Experts predict 2009 will be the year of the travel deal. With fewer people able to afford a vacation, hotels, airlines, cruise lines and tour operators will offer deep discounts to lure travelers. According to CheapTickets.com's 2009 Value Travel Forecast, one of the destinations expected to offer the most value to travelers is Portland, Maine. Visitors to this city along Maine's southern coast can save 53 percent off peak rates when traveling during early spring. From Baltimore, AirTran offers nonstop flights to Portland for as little as $56 each way. Here are five things to do in Portland:
Sightsee by ferry. : Portland is on a peninsula that juts into Casco Bay. An afternoon aboard a ferry offers views of the city's bustling waterfront and picturesque scenes of beaches, islands and lighthouses. Sunset and sunrise cruises as well as mail-boat runs are available. Visitors also can take a high-speed ferry from Portland to Nova Scotia.
Walk the cobblestones at Old Port. : Soak in the upbeat atmosphere at this revitalized warehouse district that dates to the 1800s. Centered on Exchange Street, Old Port's boutiques are hip, the restaurants nouveau and the night life plentiful.
Find your art's desire.: The Portland Museum of Art's collection features more than 18,000 works of art, including paintings, ceramics, furniture, sculpture and more. Among the artists represented here are Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt and Pablo Picasso. Find exhibit details and museum hours at portlandmuseum.org.
Tour a lighthouse. : Maine has more than 60 lighthouses, most of them still active. Portland Head Light, the state's oldest, and Cape Elizabeth Light, made famous in a number of paintings by Edward Hopper, are both in the Portland area.
Visit a village. : Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community is the last active Shaker village in the nation. Hourlong tours explore the community, from its history to its working farm.
More information: visitportland.com, cascobaylines.com