The Maine Idea

I’ve been in Boston for roughly 10 months. Little did I realize that, during this time period, I had incrementally lost faith in humanity. Perhaps it was the angry driver who honked and yelled, “Get a move on it, you f@#king cow!” to the geriatric pedestrian at the crosswalk. Or maybe it was the drunk, belligerent Southie couple with no sense of volume or filter on the T. Then again, it could just have been the winter blizzards or manifold “summer” thunderstorms.

But I digress.

I realized all this–that I was living in a Boston bubble–as soon as I arrived in Portland, Maine. After we parked the car, out of habit, my boyfriend and I jaywalked across the street to get to the harbor. Whereas in Boston, oncoming traffic would have accelerated in our direction at the sight of this attempt, Maine drivers slowed down, obstructed traffic, and smiled as they waited for us to cross. (What?!)

That’s not all. Curious about local brews, we stopped by Allagash Brewery in hopes of catching a tour. According to a chipper voice on the phone, all tours were booked for the day, but we were more than welcome to stop by for a drink at the bar. We followed suit. Both of us ordered a flight, which includes four samples of their current favorites. The best part? It was free!

I’m no anthropologist, but I’ll boldly assert that any society that offers you free beer is not just hospitable but enlightened in ways that only Buddhist monks and 17th century European intellectuals would understand.

At the risk of sounding like I’m writing a Yelp review, I have to mention the food! To eat, we chose lobster rolls and oysters at J’s Oyster Bar. Then poutine and French fries made with duck fat at, well, a place called Duckfat. All delicious, no surprise. (Admittedly, I still find myself peering longingly at the photos I took of the meals we had.)

On top of all this, there were rolling hills that overlooked the Atlantic, winding roads that induce your own unwinding, and even a desert in the middle of this New England territory. If Boston has diminished my faith in humanity, then Maine is one of the places in America that can replenish it.