Maine brewpub Gritty McDuff’s delights

This week, I reported on the American Public House Review from one of the best brewpubs I have ever been in, Gritty McDuff’s in Portland, Maine.  It sits in the historic Old Port section of this seaside city and is practically a landmark in itself.  It is also the perfect place in town to sip some terrific, fresh beer and really get a feel for what this part of New England is all about.

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While writing the article, I had the pleasure of interviewing author James L. Nelson who wrought the book George Washington’s Secret Navy.
It is a gripping account of Washington’s foray into the world of the fighting sail, and even tells the tale of how Portland itself played an instrumental role in galvanizing the thirteen colonies behind the concept and cause of independence.  Take a look at the article, An Historic Pint in the Old Port, to learn more.

Portland's Harbor

Portland's harbor

Last year while I was on vacation in Maine, I passed the time by reading one of Mr. Nelson’s other great books.  This one, called Benedict Arnold’s Navy, is also a must read for any history buff.  It tells the tale of how Benedict Arnold, and officer in the Continental Army, literally built a navy out of the trees of New York and used his makeshift flotilla and his command of landlubbers to drive the British back into Canada and bought the colonies a few more months so that the cause of independence could go on. 


Benedict Arnold's Navy by James L. Nelson

Benedict Arnolds Navy by James L. Nelson

 

In the book this complex man, who is now known to us as a traitor, comes to life.  But here, years before he famously turned coat, we get to see why he was so popular among Americans and why his treason was so painful for so many who were loyal to him.  Here is what Mr. Nelson has to say about Benedict Arnold’s Navy:

I have always been fascinated by the Battle of Valcour Island. There is nothing really like it in history, a battle in which both sides had to build their fleet right on the spot before they could fight, and do so in a virtual wilderness with none of the usual resources they could count on. Adding to the story is the fact that the hero, from the American perspective, is Benedict Arnold, the man who would go on to be one of the most despised in our history. Researching this book, it became even more incredible to me, and even more tragic, that Arnold did what he ultimately did. I can never be excused, but at least I, and I hope my readers, can come to better understanding of why the once national hero made such a terrible choice.

Benedict Arnold’s Navy is the first book-length treatment to look exclusively at the build-up to the battle, the fight on Lake Champlain, and the amazing fallout from that fight on a wilderness lake.

So when you’re done with George Washington’s Secret Navy, give Benedict Arnold’s Navy a try.  Even a non-history enthusiast will find these stories compelling.

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Posted by: David McBride

Railroad Enthusiasts Find a Gem in Portland, Maine

The city of Portland, Maine is a fascinating place to visit.  It is an eclectic city that has everything from a thriving art and music community to a gorgeous New England seaport.  It also offers the train enthusiast a must-see attraction called the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. and Museum.

So what exactly is a “narrow gauge railroad” and why does it belong in Portland, Maine?  Here is how the museum’s website describes it…

Have you discovered this unique part of Maine’s rich history? These 2-foot gauge steam trains connected rural Maine with the rest of the world from 1879 until just before World War II. Shipping everything from passengers, farming goods, and lumber, these diminutive steam-powered trains served to strengthen Maine’s infrastructure and communication as a great improvement from the days of the rather impractical and weather-reliant horse-drawn buggy. The reign of the 2-footers thundering through Maine’s countryside lasted until the dawning of the modern era of paved roads, trucks, and private automobiles.

So after you taste the beer at the Shipyard Brewing Company, head down towards the water and find the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. and Museum.  You can actually ride one of these trains and the track takes you right along the shoreline of this amazing city.

For more on our great railroad heritage check out Tracks and Taverns on the American Public House Review.

posted by: David McBride, Marketing Director

Published in: Uncategorized on September 15, 2008 at 10:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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