Never ever did I think about heading to the state of Maine, until I embarked on the life of a locum tenens provider, and became The Nomadic Pediatrician. At the end of 2020 a recruiter called me up with news of a job coming up in Central Maine in March of 2021, and without hesitation I left the hellish heat of the South and made my way for the first time to the Northeastern edge of the country. Since then, I have fallen so desperately in Love with the State of Maine that I feel an obligation to share even a small bit of its beauty with the world. I loved everything about the state so much that when another opportunity arose to go back for work at the start of 2022, I couldn’t say no; in fact, I stayed on for almost a year and a half, and would have never left if I hadn’t decided to go back to fellowship training.
As described in an article by a Mainer, Maine is a “Libertarian-minded, keep-to-your-own-business kind of state,” that has understandably come to time and time again redefine its slogan of, “The Way Life Should Be.” The people are straightforward but nice, the views of the wilderness are mythical and breathtaking, and the seafood is to die for. It will forever hold the most amazing place in my heart and has become a destination I hope to make final one day. While I can never become a true purebred Mainer, I’m going to try my best to be an honorary one. Not so secretly hoping that the Maine Tourism Association hires me one day!
BY THE tens and hundreds
The Atlantic coast and particularly New England are obviously known for their lighthouses. Some let you come up nice and close, and some are so far out to sea that they can barely be seen with a telescope. Although many are less used then centuries ago and stand as sentinel relics from more distant time, some are routinely maintained and upgraded. Some are abandoned and some still the home to families and their keepers. I only went to maybe 1/5th of all the visitable lighthouses but definitely tried to hit the highlights.
I tried to find out how many antique shops there are in Maine and couldn’t find even a close estimate. From the fact that there are something like 430 towns with around 20 incorporated cities throughout the state, I would guess there are hundreds of these shops. Through my travels, I have found that most small places tend to collect lots of ju- erhmm, prized possessions, but there seems to be an overabundance in Maine.
Farmers Markets and Farm Stands
If you were to ask me for my single favorite part of Maine, as an amateur chef, foodie and someone that tries to eat healthy… This would be my favorite thing. Combining the winter and summer farmers markets, there are approximately 150 in the state. Not to mention ENDLESS Farm Stands! I know you’ve probably seen a Farmers Market before, and individually these may not be AS exciting… But the vast number of them allows for multiple market trips everyday of the week which I think is unique to few places. Even better are the Farm Stands! There are easily thousands of these little shacks. Not only are they on farms themselves but can be in the front yard of a seemingly more suburban home. Duck eggs, flowers, honey, you name it and people have built a shed to sell them. The best thing that reflects the feeling of the state? Everything is sold on the honor system with little lockboxes!
Lobsters and their Pounds
Like, I mean, what do you really need to say. The best part about lobster in Maine is how cheap it traditionally has been, and by that i mean an ‘expensive’ lobster to a Mainer is like $9/lb. However, there’s been a lot of environmental complaints over the affect of lobstering on the ocean… From talking to Mainers it’s overly exaggerated and not an issue, but obviously that’s biased. Still the ecosystem for lobsters if fascinating and the industry is huge. Some of the challenges in the last few years are that there are some docks that have been bought by suppliers in different states to export cheaper lobsters, super uncool. ALSO you are NOT supposed to eat a lobster that is TOO small or TOO big. The lobstermen should weed those out, but…. I learned the hard way not all of them are ethical… Anyways, I ate like 50 lobsters in 1 year and probably will die earlier because of it, and it was totally worth it. Check out my LOBSTER POST here!
If you know me at all, you know that I love breweries (in moderation of course…). Checkout my brewery map here. While many states have breweries, did you know that Maine has the most breweries per capita?! The population is small and as of the end of 2022 there are around 120 breweries throughout the state. One of the things I have loved is that the Maine Brewers Guild has also created a scavenger hunt kind of bucket list trip they call the Maine Beer Trail. If you go to all of them you get a prize! I made it to a little over 70 of 120 in my year in Maine. But, the best part of how it’s set up, is that it has encouraged me to see every part of the state. My days off were comprised usually of a brewery + lobster + some sort of hike or outside ordeal. Intentionally for the non-drinker, I wanted to feature this picture of Sasanoa Brewing which is on a MOFGA farm. I was able to have some beer, listen to fiddling, and left with two huge stalks of dinosaur kale. Breweries are the best, and very kid-friendly these days.
BY THE thousands and millions
It might be an odd thing to comment on the prevalence of cemeteries anywhere. I’ve thought a lot about doing a separate full blog post to seeing these all over the country, but i don’t often take pictures of cemeteries – there’s something odd about that depending on who you talk. Something to appreciate, however, with the cemeteries in New England is how old they are. Seeing all of the small single family cemeteries is fascinating and driving through the country I’ve seen tons. From a quick google search, there are reportedly over 7,000 in the state. Some are in gorgeous ares overlooking lakes or oceans which is cool.
Black Flies, Browntail Moths, Ticks
So this is more of a PSA for anyone that goes to Maine… There are some cons to the natural fauna for sure i’d say. I learned in my time about the nuisance these pests bring everywhere. Gross. Check yourselves for Ticks just like the Brads Paisley song says to do so you don’t get Lyme Disease. Featured, a picture I did NOT take because gross. But here’s where I got it from and the advice on avoiding this lesser lovely part of Maine… https://www.themainemonitor.org/summer-of-2022-will-browntail-moths-be-this-bad-again/
Whoopie Pies, Blueberries, strawberries, Potatoes
I had no idea about all of the agriculture in Maine until I got there and obviously as above love the farms, but beyond all of that, Maine is very famous for their Blueberries. You can go and pick them yourself! I’m not a huge blueberry fan and because of work never really made it to do this, but had more than one food item with them. They’re smaller than other places and taste good. There’s also tons of Strawberries you can go pick and some think they’re sweeter than strawberries in other areas. If you go north, especially to Aroostook County, you can find endless potato fields! So, despite not being anything I just told you about, here’s a picture from my ventures up through those fields of the Dandelions i saw.
Hiking Trails and All the views
According to AllTrails there are a little over 1,000 trails established for hiking in Maine. If you’re really looking, unlike most states, there’s even an entire organization dedicated to Maine specifically with these trails called Maine Trail Finder. You could spend your entire life trying to hike these trails and never see everything, and I’d like to end this post with saying this is without a doubt my favorite part of Maine. Whether it’s in the summer dodging the black flies, the winter snow-showing around, or somewhere in the shoulder season enjoying the pristine weather, there’s a hike for you. Obviously Acadia is included, but if you look around there’s so much more. Just, be careful if you get lost on the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) like I did….. Featured Picture: Pondicherry Park, my first introduction to Maine.
There are reportedly over 6000 lakes in Maine. This is probably my single favorite thing about the state. I love being around water. If you visit and don’t go see a lake, you’re wasting your life. I loved driving by them, eating around them, staring across them, freezing on them, and dreaming about them. Featured Picture: Moose Pond.
Maine, is the most beautiful state I have ever seen. I am so glad that locum tenens work took me away from the West Coast and the South to see something I would have never been able to see before, and infinitely grateful for my boss and director for giving me days of to see all I could and sink my teeth into this incredible state.