Like many historic towns on the East Coast, Portland is an eclectic puzzle of neighborhoods that grew together organically as neighboring hamlets increased in size and converged. Many neighborhoods have retained their individual characters, and as visitors walk from the wharves into the surrounding city, wandering past the brick façades of harbor-side buildings and into neighborhoods of shingled homes along Back Cove and the Fore River estuary, they can sometimes feel they have traveled a great distance, though in reality they have gone only a short ways.
Maine is known for its long, rocky coastline, its lobster fishery and its no-nonsense residents. To be sure, visitors to Portland will find all three of these things. As Maine's largest city, however, Portland has much more to offer than a newcomer may expect to find here, including a vibrant arts culture and a food and beer scene that has gained a national reputation for quality and for the sheer abundance of restaurants and brew pubs in the city. Chances to enjoy nature abound in Portland, and the area's four distinct seasons ensure that the places one visits stay fresh and as changing as the weather that rolls in off the Atlantic Ocean. Maine's residents have long been known for independence and self-reliance, and a strong do-it-yourself attitude in Portland has resulted in a healthy urban farming scene, especially evident in the East Bayside neighborhood, as well as a spirit of volunteerism and the advent of community organizations aimed at helping people help themselves.
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