Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Gulls in the Mist: Portland, Maine

I'd never been to Maine, and was excited to arrive; it was a state I'd always wanted to visit. Our first order of business was to spend a day in Portland. 

Portland was rainy, incredibly misty, and pretty chilly, despite it being late June, exactly how we'd imagined a coastal Maine city to be. 

The entire downtown seemed completely saturated with water from the weather system that's been pummeling the entire Eastern United States with rain this month. 

Everything from water to skyline completely disappeared into this all-encompassing fog. 

Near the waterfront, there were many old cobblestone streets. Imagine the work it must have taken to place all these stones by hand in the days before heavy machinery, and imagine how muddy and mucky  the streets must have been before the cobblestones were lain! 

"Most of the things folks worry about never happen." We found this awesome sign in a local downtown Portland shop. This saying is one of our mantras. 

Dave always loves capturing alleyway graffiti. 

Portland was chock-full of groovy local shops and restaurants, like the Blue Rooster and the Thirsty Pig, a bar from which we got an awesome bumper sticker for the collection. 

A really cool find by the water was this Fence of Love. Couples attach a lock with their names and perhaps a significant date, like their wedding, to the fence. 

No one is sure where the custom originated, though it seems to have begun in the early 2000's. It is quite popular in places like Paris and Russia. There's even a company in New York that specializes in making pretty rust-proof locks for this purpose. Here in Portland, the street art project just started before Valentine's Day this year. It was begun by a group of three women, who gathered about a dozen friends to install locks on this waterfront fence. The number of locks multiplied to 47 almost overnight. At some point, an anonymous person installed the Fences of Love sign. 

You can read more about the really cool evolution of this project here. For now, at least, it seems love and art will prevail, and the city does not have plans to remove the locks. We love guerrilla street art projects, so we were so excited to have happened upon this one so soon after its creation.

Also along Long Wharf were these three pieces from the Berlin Wall. 

After it fell, pieces of the Berlin Wall were distributed to numerous locations throughout Europe, Canada, and the USA. This is the first time we've come across a piece ourselves. It seemed right at home in the thick fog, like it fell out of the sky and landed here. 

If you're curious to know if there's a piece of the wall near you, there is a comprehensive list for the USA and Europe. 

Perhaps one of the best things about Portland was the sound and sight of countless seagulls flying overhead. It's been quite some time since we've been near the coast, and we love how seagulls always let you know your proximity to the ocean. 


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