News about areas of Maine that don’t get gallons of ink in the press.
Maine places that you just don’t see boat loads of online recycled electrons for copy used to spread the word around the web. It is always fresh and exciting when the same old tourist trap haunts are not the only Maine tourism information showcased.
Maine is such a big, beautiful and varied jewel. But like the dark side of the moon, what each unique corner of Maine is really like and what you want to make sure not to miss if you visit there is seriously lacking online. Maybe that is part of the magic of what you discover when you take the time to actually go to those little longer drive locations. What keeps it special and hidden and unspoiled.
I like to go to the local library to dig deep for information on parts of Maine that I am not familiar with first hand.
And in the areas that I do know, there is always more depth and color in the information if you dig a little. What I have learned is if the person doing the book on where to spend your time in Maine is not ffrom that part of Vacationland, what is posted suffers dearly. The old axiom of “write about what you know” is so true. And to know an area is not just rehashing a few tidbits of information that show up over and over online.
It is doing time there so you collect from a stretch because it takes time to observe and collect what you end up sharing.
Like slow cooked food trumps the hurry scurry of drive through quick you deserve a break today. I can wait for my food without starving to death.
The latest book checked out from Cary Library was a tour of Maine. But the way the state was depicted was a gloss over of what most of us already know for odds and ends of travel guide information.
The author added a sarcastic twist and presented his stops along the highways and byways of Maine from a ridicule perspective. Ouch. It was presented in a hurried fashion giving the impression there was not much here to stick around for on a vacation. Like there were much better ways to waste his time than running up and down twisting US RT 1 into the willy wags of Maine.
Often times the tone in the paragraphs was obvious the writer was not impressed with many of Maine’s small towns.
Not exciting enough or just did not take the time to dig for more of the local happenings now and over the years. The mention of what the locals would consider highlights of the area and what to do and see while you are here was sneered at smugly. The historic value of the small town was diminished because the travel log writer seems disappointed with an air of is that all you have to offer a tourist or relocating individual thinking of moving to Maine in the pick me pick me stand out? There’s more, lots more but it does not make it to media outlets because you are off the beaten path where not everyone gets to go due to time limitations. Or publications leaving out huge sections of the state of Maine is there tell me a story.
Most of us have particular loyalty to certain Maine map locations. Because we live there or they are fond destinations in our trip down memory lane. We all love the lighthouses, the seacoast salt air and all the variations of Maine water front. Nothing trumps sitting on mountain slab of rock at Cadillac or Katahdin or a slew of other tall pinnacles. To just let go and stare out over at the vast land volume of unspoiled terrain that stretches out in all directions. It is humbling, spiritual, calming plus energizing all mixed into one. It’s where you do your best thinking about what really matters. Like the guy heading “up on the roof” as a city dweller that only had that option to get away for for a better life decision making perspective.
To glean what’s truly important and unique in any small Maine town, plantation or stretch of unorganized territory, you have to be there for a period of time.
To absorb some information depth and avoid a quick surface once over take away of what’s it like in these parts. It unfolds slowly not lightning fast. Like a cruise ship that drags you to three islands on your week’s floating vacation, your short matter of hours stay parked on the long concrete pier or anchored out in the harbor with tender vessels carrying you to and fro just does not do the location justice. You miss so much that happens there.
Too little time to jam and cram it all in. And what you do get in the hurry up to get off and tramp and then right back on the boat to avoid being left on shore is simply a Monarch or Cliff’s Notes lightning quick synopsis. And the same sing song packaged propaganda that supposedly hits the highlights so you leave with something to hoping suggest coming back for more to stimulate the struggling local economy with your left behind off shore tourist dollars.
Maine is tall and wide and goes on and on up and down. Once you put the blinker to signal your intentions to leave the Interstate 95 corridor, the travel time and speed slows and extends considerably. Coming from the south, if you only have 48 hours to spend in Maine, you are not going to learn much beyond just what the southern tip can offer you. Trading posts, shopping outlets, fast food franchise eateries and modern high rise hotels for your one or two night stand stay are not what pure and natural Maine outdoors can offer.
More time, without so much of your vacation spent on the road chewing it up and spitting it out can be avoided with just another day or two added to your rest and relaxation routine.
You get so much more that is special and not often highlighted in many of the online portals. What you discover and enjoy is extra special because it was not expected. You had no idea because so much of life in the local corner of Maine is a secret and protected. The distance insulates and keeps every Tom. Dick, Harry, Thelma and Louise from easy quick access anytime they feel.
But besides the travel time needed to go deeper to explore interior Maine that does not get the press, be careful on what you do for your vacation homework. If the author of whatever book publication or blog post you read seems to portray Maine as once great but not now as a little disappointing to him, stop.
Or if for any new information he belittles what the locals believe is special about their area, return the book to the library racks of stacks. Or put it back on the shelf if you are standing perusing and not yet ready to begin the march to the check out line cash register.
Keep looking online for more worthwhile information about what it is like, what the locals relish about the state of Maine. Yesterday, today and where she is headed can not be quick and easy glossed over in any book touted as the definitive publication to top all others about Maine.
In defense, it could be different strokes for different folks in what any of us would paint for a picture of Maine.
I get it. If given a fresh white computer screen or slanted parchment on the easel to fill as we see fit. Maybe all the travel trying to do the entire state of Maine was long and tiring and a writer could have transformed into an Eeyore from too ambitious a task. If they are from Maine, it is easy to just feel more comfortable and defend where you are from and some people find fault with where they don’t live to defend living where they do. But regardless, you still can not ABC 123 sum up all the parts of Maine with the same broad brush strokes and do it justice. You have to take your time, do your research and watch your tone and attitude.
Regardless of where you are from and use for a perspective in the comparison, the what to do for fun and recreation in Maine comes in two major flavors. Coin operated and no charge. Artificial and all natural stark in comparison. Camping, renting a woods cabin or pitching a tent by an unpopulated lake in the wilderness of Aroostook, Piscataquis, Penobscot Counties is so much different an experience than staying at a five star hi rise lay your head in the pillow top bed. The latter where you can walk to the Old Port pubs and eateries and buy trinkets branded with the six letters M-A-I-N-E to show you came and conquered the Pine Tree State. No you didn’t… you only dipped your toe.
Hiking, biking, climbing, skiing gets you away from the built up expensive tourist traps and your stay is more self guided and personal. The commercial intra-structure is gone, Mother Nature is running the show and tell. Smell the red and white farm field clover or see the trees get smaller and sparse in number before disappearing altogether on the tableland as you one foot after the other approach the summit of Mt Katahdin.
And ready yourself after another swig of water and handful of gorp to lean up against the brown and white lettered sign to announce you made it. No more blue dashes to pave the way to the top for you.
You are just shy of a mile newest member of Maine’s highest elevation club. Click that selfy with your group or make a friend to use to capture the picture and return the favor with something for their scrapbook.
I have been guilty of trying to do a blog on an area of Maine that I wanted to know more about and was green. And as you google it and study the wikipedia entries and search from image and video tap the different tab. What comes up is often little to nothing about the area. It makes you think why doesn’t anyone talk about the area much online. The large urban only a handful of cities location areas have lots of online information. The small Maine towns, plantations, unorganized territories do not.
So the secret locked away in the small Maine towns living locations is kept pretty mum’s the word quiet.
Unless you are a splash town, mini golf, go kart, whale watch, etc kind of amusement option with lots of four color brochure mention. Maybe it is like the best fishermen or hunter do not share where they actually do what they like to do it here in Maine. Left for you to figure it out and carve out the locations that only you know about and keep pretty much guarded and locked away near your soul. Develop your own secrets you only share with your closest friends when asked to share what’s it like in Maine.
The other thing I learned as a Maine native is when you just drive through an area of it for the first time, you don’t learn tons in just a short visit. Only the local who lives and works and plays in that particular small Maine thumbnail on the map can give you all the past history and bring you up step by step to get you upp to today best. For example, last Friday at Sadie’s Bakery in Houlton Maine my home town, chocolate donuts mixed with whoopie pies that are hand made was all the buzz.
You can smell them and all the other fresh home made baked goods in Market Square as you park and look both ways crossing over to the local landmark. Where bakery item breads, cookies, squares and more besides just donuts have been prepared since 1948! Only forty of the whoopie pie chocolate donut were made and released to the public in the trial run. But because of social media leakage, they were all gone as soon as they climbed onto the rack to cool after the hot bath swimming around in the boiling oil.
That kind of news will not make the CNN, Fox, BBC or NPR news ticker tape of this just in reporting.
But to locals, or any one from my hometown that has experienced the food delicacies from Sadies Bakery, it is big news… to them. Heck our local newspaper has the byline “The only newspaper in the World interested in Houlton Maine”. Nothing spun, not over sensationalized, not fake news. Just what’s happen in the local area of Southern Aroostook County. All the other fifteen counties has newspapers doing the same paint the picture of what’s happening in our local area. That’s where you really learn about the lay of the land. How things rock and roll. Not polished and spun and insincere but real and raw and honest.
The books on Maine that repeat the same limited historical or local information are many. But the blogs that drill down into a topic that is put in front and center under the cross hairs are refreshingly different. Providing more material that adds to your knowledge on Maine and from the local perspective that someone from far away could ever hope to glean from the little online research.
We had a local diner called the Miss Aroostook.
It was a classic, sat about 28 hungry patrons, stored extra food and restaurant materials in the cellar. You could see the owner working hard in the white t-shirt and hat preparing your meal being sliced, diced and pushed around the grill. There were rows of blue vinyl topped stools at the bar if it was just you. Three tunes for a quarter. Booths for the family with a music song juke box at each of when it was a group of hungry patrons that came up the three steps in the doors on either end of the railroad feel diner car.
You could watch traffic out the rows and rows of windows as vehicles and pedestrians approached the one of only two traffic lights.
Knowing who was driving or walking most of the time. Some were relatives. Anyone new stood out plain as day because you recognized easily a local car or truck that would match the mental image of who was behind the wheel. As you waited for your cheese omelet or pizza burger or the daily blue plate special. (Ding Ding) Order up hollered when it was your turn.
The Bangor Road, US RT 2A was the main artery to Houlton before the Interstate 95 was designed to be a marshall highway to help get personnel and materials to Loring Air Force Base in Limestone.
Loring was the closest point to fly a nuke or B-52 up and over the North Pole when we were not so friendly with Russia
before all the satellites broke away. The Bangor Road heading through Haynesville Maine caused the song to be written about buried truckers every mile on that lonesome stretch of roadway in Northern Maine.
See all the local information you are getting that you may or may not have cared about? Local, the insider from someone who lives there. Bank on that Paul Reverse town crier for the news straight from the horses mouth, hot off the community grapevine.
Legends, history, factual news all mixed in with some local humor and perspective. The small corner country grocery store I stop at for coffee and a Captain Wafers snack to start my day coming in from Drews Lake should be streamed live.
The wisdom and down to Earth practical views from the local Maine hang outs on how to fix what ails our nation is worthwhile. Might have to edit it a tad and add some bleeps once in awhile to keep it Disney rated but no messing around or pussy footing on what needs to be done and why and how on a variety of lively topics.
Maine has lots of those local beehives and if they were broadcast, the old expression as Maine goes, so goes the nation would be revived.
What’s it like, what to do, how to meet the people. Hit a fish and game or church supper. Wander into a snow sled trail clubhouse. You gotta eat right the longer your stay in Maine is.
Stop into Lennie’s Superette and learn a lot from the locals in the Millinocket area as you wait for the best BBQ ribs in Maine. Or get an earful as you wait for your order of Geaghan’s boneless hot and spicy honey glazed chicken in Bangor near the casino. Where there is lots of chatter as the bar patrons get slightly lubricated on the top of the hill in the twin city location in Maine. Watching a lively local sporting event on the big screen overhead or tuned into the story teller weaving a tale two stools down.
Come on up to Maine… and yes, this was a winter where Jack Frost leaned on the snow lever more than usual. Took a quick trip with Meg down and back the same day to Yarmouth Maine. There is less of the white stuff but still lots of concrete solid like banks of snow and ice. And all the boats are parked in the harbor yards or around the home owner’s lots standing out in their shrink wrap. Waiting for spring in Maine to be sprung from the grips of winter that was memorable for snow loads on the slopes and trails.
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