Expo 55: Portland— Portland


The stern influence of the North Atlantic may make Maine’s largest settlement misty and cold for much of the year but that doesn’t prevent the warm, relaxed lifestyle of Portland’s inhabitants from being extremely infectious.

Architecture, Cities, Culture, Tourism

One morning you find yourself at the farmer’s market in Portland’s red-brick Monument Square. You see honey from the nearby town of Hollis, blueberry jam from Buckfield, eggs from Unity. A handsome farmer with a beard and strange, yellow-blue eyes is selling baby arugula and bok choy. You ask this reserved man about his livelihood and he tells you, “This is the best life I could imagine. I am doing exactly what I want to be doing.”

You stop and allow this to percolate. Let me get this straight, you say to yourself. The best life I could imagine.…

  1. You can’t eat more locally than fish and lobster right off the boats in the harbour.
  2. Portland is famed for its tolerance and is home to more gay bars than most tiny towns.
  3. It’s close enough to Boston and New York for weekend trips – but not too close.
  4. You can get away from it all by simply hopping on a ferry to the Casco Bay islands.
  5. The people who live here – relaxed, friendly and welcoming.
  1. Congress Street has seen a remarkable revitalisation but the homelessness problem must be addressed.
  2. Portland is admittedly already on the case, but it needs to pull in more creative types.
  3. The main waterfront strip should be geared more towards pedestrians, with broader pavements and more beautification.
  4. “Our biggest export is our children,” says chef Sam Hayward. This out-migration should be stopped.
  5. Urban Outfitters just opened downtown. Keep these cookie-cutter stores to a minimum.

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