After spending most of our summer as perpetual tourists it has been odd to fall back into a predictable routine living in an area that we are mostly familiar with. In some ways we love the predictability of doing laundry in our own private washing machine and sleeping under a roof that probably won’t leak. However, we have come to miss spending most of a day outside, having picnics and exploring new and interesting places. Craving the spirit of adventure we decided not to return home yesterday after an early morning appointment and opted instead to follow in our old tourist footsteps.
Being a gorgeous fall day we decided to follow suit with many other tourists and head to the Portland Head Lighthouse in Fort Williams Park. Even though the city of Portland originally got its name from the lighthouse the park is actually in the town of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. While us older Fives are very familiar with the park we had never brought the kids to Fort Williams and were eager to share this spectacular destination at the mouth of Casco Bay.
Fort Williams park (now owned by Cape Elizabeth) offers 90 acres of walking trails, ball fields, and a look back at historic harbor defenses. Many people venture to the park just to see Portland Head Light which is the oldest light house in Maine and definitely one of the most widely photographed. However, we love Fort Williams for being a perfect picnic destination. From our picnic table high atop a hill near one of the old defensive batteries we had an amazing view out over Casco Bay. You can’t beat sitting in the sun eating lunch while watching the boats sail into the bay and the waves crash on Ram Island. We even had the pleasure of watching a schooner come about so quickly that we could see its keel for many minutes as the strong winds filled its sails and pushed it far to one side.
After watching the boats, finishing our picnic and flying a kite we took the opportunity to read about the defensive history of the fort and check out some of the remaining military buildings. While we didn’t venture down to the very crowded lighthouse our visit was enough to remind us how much we enjoy being tourists and how wonderful a break from the everyday routine can be.