When I was growing up in New Hampshire, the welcoming signs to neighboring Maine proclaimed "Welcome to Vacationland USA." Of course living in a state with no shortage of beautiful lakes, mountains and forests, that moniker wasn't enough of an enticement to get me to spend more time in the Pine Tree State. Now I see Maine has changed its welcoming slogan to "Welcome to Maine, the way life should be." I read that sign shortly before stopping at a toll booth to fork over $1.75 driving north to beat an incoming snow storm. The following day with my brother, Jeff, his wife Maria, their son Anthony- all Mainards, and my wife Heather we attempted to do a little bird watching at Popham Beach State Park. Beautiful place. There's a reason why Maine's beaches don't look like Florida's with wall-to-wall condos. It's damn cold on the Maine Coast! The Way Life should be my frozen fanny! But seriously, Maine is in many ways the way life should be! It is uncrowded, unhurried, and full of small tight-knit communities with strong senses of community. Ironic when you think that this is our easternmost state, and Americans over the years have headed west for a better life only to end up in crowded, crime-ridden, faceless communities in western states! But, still even in Maine there are a few down sides. Taxes are high, jobs aren't exactly abundant, and limousine liberals from crowded areas south buy up prime tracts of ocean and lake front properties, build mega-cottages, post no trespassing signs, then complain that there are trailer parks nearby and lose sleep over the prospects (remote I may add) that they may lose their investment property to rising tides due to global warming. Good grief! I guess no place is perfect-but boy do those lobstas, cups of chowda and authentic maple syrup make Maine pretty darn close! And the scenery ain't too shabby either!
(photo- A group of frozen birdwatchers on the Maine coast)