8 Abbott Park Pl, Providence, RI 02903. This is the address to Johnson & Wales University where it all started!
I was 20 years old and only traveled outside the state of Maine a handful of times. I chose to major in Travel and Tourism Management, with the vision of one day becoming a tour guide. I didn’t know where, but I had 4 years to figure it out!
Now fast forward 4 years and a brain bucket of knowledge. I was released and ready to dive into the tourism industry! I had two options, head back to my home state of Maine to lobster with my father, or head off to chase my career in tourism.
I’ll skip the basics and get to the good stuff. I decided to move to Boston, MA where I landed a job at Legal Seafoods, a staple seafood restaurant, family owned throughout the East Coast. After managing the fish market for a year at the Chestnut Hill location, I soon found myself moving to Hawaii.
I touched down in Oahu and worked for a Pacific Coast Seafood Exporter. A few sun burns later and island sickness setting in, I headed back to Boston. Back to Legal Seafoods as the companies Assistant Seafood Buyer. Still not my calling, I left once again after a year and moved back to Maine with no plan. Now throw in bartender at a local restaurant/bar and opening a neighborhood deli with some friends and my resume was pretty full.
Now back to the lobstering with my father! My father has fished Casco Bay, located off the Portland coast for over 40 years. He had no plan, nor idea that I would be thrown into the industry for the next 10 years. Lobstering in the state of Maine dates back to the mid 1800’s commercially. Before then lobster was given to prisoners and was deemed cruel and unusual punishment to feed them lobster more than a few times a week. Lobster grew as a delicacy over the years and is now a staple on menus all over the world!
I fished on my father’s 32 foot boat “Lady Catherine” tied up on Custom House Wharf in Portland’s waterfront district. For the next 10 years it was basically groundhog day over and over again with the same routine. Wake up early, head out to sea and go back home. You need to be a different breed and have thick skin to be in this industry. It is not your typical 9-5 job. You are working with dead fish, seasonal temperatures and labor intense work! On average a Maine lobsterman will haul between 200-400 lobster traps a day. This requires each trap to be baited, sorted and stacked on the boat. Quality control in handling lobster from boat to dealer is a huge challenge. These crustaceans are pulled from the deep and you are limited and challenged with getting them to a dealer to be sold in a short period of time.
So how did Portland Explorer come along? I was visiting my sister Catherine and her husband Mario in New York in the early winter of 2018. Late evening chats led to what was in my future after lobstering. With my life long love for the City of Portland, and the passion for the tourism industry still in my blood, we brainstormed a plan to invite locals and vacationers to explore Portland. Now, I invite you to experience one of the last working waterfronts with me. We will travel from Commercial Street through Portland and out to some of the most beautiful scenic landmarks you can imagine. Bring your camera, invite some friends, and let’s explore Portland like never before!