Following an enlightening drive through Portland, you'll tour a spectacular mansion that stands as one of the Northeast's finest examples pre-Civil War grandeur.
Depart from the pier for a scenic drive through the Old Port, a more than 100-year-old warehouse district that has been revitalized with dozens of quaint restaurants, unique stores and art galleries. Continuing on, you'll pass through other historic neighborhoods, taking in the views of beautiful Casco Bay and architectural landmarks such as the New Arts District, the leafy East and West Promenades, and the Portland Observatory, which was built in 1807.
Arriving at Victoria Mansion, you'll be treated to a guided tour of this remarkable home that was originally built between 1858 and 1860 for $400,000 as a summer residence for a wealthy proprietor of luxury hotels. Incredibly, after being damaged by a hurricane in 1938, it was almost demolished to make way for a gas station.
Now a National Historic Landmark, Victoria Mansion is covered with earth-toned Connecticut brownstone and exemplifies the Italian villa style that was fashionable in the mid-19th century. The interiors are stunning and feature period furnishings, a painted "trompe l'oeil" wall, enormous mirrors, and sumptuous fabrics. When built, it was state of the art with conveniences such as hot and cold running water, gas lighting and a bell system to summon servants. The Turkish Smoking Room is particularly interesting because of its rare Islamic-inspired wall and ceiling paintings. Following the tour, you'll have a brief opportunity to visit the gift shop before re-boarding your coach and returning to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 1-hour of easy to moderate walking/standing. There will be a few steps to negotiate at the entrance to Victoria Mansion and there is no elevator access to the second floor. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.