtrakdowneaster.com, www.limoliner.com, http://www.hwlongfellow.org/house_wlh_overview.shtml, www.novastarcruises.com, www.cascobaylines.com/ferry, www.mainehistory.org, www.bissellbrothers.com, www.mainemeadworks.com, www.newenglanddistilling.com, www.harborfish.com, www.oldportseagrill.com, www.blueroosterfoodco.com.