I flew to Maine, and all I got was this lousy seal pelt.

June 26, 2008 at 2:17 pm (Uncategorized)

I just got back from a trip to Maine with my Mom.  Here are some things that happened:

Friday morning was met with a thick fog that covered the coast.  We drove the car through Cape Elizabeth to get a glimpse of three lighthouses positioned from a point on one peninsula.  As we arrived in the parking lot at the first lighthouse, a bus full of special needs kids was unloading near the lighthouse museum.  These kids probably didn’t give two sh*ts about the lighthouse, but I’m sure getting out of school was an adventure for them.  As I looked around at my fellow tourists taking in the splendid view, I don’t think I scoped a visitor under 250 lbs.  After we’d had enough of the first lighthouse, we meandered our way along the absolutely gorgeous New England coast in our rental car.  Saltbox mansions and summer cottages spanned the shore all the way to the wharf in Portland Harbor.  We had to make a detour onto a main highway to get over the bridge leading into the city.  Oh my God… If the coast of Maine is the beautiful Ying, the highways of Maine are the ugly Yang.  Strip malls, outlet centers, generic steakhouses, malt shops, cartoon lobster shacks… if you were looking for a symbol of American gluttony at a discount price, you’d need to look no further than Highway 9 running through the outskirts of Portland.  Not that Minnesota and South Dakota don’t have their fair share of strip malls and outlet shops, but… we have stuff other than that… we have regular malls, and normal independent stores… Maine does not.
On Friday night, our friend Judy took us out to eat at a very nice restaurant on the sea.  On Saturday, we headed South on I95 to Portsmouth NH, and then worked our way back up the coast through Kittery, Kennebunk, and Ogunquit.  The population of the state of Maine is less than 1,000,000.  With the amount of traffic that we encountered between Portsmouth and Ogunquit, I think the population of Maine north of Portland must be around 5… still, the little towns on the coast were quite beautiful.  Each of the peninsulas wrapped in coastline and deciduous forest made me feel like saving my money up to buy one square foot of coastline so I could just stand there for a while, later in life of course.  A square foot of coastline probably costs the equivalent of my salary for the next 50 years.
On Monday, we drove up to Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor ME.  The park is on an island, so you have to drive over part of the ocean to get to it.  Although it was foggy and drizzly, this park was amazing.  We bought tickets for a “nature tour” on a double decker boat that took us by a different island where a number of sausage shaped seals slumbered on the beach.  They looked as clumsy as slugs until they hit the water, and then they were off… flipping and spinning around in the cove.  My Mom spotted a porpoise alongside the boat, but I missed it.  It was pretty incredible to see the tops of island mountains from a boat out on the sea.  It’s actually pretty hard to describe… so I won’t.

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3 Comments

  1. Dorothy Libbyl said,

    We moved from Massachusetts to Maine 32 years ago – we live in a small town with 4,000 year round residents and love it…we’ overlook a huge, beautiful lake with loons, ducks and occasional boaters. It sounds as if you did the ‘tourist coastal thing’ – mentioning Acadia Mountain area (Bar Harbor) Ogunquit Kennebunk (where the Sr. Bush’s live, etc) Next time & I do hope you & your mother come back try to go (if you’re looking for Coastal) to Camden, Owl’s Head,
    Cape Neddick, .Pemaquid (there’s a lighthouse there as well)
    and these aren’t off the beaten track….it’s hard for us locals to find a parking space during the summer to enjoy our natural beauty.

    Steven King, the author, owns a home in Bangor, Maine which is not coastal but very nice, nonetheless – Bangor also has an International airport. As far as not seeing a ‘tourist’ under 250 lbs…that seems
    ‘different’ to me. We’re all quite active in my family & my daughter’s family…I don’t know if about.com has more on Maine, but I’m sure if you have the time & if it does, you might want to come back just for the coastal ambience…we don’t have ‘strip malls’ where we live, by the way…Augusta, Maine which is the capital of the State is just now getting in a Target store & a few other big name stores…..in a huge mall….Maine has changed significantly over the last 10-15 years….

    Retirees, by the way, are choosing Maine as a good place to retire…

  2. Ben said,

    I agree with Dorothy. Maine is maybe the best place on planet Earth and anyone who thinks otherwise is nothing short of a simpleton.

  3. Hazel Davis said,

    I have lived in Maine all my life. Much of my childhood was spent on the beautiful coast. My uncle was a lobsterman, so my special love for Maine is on the coast.
    We love lighthouses and 5 years ago we began giving tours to people who want to see the very best of what Maine offers. If you want to see what Maine is really about,
    and take in the spectacular beauty, you can’t stay on the main highways.
    As Tim Sample, our popular Maine humorist says, “you can’t get there from here”.
    By the way, we took our guests to see Tim Sample last evening and they LOVED it.
    On each of our tours we like to give our guests a genuine “taste of Maine”. And we
    always try to take them to places that they would not find on their own.

    We recommend, if you want to relax, see the real Maine and have a great time, it’s
    best if you join a tour or go with someone who knows Maine. Otherwise, you are apt to miss out on the wonderful experince of seeing this Pine Tree State.

    We just returned, today, from a tour of Southern Maine to the Mid Coast and our guests said, “we would never have found these places on our own”. The tours are jam packed every day, and each night, after spending the day on the ocean, or at
    a lighthouse and breathing the fresh salty air, we all slept very well and woke up the every morning morning ready for another exhilarating day. We want everyone who comes to Maine to leave with happy memories. Check out http://www.officialmainelighthousetours.blogspot.com

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