Portland Replaces Boston as America's Coziest City – Boston.com
Boston.com Staff | 02.10.15 | 12:23 PM
Portland has knocked Boston from its No. 1 spot as coziest city in America.
So we asked the Maine city’s mayor Michael Brennan to give us some lessons in cozy.
But first, he couldn’t resist gloating a bit.
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“I love Boston. I have tremendous respect for the city of Boston,” Brennan told Boston.com. “But anytime that we can rank higher than Boston, it’s a privilege,” he added with a chuckle.
Portland is top dog on Honeywell Heaters’ 2nd annual list of Top 10 Coziest Cities in America, a list that’s been making the rounds on social media.
What happened, Boston? We were No. 1 last year and this year we fell to No. 4. We are behind Portland, Santa Barbara, California, and Asheville, North Carolina, despite our quaint historic districts, North End charm, and gorgeous Boston Harbor , so full of history and activity.
Well, at least New England did us proud with three cities in the top 10 — Portland, Boston, and Providence. Providence came in at No. 6 (check out our list of five reasons to visit Providence for a glimpse of that city’s cozy quotient).
We asked Portland’s mayor what cozy means to him.
“I think cozy for me would be synonymous with community,” Brennan said. “People feel it’s a place that they belong to and a place that they’re supported and a place that supports them.”
So what is the key to Portland’s coziness?
“It’s a very walkable city,” said Brennan. “It’s very pedestrian friendly. We have a unique combination of neighborhoods in close proximity to the waterfront. We have well-defined neighborhoods, but it’s a very compact city that lends it to being cozy.”
The city is also full of history — and restaurants.
“Per capita, we have more restaurants in Portland than any other city in the United States,” said Brennan. “People feel they can come to the city and not have to work very hard to find a restaurant. And they feel a connectedness to the city by the fact that we have so many restaurants, and they are so intermingled with the essence of the city.”
Portland is no stranger to the spotlight as of late. In December, Yelp ranked the city No. 1 for local holiday shopping. And then, of course, there’s the attention Grammy-winning country singer Tim McGraw shined on the city this past fall when he released his thirteenth studio album, “Sundown Heaven Town,” featuring a song called “Portland, Maine.”
In the song, McGraw sings this about Portland: “I don’t know where that is. I don’t want to know.”
He told Portland radio station 99.9 The Wolf the song “is not to be taken literally” during an interview in the fall. The song is about how a girl takes off for Portland after a breakup. The guy is so devastated, he doesn’t want to know anything about where’s she’s gone.
The song caused a stir in Maine when it was released, according to The Portland Press Herald
And the city was quick to respond.
“We’ve invited him to go on a tour of Portland,” said Brennan, who has bought the album and listened to the song. “So he’d really know what he’s singing about.”
Perhaps with this new feather in Portland’s cap, the city can finally get the country star to commit to a visit.
But it’s not likely to happen anytime soon. McGraw is busy gearing up to perform at the Oscars on February 22.
No, he won’t be singing about Portland. He’s scheduled to sing “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” written by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond for the documentary feature “Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me.”
And then there’s the small issue of all these snow emergencies we’ve been having. Perhaps not the best time to woo a celeb?