Portland Head Light and the Tall Ships

Portland hosted the Tall Ships on Saturday, July 18, which to us constituted a perfect reason to take a scooter ride!  The ships were scheduled to sail past Portland Head Light and into Portland Harbor, so we headed for Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth to see the sights.  Those traveling around Portland from the north might find our route to be of interest, as we wished to avoid the ride through downtown Portland (knowing that traffic would be crazy down in the Old Port where the ships were to dock).  So we took US 202 west into Gorham, Maine, then ME 114 south to ME 207, (bringing us around Portland); 207 brought us to ME 77, which we followed north to Fort Williams and the Head Light.

iconic Portland Head Light
iconic Portland Head Light
Portland Head Light with wildflowers
Portland Head Light with wildflowers

Fort Williams has been used to defend Portland Harbor in a number of wars, and there are several excellent historical and interpretive markers for history buffs.  The park was full with both sightseers and wedding parties, but riding scooters made it easy to find parking.  We enjoyed a picnic lunch with friends as we waited for the tall ships to arrive.

USCG Barque "Eagle"
USCG Barque “Eagle”

The “Eagle” is the only active commissioned sailing vessel in the US fleet, the only other remaining sailing vessel being the USS Constitution. The Coast Guard uses it to train cadets, who sail it on goodwill voyages every summer.  America claimed the ship and renamed it as war reparations from Germany after WWII.

All of the tall ships we saw were underway with only partial sails; I am not sailor enough to know why, but my suspicion is that they need open water to manage the full rigging, and use auxiliary engine power to navigate through tight spaces.

More photos of the “parade of tall ships” :

IMGP4817IMGP4799IMGP4822Tall ships and Portland Head Light — two more great reasons to live (and ride) in Maine!

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