Mystery Harbor June: Portland Harbor/Fort Gorges

Stepping stones

I recognized this from Battery Keys on the hill and Fort Gorges in the background. In the depths of the COVID lockdown, my family was able to escape the tyranny of inland Massachusetts for a day in the fall. We took the kids to Mackworth Island in the morning, then down to Portland Head Light for a picnic lunch. My kids, five and three, spent hours climbing over the rocks in the foreground instead of taking the path to Battery Keys, and we had to drag them home. It was a big emotional step toward buying my first sailboat a couple of months later, which is moored in my native Penobscot Bay.

Ben Apollonio

Lunenburg, Mass.

What’s in a name?

I think the fort in the background is the possible giveaway – and you’re (possibly) looking to the right at the oddly named passage called “The Hussey” – which is used for the starts of the Monhegan Island Race.

Fred Douglass

Portland, Maine


A standout

I believe this month’s mystery harbor photo to be of Portland Harbor. It is distinguished by Fort Gorges in the center of the photo. Many thanks and be well.

Dave Timmons

Methuen, Mass

A different view

Looks a lot like Portland to me, with Fort Gorges in the middle. We stop for fuel at Spring Point Marina before heading out to Great Diamond Island. But I’ve never seen it from the shore before.

 Joel Gleason

Marblehead, Mass.

Picture perfect

The mystery harbor in your June 2022 issue is Portland Harbor, Maine. Fort Gorges is prominent in the center of the photo, which appears to have been taken from near Battery Erasmus Keyes in Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth. This area is of special interest to me because I live just north of Mackworth Island, which is behind Fort Gorges in the photo. We travel through Portland Harbor frequently on Fish Tales, and I commemorated the end of this year’s trip north from Florida to Maine at Fort Williams with this picture of me at Portland Head Light!

Jay Meyer

Falmouth, Maine

Warm welcome

Fort Gorges. A friendly landmark entering Portland. First time I saw the fort was 1956 on our family’s first cruise to Casco Bay. As kids we were thrilled by the fort and even met TV star Gary Moore from “What’s my line.” Hopefully, we’ll be back downeast on our tug Sweet Pea again this summer.

Charles Maclaughlin

Swampscott, Mass.

Quite the view

My wife and I started visiting Portland, Maine, years ago when we would attend the Maine Boatbuilders’ Show. In addition to a great show, restaurants, and pubs… we’d also walk the waterfront. I’d bet the farm that we’re looking at Fort Gorges from Fort Allen Park. We were in Portland for Veteran’s Day 2021, and I distinctly remember that view and the Civil War era fort that never fired a shot in anger.

Bob Hamel

Bristol, Rhode Island


Eagle eye

Looks like Cape Elizabeth with Fort Gorges in the distance.


Biddeford, Maine

Mystery solved

Your mystery is no mystery to me. It is Portland, Maine harbor with Fort Gorges in the distance. I grew up on Casco Bay, starting in Turnabouts and graduating over the years from sailboat to sailboat until now, when I will soon be plying the waters on a Ranger Tug 31; not my first power boat, but a good final chapter. I have never been to Fort Gorges. As a kid, it was a tough place to get to, though I think some accommodation has been made to make that easier. All the same, the many forts in the bay made for many a fun time in my youth. So, hail Portland Harbor and Casco Bay, which begins the Downeast experience and aims sailors toward the best cruising grounds one could ever want. Peace and energy,

Ben Fowler

York, Maine


Not so easy access

The June Points East mystery harbor must be Casco Bay in the Portland, Maine area. Fort Gorges is the giveaway. Fort Gorges is a former United States military fort built on Hog Island Ledge in Casco Bay, Maine. It is only accessible by boat. We have been boating here for 30 years.

Susan Ross

South Portland, Maine

A wonderful harbor

The photo of the Mystery Harbor appears to be the fort at the entrance to Portland Harbor. We spent many a fine night in Portland at Portland Marine Services and DiMillo’s. Wonderful harbor.

Peter Dragonas

Marblehead, Mass.


Something to think about

Love the ’zine! Guessing the mystery harbor is Portland, Maine, with Fort Gorges. I live at the northern end of Casco Bay, one of the great day-sailing spots on the east coast. Sad to say, rising seasons will erode the old fort terribly over the coming decades, even as the fisheries of the Maine coast also shift.

Keep up the good work.

Tim Glidden

Topsham, Maine



It’s an unforgettable sight making the turn at Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth (the vantage point of this photo) and heading into Portland Harbor, and running along Spring Point in SoPo. Fort Gorges is directly ahead and is such a historic landmark marking the entrance of Portland Harbor. It was a route I remember quite well from my Coastie days stationed in South Portland! Greatest job I’ve ever had, hands down!

Kevin Silva

Mattapoisett, Mass.


X marks the spot

Fort Gorges immediately stood out, but it took some orienting to identify the location the picture was taken from. This picture is taken from Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, looking North down the “Ships Channel” as you enter Portland Harbor. Mackworth Island and Falmouth Foreside are in the background beyond the old fort.

P.S. If you happen to make a trip out there this summer, be on the lookout for a treasure map and small treasure. My son and I are puzzling up some pirate adventures to make our weekend sails a little bit more adventurous and exciting.

Reid Potter

Casco Bay, Maine


Memory bank

Good morning and greetings from Emerald Isle, North Carolina. Your June Mystery Harbor picture looks to me like Fort Gorges off Portland, just north of the ferry route to Peaks Island. The view looks like it’s from Fort Scammel just to the south. My dad grew up in Jamaica Plain; however each summer the family made the trip up Route 1 to Portland and then over to Peaks Island. His dad was a schoolmaster at the Foster St. School in the North End and so summers were off. I had the good fortune to make the trip with my Dad before he died years ago on a dreary fall day, and he pointed out Fort Gorges from the ferry and mentioned it as a frequent destination by rowboat back in the ’30s. Took me a bit to figure it out, and I admit I did a bit of mapping on line to verify, but when I first saw it, I knew I recognized it from somewhere deep in my memory bank. Heading to Maine next week for my 35th wedding anniversary with my wife Jenny. I think we might take the ferry to Peaks Island for the day…

Capt. Joe O’Brien (USN, ret.)

Emerald Isle, North Carolina


Passing by

The picture is of Fort Gorges in Casco Bay and shows a little piece of House Island as well. My husband and I travel through that spot all the time when we leave our slip on the Fore River.

Jenny Terison

Falmouth, Maine