We visited the Portland Observatory last week after reading about it in Frommers. It's essentially a landlocked lighthouse that was built as a signal tower to tell the town what ships were coming in. Our guide was friendly and narrated a good tour to the top. We went on a rainy/cloudy day but from the top could still see out over the city and the harbor to Portland Head Light. I'm sure the views would be terrific on a clear day. Our guide (Jean?) recounted the building of the observatory and its service to Portland. It's amazing to think that when it was built none of the buildings surrounding it down to the water were there. It's a fascinating history lesson, especially the story of the man behind the observatory. The only negative was the price. Even with AAA, it was $8 apiece; the regular $9 price is a bit steep for this one attraction. The guides take small groups up, so that was nice not having to be packed in with a lot of other people. Overall, this is a highly recommended attraction to visit. I especially think school-aged kids would love it.
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