I grew up in a little town outside of Bangor, Maine. I didn’t realize it as a child, but growing up here was more than the word ‘special’ offers. When summer vacation would start, my brother Chris, and I would run from the school bus, all the way down our long, dirt driveway, eager to put away our backpacks for the summer and partake in some summertime adventures.
One of my favorite things to do as an adult is to be outside. It doesn’t matter what I am doing, if I am outside doing it, I am happier. This love of the outdoors was created in part, due to the Maine way of life I was raised in.
There are several acres of woods behind our house. Chris and our neighborhood friends would explore the trails for hours. The hot, humid mid- July sun would be beating down on us, but we were determined to capture that bit of independence and freedom the great outdoors offered.
We had room to stretch our legs in the woods behind our house, but what really shaped my summers was my time spent at ‘The Woodlot.’ In 1985, my Dad bought 55 acres of woods down the road, that had previously been used for logging.
My Dad enhanced the logging trails that existed and extended them throughout the acreage. They would become trails that we sometimes walked twice a day, and in the winter would use our cross country skies to glide over. The main trail bends and winds, a few apple trees sprinkled along the way. The trail leads to a large opening when you get to the top of a hill – and this is where we cleared and created our garden. Each spring we would help plant the crops, rows of peas, beans, potatoes, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and corn.
Every summer, Chris and I helped to pick all the vegetables. My Dad would drive to the woodlot, filling the back of the pick-up truck with all the tools and buckets we may need. Chris and I would hop on our bikes and meet him.
I remember, it would be hot and humid, many of the days in August that we would be picking. Chris and I would get competitive and see who could fill up their 5 gallon bucket of peas first. The sound of what I would call ‘The heat bug’ would be singing in the background. Dad would silently pick the vegetables that he was so proud of, and once in a while, motion for us to go to a different aisle.
We spent most afternoons up at the woodlot in the summer, whether it was picking the vegetables, or walking our family dog Dixie, on the trails. My Dad would hook up the trailer and bring the riding lawn mower up to the woodlot almost every weekend, keeping the grass at baseball field length most times. He was also known to bring up a lawn chair and sit up by the garden for hours by himself, taking in all the beauty that he helped create and maintain for his family to enjoy.
I always knew that our summertime adventures were coming to a close, when my parents would start freezing and canning vegetables. Once I detected the smell of cooking tomatoes wafting through the house, I knew school would be starting again shortly.
The Maine way of life embraces the simple pleasures. The outdoors becomes part of your being – who you are. It is my hope with this blog to write about all things Maine, from outdoor activities and destinations, to restaurants and other entertainment. Maine has so much to offer, there are so many unique places and people that embody the spirit of Maine, beautiful beaches, mountains, farms, and don’t forget, Portland is one of the ‘Foodie Capitals’ of the country.