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Portland Maine Experiences

Portland is set on a peninsula extending into Casco Bay. The Old Port waterfront features working fishing wharves and converted warehouses with restaurants and shops. Nearby, the Western Promenade is a public park atop a bluff, offering river and mountain views. Its surrounding district, the West End, is full of Victorian-era homes, including the Victoria Mansion museum.

Below is a small selection of the tours we can organise for you when you have booked your USA holiday with us and are visiting Portland, Maine. 

Also known as the Morse-Libby House, Victoria Mansion was built between 1858 and 1860 as a summer home for two people, Ruggles Sylvester Morse and his wife Olive.This spectacular summer home was designed by the architect Henry Austin of New Haven, CT, and is widely considered one of the finest examples of the Italian Villa style in America. Strategically located near the city’s earliest gas and sewer lines, the house was a model of elegance and convenience with hot and cold running water, flush toilets, central heating, gas lights, a servant call-bell system, wall-to-wall carpeting, and a 25-foot-long stained glass skylight.

In 1940, the house was rescued from an uncertain fate and has been open to the public as a museum since in 1941. Today Victoria Mansion contains over 90% of the original interiors including almost all of the original wall paintings by the Italian-born artist Giuseppe Guidicini. 

As an institution, Victoria Mansion strives to return the house to its original 1860 condition while preserving important evidence of its evolution over time. Thanks to an inventory of the house’s contents from 1893 and numerous historic photographs, it is possible to know with certainty where exactly in the house many objects were placed.

Cape Elizabeth is the home of Portland Head Light. Situated along the spectacular shores of Fort Williams Park, at 1000 Shore Road, the popular landmark is owned and managed by the Town of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The Museum at Portland Head Light is contained within the former Keepers' Quarters. The award-winning Museum contains a number of lighthouse lenses and interpretative displays. 

When visiting the promontory where the lighthouse is located you will notice the waves crashing over an unusual rock formation. They appear to be petrified wood, but is actually quartzite and dark grey phyllite accumulating in alternating layers. As you look out over Portland Harbor and Casco Bay you will have the opportunity to view an additional four lighthouse towers. To your left (North) is Spring Point Ledge Light – built in 1897 – a caisson style light station at the end of a rock breakwater. Directly in front of you is Ram Island Ledge light – constructed in 1905 – the beacon is now solar powered. During storms the waves have been seen to crash over the top of the lantern room. Beyond Ram Island, about 10 miles out and only visible on a clear day, is Halfway Rock light station first lit in 1871. The name comes from its’ position half way between Cape Elizabeth and Cape Small. Now look to your right (South) and you will be able to view Cape Elizabeth light. One of two towers originally built, the remaining operating tower was first lit in 1874.

 

 

Portland Head Light Highlights

  • Lighthouse first erected in 1790
  • All tour fees go to improvements to the local area
  • Lighthouse, museum and gift shop available

Sail with us for a two-hour Windjammer cruise on Casco Bay in Portland -- the perfect way to experience the beauty of the rugged coastline, complete with lighthouses, seals, seabirds. Pack a meal, bring your favorite wine or beer and sit back and relax as you slip through the cool waters of Maine. All ages are welcome! Whether you're nine years old or 99, sailing aboard one of our Maine schooners is a unique adventure. All of our wooden windjammers are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and were built in Maine. 

Schooner Cruise Highlights

  • Experience the beauty of the Maine coast
  • Discover lighthouses, marine wildlife, and the rugged coastline
  • Sit back and relax or learn how to help sail

Cryptozoology is the study of hidden or unknown animals, and you have discovered the world’s only cryptozoology museum. A wide range of exhibitions are on offer from rare, one-of-a-kind scientific, zoological specimens to popular cultural homages to the relevant anthropological and psychological acknowledgements of the sightings and folk traditions to be found within hominology and cryptozoology. As part of the museums scientific and educational mission,  native art and contemporary souvenirs are preserved from the local area. 

Cryptozoology Museum Highlights

  • The world’s only cryptozoology museum.
  • Open seven days a week
  • Collection of thousands of artefacts spread over two floors

The Portland Museum Of Art was founded in 1882 and has made culturial and economic benefits to the local area throughout its lifetime. Over the institutions lifetime many renovations and expansions have taken place in order to create the modern day museum that is open to the public today. 

In recent years with a renewed focus on audience engagement and accessibility, the PMA has aimed to build on the new wave of energy and support at the museum. They have worked tirelessly to be be a brave space that champions freedom of expression. This has meant dedication to presenting exhibitions and hosting programs that reflect the museum’s diverse communities and audiences, and to create experiences with art that strengthen bonds and bring all of us together. 

Within its walls lived four generations of one remarkable family that made significant contributions to the political, literary, and cultural life of New England and the United States. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), grew up in the house and went on to become one of the most famous men of his time. General Peleg Wadsworth, built the house in 1785-1786, and the last person to live there was Anne Longfellow Pierce, Henry's younger sister. Mrs. Pierce, widowed at an early age, lived in the house until her death in 1901. At that time, in accordance with a deed she executed in 1895, the house passed to the Maine Historical Society to be preserved as a memorial to her famous brother and their family.

Today, the Wadsworth-Longfellow House is a three-story, brick structure set in the heart of Portland's downtown. In June 2002 the Maine Historical Society celebrated the centennial of the Wadsworth-Longfellow House as Maine's first house museum. The house is on the National Register of Historic places. Learn more about the history and architecture of the building and its setting, then visit the pages for each room to take a peek inside. The restoration page provides a description of the 2000-2002 restoration.

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