{{title}}

{{message}}

Sign Up
Cruisetrend helps you connect and share with the people in your life.
  • Port Detail
  • Photo & Video
  • Ports Review

The Port of Portland is the largest tonnage seaport in New England as well as a major seaport along the east coast of the United States. Portland, the largest town in Maine, is a popular summer destination due to its location on Casco Bay. For adults there is the Portland Museum of Art and for kids, the Children's Museum of Maine. There are a number of fine old houses in the town, in particular the home of the Portland-born poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-82). The Old Port Exchange has excellent shops and restaurants.

If you are arriving via cruise ship into Portland then you are in for a real treat!  Historic buildings, an outstanding physical setting on the coast of Maine, a wealth of big-city amenities, a vibrant arts district, traditional working waterfront and diverse retail and dining opportunities are all balanced with the ease and friendliness of a small town.

Both the Arts District and the Old Port are just minutes from your cruise ship. The city is completely walk-able from one end to the other. Stroll with ease and see what you can discover! Portland is the second largest port of call in Maine for cruise ships, after the Port of Bar Harbor, near Acadia National Park. Cruise ships dock at the Ocean Gateway International Marine Passenger Terminal which is currently the largest cruise ship terminal in the state.

Where You're Cruise Ship Docked
The terminals are located adjacent to Commercial Street, which runs alongside the waterfront and features restaurants, quaint shops and fishermen at work. A visitor information booth is located just outside the cruise terminal, where you can pick up city maps.

It's easy to walk from the ship to shops, restaurants and attractions. While walking around downtown, look for Portland's Downtown District Guides, recognizable in their "outback" hats. They are on the streets of Portland in the summer to help visitors find their way around -- and their services are free! Alternately, 60-minute guided historical walking tours are offered daily at 1:30 p.m., June to September, for $10 per person. (489 Congress Street)

By Public Transportation: Visit Portland at your own pace on the seasonal 8A bus service and the other routes offered by Greater Portland METRO. Convenient stops are within walking distance of museums, galleries, retail shops, restaurants and historic landmarks. Ride all day for $5.
By Trolley: Take a 105-minute narrated trolley tour, passing many popular attractions (adults $22, kids 3 to 12 years $16). Tickets can be purchased at 170 Commercial Street on Long Wharf or online.
By Bike: Rent a bike just outside the Portland Ocean Terminal from Ring's Marine Service for $30 per day or from Cycle Mania, located a few short blocks from the Old Port, for as little as $25 per day (59 Federal Street).
Should you wish to explore outside of town and go North to Freeport or South to Kennebunkport on your own transportation is available. A cab would cost approximately $50 one way to Freeport.
By Car: Although most rental car companies are represented at the Portland Airport, Hertz (207-797-7156) and Enterprise (207-772-0030), open every day except Sunday, also have downtown locations that are just a quick taxi ride away. Rentals start from about $60 per day, and advanced reservations are strongly encouraged.
 
Things To See and Do
Any visit to Portland should start with a stroll around the historic Old Port. Bounded by Commercial, Congress, Union, and Pearl streets, this area near the waterfront has the city's best commercial architecture, a mess of boutiques, fine restaurants, and one of the thickest concentrations of bars on the eastern seaboard. (The Old Port tends to transform as night lengthens, with crowds growing younger and rowdier.) The narrow streets and intricate brick facades reflect a mid-Victorian era; most of the area was rebuilt following a devastating fire in 1866. Exchange Street is the heart of the Old Port, with other attractive streets running off and around it.
 
Just outside the Old Port, don't miss the First Parish Church, at 425 Congress St., a beautiful granite meetinghouse with an impressively austere interior that has changed little since 1826. A few doors down the block, Portland's City Hall is at the head of Exchange Street. Modeled after New York City's, it was built from granite in 1909. In a similarly regal vein is the U.S. Custom House, at 312 Fore St. near the Old Port. The fine woodwork and marble floors here date to 1868.
 
The city's finest harborside stroll is along the Eastern Prom Pathway, which wraps for about a mile along the waterfront beginning at the Casco Bay Lines ferry terminal at the corner of Commercial and Franklin streets. This paved pathway is suitable for walking or biking, and offers expansive views of the islands and boat traffic on the harbor. The pathway skirts the lower edge of the Eastern Promenade, a 68-acre hillside park with broad, grassy slopes extending down to the water. The tiny East End Beach is also here, but the water is often off-limits for swimming (look for signs). The pathway continues on to Back Cove Pathway, a 3 1/2-mile loop around tidal Back Cove.
 
Atop Munjoy Hill, above the Eastern Promenade, is the distinctive Portland Observatory (tel. 207/774-5561). It's a quirky shingled tower, dating from 1807, used to signal the arrival of ships into port. Exhibits inside provide a quick glimpse of Portland's past, but the real draw is the expansive view from the top of the city and the harbor. It's open daily (when flags are flying from the cupola) from Memorial Day through Columbus Day, 10am until 5pm; the last tour leaves at 4:30pm. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for children ages 6 to 16.
 
Each cruise line offers shore excursions while docked in the Port of Portland. Typically the shore excursion offerings are: Kennebunkport is a picturesque town approximately 40 minutes south of Portland. An historic fishing village which has become a popular seaside tourist destination with a quaint neighborhood of souvenir shops, art galleries, seafood restaurants, hotels, inns, and bed & breakfasts. Claim to fame: President George Bush Sr.'s summer home.

Just a 5-10 minute walk from your ship you'll find a wide variety of city and harbor tours for your enjoyment. These tours will provide you with history, sights, fun & laughter. Take a narrated tour of the city on a trolley and venture out to the Portland Head Light, sail on a historic schooner, venture out with a true Maine lobsterman, cruise through the harbor on one of our island ferries, or tour boats providing you insight of our rich maritime history, or tour the streets on a Segway. There are countless options — explore all Cruises & Tours.
 
Portland's Arts District
In Portland's Art District one can experience all the cultural opportunities of any major metropolitan city but on a much more livable scale - The Portland Museum of Art, housing a permanent collection of paintings by Winslow Homer, Renoir, Degas, Monet, Picasso and other Masters; Merrill Auditorium; the Portland Symphony Orchestra; the award winning Children's Museum of Maine; and Portland Stage Company are all within a ten-minute walk. The city supports a vibrant community of visual and performing artists plus a changing array of exhibits, festivals, concerts and has become well known as an antique shoppers dream. Learn more about Portland’s Arts & Entertainment, or explore the area’s Museums & History.
 
Portland's Old Port
Portland's Old Port is one
of the most successful revitalized warehouse districts in the country. Seamlessly connected to the waterfront, the Old Port is both working waterfront and a chic shopping, dining, and entertainment district. Just steps from the water, one can stroll the cobblestone streets and experience the quaint charm of this district. The boutique shopping, one-of-a-kind stores, restaurants serving Maine's famous lobster dishes or the latest nouveau cuisine, and a vibrant nightlife are all unparallel to any other New England city. Find more Things to Do in Portland’s Old Port.
 
Freeport
Freeport is a beautiful coastal Maine village with over 200 upscale outlets, designer shops, eclectic boutiques, B&B's, hotels, great restaurants & casual cafes. Claim to fame: L.L. Bean headquarters. Looking for first rate shopping? Explore world-renowned outlets up and down the coast of Maine!
 
Victoria Mansion
The Victoria Mansion in Portland was built between 1858-60 and was designed by the well-known architect, Henry Austin for Ruggles Sylvester Morse. The home is a true expression of decadence in the pre-civil war era in Portland. It features decoratively painted walls and ceilings, wood carvings, and unique carpets, silver, glass and porcelain. Address: 109 Danforth Street, Portland, ME 04101-4504, United States Official site: http://victoriamansion.org/

Casco Bay
Portland sits on the edge of Casco Bay. This area encompasses the lovely Calendar Islands. Ferries provide service to the islands and cruise companies offer scenic tours of the bay and islands.
 
Portland Museum of Art
The collection at the Portland Museum of Art features fine and decorative arts dating from the 1700s onward. It prides itself on its American and European art, including works by artists such as Andrew Wyeth, Winslow Homer, Rockwell Kent, Monet, Degas, and Picasso. The museum also features temporary exhibits throughout the year. Address: Seven Congress Square Official site: http://www.portlandmuseum.org/

Wadsworth Longfellow House
Built in 1785-86 for Gen. Peleg Wadsworth, grandfather of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, this was the first brick house in Portland. The house features personal items of the Wadsworth and Longfellow families. Behind the house is the Longfellow Garden with paths running through this Colonial Revival style garden, laid out in 1926. Address: 489 Congress Street. Official site: http://www.mainehistory.org/house_overview.shtml

Southworth Planetarium
The Southworth Planetarium in the Science Building on the Portland Campus of the University of Southern Maine features a solar system display by the National Geographic Society, as well as astronomy shows and programs. The center also offers classes and lectures.Address: University of Southern Maine
Official site: http://www.usm.maine.edu/planet

Maine Historical Society Museum
Located next door to the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, this museum houses exhibitions that feature art and artifacts that bring Maine history to life (489 Congress Street). The Main Historical Society Museum offers a look at the history of Maine through a wide range of art, artifacts, and documents. Changing exhibits offer unique perspectives on topics from the Civil War to the history of art in Maine, and many other topics. Address: 489 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101-3401, United States. Official site: http://www.mainehistory.org/

Explore Peaks Island
Take the 15-minute ferry ride (56 Commercial Street) from Maine State Pier to Peaks Island. On the island, you can rent a bike from Brad's Recycled Bike Shop for $14 per day (115 Island Ave.), or take a guided kayak trip to explore the protected waterways of Casco Bay -- you'll paddle past Civil War-era forts, lighthouses and seal-covered ledges (70 Luther Street).

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co and Museum
Take a ride on a historic narrow gauge steam train. The train departs on the hour between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., and passengers can enjoy the view of Casco Bay while riding along the waterfront by the Eastern Promenade. The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Portland features narrow gauge coaches, locomotives, and other related equipment. Visitors can tour the museum or take a train ride on a two-foot gauge railway while enjoy views of Casco Bay. Address: 58 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101-4842, United States
Official site: http://www.mainenarrowgauge.org/
 
Portland Head Light
Maine's oldest lighthouse, built during George Washington's presidency, is located on the shores of Cape Elizabeth. Originally, the 80-ft. tower was lit with 16 whale-oil lamps. Today there are a number of interpretive displays at the onsite museum (1000 Shore Road).
 
Portland Observatory
Climb the 103 steps to the top and enjoy the views of Portland and Casco Bay. This signal tower is the only remaining wooden maritime signal station in the U.S. It was built in 1807 and is currently listed on the National Landmark Registry (138 Congress Street).
Portland Observatory (tel. 207/774-5561). It's a quirky shingled tower, dating from 1807, used to signal the arrival of ships into port. Exhibits inside provide a quick glimpse of Portland's past, but the real draw is the expansive view from the top of the city and the harbor. It's open daily (when flags are flying from the cupola) from Memorial Day through Columbus Day, 10am until 5pm; the last tour leaves at 4:30pm. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for children ages 6 to 16.
 
Victoria Mansion
Originally built in 1858 for a wealthy New Orleans hotelier, the Italian villa-style mansion has graceful verandahs, a four-story tower and a lavish interior. The house was named for Britain's Queen Victoria when it was turned into a museum in 1941. Visitors can tour the property, which still boasts 90 percent of its original contents such as gas light fixtures, elaborate wall paintings and exquisite woodwork (109 Danforth Street).
 
Wadsworth-Longfellow House
Built in 1785, this is the boyhood home of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It was the first wholly brick dwelling in Portland and now features a collection of Maine's historical artifacts (489 Congress Street).
 
Eating Out
More than anything else, Portland is a city of creative cheap eats. Don't neglect local bakeries and coffee shops while trolling for budget meals. My favorite bakery in New England, hands-down, is Standard Baking Company, at 75 Commercial St. (tel. 207/773-2112), across from the ferry terminal and behind the new Hilton Garden Inn hotel. Allison Bray and Matt James bake some of the best sticky buns (with or without nuts) and focaccia I've tasted, plus top-rate breads, brioche, cookies, and more. There's good coffee here, too. The bakery is open 7am to 6pm daily except Sundays, when it closes at 5pm.
 
Among the many coffee shops around the city, I frequent both Arabica, at 16 Free St. (tel. 207/879-0792), which features house-roasted beans, a good choice of teas, plus pie, bagels, scones, and even toast with peanut butter, and Portland Coffee Roasting Co. (tel. 207/761-9525), at 111 Commercial St., with inventive coffee drinks, a daily trivia quiz, and a display case of fun snacks such as sushi and energy bars.
 
Portland also claims to be the original home of the Italian sandwich -- which may have been the original sub sandwich in America as well -- and locals maintain the best example can still be found at the (purported) inventor of this creation, Amato's (tel. 207/773-1682), at 71 India St., in what's left of Portland's Italian neighborhood
 
Portland, Maine, is all about lobster. It's hard to imagine this crustacean was once deemed poor man's food, but it's true -- lobsters would wash up on Portland's shores after a storm and be used primarily as fertilizer and bait. But with the advent of land transportation, lobsters were brought inland by the mid-1800's, and as the demand for lobsters increased so did the price. Today, the city boasts numerous restaurants -- all of which feature lobster (in some form) on their menus.
 
The ocean, the fishing industry, and background including the Puritans and Native Americans all work together to make New England cuisine distinctive. Stewing and baking are prominent in food preparation, and seafood and dairy products are highly popular! You'll find johnny cakes, clam bakes, chowders, and oyster dishes, which reflect the Native American influence on New England cooking. Potatoes are grown here, and are also a staple. If you love blueberry pie, you'll probably think you're in heaven, as this is Maine's "official state dessert!" New Englanders love their home-made ice cream, too, and have a fondness for "whoopie pies," once called "hucklebucks." which are concocted from two small round cakes of chocolate, pumpkin, or gingerbread with a frosting center. Have fun on this culinary adventure!
Popular Restaurants in Portland (Maine):
 
The Portland Lobster Company, at 180 Commercial St., is easy to find, and has a nice selection of New England favorites. Starters including Lobster Stew, Steamer (clams), Peekytoe Crab Cakes, Prince Edward Island mussels, and basics such as fries range in price from 2.50 to 9 USD. The Catch of the Day and Lobsters from 1 to 2 lbs. are at market prices, and there's a decent selection of salads, wraps, and sandwiches that range in price from 4.30 to 14 USD. Children also have a menu. This restaurant is open from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily. You can contact them at 207-775-2112, or visit http://portlandlobstercompany.com/index.html.
 
Dimillo's Floating Restaurant, at 25 Long Wharf, is one of those "must do" experiences in Portland. Located on a transformed ship/car ferry, this restaurant evolved from the Dimillo family fame for excellent lobster dinners and fresh seafood in the Portland area. In addtion to great seafood, Dimillo's also serves wonderful Italian fare as well. You'll find reasonable prices at Dimillo's, with entrees for dinner including fruit, Caprese Pizza, mussels, meatballs, and calamari ranging in price from 6 to 13 USD. Chowders, Lobster Stew, and other soups are from 7 to 13 USD, and salads are from 6 to 18 USD. Among other choices, their "Lobster Twins" go for 34 USD, and the Lobster Bake is for 42 USD. Lobster "out-of-the-shell" entrees are from 25 to 45 USD, Steak and chicken dishes range from 18 to 30 USD, and seafood dishes, including their "Surf & Turf," are in the 20 to 37 USD price range. Italian selections, including Pork Marsala Tortelloni, Seafood Alfredo, and Tutti Di Mare are from 21 to 28 USD. Dimillo's lunch menu features a tempting selection of sandwiches, and the restaurant also includes a Gluten Free menu. Dimillo's is open daily starting at 11:00 AM. You can contact them at 207-772-2216, or visit http://www.dimillos.com/restaurant/index.html.
 
Becky's on Hobson's Wharf is located at 390 Commercial St. Open from 4:00 AM to 9:00 PM daily, and from 4:00 AM to 10:00 PM Memorial Day through Labor Day, you'll find diner food... that good, simple, comfort food from "days of yore" with some nice New England touches. Basic American style breakfasts of pancakes, toast, eggs, steak, sausages, and bacon cost from 2.25 to 8.75 USD. For lunch and dinner, you can order sandwiches including those with seafood, burgers, clubs, and "PB&J" for 4 to 9 USD. Becky's seafood dinners are your choice of fried shrimp, haddock, Whole Belly Maine Clams, and scallops. Draught beer and wine by the glass are also served. Becky's is a reasonably priced place to go for lunch or dinner in Portland! They can be contacted at 207-773-7070, or you may want to visit their very charming website at http://www.beckysdiner.com/.
 
A Hundred Beers Old
The Great Lost Bear (540 Forest Ave.; tel. 207/772-0300) has the best brew selection in all of northern New England, 50 to 60 on offer at any given moment, including most of the numerous local brews crafted in Maine. Some of the choicest ales are even dispensed from one of three cask-conditioned hand pumps. As if that weren't enough, every Thursday the bartender showcases a particular brewer or style -- a good way to get educated about the nuances of good beer. To find the Bear, head about 2 miles out Forest Avenue (away from the Old Port), or ask a local for directions.
 
Gourmet Dining:
555: For an exciting gastronomical experience, 555 offers a brunch menu that is far from just bacon and eggs. Try the Traitor's Eggs -- poached eggs served with lobster meat and a lemony hollandaise sauce. Maine Restaurant Association named Owner/Chef Steve Corry 2011 Chef of the Year (555 Congress Street).
 
Eve's at the Garden: Combine sophistication, a garden setting and artfully presented lunches, and you have Eve's at the Garden. Located in the Portland Harbor Hotel, the restaurant offers seating outside in the courtyard by the fountain or inside the contemporary dining room. For a twist on traditional lobster dinner, try lobster ravioli with butternut squash, or for a change consider grilled quail with fig and honey (468 Fore Street; open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner).
 
Casual, Out of Town:
Freeport: Gritty McDuff's is a brew pub that offers more than just pub fare. Enjoy New England's classic seafood complemented by a pint of hand-crafted ale. There's even a playground onsite for the kiddies to play while you wait (187 Lower Main Street).
 
Peaks Island: The Inn on Peaks is owned by the Shipyard Brewery and its pub offers views of the Portland skyline. Choose from menu selections such as burgers wraps or the signature Buffalo-fried Maine Shrimp -- beer-battered shrimp served with a blue cheese dip and a spicy Buffalo sauce (33 Island Ave.).
 
Cape Elizabeth: On the rocky shores of Cape Elizabeth, adjacent to the famous Portland Head Light, sits The Lobster Shack at Two Lights. Enjoy the inexpensive yet fresh menu selections at picnic tables that overlook the surf, or eat inside the dining room, which features simple furnishings and large picture windows (225 Two Lights Road).
 
Shopping
Maine has some of the best shopping in New England, featuring the most unique products. From homemade Maine crafts and antiques, to outdoor gear, designer bargains and handcrafted jewelry you will find it all. Part of the fun of shopping in Maine is searching out bargains at discount stores like Reny's and Marden's or factory outlet then browsing quaint boutiques in coastal villages.
 
Whatever your preference, scoring designer brand name clothes and handbags or discovering artisan pottery and local craft fairs, there is something for every serious shopper.From the Kittery Outlets to Freeport Outlets, Bar Harbor to Portland, Maine has the shopping to meet your needs and, more importantly, your wants. Kittery and Freeport both offer entire streets lined with outlets of brand name shops including Nike, Ralph Lauren, Gap, J. Crew, Adidas, and many more. For kids there is Carters, Aeropostale, Gymboree, Old Navy, and more. Mikasa, Villeroy & Boch, Brookstone and Yankee Candle all have shops in Maine outlet towns as well.
 
One of the most popular shops in Kittery is the Kittery Trading Post, specializing in outdoor adventure clothing, ski, beahc and hunting equipment. And a trip to Freeport is not complete without a visit to L.L.Bean, the ultimate outdoor clothier, made famous by their Bean boots. LL Bean was started in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean. The Beaner is open 24/7/365. For all your hunting, fishing, and camping needs, Maine now has a huge Cabelas store in Scarborough as well.
 
Most every town in Maine is filled with wonderful boutiques and art galleries to delight any collector. From Ogunquit to Kennebunk, Boothbay Harbor to Bar Harbor, you are sure to find a wonderful array of specialty shops. If you collect antiques, then Wells is the antique capital for collectors of antique furniture, books and treasures. Crafters and jewelers find their inspiration in Maine, and shoppers will find their handmade jewelry, candles and art in galleries and shops throughout the state. Perkins Cove in Ogunquit has beautiful gold and silver jewelry designed with sea motifs.
 
If you like a city shopping atmosphere, Portland and the historic Old Port offer a nice combination of modern fashion stores and unique boutiques. Old Port offers cobblestone streets lined with specialty food and wine shops, kitchen accessory stores, fashion boutiques and gourmet pet supply stores. Nearby, visitors can check out the Maine Mall in South Portland featuring brand name stores as well as Maine-made items.
 
O
ld Port District 
Portland's Downtown District is lined with one-of-a-kind boutiques featuring Maine-made and imported goods. Stroll the cobblestone streets and duck into a cafe for a refreshment break. You'll find shops and galleries occupying revitalized warehouses with exposed brick and beams. 

The state's largest shopping center, The Maine Mall located in South Portland with over 140 of your favorite stores and restaurants. The surrounding mall area contains many smaller shopping plazas and eateries, and all of it is just 10 minutes from downtown Portland. 
Outlet shopping has become a major-league sport in Maine with Kittery Premium Outlets at the state's southern entrance and Freeport, just 20 minutes north of Portland offering scores of designer and brand-name outlets. Before your visit, check out our Discount Coupons, which will extend your budget.
 
Maine-Made 
Pick up the latest gear for hunting, fishing, boating and camping, as well as clothing, to make your outdoor adventures comfortable and successful. L.L.Bean is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so you can scratch that urge to shop anytime you want; check the store's website for special weekend events focusing on hunting, winter sports, paddling and biking. Searching for a great souvenir of your visit? Look for quality Maine-made products fashioned by hand such as stunning textiles, baskets, and clothing created by the state's fiber artists. To truly bring home a piece of Maine, bring home a piece of exquisite tourmaline jewelry fashioned by Maine jewelers from beautiful gems unearthed in the state's western mountains.
 
Outlets
Portland's Downtown District is lined with one-of-a-kind boutiques featuring Maine-made and imported goods. Stroll the cobblestone streets and duck into a cafe for a refreshment break. You'll find shops and galleries occupying revitalized warehouses with exposed brick and beams. 
The state's largest shopping center, The Maine Mall located in South Portland with over 140 of your favorite stores and restaurants. The surrounding mall area contains many smaller shopping plazas and eateries, and all of it is just 10 minutes from downtown Portland. 

Outlet shopping has become a major-league sport in Maine with Kittery Premium Outlets at the state's southern entrance and Freeport, just 20 minutes north of Portland offering scores of designer and brand-name outlets. Before your visit, check out our Discount Coupons, which will extend your budget.

Shop at designer and brand-name stores including Adidas, Aeropostale, Aldo, Bose, Calvin Klein, Coach, Cole Haan, Columbia Sportswear, J.Crew, J.Jill, Johnston & Murphy, Kasper, Levi's, Nike Factory Store, PacSun, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Tumi.
 
Outdoor Outfitters 
Pick up the latest gear for hunting, fishing, boating and camping, as well as clothing, to make your outdoor adventures comfortable and successful. L.L.Bean is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so you can scratch that urge to shop anytime you want; check the store's website for special weekend events focusing on hunting, winter sports, paddling and biking. L.L.Bean, Inc. is a leading multi-channel merchant of quality outdoor gear and apparel.
 
Dock Square in Kennebunkport as well as the town of Camden and Bar Harbor have wonderful stores offering Maine t-shirts and apparel, locally made maple syrup, salt water taffy and everything with lobsters or moose imaginable for the perfect keepsake to remind you of your Maine vacation.
 
Maine is also well known for its candles, blueberries and maple sugar candy, so be sure to take a Maine specialty home. Maine is also famous for its tourmaline mines, and this beautiful gem is available at most Maine jewelry stores. A trip to Maine salvage stores Reny's and Mardens are a Maine shopping adventure - don't get caught saying "I should have bought it when I saw it at Marden's" since the inventory changes daily.


Captcha Challenge
Reload Image
Type in the verification code above