Ships Log- Portland Maine
Trip Start May 05, 2010
22Trip End Oct 01, 2010
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Where I stayed
So arriving from Biddle Pool, we motor up the approach to Portland about 11am. The fog had lifted and blue sky was showing itself as I looked hard to locate the marina against a complex set up buildings near the water. I was told to look for the large sailing vessel- we would take the berth opposite that yacht. With minimal effort, we pulled opposite this vessel and were tied up. After the long run through the morning fog, it felt good to be really tied up and to activate shore power….real power…and as much as we wanted.
The vessel we were tied up near was impressive to say the least. It appeared to be over 100’, gleaming black hull, two gigantic wooden spars (masts) pointing skyward and as much highly polished teak as I have ever seen in my life. I felt like the value of First Forty had just gone up! Her name plate said Ashanti IV from Cayman Islands. We were told as we checked in that she had arrived from Antigua where she had won the recent Antigua race week for large yachts. It was clear this was a professional crew. More on this vessel later.
After a good walk to town we knew we would be happy here for at least three days. In fact, we ended up spending a week.
Portland is a great city and makes you think you may be in Portland Oregon. Its waterfront is teaming with activity both from summer visitors and locals as well. There are classic red brick buildings and interesting classic architecture everwhere. And, Portland knows how to have a good time. Every restaurant we walked past had numerous specials, happy hours and night time music. Clearly this is a place for the First Forty and its crew.
One of the interesting things about this city is that it displays amazing pride in Maine. Most all the restaurants feature local/Maine beers and local produce. In fact, its almost universal. You wont find a Friday’s or an Applebee’s here in town. All the restuants are locally owned and there is a mantra about keeping Maine independent. We like this a lot.
We also took a long (4 mile) walk out to the Wednesday Farmer’s Market. Not only was it all local Maine vendors’s but most of it was organic and the selection amazing. It was enjoyable to see the ‘crunchy’ looking organic farmers in the long beards selling farm made cheese and lettuce so big that one head would fill as basket.
So over the course of the week, we enjoyed many great lunches/dinners out and numerous pints of native Maine beer (numerous) and to hear some decent music on most evenings. The only exception to “good music” was the band that played on the square for Thursday’s Five Alive event…..oh gawd they were bad. My ears could only handle about 10 minutes and we had to go……run.
The most unusual was at one of the very decent Irish Pubs (a First Forty favorite). They had a lady who was an Irish story teller. Not only did she tell some very entertaining Irish stories but she also played a very good piano and Celtic harp while she sang traditional Irish music. Really good.
One night we were in search of music and ended up in a place called the Lobster House and sharing a picnic bench with a fellow we had met outside. He had hot dog cart outside the restaurant. On the way in he gave us his card and promised we would get extra good service if we mention his name when we ordered. His name was Perry Mogul and later he owns “Perry’s Sidewalk Café”. I could write pages on this guy. He sells Kosher Hot Dogs and has been supporting himself doing so for years…..’ so what?’….you say. This guy is very successful…why? He should be the poster child for customer services. He takes pictures of everyone he sells a dog to, makes sure they understand how good his product is, gives away drinks and products, follows up with you the next day he sees you again and generally really does know that the Customer is King. In short, this guy was amazing. I was sitting there at this seafood restaurant and said I didn’t like my food. Without hesitation, he grabbed the remaining food out of my hand, walked it up to the manager and got me something else. I was just going to eat it. He was amazing. I would say for certain this guy could write a book on service. Check him out at www.facebook.com/perrys.sidewalkcafe. He is amazing.
Finally back to the yacht. Over the week, we struck up a relationship with the captain and crew of the yacht. There was a captain who had been on the yacht for 10 years and four young gals. They initially were so busy no one had much to say. But as the week wore on we talked more and more. Soon we learned that the “Boss” was flying in from Switzerland. We wondered what a guy who can own a world class yacht like this was like. We learned that he started and owned a private airline that flies people into Zurich from all over the world to do financial transactions.
Overall we found the captain, crew and yes even the owner to be one delightful group. In fact, it was about the most low key, congenial group we had run into. Yes, even the jillionair owner seemed like a very pleasant fellow and his crew was just terrific. The all gal, crew was from various countries and could not have been more fun to know. I called then “Chicks at Sea”. We saw them later in Maine too.
In short, we had a fabulous week in this very nice city.