Living in New England, you can go in any direction to have a fun day trip. One of our favorite destinations is the Portland, Maine area.
The other day we headed to Portland with the grandkids to make a few stops downtown and to check out a campground for a potential trip. If at all possible, we check out all our potential campgrounds before making reservations – takes time but ensures we know what we’re getting before we pull all the way there.
Packed lunches are a necessity for day trips, and Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth, is one of our favorite destinations for a picnic. It is just five miles south of Portland and is as pretty as a postcard.
From 1872-1964, Fort Williams operated as a US Army Fort, was fully manned, and included five batteries of artillery. During World War I and up through World War II, Fort Williams provided harbor defense for the Portland area. In the 1950’s, their mission changed and the area provided administrative support for military units in Maine. Fort Williams officially closed in June 1962 and was eventually sold in December 1964 to the Town of Cape Elizabeth to become the beautiful park that it is today.
Fort Williams Park is also home to Maine’s oldest lighthouse, Portland Head Light. In the late 1700’s George Washington commissioned Portland Head Light, it is still operational today, and is a popular destination for photographers. We’ve seen professional photo shoots and weddings – it’s always interesting.
There are numerous picnic sites, grills, a covered picnic area, beautiful landscaping, acres of well maintained grassy fields to play on, and beach and swim area.
There are also rocks to climb, old military buildings to explore and a mansion to see.
Fort Williams Park is open year round from sunrise to sunset, covers 90 acres, and has breathtaking views of Ram Island Ledge Light and the islands of Casco Bay.
After having a wonderful picnic lunch and spending time exploring Fort Williams, we headed into Portland to make some stops. They have both a Whole Foods and a Trader Joe’s – now those are choice fresh-food shopping opportunities.
Portland is also the home to Dean’s Sweets. Dean’s is special because it is peanut free. This means my grandson can go in and pick out any chocolate he wants, and we know it will be safe for him.
Our last stop is always to pick up some slabs of pizza at Micucci’s. What can I say about a slab of Micucci’s pizza except that it is simply delicious. The crust is spectacular and the simple toppings of sweet tomato sauce and cheese are absolutely wonderful.
We cannot go to Portland without going to Micucci’s on the way out-of-town. The car smells great all the way home, and we can hardly wait to get there and eat our slabs. We’ve never been disappointed unless you count the times they are sold out.
The Portland area, town and coast, is a beautiful place to visit. If you haven’t been there, consider putting it on your travel bucket list – it’s a great destination.