The Convention & Visitors Bureau, at 305 Commercial Street (207-772-5800; www.visitportland.com ), offers information and brochures about accommodations, restaurants, transportation, and historic sites. Once you’re in town, you can find many local sources of information about Portland, including newspapers and bookstores, and, in the summer, helpful uniformed guides who stand on street corners in the Old Port. Greater Portland Landmarks, an organization at 165 State Street (207-774-5561), has publications on the city’s architecture and history, including four self-guided tours of historic neighborhoods.
The Maine Historical Society operates the WadsworthLongfellow House museum, at 489 Congress (207-879-0427; www.mainehistory.com ), and also the Maine History Gallery next door. The Tate House, 1270 Westbrook Street (207-774-9781), is open to the public as well. Portland Head Light, 1000 Shore Road, Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth (207799-2661), the oldest lighthouse in Maine, is now a museum. The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company and Museum, 58 Fore Street (207-828-0814), has exhibits of antique trains and memorabilia and offers excursions on about a mile and a half of track. Many of Portland’s museums and attractions are on seasonal schedules—closed in the winter, open part-time in the fall and spring, and open full-time in the summer—so be sure to call ahead. Board one of the bright yellow and white ferries of the Casco Bay Lines, at Commercial and Franklin Streets (207-774-7871; www.cascobaylines.com ), to cruise the offshore islands. And don’t miss Deering Oaks Park; in 1689 its fifty-four shaded acres were the site of a pitched battle between Indians and the Massachusetts militia. Peaceable today, it’s a favorite for families with its duck pond, rental boats, restaurant, and gardens.