Last week we went to Portland, Maine. Before our visit, everyone we know who has been there gave us enthusiastic endorsements of the city. We headed north, full of anticipation and a kick in our step. Through Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, NY, Connecticut, Mass, and New Hampshire, we meandered through big cities, sleepy towns, and snow covered landscapes. Close to Portland my foot fell heavy on the pedal when we were taking a break from Waze. I didn't see the cop car until I passed it.
As I decelerated, I saw the car twitch in my side view mirror. Anxiously tracking it in my rear view, I saw it turn into the rightmost lane, zoom past the cars behind me, swing in right behind me and, yup, flash his lights. Dang! I pulled over, silently hurling unflattering words at myself. I asked Tarun what were the chances he would let me off, knowing fully well that the odds were dismal. A few minutes later when the officer let me go with a warning, we were incredulous! I know this sweet pup was my angel on I-95. There is no other explanation!
Back to Portland...
The city did not jump up and bite me at first glance. The frigid temps, the yucky piles of dirty snow, the impossible wind chill did not contribute positively. Over the course of the next two days, through a pristine snowstorm that lit up the night sky, and with warming temps, the city grew on me. The quaint streets and shops, the endless rows of restaurants, bars, and made-in-Maine goodies made me want to explore the nooks and crannies. We walked, drove, slipped, and slid as we took in the city and nearby towns with adorable names like Yarmouth and Falmouth. We drove to Oar's Island and when the road ended at the shore, there was a "Land's End" shop on the left. Brilliant!
Portland is derived from Portlanda, meaning the land surrounding a port. The city's seal is a phoenix in commemoration of surviving four fires. It has Native American roots, was the site of the "Rum Riot", hosts many arts venues, and is home to numerous craft breweries, including Allagash. And the feather in it's cap is that in 2018 it landed Bon Appétit Restaurant City of the Year honor.
The most interesting thing for me were the crooked homes. When I walked into Neil and Humera's apartment, my eyes told my brain that the kitchen island is crooked and then the brain said, no the windows are crooked and the left eye blinked and said look at that rug, it's crooked. In full blown disorientation, I thought this must be what the inside of a trapezoid looks like! The building has old bones and sits on an old street that is not perpendicular to anything. Quizzically, I looked at Neil and he confirmed that his island is straight, the rest of his flat is not! Plus typewriters drop from the sky...so what's not to like!
Hanging out with my boys and my girl in an eccentric brewery in a historic city was the best gift this mama could ask for. Don't care for the flashing lights, but can't wait to revisit the crooked houses of Portlanda.