If you're looking for a quick (1-2 hour) excursion on Portland's Casco Bay, consider hiring a water taxi to take you to the often overlooked Fort Gorges. Located in the center of Portland harbor, it provides unparalled views of Casco Bay. Given the big deal the South makes of Fort Sumter--Fort Gorges, a cousin both in design and construction technique--is a veritable unwanted stepchild. Owned by the city of Portland, it is all but neglected by parks people and concomittantly tourists as well. Nonetheless, its a good spot to enjoy a box lunch purchased from an array of great restaurants in Portland. There are 360-degree water views from the third-story rampart, rooms and ammunition spaces to explore (with flashlight), even a small somewhat sandy beach to dip your toes into the icy Maine waters. Keep in mind there are no rangers to corral you, or handrails to keep you from falling off its cut-granite edges, so general fitness and caution is required. Access is limited to private boats or water taxis. Water taxis can carry up to 6 passengers and charge a flat rate of between $40-$50 each way. Some taxis will only go on a half tide or better so call around. I used a company called Atlantic which will land at any tide and they seemed to be the cheapest. Plan about an hour on island, which gives you enough time to look through first and second story gun turrets, climb the stairs to the top and poke around most of the dark corners. Longer than that and you can kind of feel marooned.
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