Portland, Falmouth & Cumberland Waterfront Real Estate Maine's Casco Bay Region
Portland, Maine's largest city and its cultural and commercial center, is the hub of Cumberland County, the state's most populous region. Including its suburbs - which range from Scarborough in the south to Freeport in the north, and North Windham in the northwest, Portland is the largest metropolitan area north of Boston, expanding outward every year. But Cumberland County still has nearly as many rural residents as it does city dwellers.
Founded in 1632, Portland has several historic neighborhoods and a number of buildings of architectural interest. Many of these are congregated in the city's West End, in the neighborhoods near Maine Medical Center, the state's largest hospital. Congress Street anchors the city's downtown, running from one end of the L-shaped peninsula in Casco Bay to the other. It begins on Munjoy Hill in a residential area near the Eastern Promenade, where there is a park and beautiful views of the bay, and descends to become a commercial and retail district downtown.
Congress Street has enjoyed a bit of a boost in recent years with many new stores, new restaurants, and the continued prosperity of many arts establishments located here. Portland City Hall, home of Merrill Auditorium and the Portland Symphony Orchestra, sits at one end of the city's official Arts District, and the Portland Museum of Art anchors the other. Only a few blocks separate the downtown from the Old Port, a historic waterfront quarter with boutiques and specialty shops, restaurants, and nightclubs, which is popular with tourists and Mainers alike.
Ferries leaving Portland's waterfront provide access to the Calendar Islands in Casco Bay, which have a number of summer homes and many year-round residents, and a huge ocean-going vessel departs regularly from Portland for Nova Scotia.
Unlike larger cities, Portland offers easy access to green countryside and open space. Within a twenty-minute drive of the city, Cumberland, Pownal, and North Yarmouth have few businesses and large rural tracts, though they have seen building booms in the past decade. Gray, with its neat downtown, and New Gloucester, with its historic Shaker colony at Sabbathday Lake, have agricultural traditions that continue to this day.