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Portland is Maine's biggest city, but it's one that is defined by its laidback atmosphere and its intimate size. Unlike other East Coast stalwarts, the defining features of this lively waterfront township are its red-brick buildings, rather than its skyscrapers.
Portland has an historic aesthetic that provides a wonderful foil to the fast-paced modernism of plenty of North American Cities. You won't find a futuristic skyline here, but there is an unbelievable chance to visit Victorian neighbourhoods, unique art museums and an amount of inner-city green space that has to be seen to be believed.
The majestic stone work which came to dominate the city after frequent fires in the 1800s is now the gorgeous backdrop to a city of progressive locals with a vibrantly youthful energy.
Portland Museum of Art
This is an impeccably ornamental building in itself, but its interior belies even grander works of art. The work of famous Maine painters such as Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth are showcased in wonderfully spacious galleries spread out over a series of floors, each one revealing more colourful delights to take in.
The finest art museum in New England is also home to a contemporary collection featuring the masterworks of Picasso, Monet and Renoir.
Portland Observatory Museum
Originally built in 1807 as a maritime signal station, today, the Portland Observatory Museum is a thrilling way to get to grips with the city's storied maritime history. Heading inside can lead you to a fantastic exhibit showcasing the instruments used in directing the marine ships into the harbour, a monumental task achieved via a team of skilled signal personnel with only primitive equipment.
There are two truly astounding things about this attraction – Portland Observatory is the last of its kind remaining in the USA, and the view. You can get a panoramic view of the Casco Bay from the very top of the institution, which is still miraculously open to visitors.
If you take a stroll southeast from the Portland Museum of Art, after a few blocks you will encounter the Victoria Mansion. This is an impeccably preserved Neo-Classical palace which was originally built for a member of European aristocracy in 1860.
You can even head inside once you've toured the lush grounds, and enjoy a sumptuously decorated central hall adorned with all the trappings of wealth, such as gold inlay furniture, chandeliers and classical paintings.
For an utterly unique shopping experience, make sure to head to China Sea Marine Trading Co. This shop is full of maritime memorabilia, including telescopes, vintage weaponry, diving helmets and navy pea coats, providing endless fun once you begin delving into its curios.
The award-winning Fore street is a great place to start if you're look to get a taste of the regions finest cuisine. The dining room has pine panelling, adding extra ambience to an already sumptuous dining room. Grilling and roasting is the order of the day here, with the freshest cuts of meat gracing the apple wood chopping boards.
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