Another, Green-Independent politician
advertised his bid for a seat on Portland’s
City Council with large, neon orange
The Ol’ Heave-Ho
The political side of the waterfront has
become serious business. Developers have proposed hotels, condos and
residential buildings along Portland’s
Commercial Street, which can smell of
pungent, fishy lobster bait on hot summer days. The influx of nonmarine businesses and the associated rents spurred
John Bunker, the owner of a marine
curiosity shop, to move his business to
the Portland suburb of Gray.
“When I opened, there were nine
businesses that were like mine,” he says.
“Oddball stuff that guys would drag
in around the world. Within four or
five years, they were all gone.” Bunker
still maintains an eclectic collection
of telescopes, fancy knot work, woodcarvings and maritime ephemera at his
home. Some customers are students at
the Maine Maritime Academy. He’s also
shipping orders of porthole covers to
interior designers in New York City. His
place, China Sea Marine Trading, can’t
be missed: He keeps a collection of kedge
anchors on the lawn.
Another design company on Port-and’s waterfront has found a way to stay
put. Sea Bags sews rope-handled tote bags
out of recycled sail bags on Portland’s
Custom House Wharf. Lobstermen pull
up crates, and herring boats unload their
catch outside the company’s offices.
“We’re fortunate to be on the work-ng waterfront,” founder and co-owner
Hannah Kubiak says. The location also
means the company must, under city
zoning rules, service mariners; Sea Bags
does just that by repairing bait-barrel
covers and riding sails for lobstermen.
And for those who feel a maritime-nspired design trip to Maine necessitates picturesque lighthouses and
rocky shoreline, there’s a 25-mile bicycle
tour of seven lighthouses, hosted each
September by Eastern Trails. But within
city limits, there’s only one building that
resembles a lighthouse—the 86-foot-
tall Portland Observatory at the top of
Munjoy Hill—which tour guides and
locals alike are quick to point out is a
former maritime signal tower and not a
lighthouse at all.
Well off the
Inn at St. John has
a helpful staff, and
its funky, oddly
match the city’s
The cozy Inn
at St. John.
The Maine Attraction
Don’t miss these salty-dog sites that
capture Maine’s maritime spirit
Munjoy Hill’s historic marine
signal tower has survived fires
and gale force winds. Be sure to
check out the panoramic views.
138 Congress St., Portland
The menswear showroom not
only has the latest in outdoorsy
looks but also has its finger on
the state’s artistic pulse.
41 Wharf St., Portland
Maine Maritime Museum
The grounds of a former
wooden shipbuilding company
now house a museum with
everything from pitch to pine.
243 Washington St., Bath
Food Factory Miyake
Masa Miyake, the chef at this
sushi bar, serves live urchin
roe, sazae in anchovy butter,
and an unconventional, umami-
laden omakase (the chef’s
choice à la carte menu).
129 Spring St., Portland
Portland Architectural Salvage
Discards—from ship lanterns
to kitchen sinks—create four
floors of eclectic finds for de-
signers and tinkerers.
131 Preble St., Portland
Inn at St. John
Well off the waterfront, this
quiet, European-style hotel has
a helpful staff, and its funky,
oddly shaped rooms match the
city’s old, seafaring vibe.
939 Congress St., Portland