Whether leading visitors along the historic streets of Old Port or along the craggy coast near Portland's harbor in a trolley, the guides at Maine Foodie Tours regale visitors with background on the area's artisan cuisine. Each of them partners with local culinary artisans to uncover historical tidbits about dishes or reminiscences about the days when whoopie pies were still carved out of wood. On walking tours, they explain how fish houses, canneries, and textile mills have given way to coffee shops, bakeries, and restaurants, stopping for samples of fish, cheese, and microbrews to illustrate each point. On chocolate tours, they may explore the history of the cocoa bean by leading guests to confectioneries that craft cupcakes, ice cream, fudge, and truffles.
In the spring, summer, and fall, Maine Foodie Tours offers other excursions, such as trolley and bike tours.
Founded in 1822, the Maine Historical Society is the third oldest state historical society in the nation, and curates museums, programs, and events to celebrate the state's long history. The MHS Museum features a collection of more than 15,000 artifacts, including pieces of Native American archaeological material, political memorabilia, and pictures of the first governor with his head caught in a lobster trap. The society's 1-acre campus is also home to the the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, the childhood home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the poet best known for penning "Paul Revere's Ride" and The Song of Hiawatha. Membership to the society includes invitations to exhibit openings, member parties, lectures, trips, access to the Brown Research library, a subscription to the Maine History Journal, and a 10% discount at the museum store, web store, and all vintage Maine image purchases.
When most people think of Italian villas, elaborate textiles, and Turkish smoking rooms, they don't picture them in the United States. But they used to be. The Victoria Mansion showcases the grandeur of art, design, and architecture before the Civil War. Based in the 19th-century Morse-Libby house, the museum is now open to the public, although it was once in peril of being ripped down and turned into a gas station in 1940.
Visitors can tour the house to see rooms dripping with stained glass, gilded mirrors, and satin textiles. From the very large—chestnut paneled walls—to the very small—a silver salt cellar by Tiffany & Co.—the home displays the most opulent architecture and decor of the age. In addition to guided tours, the museum sponsors public lectures, discussion groups, and scholarly symposiums on 19th-century topics, like the mansion's artwork.
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With an extensive collection and nationally renowned exhibitions, the Portland Museum of Art is the cultural heart of Portland, Maine. The PMA boasts significant holdings of American, European, and contemporary art, as well as iconic works from Maine—highlighting the rich artistic tradition of the state and its artists. The museum brings it all to life with unparalleled programming. From special members-only events, Free School Tours, and a commitment to family activities to PMA Films, curator talks, and exclusive tours of the Winslow Homer Studio—it’s all happening at the PMA.
Edgecomb Potters began in the most inauspicious of places: a modest school house on the side of a road in Maine. Owners Richard and Chris Hilton never dreamed that, 30 years after opening that school house for business, they would be in charge of three galleries across the state.
Today, their family continues the tradition they started, glazing and firing pottery in kilns built decades ago. The works never fail to capture the beauty of the region, drawing inspiration from New England's clouds, forests, and minor-league baseball teams. Delicately crafted bowls and vases can be found in the galleries alongside metal jewelry, wood sculptures, and glassware.
The logo for the International Cryptozoology Museum is a coelacanth, one of the science's great success stories. Believed to have gone extinct 65 million years ago, a specimen of the armored fish was caught off the coast of South Africa in 1938 and identified by museum curator Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer despite its false mustache. In the optimistic spirit of that amazing discovery, the International Cryptozoology Museum displays exhibits profiling such mysterious creatures as Sasquatch, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Jersey Devil, along with lesser known beasties such as the Dover Demon, the Montauk Monster, and the Fiji Mermaid.