05 July 2009

EcoRover Goes to Portland (Maine)

As those who know me will attest, I do not like to travel. Especially in the summer, when each day outside of Montana feels like a day taken from my life (in the same way, a day of troutfishing adds a day). Alas, but I have a research grant which entails publications and the inevitable and associated act of presenting papers at meetings...

Despite my reluctance to travel, there are several good reasons to venture downeast to Portland, Maine: fresh lobsters, the North Atlantic coast, and -- best of all -- its proximity to Boston, where daughter Emily attends college. We arrived after midnight and all the compact rentals were gone. In fact all the cars were gone. EcoRover in a Ford F-150 behemouth, oh man, what's wrong with this 10 mpg picture?:

Puffins
Apart from my conference, the first order of business:
Atlantic Puffins (Fratercula arctica)

Puffins are a small auk driven to extinction by egg collectors and "hunters" (they killed the birds for fishbait) in coastal U.S. waters. Thanks to Audubon Society's Project Puffin, the birds have been successfully re-established on several islands, including Eastern Egg Rock:

We saw many puffins and a host of other rare seabirds such as Arctic Terns, but in the dense fog only this single photo came out (serious limitation of my little Canon elph):

I highly recommend Hardy's cruise for any bird watcher, endangered species supporter, or other naturalist. Despite the dense fog that rolled in, we had a great time (Mrs ER and Emily on the dock, before the cruise):

Lobsters
Hardy's Puffin Watch sails from New Harbor, also port for lobstermen. The lobsterman is a glorified figure in Maine, as this sculpture in Portland suggests (I like the tender, father-child relationship):

The glorification is well-deserved, however, for in addition to providing fellow humans with the tastiest bug on planet Earth they have also worked closely with fishery scientists and regulatory agencies to insure that the lobster harvest is truly sustainable. We watched these lobstermen sort their catch:

And soon were on the upper deck of Shaw's enjoying this marvelous fruit of the sea:

Portland Museum of Art
Little old Portland has a first class art museum--who'd a thunk it? In addition to some choice pieces by the likes of Renoir, Picasso, Monet, Matisse, etc, the current exhibition on "Art Colonies of New England" was simply outstanding. Moreover, there were some wonderful surprises, such as "Dragon Cement Company" by Yvonne Jacquette:

And Monhegan Island by Louis Lozowick, a Russian emigre artist who also did a number of pieces on early 20th century American industrial cities, such as Pittsburgh PA and Butte MT:

J's Oysters
With Emily on the train back to Beantown and a mid-day break from sessions, Mrs ER and I wandered upon one of Portland's finest:J's Oyster is exactly what you want a good oyster bar to be--friendly, a bit hard to find, favored by locals, and (of course) fresh, tasty oysters:

We also shared a bowl of mussels (in a traditional lemon-garlic-butter sauce) and declared them exceptional. In part, the charm stemmed from the friendly atmosphere--Mrs ER and I dined at the bar, and weren't through our first dozen before becoming "new best friends" with the locals:

Sebago Brewing Company
With the conference over, we sought out a brewpub. This was a bit challenging, because none were listed in the directory and the hotel staff knew only of Shipyard Brewing--a rather undistinguished beer. Mrs ER found a listing in a brochure for the Sebago Brewing Company (they've since expanded, but this is the original location):

They have two outstanding beers in their lineup: Frye's Leap IPA and Boathouse Brown Ale (EcoRover takes micro-brewed beer seriously):

The crab cakes were pretty good too, and the mussels (once again) exceptional (made with a lovely Brown Ale sauce):

I'm a little sorry that we were in Portland for four days but that I got to see so little of it. What I did experience makes it a wonderful small city, and a place I look forward to visiting again. Cobblestoned alleys and little shops to explore:

A city where kids get paid to paint graffiti/murals:

 [this photo removed upon request--see comments]


Where resident appreciate a cool ride:

And a good selection of fine Thai restaraunts (locals told us Tom's is the best, and we agreed):

There was one minor glitch, and that was our stay at the Eastland Park Hotel. Overpriced, it was a leit motif of humor for five days: it didn't take long to realize the big wet spot in the middle of the rug was the source of the cat pee smell; the air conditioner (which, thanks to cool rainy weather we luckily did not need) roared like the "jake brake" on a Mack truck; the room staff was always out of something ("Sorry, no washcloths today!"); the room telephone which would ring and flash but from which no voice could be heard; hotel security that needed three trips to locate & quiet the partying neighbors; the elevator that did not go to the top floor lounge; and the desk staff that found it almost impossibly hard to switch the room charge to another credit card. Oh, and let's not forget the fire alarm/emergency evacuation:

Well, Pobody's Nerfect!

19 comments:

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Well ER, it seems that Portland gave you a good time (other than the hotel). I know if must have been hard to leave gorgeous Montana ---but to see that gorgeous daughter, WELL---I'm sure the trip was worth it to both you and Mrs. ER.

Betsy

Calm Energy said...

HI! Thanks for stopping by my post today! It's nice to visit fellow skywatchers on days other than Friday :)
Wow... Montana to Maine! Great trip ...from one beautiful state to another! My husband and I went on our honeymoon to Maine... We mostly stayed in Bar Harbor...

Looks like you had a great time ... except for the misfortunes at the Eastland Park hotel!
Your post is a wonderful scrapbook of memories!
Our little robins flew away this morning... It was so great to be able to see the second one on the edge of the nest waiting to leap!
~ Maria

The Crow said...

I visited Maine once, for a week, and loved it. Glad you and Mrs. ER had a good visit with daughter and with the folks in Portland.

:)

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

Looks like a great trip.

Cutthroat Stalker (Scott C) said...

Good to see you with a man-ride (instead of some wimpy Subaru or Prius, or whatever) creating some man-pollution to go with the man-mpg. You should have asked to supersize that truck to the F350--what were you thinking? He-he-he... ;-)

Looks like you had a lot of fun. My most memorable memory of Maine was camping in the backwoods and having our daughter munched by mosquitoes--for weeks after, everyone thought she had chicken pox!

Instead of Keystone Kops, you got the Keystone Hotel. Makes for a bummer of a stay, but great story fodder for later.

troutbirder said...

Very nice trip indeed. I think the Northeast & the Maritimes rank a close second to the Mountain West in my list of fun places to be. Of course, as they say, there is no place like home.

bob said...
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bob said...
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Anonymous said...

PLEASE REMOVE THE PHOTO OF THE TWO KIDS PAINTING THE MURAL. YOU DID NOT GET PERMISSION TO TAKE THIS PHOTO AND IT IS VERY INCRIMINATING. PLEASE REMOVE IT NOW OR I WILL REPORT ABUSE ON THIS BLOG THANK YOU

EcoRover said...

Bob and/or Anonymouse, if you would like to discuss this, please contact me and provide your personal email address and I will contact you. But please do not threaten me. For your information:

"From Oregon lawyer Bert P. Krages II comes an explanation of the photographer’s rights, which I found educational... [H]e says:

"Members of the public have a very limited scope of privacy rights when they are in public places. Basically, anyone can be photographed without their consent except when they have secluded themselves in places where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy such as dressing rooms, restrooms, medical facilities, and inside their homes."

(and)

Q: Can I publish pictures of people I’ve photographed without permission?

A: That depends upon the purpose of the picture. If it’s artistic or editorial in nature, or can be characterized as to inform or educate, then you do not need your subject’s explicit permission."

Source: http://www.penick.net/digging/?p=332

Cf. http://photojojo.com/content/tips/legal-rights-of-photographers/
and
http://www.krages.com/bpkphoto.htm

Anonymous said...

it is very important to me that you remove that picture...i will sleep better at night if you do...so please just be a nice guy and remove it...i'm sure no one will mind
thank you

EcoRover said...

Anonymous, I'm a little confused here. When I asked someone at the scene, I was told this was a public art project. Clearly it was not a clandestine or illegal operation, given that the kids were out painting in broad daylight?

Again, shoot me an email at pmunday@mtech.edu and we'll chat. In part I'm concerned because there's been this nutcase pseudo-psychotherapist guy (i.e. psycho) who has been bullying me and others I work with, and I simply need to be sure you are not him (he has a half-dozen or so aliases). He gets his rocks off manipulating others or having any sort of power over others (often with ridiculous legal threats).

Anonymous said...

It is very important that you please remove that picture of the two kids painting the mural, I am not tryin to get into any legal issues. Just simply remove that picture, it would be much appriciated. thank you

EcoRover said...

Not sure why, but I received several panicky sounding messages about a photograph I posted of kids paining a mural. The messages included these three:
(1) From Bob: PLEASE REMOVE THE PHOTO OF THE TWO KIDS PAINTING THE MURAL. YOU DID NOT GET PERMISSION TO TAKE THIS PHOTO. IT IS VERY INCRIMINATING. REMOVE IT NOW OR I WILL REPORT ABUSE ON THIS BLOG. THANK YOU
(2) From Anonymous: it is very important to me that you remove that picture...i will sleep better at night if you do...so please just be a nice guy and remove it...i'm sure no one will mind
thank you;
(3) From Anonymous: It is very important that you please remove that picture of the two kids painting the mural, I am not tryin to get into any legal issues. Just simply remove that picture, it would be much appriciated. thank you

Well, given the apparent urgency, and the fact that the email address traced back to Portland, I removed the photo per the request.

-EcoRover

Anonymous said...

Thank you for implying you will remove the image, it will be very much appreciated when the action accurs,thank you.

Anonymous said...

thank you very much for deleting the photo off your blog but the image still appears when searched on google images which i am most concerned about..can you please remove it from the web completely

Anonymous said...

please remove the picture completely off the internet, it still appears on google image search, we can not have that picture on there, please persue in this request. thank you

EcoRover said...

If you know how to remove the photo, please give me detailed instructions--I can't figure out how to do it.

scott davidson said...

Our strange neighbor adores cats and had them everywhere in her house. As if the dozen live cats were not enough, in every room in her house, she has framed prints, large and small, of the blessed animals.0
She says that she orders her canvas prints, like this one
http://en.wahooart.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8BWPVF by Franz Marc, from wahooart.com who delivers them. Perhaps they can take away a cat or two as well.