The Portland Dweller Settles in for Fall Fun
It’s the end of summer and my panic hits. I have not done enough. The Maine winter is so long, the summer so short. This summer was shorter than usual, rudely truncated by weeks and weeks of rain.
I have places to go, beaches to hit: Reid State Park, Popham beach, Range Pond, Kezar Lake, Step Falls, Peaks Island.
I can’t complain because I did get to Monhegan, Petit Manan, Higgins Beach, Scarborough Beach, Ferry Beach, Willard Beach, York Beach, Kettle Cove, Long Island, Daicey Pond and Dundee Park. Oddly enough, one of my nicest evenings was spent right here on the peninsula at the East End Beach watching hundreds of fireflies on the slope of the Eastern Promenade mirrored by oil tankers lit up like candelabras on Casco Bay.
So I didn’t get to the rooftop movie series, brunch on the Porthole deck and I missed both the Italian festival and the Greek festival. I still have September. The weather is perfect, the tourists are few.
What’s great about September in Portland:
- I can actually get an almond croissant at Standard Baking.
- It is possible to find a parking spot on Commercial Street and a table at Flatbreads.
- Walking down the sidewalks is no longer a contact sport.
- The autumnal ice cream flavors at Beals (apple pie & pumpkin).
While I appreciate the influx of cash that tourists bring to the local economy, I always feel a bit like a zoo animal or hired help on a movie set. “Oh Marge, look at all these people. They look like they are straight out of an L.L. Bean catalog. Did you see that cashier? She did not have on any make-up. That is so brave. Let’s go find a Starbucks. But first ask one of them to take our picture in front of this lobster statue.”
The tourists fall into three categories:
- The one-hit wonders. They come,. They don’t like it. It’s too Podunk. They leave, never to return. Good riddance. I think it is Darwinism at its finest.
- The casual repeats. They come. They have a good time. They say nice things about the place to others. They return every couple of years.
- The hardcores. They love it here but would never give up their home base just yet. They buy second homes in Casco Bay and tell friends back home that Portland, Maine is a diamond in the rough. Eventually, they get the guts, cut the cord to the rat race, move here and live happily ever after.
I really can’t complain about tourists because ultimately I get some strange satisfaction knowing that I live where millions of people flock every summer. They confirm what I know. This is a special place. To quote the state motto, “Maine: Worth a visit, worth a lifetime.”