WEEKLY BLOG

Explore The Portland Museum Of Art
December 6th, 2019 

During your stay in Maine, you'll quickly learn why so many people fall in love with the state. The craggy coastal shores are something out of a movie, and there is no shortage of lush foliage to enjoy. There is so much beauty in Maine to be taken in, but not all of it is from nature. Maine is brimming with artists of all mediums, many of whom gather inspiration from the state's natural beauty. Many of these local artists' works can be viewed at the Portland Museum of Art.

Fun For Any Age
Many families, especially those with small children, choose to shy away from museums. The quiet and mature atmosphere of many museums doesn't always coincide with the antics of even the most well-behaved kids. The Portland Museum of Art (PMA) is different, though. PMA welcomes children and, in fact, encourages developing an appreciation for art in children at an early age. There are many interactive games and events where children can have fun and learn at the same time.

If your child is too old for finger painting, the PMA is an ideal place for them to visit as well. PMA has plenty of events and programs targeted towards teenagers. These programs are centered around honing in on your teenager's creative ability and making new friends with similar interests.

Tickets And Tours
The PMA is conveniently located right in Congress Square with access to plenty of public parking. General admission tickets are only $18, and anyone under the age of 21 can enter the museum for free, making this a very affordable day trip. The free admission to anyone under 21 years old is due to the Art for All initiative. The PMA is actively trying to engage more and more young people to take an interest in art and is doing so by removing the financial barrier.

If you know ahead of time when your visit to Maine will take place, you can book a group tour of the museum guided by art-loving experts. As a group, you will tour the museum and learn the rich history of many works of art and view the rotating exhibits. If you prefer to explore and appreciate at your own pace, the museum offers self-guided tours as well. 

If you plan on being at the museum for a while, don't bother bringing a snack as PMA has its own cafe. Give your feet a break and sit down and enjoy a fresh cup of coffee or cocoa and a delicious treat.

Programs And Events
As mentioned earlier, the PMA hosts many events, but not all of them are meant for children. Most of the PMA's events are film screenings of new and emerging directors and actors. These films are only $9 for admission, making it more affordable than going to a regular movie theater. PMA will also occasionally host a free screening of a family-friendly movie.

Besides films, PMA also hosts informative discussion groups, holiday events, and will even have local artists come in and discuss their work. All events are listed on the museum's website so you can plan your visit according to your own interests.

The Winslow Homer Studio; Who Was Winslow Homer?
The PMA is proud to own and display a large number of Winslow Homer's works. Although born in Boston, Homer is primarily associated with Maine. Like so many others, he fell in love with Maine during a visit and chose to spend the later years of his life by the Maine seacoast. Many of his most famous and influential works were inspired by the Maine coastline. In fact, his studio even faced the ocean so he could draw inspiration while he worked. Homer moved to Maine in 1883 and stayed where his soul felt most at home until his death in 1910.

Take A Tour Of The Winslow Homer Studio
In 2006, PMA was fortunate enough to purchase Homer's home in Prouts Neck, Maine. Extensive renovations were made on the building to bring it back to its former glory. The house now resembles the home as Homer knew it and is open for tours. The tour begins at PMA, where a luxury van will pick you and your group up and bring you to Homer's old home. There, you are free to explore the house, which will make you feel like you have been transported through time. The most exciting part of the tour is visiting Homer's old studio. You can even gaze out the same window he did while he worked and enjoy the same nautical vistas he did over 100 years ago.

 

The Portland State Theater
November 29, 2019

The heavy snowfall in Maine, coupled with the mountainous terrain, makes Maine a perfect vacation destination for skiers. However, as any Mainer can tell you, nobody knows when the first snowfall will come, and some years we've had to wait long into December. During this long, cold hiatus, many people are left wondering what to do with their free time. Mainers and vacationers alike can look no further than the Portland State Theater.

A Bit Of History
The Portland State Theater is turning 90 years old in 2019, and it is undoubtedly in the height of its glory. It first opened its doors in 1929 ad was known as one of the most technologically advanced motion picture theaters of its time. The theater boasted an ornate art deco style with much Spanish and Italian influence. At the time of the theater's opening, a single ticket would cost a theatergoer a mere 10 cents.

The theater thrived for over thirty years until its manager Ralph Tully retired, and long-time employee Edith Francis took his place in 1963. Francis was not entirely to blame, but the theater fell on hard times after the change in management. Many point the finger at the rise in home television sets. Unfortunately, poor Francis never had the opportunity to showcase his potential as he was struck and killed by a vehicle shortly after receiving the management position.

 
Some Dark Times Before The Theater Today
Following Francis' death, The Portland State Theater was bought by The American Theater Corporation and turn into an adult film venue. To little surprise, the theater fell into disarray, and much of the valuable memorabilia and decorations were either lost, stolen, or destroyed. The last adult film to air in the theater was in 1990 when it was then shut down to disrepair. Afterward, the theater bounced from owner to owner for two decades.

After $1.5 million in repairs, the state theater finally reopened its doors again in 2010, this time as a performing arts venue. The elaborate art deco style was kept, making stepping into The Portland State Theater feel like traveling back to the 1920s.

 
What Kind Of Shows Does The Theater Put On?
No longer a place for cinema, The Portland State Theater now hosts a variety of live performances. During the day, the theater puts on many field trips for school-age children. Most Southern and Central Mainers have experienced at least one trip to the Portland State theater in their childhood, where they learned to develop an appreciation for performance art.

In the evening, during the week and weekends, people can enjoy live music, theater performances, magic, and stand up comedy. The theater gives local artists a chance to showcase their talent, but the theater has also been known to host world-famous artists. Elvis Costello, Skrillex, The Flaming Lips, Aziz Ansari, The Arctic Monkeys, and Fun have all shared the enjoyment of performing at The Portland State Theater in the past.

 
Where Is The Theater And Where Can I Buy My Tickets
The Portland State Theater is located in downtown Portland on 609 Congress St. You have the option of buying your ticket directly at the venue, but your safer buying them online at The Portland State Theater's website. Not only is it more convenient, but Portland is a densely populated city, and the shows have been known to sell out quickly. The theater's website has most of its significant shows posted months in advance so that you can plan out your trip out according to when you're available and what you want to see.
 
The Surrounding Area
Parking is plentiful in downtown Portland and convenient, with the city offering parking meters that can be paid by your phone. Portland is known as a culinary hubbub, so adding dinner to your exciting night out will be effortless. Surrounding the theater are dozens of bars and restaurants you can visit before or after your show. No matter your taste or your budget, there is a restaurant near the Portland State Theater that will suit your needs.

Exploring Peaks Island
November 22, 2019
 
If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway from the hustle and bustle of the Portland area, you don’t have to look far. Of the 4,600 islands that Maine boasts, Peaks Island is the most populated and is located in Casco Bay. On Peaks Island, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Maine coast that seems to stretch on forever. Peaks Island offers a relaxing escape from city life with its many beaches and nature trails.

How Do I Get There?
This quaint island in Casco Bay is only three miles from the shores of Portland. The ferry rides to Peaks are only 17 minutes long, affordable, and even allow dogs. Ferry rides run at various times throughout the day, roughly between 6am-10pm, making this a perfect day trip to fit into your schedule. For a fee, the ferry can also transport your vehicle, but locals don’t recommend it. Peaks Island is only 740 acres and can easily be explored on foot.
What Is There To Do?
Peak’s Island is for the nature lover that wants to experience the best of coastal Maine. If you’re up for it, there is a 3.7-mile hiking trail that encircles the island, offering 360 degrees of scenic vistas. The quaint lobster boats and luxurious sailboats that criss-cross the harbor throughout the day ensure that every view is unique. For those not too keen on walking, Peaks Island offers a variety of rentals, including golf carts, bicycles, and kayaks. Locals on the island love sharing their home with visitors, and only ask that golf carts adhere to traffic laws.
Beaches
Peaks Island has three public beaches to offer. Sandy and Centennial Beach are both sandy, idyllic beaches where families and friends can enjoy laying out in the sun, a round of volleyball, or a refreshing dip in the ocean. Sandy beach is the closest to the ferry landing, and kayakers can enjoy exploring Catnip Island not far from the shore. Centennial beach is perfect for watching the sunset over Portland.

Cairn beach is on the far side of the island and is a rocky beach not ideal for swimming. This doesn’t mean you should pass up on visiting, though! Many visitors of this beach take part in the tradition of rock stacking. People spend hours having fun while they search the shore for the perfect rocks to balance and stack. Some of these rock structures can reach over ten feet in height. Once you’ve had your fun, leave your rock art behind for the next visitor to enjoy.
Explore WII Forts
Battery Steele is a decommissioned military fort located on Peaks Island.
Although the gun is no longer there, the battery still exists. In the 1990s, the Peaks Island Land Preserve purchased Battery Steele and registered it with the National Registry Of Historic Places. This historic landmark is open to the public, and tourists can travel back in time as they walk through the forts and explore the many nooks and crevices. Those that are daring enough can even discover the underground bunkers. It’s recommended that anyone that visits the battery should bring a flashlight. Built in 1942, the fort was named after Harry Lee Steele, who was an artillery officer in WWI. This battery boasted the largest land-based gun ever made in the United States. This powerful gun was capable of firing the largest land-based gun ever made in the United States. This powerful gun was capable of firing a 2,000 lb bullet over 26 miles.
A Brief History
Peaks Island has gone by many names over the years. In the early 1600s, the island was known only as Pond. The island’s name jumped back and forth between Munjoy and Palmer Island until the town settled on Peaks Island sometime in the mid-1700s. It’s not sure how the island got its name, but locals believe it may be from a soldier named Joseph Peak. It is not known when the first inhabitants of Peaks Island came to be, but there is evidence of a man named Christopher Levitt visiting the island as early as 1623. He proclaimed, “there was good fishing and much fowl.” By 1833, there were thirteen families living on the island, making 7o inhabitants. Today the island has just under 1,000 year-round residents. During the summer, the population triples to 3,000 and sometimes higher.


Support The Environment, Support The Community, Support Your Health
November 15, 2019

 
Portland's Farmers' Market is in its impressive 247th year of operation and is thriving now more than ever. This bountiful farmers' market owes its success to the over 40 local farmers that sell their goods there every week. These farmers are dedicated to their craft and take pride in their work. This commitment to quality ensures your shopping experience is full of warm smiles and friendly greetings.
 
When And Where Is The Farmers' Market?
Depending on the day of the week, Portland's Famers' Market can be found at one of two convenient locations. On Wednesdays, it can be located at Deering Oak Park from 7am-1pm. On Saturdays, the market can be found at Monument Square, also from 7am-1pm. Both locations are easily accessible and offer plenty of parking.
 
Sounds Fun, But I Don't Need Any Fresh Veggies Right Now
If your vacation in the Portland area is brief or you are merely passing through, you may opt to forgo the farmers' market. After all, the fresh produce will only spoil before you have a chance to bring it home, right? Though logical, that assumption is very wrong. There are a plethora of treasures to be found at this farmers' market that can appeal to everyone's individual needs.
 
The Portland Farmers' Market offers a wide variety of products besides fresh fruits and vegetables. At the market, you will be able to find local honey, dairy products, a variety of meats, eggs, mushrooms, flowers, and even handwoven bedding. Each vendor offers unique products that will keep you shopping and entertained for hours.
 
What Happens During Wintertime?
Unlike most farmers' markets that take a break during the harsher months, the Portland Farmers' Market is open year-round. During the winter, the market is moved indoors and held at 631 Stevens St. As you may be assuming, winters in Maine are nowhere near ideal for farming, but that doesn't mean there's any less product to sell during this time of year. The wintertime is when many greenhouse farmers come out of the woodwork to sell their produce. Meats, dairy products, and textiles are still available in the winter, ensuring that the market hardly varies from season to season
Rich History
The first public farmers' market in Portland was held in 1768, meaning America still belonged to England at this time! Prior to 1768, people generally farmed their own food. However, being on the ocean, Portland was quick to grow. More jobs brought more people, which resulted in less land to go around. Farmers began peddling their food door-to-door in homemade hand carts. History even tells us of a man named Stephen Cash, who owned a bright red wheelbarrow which he would plop in from of city hall and fill with lobsters to sell.
 
1805 is the year the farmers' market moved Hay Market Square, or, as we now call it, Monument Square. It stayed at this famous landmark for five years before being bounced around over the centuries, only for it to return to Monument Square in 1976.
 
Feel Good About Yourself
Purchasing products from the Portland Farmers' Market means you're putting money into the pockets of hard-working local families rather than throwing it at multi-billion-dollar businesses. Because the food is local, minimal greenhouse gases are created during the transfer of foods as it is only traveling a few miles, rather than across the country or even across continents.
 
Helping the environment and the community is applaudable, but you're also helping yourself out in the process when you purchase from local farmers. Fresh foods from the Portland Farmers' Market is free of harsh chemicals and preservatives. Shop happy knowing you're doing a good thing for yourself and the community around you.
 
South Portland, Maine Turkey Trot 2019
November 8, 2019

 
It seems every store you walk into is blaring Christmas music. The shelves are lined with festive decorations, and your friends are even putting up their Christmas trees in the first week of November. While we all love the cheer that the Christmas spirit brings, everyone seems to be forgetting one crucial holiday… Thanksgiving!
 
Thanksgiving Traditions
Family and friends gathering together to share thanks as they dive into a delicious turkey is the central theme surrounding Thanksgiving. However, the beautiful thing about Americans is that we all evolve into our own quirky family traditions. Some families start a game of touch football in the backyard while others drink cocoa while they snuggle up and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. You’re probably ticking through a list of your own family traditions in the back of your head as you read this. Whatever your turkey-time routine is, there’s a good chance you have room in your day for one new, meaningful activity.
 
Turkey Trot 5k
2019 will mark the third annual Savage Family Turkey Trot. This family event is held in honor of Nathan Savage, and the proceeds go towards the Nathan Savage Memorial Fund. What better way to jumpstart your Thanksgiving appetite than to run a 5k? If running and sweating isn’t your ideal way to start your day off, though, then no worries! People are welcome to run, walk, push their strollers, or even take their furry friends with them. However you decide to participate, you and your family can have fun while supporting a touching cause.
Who Is Nathan Savage?
Nathan Savage was a loving husband and a caring father to three beautiful girls, triplets to be exact. Determined to be around to watch his family grow, he dedicated himself to fitness. An avid swimmer, cyclist, and runner, he was ready to participate in his first full Iron Man event in 2016. However, tragedy struck this unsuspecting family when Nathan suffered a fatal heart attack just months before his 40th birthday in 2016.
What Is The Nathan Savage Memorial Fund?
Displaying strength that few of us possess, the Savage family transformed their heartache into good by starting the Nathan Savage Memorial Fund. Nathan was a man dedicated to health and fitness, and this fund reflects that commitment to being active. The fund benefits youth recreational groups in the Portland area, ensuring that the children of Portland will always have a way to remain active.
 
How Do I Sign Up And Where Is This?
Registration for this 5k can conveniently be done online. The Turkey Trot takes place on Thanksgiving Day in Bug Light Park. Bug Light Park is located on the coast in South Portland with picturesque views of the harbor. Participating in the 5k will also give you a perfect family photo opportunity in front of the adorable, little lighthouse for which the park is named.
 
A Tradition To Remember
The Turkey Trot begins at9am, making it easy to slide into even the busiest Thanksgiving Day. On a day dedicated to being thankful, you can participate in this 5k and be thankful for your health and the health of your loved ones. It’s never too late to start new traditions!