The authors of this blog recently returned from Portland, Maine, a lovely New England town that reminds us of Lancaster. Besides the obvious difference of the water, it has some similarities. Both cities were founded about 100 years apart, 1623 for Portland and 1729 for Lancaster. Their populations are currently similar – 66,194 for Portland and 59,322 for Lancaster. Portland is the largest city in Maine. Lancaster is the 8th largest in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The greater Portland Metro area is strikingly similar to Lancaster, 519,900 to 507,766.
The architecture and vibe of both cities is similar. Both towns have thriving art colleges and art scenes, and both benefit from tourism. Lancaster has Rachel’s Creperie, and Portland has Hot Suppa. Lancaster has Lancaster Brewing Company and Portland has Gritty McDuff’s. There are actually several more breweries in both places, but these felt the most comparable.
The ocean is the obvious difference, and you don’t see or hear seagulls in Lancaster. Both towns feel like they are on the upswing, places that businesses want to grow in and people want to live in. While dining at Hot Suppa, our server asked us where we arrived from. When we told her Lancaster, she said she was originally from Selingsgrove, PA. “I came here on vacation when I was a kid, and later, I decided I want to live here. I hope I never leave.”