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Things to do in Westbrook

    Portland Observatory Portland Observatory Portland, Maine
    The Portland Observatory in Portland, Maine is the last maritime signal tower in the United States and was constructed in 1807 to use signal flags and a telescope to create two-way communication between the shore and ships that were headed there, at least a few hours before they would crash. The city has a very deep harbor and is sheltered by many islands, so that any ships entering the harbor area aren't seen from the wharfs, so it started a problem with the merchants that were trying to get ready to disembark the cargoes of the ships that they were waiting for. That problems would be remedied in 1807, when Captain Lemuel Moody, who began organizing a group to build an observatory on the city's Munjoy Hill, where the ships entering would be quite visible, and a signal could be sent to the wharf saying which ship was coming in and what dock should be used. In the War of 1812, the tower would be used as a watch tower, to help the city mobilize should any ships of war enter. The observatory stands 86 feet tall, with an octagonal and lighthouse shape, set upon a fieldstone pedestal and is 228 feet above the sea's level. The lantern of the tower included a P and J Dolland achromatic refracting telescope that could see ships some 30 miles out to sea, but was taken away in 1939. It has enjoyed numerous restorations during its long history, and during the Great Depression had a WPA renovation in 1939. During 1998 and 2000 it had to be repaired from moisture problems and powderposts beetles, with the last restoration occurring in 2001, where it won a National Preservation Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The center column hadn't been included in the original construction but was added in the 1939 restoration. It was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and made a National Historic Landmark in 2006. The observatory is the last remaining maritime signal station in the nation, with its cost being paid for by the merchants that had flags stored there to signal the ships and wharf about arrivals, until the telephone was put in the extended the range of the tower, but became obsolete in 1923 when engine powered ships and radio communication made it all unnecessary. During the period between its closing and the 1990s, it would be left unlocked and that afforded too much of a temptation for the area children that would use it for various reasons. There are many of the older residents that recall those days, when they came here to play and explore, creating many imaginable adventures. The last changes made would leave as much as possible of the old wood, easily recognizable because of the differences in its color, with many carvings made in the wood. The Greater Portland Landmarks, a nonprofit still maintains it and offers guided tours about the history and other stories related to its outstanding history, and run from Memorial Day to Labor Day for a small fee.

    Westbrook Historical Society
    Westbrook Historical Society Westbrook, Maine
    The Westbrook Historical Society in Westbrook, Maine was created to preserve, collect and uncover any materials or items that pertain to the history of the city, state and region, offering visitors and others that are interested in this diverse history to come and share, discover and learn more about it. The society would begin during the year of 1975, when the city council planning and development committee stated they would hold a meeting to discuss the creation of the historical society, since there wasn't anywhere in the city where these historic documents and relics could be preserved and showcased to anyone interested. The society was born from that meeting and would be housed in the old city high school on Main Street, with a constantly growing collection of relics and ephemera would be collected and shown. One historical memory and celebration was done in July, 2009, when the city would proclaim it "Rudy Vallee" day in honor his memory and the fact that he grew up in the small city just outside of Portland. Rudy was a actor, bandleader and singer that gained national and international fame during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, actually becoming the first "crooner". He is interred in Westbrook. Their collections are extensive and include photographs, antique postcards, documents, and much more, with an excellent collection of wedding negatives from times past. One of those invaluable mementos is the 1933 championship baseball that the high school team won for the eighth year in a row in the Telegram League. What a game that must have been and what a marvelous memory for the young boys that played on the team that year, taking those wonderful memories with them into their lives and beyond. How many of them would be involved in the Second World War, and what kind of lives did they lead after leaving the high school. These are some of the questions that could be answered when perusing the excellent collections at the Westbrook Historical Society's museum.

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    Charles Q. Clapp HouseCharles Q. Clapp House Westbrook, Maine
    The Charles Q. Clapp House in Portland, Maine is a historic house in the city that had housed the Portland School of Fine and Applied Art, sitting in the downtown area, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. The house was constructed in 1832 on Spring Street in Portland, by local businessman and architect, Charles Q. Clapp, with gabled impediments supported by cornice, frieze and archtrave that make the entablature. It has five Ionic columns that support the overhanging temple facade over the front entry porch, and is now part of the Maine College of Art campus. These ancient Greek elements would accentuate the American ideals of democracy, strength and rising equality, although it looks rather boxy, symmetrical and heavy, at the time, it was what many architects were incorporating into their designs since they had become available. In 1833, the house would be sold to Charles by his father, Asa Clapp, and in 1837, it would become the property of the Bank of Portland, that sold it in 1840 to William Oxnard. In 1863, he sold it to Jane T. Stevens, and her heirs would sell it to Charles C. Bickford in 1897. In 1913, the house would be left to Bickford's wife, Isabella, and a year later, in 1914, she sold it to the Portland Society of Art.

     First Parish Church
    First Parish Church Portland, MaineThe First Parish Church in Portland, Maine has a rich and diverse history, obtained by the Professor William B. Jordan during the 1970s, with much research and information that the professor discovered while working on this project. The church is directly linked to the settlement and growth of the early city, which had been called Casco, and started by two men in the fall of 1632, Richard Tucker and George Cleeve. They begin a fishing and trading settlement that began to grow as many men and women migrated to the area, people that were "coarse, practical, sturdy and fiercely independent", and these folks had a strong dislike for authority, and didn't fit too well into the mainstream of society. By 1640, the population had been increased by nine families coming there to live with Cleve and Tucker, barely making a living, but determined to do so and support their growing families. The region around the small settlement would soon become incorporated into the state of Massachusetts in 1658, and called it Falmouth. According to records found, the first minister that came here to preach was a Calvinist named John Thorpe, arriving in 1659, but this minister had some problems of his own that the small settlement didn't care for that included an addiction to strong drink, a very foul disposition and the worst kind of profanity. In 1661, under court order, he would not be allowed to preach any longer. The next minister that came here, was also a Calvinist, arriving in 1674, and named George Burroughs, only to escape with many of his parishioners to Boston because of the King Philips War. While staying in Boston, Burroughs would get the call to go to Salem Village, which had the worst reputation of the region, in 1680, and although he tried to stay away from any type of involvement in their feuds, he would eventually be condemned by all and in the spring of 1683, he would resign.  As the years passed, the commonwealth realized that the area was much too remote to enforce any civil or ecclesiastical laws, and too sparsely situated to get together under one roof to hold services. The small town would constantly be chastised by the Massachusetts General Court for not picking any representatives, getting a minister or starting a school. However, it would all become moot in 1675 when a tribe of Wampanoag Indians destroyed the town in the first Indian war, called the King Philips War. In the spring of 1685, George Burroughs returned to the Falmouth region, evidently more attuned to the rough life in the region than the turmoil in Salem, but his term would once more be shortened by the Wampanoag and another attack, and in May, 1690 he took his family and fled to Wells, Maine. In April, 1692, a warrant was issued for his arrest in Salem on a charge of witchcraft, which he profusely proclaimed his innocence, but on August 19, 1692, after being tried and convicted, he was hung. The centuries passed by slowly in the wilderness town and as times changed, so did the small town, getting another minister in the form of Jonathan Pierrepont who would stay there until 1728. As the years passed by more slowly, the parish would grow that way as well, with difficulty in getting funds for the church, the minister and to continue both. It would eventually be settled and the church found a home with many needful families, both in money and salvation.

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Westbrook Enterprise Rental Car -160A Larrabee Rd.
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Local Restaurants in Westbrook

    The Frog & Turtle
    Crepes; braised chicken with mushrooms in light country sauce served with spinach & brie; Sheppard's pie style crepe with mash potatoes, gruyere, corn, ground beef in gravy; grilled veggie served ratatouille style with goat cheese, watercress & finished with olive oil & balsamic. Small Plates; house battered haddock served with house chips, Cole slaw & tartar sauce; Rick Tibette's mushroom ravioli in Madeira cream sauce finished with sautéed spinach & toasted walnuts; pan seared salmon with teriyaki glaze, grilled asparagus & roasted red pepper & fresh herb orzo salad; pan seared chicken breast stuffed with ham & gruyere served with sautéed greens & mustard-scallion sauce; grilled Black Forest ham with honey glaze & house made baked beans & Cole slaw; seared duck breast with mashed potatoes, berry reduction sauce & crispy shallots; marinated beef & veggie kabob over greens with black pepper-horseradish sauce. Entrees; baby back ribs rubbed & slow roasted with Kerry's bbq sauce, charred watercress & mashed potatoes; fresh fish of the night; pepper crusted center cut pork loin with pepere's potatoes, grilled asparagus & roasted garlic sauce; grilled 9oz. US choice strip steak; grilled 12oz. US choice strip steak, both with mashed potatoes, mashed turnips/carrots & bacon-onion gravy.

    The Stockhouse Restaurant
    Entrees; grilled teriyaki chicken is 2 chicken breasts grilled & brushed with teriyaki sauce; stockhouse chicken is 2 chicken breasts grilled, brushed with bbq sauce & topped with ham & Swiss cheese; oriental stir-fry is oriental veggies in house stir-fry sauce served over bed of rice; vegetable sauté is sautéed onion, green pepper & mushroom in white wine sauce over bed of rice; Mediterranean chicken is 2 grilled chicken breasts, grilled & topped with fresh tomatoes, Greek olives, feta cheese & artichoke hearts, covered with balsamic vinaigrette; stockhouse ribeye is 12oz. cut in house & char-grilled; steak tips is tender sirloin tips pan-seared in house French onion soup with red & green peppers & mushrooms; country fried steak or chicken is breaded, fried & covered in sausage gravy; meatloaf dinner is house made meatloaf covered in brown gravy; live & onions is beef liver with sautéed onions & thick country bacon; clam strip dinner served with hand-cut fries & Cole slaw; fried Maine shrimp dinner is lightly breaded Maine shrimp served with hand-cut fries & Cole slaw; clam cake dinner is 3 Harmon's clam cakes served with hand-cut fries & Cole slaw; stockhouse fisherman's platter is fried haddock, clam strips, Maine shrimp & clam cake served with hand-cut fries & Cole slaw; haddock fish n' chips is fresh haddock with choice of lightly breaded, beer battered or Cajun served with hand-cut fries & Cole slaw; baked haddock dinner is fresh haddock broiled with 2 sides & garlic toast, your choice of Boston style, seafood stuffed, Cajun, lemon pepper or Mediterranean.

 

BBQ Baby Back Ribs The Frog & Turtle Westbrook, Maine

 

Pepper Crusted Pork Loin The Frog & Turtle Westbrook, Maine

 Teriyaki Chicken Grilled The Stockhouse Restaurant Westbrook, Maine

 

Mediterranean Chicken The Stockhouse Restaurant Westbrook, Maine

 

 

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    Portland Schooner Co. Portland Schooner Co. Portland, Maine
    The Portland Schooner Company in Portland, Maine will take you sailing on historical vessel that is filled with history and legends about the smell of salt air and the cool breezes blowing in your hair. Their two schooners, the Wendameen and the Bagheera are completely set up to help you enjoy the cruise of a lifetime, sailing through the Casco Bay waters around Portland harbor and the surrounding islands. Whatever you wish to enjoy on the cruise, whether just for hours, the day or an overnight excursion, you'll never find a better cruise vessel or crew, ready, willing and able to help you realize your dreams in a most fulfilling way. The company and crew are dedicated to giving you the most authentic experience of your life, sailing on the decks of their marvelous vessels, sailing on the historic windjammers of old, in a majestic vessel that lives in the past but sails in the present. The company started in 2002, after going to a boat show and later coming home with a sailing ship that had to be brought from San Francisco, a 49 passenger classic wooden schooner named Bagheera. It is quite ironic that this beautiful sailing ship would be purchased across the country after she was built in East Boothbay, Maine at the Rice Brothers shipyard, during the 1920s, then after running in the Bermuda Race, she would delivered to the Great Lakes, and she would win the yearly Chicago-Mackinaw Race for numerous years in a row, then making a few trans-ocean voyages, and ending up in San Diego being fitted for passenger service in the 1980s. The Wendameen is also another John Alden designed sailing ship, constructed in East Boothbay as well and then launched in 1912, getting her trips in and around the nation, being docked since the 1930s, she would be renovated in the 1980s and has been put on the National Register of Historic Places. She has been Coast Guard certified for 14 overnight passengers or 49 day travelers. Both of these ships are ready for your trip, so don't delay, take the cruise of a lifetime on a real windjammer and sail the waters off the coast of Maine next summer.

    Gorham Country Club
    Gorham Country Club Gorham, MaineThe Gorham Country Club is located on 180 acres of Maine State Game Preserve land, in Gorham, Maine, just a quick ten minute drive from the Portland Airport, and come to enjoy the friendliest golf course in the state. Their PGA professional club repair person, Rick Altham is able to fix you up quickly so you can continue to enjoy the excellent course here. The golf shop located here has been helping golfers since 1960, with the best merchandise available, with clubs, balls, gloves and soft goods, all at back country reasonable prices. There is a business league, as well as ladies' league and plenty of tournaments to test your skill levels and see what kind of instruction you may need to improve your game. Everything that you need to have a great game is here, but you, and although the season up here is done, there are plenty of plans to make the next summer experience golfing in Maine the best ever. The preferred players club is another way to save and learn more, with free golf tips to help you get on the best game of your life.

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    Maine Maritime MuseumMaine Maritime Museum Bath, Maine
    The Portland Maritime Museum became part of the Maine Maritime Museum as of June 1, 2010. The Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine has been around since the year 1975, after some of the local residents of Bath created the Marine Research Society of Bath in 1962, and then did business as the Bath Marine Museum. Then, in 1975, the name was changed to the Maine Maritime Museum alongside the Percy and Small shipyard, that was the last intact shipyard in the nation that still builds large wooden sailing vessels. The owners of that shipyard donated the land to the museum and in 1981, the house as well. They would add the Leon L. Bean Building to the museum to house their lobstering exhibit, and they would enter into a long standing relationship with the Grand Banks Schooner Trust, offering the schooner Sherman Zwicker to be used as a floating waterfront exhibit in the summer months. In 1989, the museum would open it new Maritime History Building, a bit south of the shipyard, so that now, all of its facilities would be located in one place. The museum had the Deering Pier reconstructed so that they could welcome bigger vessels, and in 1995, the clipper ship Snow Squall remains were brought here to be restored, which has become a significant part of the museum. They added a meeting and dining room called the Long Reach Hall, in 2001, and the wood frame structure is equipped with full catering kitchen. The next year would see the construction of a Visiting Yachtsmen's Building so that it could give amenities for the folks visiting by boat. After that, they added the Tugboat Pilothouse, a Pirate play ship and the Ship's Fo'c's'le. Today, the museum houses ten acres of galleries and exhibits on 25 acres of the gorgeous waterfront, hands-on activities and river cruises; five original 19th century shipyard buildings, a late Victorian period house of a prominent Bath family and the Wyoming: a life-size sculpture of the biggest wooden sailing of all time. There are numerous arts and entertainment facilities, boat cruises and excursions, boatbuilding, marine sales and services, and many other attractions that will fill a visitor's day with many exciting and interesting artifacts and more. Their exhibits include; paintings, dioramas, photographs, relics, ship models and glimpses of life from the state's centuries old relationship with the sea. Some of their outstanding exhibits include; Lobstering and the Maine Coast, A Maritime History of Maine, Distant Lands of Palm and Spice: Maine ships and Mariners in Deep Water Commerce, Snow Squall: Last of the American Clipper Ships, A Shipyard in Maine: Percy and Small and the Great Schooners; and Cross Currents- Visual art distilled from the Maritime World.

    Marrett House
    Marrett House Standish, MaineThe Marrett House in Standish, Maine is a historic house museum owned and operated by the Historic New England, and this house was the home to Daniel Marrett, a recent graduate of Harvard University that arrived in Standish in 1796 to become their new town parson. The marvelous house was certainly a reflection of his status as the town's leading citizen and over the ensuing years, his children and grandchildren would enlarge and update the house to suit their individual needs, although they would leave many interior furnishings and arrangements that has been left unchanged over the decades. The southwest parlor looks exactly like it did for the wedding in 1847, that is a wonderful addition to any museum house. The family would celebrate the house's centennial in 1889, by restoring many of the rooms, and used reproduction heirloom wallpapers and bed hangings, as well as organizing a huge family reunion to honor their family's legacy. The house had been used for safeguarding coins from the city of Portland during the War of 1812. Daniel moved to the wilderness with his young wife, Mary, from Lexington, Massachusetts in 1796 and bought the Federal style house that had been constructed in 1789 for his processor, who had died suddenly. The couple soon settled down and began raising a family and during the 18th century rural Maine settings, Daniel would become the most important man in the small town. His income would be determined by the taxes and regular gifts of food, but Daniel realized that he would have to do more to assist the meager income with one of his favorite interests, pomology. He soon opened a big apple orchard and soon was the leading pioneer of grafting in the state, as well as being the first person to bring a cooking stove into the town. Mary passed on in 1810, and Daniel was left with six children, between the age of two and thirteen. Within two years, he had remarried, at the age of forty-seven, he married Dorcas Hastings, a twenty-seven year old woman. She seemed to jump into the marriage and situation with both feet, taking good care of Daniel's six and having another eight during the next fifteen years. The family would live in the house until it was donated by Frances and Caroline Marrett in 1944, after having been in the family for more than 150 years.

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May 13, 2011