Archives for category: maine
Wolfe’s Neck

Yesterday, it seemed like summer in Portland. People were out in shorts, t-shirts, and sandals. The thermometerread 54 degrees (12 C), and in Maine that constitutes a heat wave, at least in the month of March.


Wolfe’s Neck
In California, 54 degrees means winter. People bundle up, wear gloves, and don fur lined hats.

Today, the temperature in Portland reached a sweltering 65 degrees (18 C). You can use your imagination of what happened.

BTW: If you’re in the Portland area, I would recommend a trip to Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park. It’s about 25 minutes north of Portland and just outside of Freeport. A great place to wander and enjoy spectacular ocean views. 
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Wolfe’s Neck

Yesterday, it seemed like summer in Portland. People were out in shorts, t-shirts, and sandals. The thermometerread 54 degrees (12 C), and in Maine that constitutes a heat wave, at least in the month of March.


Wolfe’s Neck
In California, 54 degrees means winter. People bundle up, wear gloves, and don fur lined hats.

Today, the temperature in Portland reached a sweltering 65 degrees (18 C). You can use your imagination of what happened.

BTW: If you’re in the Portland area, I would recommend a trip to Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park. It’s about 25 minutes north of Portland and just outside of Freeport. A great place to wander and enjoy spectacular ocean views. 

It’s still February but it seems like spring. Hopefully, winter is over. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.Today seemed almost magical. Here are some pictures from Ogunquit, Maine. Ogunquit is a beach community about 35 miles south of Portland. If I do say so myself, these pictures are good enough to be postcards. 

Ogunquit Beach
Beautiful Maine Coastline
Ogunquit, Maine
Photographers taking a picture through a window frame. How artistic!

It’s still February but it seems like spring. Hopefully, winter is over. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.Today seemed almost magical. Here are some pictures from Ogunquit, Maine. Ogunquit is a beach community about 35 miles south of Portland. If I do say so myself, these pictures are good enough to be postcards. 

Ogunquit Beach
Beautiful Maine Coastline
Ogunquit, Maine
Photographers taking a picture through a window frame. How artistic!

Maine isn’t just lobsters and picturesque lighthouses. It’s also home of the Whoopie pie. A Whoopie pie is a sweet confection about the size of a hamburger, made with two bun sized devil’s food cakes separated by a thick white filling. Whoopie pies are found everywhere. You can find Whoopie in grocery stores, convenience stores, bakeries, and even upscale restaurants.

Last March, the World’s Largest Whoopie Pie was made in South Portland. It was 5 feet in diameter and weighed 1,062 pounds. That’s some insulin rush!


Even the Maine Legislature got into the act. This April, Maine declared the Whoopie pie the official “state treat” and the Blueberry pie, the official “state dessert.” I find it amusing that the Legislature had the time to pass such important pieces legislation. I guess naming the official state treat and dessert ranks right up there with fixing the state’s fiscal woes and dismal unemployment rate. So next time you hear a legislator say, “We can’t address this particular issue right now because we’re too busy working on the state’s economy and finding more jobs for our citizens,” just remember, the Legislature somehow found the time to name the official state treat and dessert. 

Maine isn’t just lobsters and picturesque lighthouses. It’s also home of the Whoopie pie. A Whoopie pie is a sweet confection about the size of a hamburger, made with two bun sized devil’s food cakes separated by a thick white filling. Whoopie pies are found everywhere. You can find Whoopie in grocery stores, convenience stores, bakeries, and even upscale restaurants.

Last March, the World’s Largest Whoopie Pie was made in South Portland. It was 5 feet in diameter and weighed 1,062 pounds. That’s some insulin rush!


Even the Maine Legislature got into the act. This April, Maine declared the Whoopie pie the official “state treat” and the Blueberry pie, the official “state dessert.” I find it amusing that the Legislature had the time to pass such important pieces legislation. I guess naming the official state treat and dessert ranks right up there with fixing the state’s fiscal woes and dismal unemployment rate. So next time you hear a legislator say, “We can’t address this particular issue right now because we’re too busy working on the state’s economy and finding more jobs for our citizens,” just remember, the Legislature somehow found the time to name the official state treat and dessert. 













So you’re From Away.” I hear that statement more often than I would like. Whenever I open my mouth, Mainers know from the first syllable that I utter that I’m “From Away.” My strong accent is a dead giveaway. “From Away” is a term used by Mainers to describe anyone who is not from Maine. Even if you live in Maine and have done so for years, you’re still “From Away.”

Last week, I overheard a conversation at a local restaurant between two Mainers. One guy was talking about a client who had accused him of being “From Away.” Even though the guy was born and raised in Portland, the client had expressed concerns about his non-standard Maine accent.


In Maine, being From Away” lowers your social standing in the community. There’s an unsaid law that requires Mainers to avoid socializing with the From Away” folks unless absolutely necessary. If there’s one word to describe Maine it would be “insular.” Having lived most of my life in California, a state that is home to immigrants from around the world, insularity is a concept difficult for me to understand. Since most people in California are From Away,” you would have a difficult time engaging in business or social activities if your discourse was limited to the locals. Perhaps, this insularity explains why Maine is Maine, and California is the world’s seventh largest economy.  

In any case, most Mainers tell me they detect a southern accent in my speech. Yes, an accent from the land of Dixie. When I say I’m from California, they seem astonished. When people think California English, they often recall the stereotypes made famous by Frank and Moon Unit Zappa in their song “Valley Girl,” circa 1982. “Like totally! Gag me with a spoon!” famously intoned by Moon Unit, and instantly cementing a stereotype of California English as primarily the province of Valley Girls and Surfer Dudes. But California is not just the land of beaches and blonds. While Hollywood images crowd our consciousness, the real California, with a population of around 35 million people, has a variety of accents.

When I reflect on the California accent, I immediately think about its “strong” quality as distinguished from the soft southern or flat mid-west accent. I know it when I hear it. Nevertheless, Californians do have a tendency to use “I’m like,” or “she’s/he’s like” to introduce quoted speech, as in “I’m like, ‘where have you been?’” A shrug, a sigh, or any of a number of other expressive sounds usually follow the statement. I’ve never heard that expression and its subsequent stylization used anywhere but in California.


Before I left the “Golden State,” I also noticed that a number of younger people were saying, “I’m all” or “she’s all” as a replacement for “I’m like.” So while accents and certain types of phrases may tell a person where you’re from, they also reflect your age and generation. Accents and types of expressions aren’t static. That’s why a phrase such as totally awesome” could some day be a term used only by the senior set.  

Melby’s Market and Eatery

I found Melby’s Market and Eatery in Waterford on my way to Bethel this past weekend. Melby’s isn’t fancy, but the food is good, and it has authentic Maine charm: no pretense and a certain brusqueness. It also has a great bison burger that is truly fresh. Since the local bison ranch is just a few miles down the road, one could say, the burger was right off the hoof.


On the day I visited, Melby’s had its share of leaf peepers (people touring New England’s for fall foliage) so the place was crowded. I ate at the counter, and as a result, I was able to talk to some of the locals. I learned a lot about local Waterford culture. Turns out, Waterford is Maine’s version of Payton Place. You know, plenty of sex, adultery, and hypocrisy.

Tomorrow’s Bison Burgers

Even though I’m an atheist, Melby’s was a godsend. I was in one of my low blood sugar moments, grouchy and unpleasant.  I really needed a place to eat!  It was a miracle I found Melby’s. 


Finding a good place to eat on a road trip is a challenge. I remember driving across country and searching for restaurants that wouldn’t give me indigestion. It was always hit or miss. Fortunately, there were more hits than misses.

Beech Hill Bison Ranch

I particularly remember Del’s Restaurant in Tucumcari, New Mexico. Del’s was the last place I had good Mexican food. Then there was the Olive Garden (yes, the Olive Garden) in Terre Haute, Indiana, with its exceptional service and charming mid-west friendliness. Finally, how could I forget, there was the Italian Garden in Wichita, Kansas, a cheesy version of the Olive Garden (if that’s possible). The Italian Garden had a certain sophistication that made you believe you were in Tuscany or at least in Little Italy.  BTW:  it had inexpensive wine and an authentic iceberg lettuce salad that reminded me of my childhood. The Italian Garden also had a logo that looked surprisingly similar the logo used by the Olive Garden. Um, trademark issue?







Melby’s Market and Eatery

I found Melby’s Market and Eatery in Waterford on my way to Bethel this past weekend. Melby’s isn’t fancy, but the food is good, and it has authentic Maine charm: no pretense and a certain brusqueness. It also has a great bison burger that is truly fresh. Since the local bison ranch is just a few miles down the road, one could say, the burger was right off the hoof.


On the day I visited, Melby’s had its share of leaf peepers (people touring New England’s for fall foliage) so the place was crowded. I ate at the counter, and as a result, I was able to talk to some of the locals. I learned a lot about local Waterford culture. Turns out, Waterford is Maine’s version of Payton Place. You know, plenty of sex, adultery, and hypocrisy.

Tomorrow’s Bison Burgers

Even though I’m an atheist, Melby’s was a godsend. I was in one of my low blood sugar moments, grouchy and unpleasant.  I really needed a place to eat!  It was a miracle I found Melby’s. 


Finding a good place to eat on a road trip is a challenge. I remember driving across country and searching for restaurants that wouldn’t give me indigestion. It was always hit or miss. Fortunately, there were more hits than misses.

Beech Hill Bison Ranch

I particularly remember Del’s Restaurant in Tucumcari, New Mexico. Del’s was the last place I had good Mexican food. Then there was the Olive Garden (yes, the Olive Garden) in Terre Haute, Indiana, with its exceptional service and charming mid-west friendliness. Finally, how could I forget, there was the Italian Garden in Wichita, Kansas, a cheesy version of the Olive Garden (if that’s possible). The Italian Garden had a certain sophistication that made you believe you were in Tuscany or at least in Little Italy.  BTW:  it had inexpensive wine and an authentic iceberg lettuce salad that reminded me of my childhood. The Italian Garden also had a logo that looked surprisingly similar the logo used by the Olive Garden. Um, trademark issue?






Enjoying Fall



It was a beautiful but windy fall day here in Maine. The temps were in the low 50s and high 40s, a perfect day for a trip to the country. In Maine, you soon realize that one day it can be sunny, the next miserable. This is not California. When the weather is good, it’s time to make hay. The only thing that is certain, is the uncertainty of the weather. 


I’ve noticed that fall tends to make people anxious, especially in New England. We know that just around the corner is winter.  As each day inches closer toward winter, the anxiety increases, and Mainers take every opportunity to make use of the last vestiges of summer.   


Today, I decided to visit the town of Bethel in western Maine.  Located at the foot of the White Mountains, Bethel has been described by Downeast Magazine as the “best” Maine mountain town to relax.  I’m always leery of the “best.”  What does the “best” restaurant, the “best” movie, or the “best” anything mean?  In any case, I’ve always thought the journey is more interesting than the destination.  If Bethel turned out to be a bust then at least I could enjoy the countryside.  

Puzzle Mountain Bakery



Bethel was worth the trip, but more about that in a future post. The highlight of the excursion was a visit to the Puzzle Mountain Bakery, near Newry (pop. 344) off of Bear River Road.  I had heard their fruit pies were good; and as my friends know, my sweet tooth never turns down a good pie.  What I found at Puzzle Mountain was something of a surprise, even for this old cynic and curmudgeon.




Puzzle Mountain Bakery isn’t so much a traditional bakery, but rather a small wooden stand at the side of the road.  There isn’t anything particularly unusual about what they sell: home made fruit pies, preserves, and cookies.  

Put Money in Box

As we drove up, I noticed there was no one manning the stand. Not a person in sight. The goods were on the shelf with the prices clearly labeled. A sign was posted telling people to pay for the goods by putting the money in a lock box. You pay on the honor system.  It’s like that in rural Maine. People still trust!  It was refreshing, but I wondered how many people took a pie without paying. Nevertheless, I got and PAID for two pies, which turned out to be delicious.  I would mention, however, that the lock box was securely fastened by a big lock. I guess trust only goes so far.