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Portland is a beautiful old seacoast town known for its boutiques, shops and incredible seafood and fusion gourmet restaurants. It has always been a busy seaport for both cargo and fishing but it is also the home of many large law firms and import/export companies. The city’s population of 66,000 swells to 2 million in the summer. People flock to the town to enjoy the shopping and nearby beaches but also to board the cruise ships that dock there.
Portland is so LGBT-friendly that there are no terrible neighborhoods to live in, however there is a definite gay neighborhood downtown. The unique thing about downtown Portland is that it is home to a revitalized warehouse district and waterfront that boasts many fine restaurants, shopping and nightlife. There are hundreds of galleries and theaters, art walks and special events.
Next to the Arts District is there is the neighborhood known as Old Port, which is very similar to the downtown but a bit more commercial with souvenir shops selling everything from yarns to designer condoms to shiny kitchenware. Many of the streets are still paved with cobblestones.
The West End is a second known gay district in the city that is right next to the Arts District. It is the up and coming place to buy in if you want to renovate a warehouse space or an older home. It is hip, happening community with a lot of young people and has it’s own strip of gay-owned shops and restaurants such as Aurora Provisons and Bonobo.
The Back Cove area of Portland is home to a three and a half mile trail that surrounds Portland’s tidal basin and it has a community on nearby Forest Avenue where you can find Yoga studios, stained glass studios and friendly gay cafes. This is one of the most expensive places in Portland to buy a home. Many of the older glamorous homes on Dartmouth Street and Baxter Boulevard in this neighborhood have spectacular ocean views that are near the boardwalk and beachfront.
However, as is true in many cities, many of the rich in Portland, Maine live high up on the hill. About a mile from Portland’s downtown is the East end which is a hill topped with the Portland Observatory. The area, which slopes towards the sea, is studded with large old mansions and beautiful new gleaming condos.
It is best to consult with a gay Portland realtor to find the property that is best for your situation. While you are looking at properties in Portland you can also stay at one of the many gay owned bed and breakfasts, which include the Inn at St. John, The Elms B&B and the Wild Iris Inn. Portland is also home to many LGBT clubs and organization including the two leather groups Harbor Masters of Portland Maine and Kindred of Maine. Other mainstays of the community are the Maine Gay Men’s Chorus, the Rainbow Business Professional Association and Speakout Community Counseling Center. For more information about Portland, Maine visit the city’s official chamber of Commerce at www.portlandregion.com.