Maine is a very unique state. According to craigslist, Maine is one large interconnected region. That is to say, if you go to the craigslist site for Maine, under “cities” you’ll find “Maine.” If you ask a Mainer, they’d agree. A new friend and tattoo artist would tell you it’s because everyone knows each other through someone else. In Chicago we think we have it rough, you can pretty much play the 6 degrees of separation game with anyone you meet (biggest. “small town.” ever.) but in Maine, John would tell you, you can play that game with 2 degrees of separation…with the entire state.
Last time I was in his shop in Old Bay, Portland, delivering bagels from the magnanimous Josh of One fifty Ate (a phenomenal little bagel spot in South Portland) I met a farmer from Freedom, Maine, who knew the farmer I work for and was actually attending a conference with him after John finished working on his tattoo. I’m telling you, this state is one big SMALL town.
Don’t ask why I was delivering bagels from South Portland to Old Bay, it’s just something that happens when you’re in Maine. People do things for each other. Crazy.
So I figured I’d impart some tidbits I’ve picked up so far in Maine.
1. We are far enough North that there are Tim Horton’s here (Canadians or anyone who has spent time in Canada will know what I’m talking about)
Further research indicates that there are various locations across the US, but I happen to associate Tim Horton’s rather strongly with Canada, so I’m leaving this bullet point up.
2. Everyone (from tattoo artists to farmers and bakers) has a story about a moose. There was apparently a pair of rogue moose terrorizing the tranquil South Portland area, and there are multiple claims out there as to who actually got to kill the moose.
Everyone I’ve encountered thus far has -or knows someone who has- successfully killed a moose and promptly bled and butchered it, stashing the 1200 or so pounds of meat in a freezer somewhere.
I’m assuming that every Mainer has a dedicated freezer that lies empty for years in anticipation of just such an event.
I heard one story about a guy who pulled up behind the site of an unfortunate accident involving a [now deceased] moose on a roadway. Before asking the shaken-up motorist who had just hit the moose if he was alright, the man asked “are you gonna take that home?” He proceeded to tie the thing up on the side of the road with some pulley devices he kept in his truck for just such an occurrence, and bled the thing out and started chopping it up before the Game Commissioner had even arrived on site.
You see, dear reader, there is a Moose Lottery here in Maine. Some folks have been on that list, waiting for their opportunity to take home their very own ton of moose meat, for half their lives. With that, I think I’ve exhausted the moose topic.
I’ll let you all know when I see one, I’ve been told there are black bears in the woods behind the farm! Moose can’t be that far away.
3. Every city outside of Portland is “oh, you know, out towards Unity.”
4. Tides are no joke.
You hear almost as many stories about unsuspecting tourists getting caught on a little inlet that’s closing in on them as the tide rises as you do about moose.
They do create amazing pools though…that are fun to explore.
4. Maine has got to be the friendliest state I’ve ever visited. People go out of their way to help others. It can be very difficult to get anything accomplished because you end up stopping to chat with everyone you pass.
For instance, I had a long conversation with a man who was driving through town and wanted to know my life story since he didn’t recognize me. After about ten minutes, he was satisfied and pulled away… followed by the 5 cars that were waiting patiently behind him the entire time we were chatting.