Hello from King-land!
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia --> Freeport, Maine"][/caption]
I'm writing this post from Freeport, Maine. The Harraseeket Inn, to be exact. I'm on a few day vacation with my boyfriend Chris and his parents. I figured it would be blasphemous not to write a post from the state that spawned the great Stephen King. In a totally personal side note, I have wanted to visit Maine my entire life. When I was a kid, I dreamed that I would move to Maine, live in a house by the sea, and write. I would also speak loads of Spanish and wear cable knit sweaters year 'round since it's always winter in Maine. (Ha ha - it's about 78 degrees out today, and I keep hearing French - proximity to Canada has that effect.)
The first stop of the trip was Portland, Maine. According to my internet research, Portland is the city in which King was born. During the amphibious Duck Boat tour, they pointed out an island that King frequents, and has used as his muse for some time. Other highlights of that particular city include the house of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and of course, the ocean. The city is really beautiful, and unlike my hometown of Buffalo, New York, there aren't very many chain stores. The streets are populated by independent shops, one of my favorites being Fetch - where you can find unique dog and cat items. We had burgers at Silly's, which boasts a "Zombie Burger" - vegan burger with a boat ton of spicy sauce, pineapple, and assorted veggies. (Sorry folks - I'm a wuss when it comes to spice, so I had the regular burger and the to-die-for sweet potato fries).
Our next stop was my current location - Freeport, Maine. According to the maps, I am 117 miles away from Stephen King's current residence in Bangor, Maine. The Harraseeket Inn offers an afternoon tea service, and pristine rooms. Chris and I took advantage of the indoor pool last night - which was heated, thankfully. This morning while walking the streets we came across a dog parade heading into the L.L. Bean's store.
Maine has been everything I wanted it to be, and even a little I wasn't expecting. I didn't expect to find a place that was virtually untouched by chain stores. Don't get me wrong - I do like my Tim Horton's, but it's nice to see new places and try new foods as well. Being an avid plant-watcher, I noticed the roadside bushes are different here. They are heartier, and look more like pine trees. Speaking of which, this place is covered in pines! I think I prefer it to my own state, which is populated by scruffy looking trees during the summer.
On a horror note, last night I ate the peach and raspberry crisp at the tavern in the Harraseeket Inn. It tasted divine, but I had trouble swallowing the crisp. I kid you not - it looked like it came straight from the special effects department that had worked on Peter Jackson's "Dead Alive". Egads! Also on the topic of food, there is an ice cream shop down the way that serves authentic lobster ice cream. Worth mentioning, but I'm afraid I lack the stomach to be able to try it (for once having an allergy to milk and all milk products seems to be worthwhile).
Maine is a great place to go if you have food allergies. They are very accomodating to those suffering from gluten issues and also from milk issues, like me. The menus here offer a plethora of gluten-free and vegan options. It would be nice if some of the other states would catch on to this idea.
The Borders Bookstore up here is well-stocked. While Chris and I were perusing the shelves, I found a few items that I didn't know existed. Chris picked up a few items for me - "Songs of Love and Death" (a star-crossed lover's anthology edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois), and "20th Century Ghosts" (a Joe Hill anthology - also fitting as he is the son of Stephen King). I miss Borders already. At an independent bookshop in Freeport, Chris gifted me "Henry the VIII, Wolfman" (an A.E. Moorat tale). Apparently he's aware that the way to his lady friend's heart is through the bookstore.
Maine is a city I recommend everyone visit at least once in their lifetime. Where it feasable for myself and for Chris to move here and take up permanent residence, I would certainly pack today. Unfortunately, I need to get a master's degree soon, and neither Chris nor I have any interest in moving so far away from our families. It was about an 8 hour ride up here. I'm glad to have been able to scratch the "visit Maine" article from my bucket list. Now on to the next one - become a writer!