Biblical rain on arising.
The inclusive breakfast wasn’t bad – buffet style.
I’d lost my collapsible umbrella a couple of days ago, so we decided to walk to a mall about a mile and a half away a) to see more of the town b) to see if I could buy a replacement. We borrowed a couple of umbrellas from the hotel as it was hurling down.
Quite an interesting walk, but it got seedier as we progressed, and the so-called mall was just a row of discount shops. As the rain was still so heavy, we braved the bus back to downtown and walked to where we were to pick up our trolley tour of Portland.
Our driver was a very extroverted lady, who was way over the top before the tour started, not filling me with confidence. However, once we got underway, she was excellent, and it was a truly interesting tour. She was clear, knew her stuff, was humorous and interacted well with a nearly full bus.
Taking pictures was difficult through wet and foggy windows, but here are a few:
The trolley actually stopped at the Portland Head Lighthouse in Fort Williams Park for a leg stretch and the opportunity to take pictures.
On the way back, our driver regaled us with lobster trivia – lobsters are a huge part of the local economy. Maine itself generates around 80% of the lobster trade for the whole of the USA, and you can’t move for lobster restaurants in these parts.
It’s becoming more difficult to make a living at it, though, as there is evidence of over-trapping, licences are harder to get hold of and the costs are rising. Most lobsters have to be thrown back as they’re too small or female.
The weather was still dreadful when we got back to the end of the tour, so we dropped into the nearest café for a coffee and snack, the latter of which turned out to be substantial.
The Victoria Mansion aforementioned was the next port of call, having booked the tickets online.
At its inception at the mid 19th century, this house was the summer residence of one Ruggles Morse, and it has been preserved in almost its entirety since that day. Morse had made his money from running hotels in New Orleans.
Fairly interesting, but incredibly ornate and very, very dark, due to the low light levels and the preponderance of oak panels.
In pursuance of my mission to replace my beloved umbrella, we collected the car and drove to a mall in South Portland, about 5 miles away. Took some finding, but behold! There was a Macy’s department store! Surely I’d be able to find an umbrella there?
It took half an hour wandering about this enormous store with very few people and even fewer assistants around, but mission finally accomplished, you’ll be glad to know!
One site that had caught our attention on the bus tour earlier was the Fort Allen Park on the eastern promenade. The weather had improved dramatically by now, so off we drove.
Having had the aforementioned substantial snack earlier, neither of us fancied a full dinner, so we went into the restaurant next door as we did last night, but just for a bar meal. Great food, service and ambience once again.
We have a guided walking tour planned at the horrendously early hour of 10 a.m. tomorrow, so bear with us if I’m a bit late in reporting, won’t you?