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Official Tourism Site for the Greater Portland Region of Maine

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Official Tourism Site of Greater Portland Maine
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www.Visitportland.com
207-772-5800 | info@visitportland.com

Maine Facts

These quick facts will help get you started with planning your vacation to Maine.

Population


With a population of approximately 230,000, the Greater Portland area is home to almost one-quarter of Maine's total population. The population of the city of Portland is 64,358.

Geography


The Greater Portland area is located on Maine's beautiful coast, but the rugged interior isn't far away. Portland sits on a peninsula that juts out into Casco Bay, yet the mountains of Western Maine are just a forty-five minute drive west. So whether your preference is hiking or skiing in the foothills of the White Mountains, sunbathing on Maine's warm, sandy beaches, or sailing the lovely Atlantic, you're never far away in Portland.

Climate


The sea tempers Maine's climate creating mild winters and cool summer breezes. Temperatures range from comfortable 60's - 80's (with low humidity) during the summer months to 20's - 40's during the winter.

Wardrobe


The old adage, "If you don't like the weather in Maine, wait a minute, it will change" applies when choosing a wardrobe for your trip. During the summer, lightweight clothes are advisable, but don't forget your favorite sweater for evenings and cool ocean breezes. In autumn, a heavy sweater is usually sufficient. For winter months, a parka and boots will keep you warm and dry. Dress is usually casual throughout the city. 

Alcohol Policy


Maine has a very tough alcohol policy. Persons must be twenty-one to buy or consume liquor. Identification is often requested. Hours of legal service are 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. OUI laws are strictly enforced, with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 being the legal limit.

Maine's Smoke Free Laws


Your health matters. Maine's smoke-free laws ensure that all indoor settings, open to the public, are smoke-free including restaurants, bars, movie theaters and malls. Common areas in state parks and historic sites are also smoke-free, and include beaches, picnic shelters, snack bars and restrooms. In Portland all city-owned parks, playgrounds, athletic fields, trails, beaches and open spaces are smoke-free. Throwing tobacco litter on the ground is prohibited and carries the penalty of a $100 fine.



Ten facts about the Pine Tree State

  • Population is approx. 1.2 million
  • Maine became the 23rd State on March 15, 1820
  • Including capital city of Augusta, Maine has 22 cities, 424 towns, 16 Counties, 51 plantations, 416 unorganized townships, including  America's first chartered city,  York, 1641
  • Maine is 320 miles long, 210 miles wide, 33,215 square miles, and 3,500 miles of coastline
  • Land includes 17 million acres of  Forest, 6,000 lakes and ponds, 32,000 miles of rivers and streams, including the 92-mile Allagash Wilderness Waterway
  • Maine has 542,629 acres of state and national parks, including Baxter State Park, the home of Mt. Katahdin (5,268 ft. above sea level, approx. 1 mile high) & northern end of Appalachian Trail and Acadia National Park (second most visited national park in the US)
  • State motto is Dirigo, which means "I lead"
  • State flag is comprised of the coat of arms of the State of  Maine placed on a blue field of the same shade of blue in the flag of the  United States
  • Largest Blueberry crop in the nation comes from Maine's 60,000 acres of blueberry bushes, producing 74.5 million pounds of berries
  • Winter temperatures average 20F; Summer temperatures average 70F 


SPECIAL DESIGNATIONS


State Animal: Moose 
The moose, or A. alces as known by the scientific name, is the largest member of the deer family in the world. In North America it is found in wooded areas of  Canada and the northern United States. Maximum size of a bull may stand more than 6 ft high at the shoulder and weigh more than 1400 lbs. The males bear enormous, broad, flattened antlers with prongs, or tines which can attain a spread of 5ft or more. The antlers are shed each year after the mating season. The body color of the moose varies from almost black to light brown, becoming greyish in winter. The legs are lighter in color than the body. The protruding muzzle and the long legs enable the animal to browse on brush and to wade into lakes and ponds to feed on aquatic plants. The shoulders of the moose are higher than the hindquarters, giving it a humpbacked appearance that is accentuated by the short neck. In order to reach low-growing plants or to drink from a shallow pool, the moose is forced to kneel. It is an excellent swimmer. Moose generally are solitary, although they may form into small bands in winter and trample down the snow where good cover exists, making a moose yard where the animals stay while the food lasts. During the mating season, bulls battle for the cows, and their roars may be heard for great distances. After a gestation of eight months, one to three calves are born; they stay with the mother for two years. 

State  Berry: Wild Blueberry 
Wild blueberries are harvested from late July to early September in  Maine. Harvesting is still mainly by hand rake - a close-tined special rake invented about 112 years ago by a local Downeaster, Abijah Tabbutt and modified in minor variations since then. The secrets in the wielding of the rake - a special pushing and twisting motion of the wrists designed to tease the ripe berries from their grasp of the vine without crushing. Hand-raking is increasingly being replaced by mechanized harvesting. Although the technology is getting very good, hand-raking will always have its place - due in large part to the hilly and rocky terrain that a lot of wild blueberry patches are found on. 

State Tree: White Pine 
The White pine is considered to be the largest conifer in the northeastern  United States. Leaves (needles) are soft, flexible and bluish-green to silver green in color and are regularly arranged in bundles of five. Needles are 2 1/2-5 inches long and are usually shed at the end of the second growing season. Flowers (strobili) occur on the tree. Cones are 4-8 inches in length, usually slightly curved. Cone scales are thin and never have prickles. Cones also have a fragrant gummy resin. 

State Bird: Chickadee 
The Blacked-capped Chickadee (Parus atricapillus) is a common sight in the woods and at backyard bird feeders throughout the state. The brownish-black bill is short, straight and rounded. The Chickadee's glossy head is large with a short neck and dark brown eyes. Its body is thick. The feathers are blended and short. The tail is long, arched, and rounded, with twelve slender feathers. Feet and claws are greyish-blue. The whole upper part of the head and the hind neck is pure black, as is a large patch on the throat and fore-neck. The Chickadee is approximately 5 inches in length. 

State Cat:  Maine Coon Cat 
One of the oldest natural breeds in North America, the Maine Coon is regarded as a native of the state of  Maine. Most Coon Cat breeders believe that the breed originated in mating between pre-existing shorthaired domestic cats and overseas longhairs (perhaps Angora types introduced by New England seamen, or longhairs brought to  America by the Vikings). Maine Coons were well established more than a century ago as a hardy, handsome breed of domestic cat, well equipped to survive the hostile  New England winters. Everything about the Maine Coon points to its adaptation to a harsh climate. Its glossy coat, heavy and water-resistant, is like that of no other breed, and must be felt to be appreciated. It is longer on the ruff, stomach and britches to protect against wet and snow, and shorter on the back and neck to guard against tangling in the underbrush. The coat falls smoothly. 

The long, bushy tail which the cat wraps around himself when he curls up to sleep can protect him from cold winters. His ears are more heavily furred (both inside and on the tips) than many breeds for protection from the cold, and have a large range of movement. Big, round, tufted feet serve as 'snow shoes.' Their large eyes and ears are also survival traits, serving to increase sight and hearing. The relatively long, square muzzle facilitates grasping prey and lapping water from streams and puddles. Maine Coon Cats are tall, muscular, big-boned cats; males commonly reach 13 to 18 pounds, with females normally weighing about 9 to 12 pounds. Maine Coons don't achieve their full size until they are three to five years old. Their voices set them apart from other cats; they have a distinctive, chirping trill. 

State Fish: Landlocked Salmon 
The Landlocked Salmon, a subspecies of the Atlantic salmon, lives in the lakes of the northern  United States without ever descending to sea. Landlocked salmon attain a maximum weight of about 35 lbs. The two most important landlocked populations of the Atlantic salmon are the Sebago salmon, commonly found in  New HampshireMaine, and New Brunswick, and the ouananiche, of Lac Saint-Jean,  Canada.

State Gemstone: Tourmaline 
Tourmaline ranges in color from black or white to vibrant shades of red, green, and blue. Maine tourmalines rival tourmaline from world-famous localities in  CaliforniaBrazil, and the Himalayas in color. Individual crystals range from opaque to transparent and may be single or multi-colored. There is even a "watermelon" variety with a green outer layer surrounding a pink core. Tourmaline is actually a group of several different minerals which have similar crystal structures, but complex and variable chemical formulas. The exact species of tourmaline is determined by the number of elements present. The most common species in Maine is schorl, a black, iron-bearing tourmaline. The colorful, but less common, species found in  Maine is elbaite, named after the  island of  Elba Italy

Tourmaline occurs as lustrous, elongate crystals which commonly have a rounded triangular cross section and narrow grooves running parallel to their long direction. The crystals range in size from microscopic to over a foot long. The best examples in  Maine are found in a very coarse-grained type of granite called "pegmatite". The slow cooling and solidification of the pegmatite veins allowed the mineral grains to grow to much larger sizes than in ordinary granite. The black tourmaline crystals and many of the brightly colored ones are usually encased in the surrounding rock. However, conditions in some places favored the development of open cavities in which elbaite crystals grew with greater perfection and clarity. These pegmatite "pockets" are the source of  Maine's finest gem tourmalines. 

State Herb: Wintergreen 
Wintergreen (Gaulteria procumbens) grows in wooded areas and in some clearings from Canada to  Georgia. The low growing, glossy leafed herb provides an attractive ground cover; in particular from fall to winter when red berries adorn the plants. In July, the plants bloom, producing white bell shaped flowers. Traditionally wintergreen has been used for its soothing qualities providing relief from a variety of ailments. Native Americans crushed the leaves and applied them in order to relieve strained muscles and inflammations. Additionally, teas made from wintergreen relieve internal discomforts like sore throats and upset stomachs. Some early colonists even substituted wintergreen for their regular tea, which was heavily taxed during the American Revolution. Today wintergreen is used to flavor gum, candy, and toothpaste. 

State Insect: Honeybee 
Honeybees probably originated in Tropical Africa and spread from  South Africa to Northern Europe and West into  India and  China. They were brought to the  Americas with the first colonists and are now distributed world-wide. A typical small hive contains perhaps 20,000 bees and these are divided into three types: Queen, Drone, and Worker. The bee has eyes for seeing flowers, antennae for detecting fragrances, wing muscles for flight, legs for walking and pollen gathering, a crop for transporting nectar, and a stinger for defense of the hive.

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