I saw the first of many lighthouses in Maine at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, about a 15 minute drive from Portland. The Portland Head Light sits at the edge of the 90-acre site, which was a military fortification that proved useful during the world wars to protect Portland. The fort saw no combat action although an enemy submarine was spotted offshore.
You can grab some great views of the bay and check out the old military bunkers. You can also visit the remains of the colonel’s mansion. There’s not much left to it these days.
Midcoast Maine has some great lighthouses too, about an hour and a half north of Portland, A 15- minute ferry ride from Lincolnville to the island of Islesboro landed me at Grindle’s Point, where I braved a narrow stairwell and up a ladder to the tower overlooking Gilkey Harbor.
Islesboro is breathtakingly beautiful and a favorite of celebrities, don’t ask me who. I believe Kirstie Alley used to live here. The homes are exquisite, elegant and way out of my price range. Be sure you get back in time for the last ferry, which left at 4:30 pm on the day I visited. They will leave you behind, said the teens who were probably just trying to scare me at the general store in the Dark Harbor shopping area.
I was destined to return to Maine for my vacation this year, to escape the heat of South Louisiana. Cool temps did await me in Portland, where I spent two nights in a hotel on the waterfront overlooking Casco Bay. Although I didn’t have the time to take the ferry, I am told Peaks Island is nice, only about 20 minutes away. I spent most of my time checking out the Old Port, which was right across the street from my hotel. It features many different sites and seafood smells-the good kind. The port was bustling with a ferry, restaurants and working fishing boats. The scene is a pleasant walk with cool breezes. Great restaurants and shops are also located in the surrounding few blocks.
They eat lobster in Maine like we eat chicken in the South. It is everywhere. Lobster omelettes, rolls, wraps, chowder, BLT, poached, broiled, boiled, whole, half, stewed and then there’s everything I haven’t had a chance to eat yet.
It’s a good thing they have some spectacular walks to burn off those rich calories. However, according to the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, lobster has less calories, less total fat and less cholesterol (based on 100 grams of cooked product) than lean beef; whole poached eggs; and even roasted, skinless chicken breast. It is also high in amino acids; potassium and magnesium; Vitamins A, B12, B6, B3 (niacin) and B2 (riboflavin); calcium and phosphorus; iron; and zinc.
Must be true because lobster doesn’t stick with you long. After a nice walk, I find myself having to reach for a nice ice cream chaser. I must not be alone because there are many tempting flavors to choose from in Maine. I prefer the native blueberry myself.
But I digress. Best walk in Kennebunkport? The one on Ocean Drive that takes you to the Bush compound, as in Presidents 41 and 43. Politics aside, the property is massive as it juts out into the Atlantic and it’s worth the walk to see. The way is paved and offers spectacular views of the ocean and manicured mansions. There is access to the rocky oceanfront below. Definitely worth taking a stroll. Head in the other direction into town and there are beaucoup shops and eateries. I recommend Hurricanes for a spectacular meal. Pier 77 for a spectacular lobster roll and views.