11: Becoming Mainers
Some Observations on Maine

Some Observations on Maine

Stereotype Busted

In telling people that  we were moving to Maine, we often received this response, something along the lines of, “Good luck with that, everyone is mean to outsiders in Maine.”

Leaves you with a big warm fuzzy, right?

Well, after living here for 3+ months, we can say with confidence that nothing could be further from the truth. Everyone we have met so far – from the chatty dog-walker at the riverfront park to the quirky, Newsie-cap-wearing cashier at our local grocery store – all have been very open, friendly, and kind.

Maybe it’s because of this cute guy with the funny accent:



She’s got moxie

Exploring a local store, “The Christmas Tree Shops” (think Walgreens + Bed Bath Beyond + Dollar Store), we came upon a display of “Moxie”.

“What is Moxie?” you might ask? Well, thanks to some special behind-the-scenes-in-depth digging by staff researcher Debbie Trombley, we can now tell you this about Moxie:


  1. Moxie is one of the first carbonated beverages mass-produced in the US.
  2. We all know the definition of the word “moxie” as “having daring, courage, or spirit” – but did you know that this word came to be BECAUSE OF the brand advertising of the cola Moxie?
  3. Moxie is the official soft drink of Maine (designated as such on May 10, 2005).
  4. Moxie’s flavor is unique, as it is not as sweet as most modern soft drinks and is described by some as bitter (I can neither confirm nor deny this as I haven’t tasted it).
Make Mine Moxie!



In Maine, many mailboxes hover over the ground suspended by chains which are attached to wooden beams, metal poles, you name it. On windy days (nearly every day), they sway back and forth in the breeze; some hang on long chains, other on shorter chains; some on thick chains, some on thin chains. Is this decorative? Functional? Is there some historical or cultural significance? Is it just a Bangor thing? We have no clue as of yet but will report back to you on our findings once we investigate further.

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Driving down highway 1A on our way to our new home for the very first time, we passed Main Fireworks Company on our left. A few minutes later, another fireworks store comes into view – Big Bang Boom! Yet further down the road,  on right-hand side of 1A, we roll by Phantom Fireworks. And no, these are not the red-and-white-striped tents you see pop up in parking lots mid-June – these are legit, brick-and-mortar buildings. And another thing…THEY ARE OPEN ALL THE TIME. WalMart’s closed, and you’ve got Phantom Fireworks’ neon sign flashing “open”. Something very sketchy is going on if you are open more than WalMart. Just sayin’. Stephane and I are convinced these are fronts for some much seedier (and more profitable) business.



Tree Roots for Nimble Feet

I always thought I liked trees before moving to Maine. Now I feel choked by them. They are everywhere – blanketing the land, blocking out the sun, hiding any hope of a view; of open space. On the plus side, their root systems -which grow in thick, intricate patterns covering the trails – make runs much more focused – you drag one – just one – foot instead of picking it very much up and placing it very much in the proper hollow between roots, and you’ll be washing dirt out of your hair for a week.


Other random observations

For some reason we thought of Maine as a more wild, untouched, natural place. Well it certainly has not remained untouched by the government – lots more rules and taxes here. Also there’s a lot of smokers which surprised us. People don’t use Rs so much when they speak (“Park the car” becomes “Paaaaaaahhhhhhhk the caaaahhhh”) and there are holes (legit, not bullets like in Montrose) in a lot of the traffic signs (assuming that is so the wind can pass through…)


Regardless, we are enjoying our little corner of Maine – our trusty log cabin on Phillips Lake, our local trails and climbing crags; the natural food store with the yummy, daily, fresh-baked bread. And we are (still) looking forward to some NICE WEATHER – after mud season (a.k.a spring) and then black fly season…

He’s dead set on enjoying the sunny day (finally a sunny day!), freezing cold be damned!


Taking our mountain bikes out on the road (huh? The trails were too wet to ride) at Acadia National Park. Many of the roads at Acadia are closed during the off-season so we took advantage of checking out the views by bike without any cars zooming by. We’ve been told come summer Acadia is overrun with tourists so we are enjoying the calm before the storm.


3 thoughts on “Some Observations on Maine

    • Author gravatar

      Hello! Love the blog!! The hanging mail boxes… the third one gave the clue – this leaves room under the mailbox for a plow to move the snow away without hitting the mailbox post!

    • Author gravatar

      Yes, I agree with Cici’s comment, but need to add that the chain allows the plow to actually HIT the mailbox (accidents DO happen) without taking it down — it just swings and recovers!

      Thanks for the mention earlier, and I’ll look forward to seeing you two on one of your next trips to Southern Maine. You may need to test out the Flatbread in Portland to be sure…….


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