We didn’t have as much time as needed to explore Portland properly but what we saw of it, we enjoyed. After staying with a friend in Cousin’s Island, we drove on a bright sunny morning through the pretty village of Yarmouth (with lots of old clapboard houses labeled with historic plaques) to the Eastern Promenade, a park with a broad grassy lawn and walkway overlooking Casco Bay. Lovely way to start the day. We enjoyed both the harbor views and the beautiful old homes across the street, as well as a community garden in full blossom.
For lunch, we met old friends from Des Moines who now live in Brunswick in the cool Old Port area at a sandwich shop called The Works Bakery Cafe – nothing fancy or special, compared to the many other notable restaurants in town but we gathered less to eat than to catch up after not seeing each other for many years. Our friend Jon’s architecture office is around the block above the popular Bard Coffee. Dirck had to leave earlier than I did for the airport (we took different flights – long story) so I got to wander around, equipped with NYTimes travel stories on Portland. Lots of fun shops to explore including the Salt Cellar, Rough and Tumble (gorgeous leather purposes made in Maine) and restaurants/food shops including Holy Donut, which was down to one donut by the time I got there around 3 p.m.
Fortunately I decided to leave early for the airport to catch my 6 p.m. flight thru Newark. Arriving around 4 p.m. I found out that my flight was delayed 2 hours, which meant I wouldn’t make my connection. No worries. There was no line at the United counter and the young guy behind the counter seemed ready for my request (even though he was wearing a vest that suggested his regular job was steering planes on and off the tarmac). He rebooked me on a flight leaving at 4:50 p.m. to Chicago – with 2.5 hour layover. I’d get home about an hour earlier than my original 11:50 p.m. When I got to Chicago at about 6:30, I saw there was a 7:30 flight to DSM as well as the 9:35 flight I was booked on. I walked over to the 7:30 flight desk and got on that flight instead. So I actually got to DSM at about 8:45 p.m. — much earlier than expected and at about the same time that Dirck’s flight on American (via Philly, which left at 3:30 p.m. from Portland) arrived. Not sure I’ve ever had that good an experience…it helped that I didn’t have any luggage (dirck took my suitcase and checked it since I couldn’t lift it, due to my broken arm) and I was rerouted.