All Roads Lead to Denny’s

January 31, 2008

24 hours in, Portland is really just one big waterfront to me. I know the waterfront. I get the waterfront. I know how far it stretches, and what bits of the city connect with it. If I can find the water I can find the school, I can find the shopping district, and I can find my apartment. I can especially find the really cute art gallery with the sea glass window angels.

If I don’t know where the water is things are a lot more complicated. I’ve been here before, so I’m relying on sense memory and my sense memory is kind of pretty much sucking. It’s made for some interesting driving. For instance I began the morning in South Portland, hopped right onto I-95 North to get into Portland, and wound up in Westbrook – a lovely little town that isn’t Portland. (Because doesn’t it make sense that in order to get from South Portland to Portland that you might need to drive north? Apparently….no.) I’ve stopped several times today and asked for directions, and here is what I’ve learned:

1. All directions involve following “that road right there, just keep on going straight.” However, invariably the road isn’t straight, and sometimes there is a fork. This afternoon one of those roads also included a great big giant curve, with multiple roads leading off in various directions, and none of those roads were straight either. Just once the road was straight but in the middle of it the name changed. Which is very confusing. So there you go.

2. All directions also seem to involve, “there will be a Denny’s, and then you go left.” Or “when you see the Denny’s, you keep going.” “You’ll know when you get there, that’s where the Denny’s is.”

I ate a BLT at a Denny’s on my way to Maine, and it was a pretty good BLT. Not so good that I’d routinely base my directions on it, but not so bad that I’ll rule it out as a handy place to stop off and sit a spell…which I guess is kind of the point. Hello Denny’s. I’m kind of guessing that you and I are going to get much better acquainted over the next few months.



  1. Well, well – find the AAA office and get a good map! By the way, what is “pinging” which is currently not allowed? Love, Mother

  2. Tips from a native Mainer:

    1) i-95 goes around Portland. I-295 goes through it. To get anywhere in downtown Portland, take 295.

    2) There are two waterfronts in Portland: the harbor, and Back Bay (a big lagoon, really). You can see Back Bay from 295, driving out of Portland headed north.

    3) Try the sushi from the place with all the wrought iron on Exchange. Yum.

  3. I will look for the sushi place, thank you :)

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