This week we’ve had some of our in-country coordinators in good old Portland, Maine for the 2017 CIEE Teach Abroad summit! For the last few days, we’ve been getting down to the nitty gritty of all things Teach Abroad and discussing how we can better our programs for the amazing participants who make them happen.
China, Thailand, Spain, Chile and the Czech Republic are all in the CIEE house! While these people certainly know a lot about their respective countries, we were curious: how much do they know about Maine?! It was our goal this week to make them fall in love with the city that we call home here at the CIEE headquarters. Here’s what we showed them:
- 1. CIEE (of course!)
Located smack dab in the middle of Portland, CIEE is a little known treasure of Portland. We can’t tell you how many times pedestrians have peered in the large, glass windows and wondered “what’s in there?!” only to find out that it’s the home of the country’s oldest and largest nonprofit study abroad and intercultural exchange organization (that’s us!).
- 2. The Old Port
This quaint, cobblestoned, and historical part of Portland is affectionately referred to by locals as the Old Port. We took a walking tour of the city to discover its local businesses, fisherman charm, and small town flavor (aka delicious food and hearty spirits). This walkable city might have you feeling like you’ve gone back in time!
- 3. Food
Portland didn’t earn its “foodiest small town in America” title for nothing! Between the fresh caught seafood, authentic foreign cuisine, and local microbreweries, Portland will have your mouth watering before you can “lobster trap!” Here are the food stops we made this week: Slab Sicilian Street Food, Salvage BBQ, Petite Jaqueline, Standard Baking Co., RiRa Irish Pub, Rosemont Market, Flatbread Company, Haraseeket Lunch and Lobster.
- 4. Fort Williams
This old military fort has been turned into a State Park and is home to the most photographed lighthouse in the world, to Portland Head Light—who knew?! This spot is perfect for picnic-ers, runners and bikers, kite flyers, and concert go-ers alike, especially those who want to get in on the stunning panorama view of Casco Bay. We stopped here for an ocean side feast!
- 5. The Eastern Prom
Speaking of views…the Eastern Prom has one of the best! Casco Bay Harbor served as the backdrop for the free, outdoor concert we saw on Thursday, put on for free by the city of Portland. The event also featured international food trucks...they must have known we were going to be there!
- 6. Lobster Boating
When in Maine, do as the locals do (psst if you couldn’t tell that means catching lobster—oh and eating it too!). We joined Lucky Catch Cruises for an unforgettable excursion on the waters of Casco Bay, pulling lines and hauling traps while surrounded by the beauty of our harbor and the best company.
- 7. Freeport, MaineThe bonus of living in Portland is that in addition to all the great stuff within the city, it’s well connected to so many other beautiful and boisterous towns! We’re wrapping up the 2017 Teach Abroad Summit in Freeport, about a 20 drive from Portland. There, we will devour some last-minute seafood, hike around the picturesque Wolfe’s Neck Woods, and shop around the famous L.L. Bean flagship store. Pictures to come!
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While we were trying to make an impression on the international staff, we have to admit that Portland also made an impression on us! Between the ocean and land ventures, scrumptious food, and spending time with our incomparable colleagues, this week has made us realize just how great this city is and how lucky we are to live in it.
We’re sad to see our international staff leave, but so happy to have had the chance to share our little town with them. We love having our headquarters here (especially in the summertime!) and welcome anyone to visit us at our HQ if you are ever in town--if you can fit it into your busy schedule of sight seeing and food!
Safe travels home, friends.