Maine marijuana friendly state

lighthouse_burnt_island2Pot friendly Potland… South Portland Maine voted to be pot friendly. In the 2014 election, South Portland approved a citizen-initiated referendum declaring it legal for adults over 21 years old to possess small amounts of marijuana for private, recreational use. In 2016, Maine medicinal marijuana is legalized, but leaves the jurisdiction, distribution and ordinances to the local level. What does this mean for Maine tourism? Can you toke on your trip to Maine? Light up at Maine lighthouses? Enjoy weed on Maine’s waterfront? Stay tuned…

Marijuana possession remains illegal under keep-off-grass-fall federal law, and local police say enforcement won’t change. But Maine’s marijuana friendly initiative provides leniency in Portland for recreational pot use in private. It also serve as an intro to a future state change, and indicates Maine citizen’s appetite for a more liberal view of cannabis consumption.

Portland Maine’s 2013 marijuana referendum was the first East Coast city vote for pot use. Colorado and Washington have embraced new marijuana tolerant laws statewide, and Colorado has capitalized on cannabis tourism. 420 Tours and pot bakeries are popping up all over Colorado. In Colorado ski towns and tourist destination there are weed-cafes, hemp stores and baked-bakeries. Tourism is up in Colorado because of their weed-leniency. Colorado has brought in $34.8 million in marijuana taxes in just one year with its pot-friendly policy.

Maine Maple SundayImagine the pot possibilities in Maine, a state already high on taxes, getting more tax revenue from those getting high. Wouldn’t blueberry baked pot brownies be a hot item? How about Maine marijuana-laced maple syrup? Pot stuffed twice baked potatoes from the County?

Will Maine’s marijuana tolerance change the landscape of Vacationland? Can you get baked at Maine beaches? Can you light up at Portland Headlight? #Lol. No. Recreational Maine marijuana use needs to be done in the privacy of your resident in Portland. There are not pot friendly hotels like Maine has pet friendly hotels. Whether we will see Maine 420 tours and Maine marijuana bakeries and pot infused food products in the future remains to be seen and voted by the folks of Maine.

Allagash Brewery freezerSince the majority of voters in Portland and South Portland and Portland chose to stop punishing adults for possessing small amounts of marijuana, this sets a precedence for pot tolerance to come in other places in Maine. However Lewiston voted down their pot-friendly proposal in 2014.  Regardless, these Maine marijuana initiatives bring forth the public dialogue about the relative harms of marijuana and alcohol, booze is already regulated and taxed lucratively for the state of Maine, along with tobacco and other “sin taxes.”

Pot proponents in Maine want to bring the question of taxing and regulating marijuana to voters statewide in 2016. So put that in your hot box, I mean ballot box for 2016, the pot and presidential election. Maine, the way life should be…pot friendly?

See our Maine Lodging Guide

Copyright 2018 VisitMaine.net

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Winter is Coming: Snowmobile Maine

“Winter is Coming” and it is time to be planning your snowmobile trip in Maine. Snowmobiling in this great state is vast, beautiful , exciting and fun! Maine has over 13,500 miles of snowmobile trails. The further you move away from the coast, toward the Lakes and Mountains of Maine, the more you’ll see snow and sledders. At the peak of winter, you’ll see an interesting ratio of cars to snowmobiles parked at restaurants, motels, and stores – leaning in favor of sleds or as Mainers call them – snowmachines.

If you’re not from Maine, it could be news to you that many companies in the North East take their corporate retreats during the “snowmobile season”. And why not? Maine has gorgeous log camps, lakeside resorts, and motels right on the trails, overlooking the immense snow tipped mountains and frozen lakes. Plenty of resorts also offer snowmobile rentals as well as tour guides. You can also hire guide that will escort you to your cabin. Continue reading

Haunted Places in Maine

Hay Roll CatHappy Halloween…nothing like a spooky holiday to bring to mind ghosts, goblins, spirits and hauntings. Maine is home to many legendary landmarks, inns and lighthouses – and with history comes hauntings. Often older homes have spirits, those still roaming the earth for unrequited reasons.

Some folks are freaked by ghost stories, while others are intrigued and want to know more, want to stay in spirited inns and participate in the paranormal. Others just don’t believe, to quote the Ghost Buster movie, “I ain’t scared of no ghosts.”

Nubble Lighthouse LightsFor those who love a spooky story, and want to lurk in a lighthouse that’s haunted or hope to stay in a spirited bed and breakfast in Maine, here is our list of some allegedly haunted places in Maine… pack your toothbrush, your flashlight and your big boy pants. Check in and check out the spirits as some of these Maine Inns! Boo!

Maine’s Haunted Inns, Landmarks and Lighthouses

wedding-cake-house3The Kennebunk Inn
Captain Fairfield Inn in Kennebunkport
Captain Lord Mansion
Tides Inn on Goose Rocks Beach
The Shawmut Inn in Kennebunkport
Poland Spring Resort
Admiral Peary Inn – Fryeburg
1794 Watchtide by the Sea
Captain Lindsey House Inn
The 1898 Berry Manor Inn
Lime Rock Inn
Fort William Henry in Colonial Pemaquid – Bristol
The East Wind Inn copy-portland-headlight.jpg
The 1804 Coach Stop Inn
The Lucerne Inn
Greenville Inn -Moosehead Lake

See the Legend of Boon Island lighthouse – a tale of creepy cannablism, if you dare. Happy Halloween from VisitMaine.net

See our Maine Lodging Guide

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Corn Maze-ing in Maine

The fall season is at its peak at Halloween. For visitors coming to Maine in autumn, here is an a-maze-ing activity, aside from leaf peeping and harvest festivals. Corn mazes! Too corny for you?

Gorde and pumpkin displayTake  your family to a corn maze in Maine. Every year, corn maze designs are different, and every farmers corn maze is unique. Most mazers can spend close to an hour navigating through the stalks! No worries though, mazes are designed in two phases for an early exit halfway. And in all honesty, if you think you’re going to freak out, then just walk straight through the stalks until you find the end. No one has ever been lost in a corn maze in Maine.

Late fall is perfect for a weekend tour of Maine with off season pricing at most Maine hotels, inns and resorts.

Maine’s newest National Park?

Kayaking Penobscot Bay in Maine

2016 marked the 100th anniversary of the US National Park Service, which includes Acadia National Park. What better birthday present than an expansion, and a new landmark in Maine?!  U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis supported President Obama’s designation of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, the first national monument to preserve the landscape and honor the history and culture of Maine’s North Woods. President Obama used the Antiquities Act to establish 87,500 acres of Acadia National Park Sign in Mainelands donated to the National Park Service by the Elliottsville Plantation, Inc., (EPI), including the East Branch of the Penobscot River and its tributaries, one of the most pristine watersheds in the Northeast, according to the National Park Service.

Pond Island in Penobscot BayUS Secretary Jewell visited the national monument lands in Penobscot County, Maine, in August to celebrate the designation with state and local officials and members of the public. National Park Service staff will be on site to assist with the first steps to open the park.

“As the National Park Service begins a second century of conservation this week, the President’s designation of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument serves as an View at the top of Acadia National Parkinspiration to reflect on America’s iconic landscapes and historical and cultural treasures,” said Secretary Jewell. “Through this incredibly generous private gift for conservation, these lands will remain accessible to current and future generations of Americans, ensuring the rich history of Mainers’ hunting, fishing and recreation heritage will forever be preserved.”

EPI is the nonprofit foundation established by Roxanne Quimby and run by her son Lucas St. Clair. Their gift of land is accompanied by anendowment of $20 million to supplement federal funds for initial park operational needs and infrastructure development at the new monument, and a pledge of another $20 million in future philanthropic support.

Cape Roisier, MaineMaine’s new national monument  will be managed by the National Park Service as the 413th park unit in the National Park System. The monument parcel is east of the 209,644-acre Baxter State Park and Mt. Katahdin -Maine’s highest peak at 5,267′ and the end of the Appalachian Trail.

The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument designation is the result of a extensive effort by Quimby and her son St Clair. Quimby purchased the lands with her wealth from Burt’s Bees.

Tidal Salt Marsh, MaineThe new national monument includes the East Branch of the Penobscot River and some of Maine’s North Woods known for its world-class recreational opportunities to hike, canoe, hunt, fish, snowmobile, snowshoe and cross-country ski. These and other traditional activities will continue to be available in the new national monument.

In addition to protecting spectacular geology, biodiversity, wildlife and recreational opportunities, the new monument will help support climate resiliency in the region. The protected area – together with the neighboring Baxter State Park to the west – will ensure that this large landscape remains intact, bolstering the forest’s resilience against the impacts of climate change. – Thank to the National Park Service for this new release.

Fawn spotted in Acadia National Park

For Maine lodging in the Katahdin region, in Baxter, Millinocket, and Greenville & Moosehead, see our Highland Maine Lodging Guide.

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2017

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What a summah its been upta Maine!

Cormorant looking out over the marina in Boothbay, Maine.Mainahs, that’s Maine locals, love to talk about the weathah… they complain in wintah about havin’ to get out their snow blowah, and they lament that the summah goes by some wicked quick.

Summer lobster bake in Maine

This summer in Maine has been “pretty awful nice” according to folks around Maine, which is high praise. Long stretches of sunny days, not a lot of rain, has been fantastic for them tourists from away that come in with their money and leave with our lobstah, though I suppose farmahs could complain about havin to watah their crops so often. Ayuh. See our guide to Maine slang.

Cape Porpoise bouys used for nautical decor

But seriously, its been a hum dingah summer in Maine, perfect warm breezy days to go fishin, paddleboard, kayak around the hahrbahs (see our guide to boating in Maine) ,
go upta camp, dance at a rustic Maine barn wedding, host a lobster clam bake, stay all day at the beach playing volleyball or doin’ nothin’ atall.

Ramshead Lighthouse in Maine

From the southern Maine coast to Down East, the summer temperatures have been spot on, with only a few scorchas (when the heat index goes over 90). Inland the lakes and rivers have been calm, clear and perfect for a Maine vacation – living up to the legendary license plate promise “vacationland”.

Sebago Lake in fall

Best of all, soon it will be fall y’all. Fall foliage in Maine is among the most brilliant and splendid the world over. With maples, birch, oak and elm turning fiery reds, orange and yellow contrasting the bold evergreen of this Pine Tree State.

Cuckolds Lighthouse on Maine coast

Then comes Maine wintah, and the Mainahs can go back to complainin’ about how frigin cold it is, bout damn freeze your digits off lobsterin in that nippy weathah. No mattah, whether or not, weather or not, Maine is still the way life should be.

Footbridge Sign in Maine

Plan your Maine vacation and learn to talk like a Mainah about the weathah, visit Maine lighthouses, and eat lobstah! See our Maine lodging guide for where to stay and where to chartah a boat!

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2016

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Why we Love Old Orchard Beach

Top 10 Reasons to Love Old Orchard Beach

1. The Pier

OOB Pier

Old Orchard Beach Pier

Hosting celebrities including Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra, the famous Old Orchard Beach Pier extending 500 feet into the Atlantic is lined by boutique shops, restaurants and even a night club.

2. The Beach

Beach walkers

Boasting 7 miles of beach, its little wonder why Old Orchard Beach along with its vacation amenities hug the sandy shoreline. Both the northern (known as Scarborough Beach)  and southern (known as Ferry Beach in Saco) ends of Old Orchard Beach away from the Pier epicenter, are quieter areas for vacationers offering peace and solitude despite the hub bub of the vibrant seaside town.

3. Palace Playland

Old Orchard Beach amusement parkPalace Playland makes Old Orchard Beach even more perfect for family vacations. You have the beach, nearby restaurants, ice cream shacks, arcade games, park rides so you won’t have to hear the kids exclaim that they’re hungry, or hot, or bored. And after you’re screaming in a combination of terror and delight on the tilt-a-whirl, you can also take pause in the scenic landscape of the coast.

4. Outdoor recreation

Tidal Salt MarshYup, in Old Orchard Beach, you can also revel in the great outdoors from coastal boat excursions or fishing along the beach. Just minutes away from town at the Scarborough Marsh, you can rent a kayak or canoe and leave behind the sights and sounds of town and hear nothing but the wind and the see nothing but wilderness.

5. Great Place to Stay and Play

Old Orchard Beach truly has something for everyone. Vacationers can choose to find lodging in Old Orchard Beach at a hotel near the beach, gain some independence in a vacation rental cottage, or even bring the RV or pitch a tent in the many campgrounds right in town. The only sad part of vacationing in Old Orchard is leaving… ah, love is heartache.

See our Maine Lodging Guide

Copyright 2018 VisitMaine.net

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Maine House Boats for a waterfront vacation

Robinhood Cove Houseboat in MaineImagine vacationing on a house boat in Maine, your own private yacht – without the stress of boat ownership or even boating. If this sounds ideal you should rent a house boat in beautiful Robinhood Cove near Boothbay Harbor Maine. You can live aboard a custom designed Island 40′ yacht on the mid-coast Maine with no big boat responsibilities, the house boat doesn’t even have an engine – so it’s a peaceful floating oasis, secured to a mooring just a short paddle or skiff ride from the shores of Riggs Cove on Georgetown island.

Robinhood Cove in MaineYou can rent a houseboat at Derecktor Robinhood Marina for a few nights or a relaxing week’s vacation. The marina crew greets you and takes you and your luggage out to your house boat. Choose from the Tessie Ann “floating island”, built by the marina in 2010, the Charles Andrew, or the Nancy Lou which is the newest with a spacious rooftop deck. All three house boats sleep 4, with a stateroom queen bed, a galley kitchen with fridge, DVD/TV, sound system, head with shower, and a dinette that transforms into a bed for sleeping. As part of your house boat rental, you get a 15′  9.9 hp skiff to motor from the marina dock to your boat, and cruise around Riggs Cove. The dockhands orient you on the dinghy operation, and your house boat systems. Also on board your house boat are two kayaks for your enjoyment. Back at the Marina is a fully rigged Cape Dorey day sailboat for your use as well, but sailing experience is highly recommended for that endeavor.

Robinhood Maine Riggs Cove Houseboat in Maine

We loved living on our house boat in beautiful Robinhood Cove. Mornings we went kayaking up the Sasanoa River, then went to shore to check email and read the complimentary newspaper in the cozy marina library and sail loft, then took the 18’ Typhoon sailboat for a delightful sail around the bay. Afternoons we relaxed aboard our yacht, enjoyed cocktails watching the Osprey nest, and swam off our houseboat swim platform – there’s a swim ladder provided. After a hot shower aboard, yes Maine’s swimming is chilly all summer long.

Dining at Osprey restaurantTaking our dinghy to shore, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at the onsite Anchor bar & Grill at Osprey Nest – fresh seafood with a view of our boat and the seals bobbing about. Mind you, we could have bought lobsters locally and cooked them on the boat, there’s a rail-mounted propane barbecue grill and a full galley in the salon.

We loved our floating vacation, and the opportunity to kayak, sail and boat as well. Robinhood Cove is so peaceful and pristine, and sleeping aboard a yacht without the stress of actually navigating or moving the boat was magical. We recommend a Riggs Cove Rental at Derecktor Robinhood Marine for at least three nights… a week would be perfect.

Grey Haven Inn Georgetown MaineBut if bringing your luggage and coolers out to a house boat by dinghy sounds challenging to you, stay nearby at the gorgeous Grey Havens Inn on Georgetown Island. This spectacular 1904 inn perched high on a bluff overlooking Sheepscott River and the Ocean offers lovely rooms upstairs, we recommend the turret rooms or Sunrise Suite with its own private deck. Grey Haven’s living room features a grand stone fireplace, and the wrap around porch is perfect for morning coffee and evening cocktails. Dinner is served nightly at Blue – Grey Haven Inn’s chef is as exceptional as the view. Daily Continental breakfast is served here as well. The grounds are expansive, down to the waterfront. Grey Havens Inn is just two miles from Reid State Park – a must visit to see beautiful beaches, bold graniteshores and this gem of nature preserve. Five Island is another great stop a few miles away, a working fishing village with its own lobster coop where you can picnic on fresh-made lobster rolls.

Reid State ParkMaine’s mid-coast is so dramatic – stunning scenery at every turn, yet its peaceful – time moves slower here… as evidenced by the turtle crossing signs everywhere.

Enjoy your time in Vacationland. See more on Exploring the Maine coast, tips on planning a Maine vacation and our Maine regional lodging guide.

Lobster boat in Riggs Cove MaineSunset at Robinhood Marine Riggs Cove

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2016

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Boating DownEast Maine

big-blue-rick-swOur Maine boat adventure began before we left the dock – with a crash. No, not another boat…that was the sound of our friend tumbling down the ramp at low tide. I have to give her credit – she spilled not a single beer out of the overloaded cart into Portland Harbor, and she didn’t shed a single tear either.

american-flag-big-blue-swOur boating friends had a beautiful new 48’ Sabre and invited us along as crew –and locals who know the Maine waters. We knew the first order was medical attention to a quickly swelling shoulder, despite our stoic friend assuring us she was ”fine.” Two hours and xrays later, we were all on board sipping drinks, with one broken humerus in a sling, but good humor and spirits. Our wounded one whom we dubbed One Wing insisted we stay on course boating up the Maine Coast.

schooner-mary-day1After a nice dockside dinner at Dimillos, and a night’s rest in the gracious staterooms – a bit restless for One Wing, we awoke to a perfectly calm sea and sun. We set out on our 98 nautical mile journey to MDI – Mount Desert Island, and Southwest Harbor.

merchants-row-sailing (11)

It was a beautiful passage out Casco Bay by Halfway Rock, Seguin Island and Cuckolds Lighthouse, with a lunch anchorage in peaceful Merchants Harbor, south of Stonington and Deer Isle on Merchant Island.

seal1cMerchant Row is famous for its many islands, 40+, loaded with towering pines and sloping granite boulders that meet the brilliant blue sea. As we traveled further Downeast, the seals and porpoise became more plentiful, the pink and silver sparkling shores more splendid. This is true Maine, best seen by boat… ideally a brand new 48’ Maine-made Sabre yacht.

3bass-harbor-lighthouse-acadia1Passing Bass Harbor Headlight to our Port we circled past Cranberry Islands ~Big and Little, Bear Island Light, into Northeast Harbor with views up Somes Sound – North America’s only fjard (like a fjord). Our destination was Dysarts Great Harbor Marine in picturesque Southwest Harbor where we would dock for two nights.

southwest-harbor-harbor8In the fine company of Hinckleys and Morris Yachts, built right here, we enjoyed Dysarts’ peaceful but well-equipped marina. Showers, Wi-Fi, and Grumpy’s restaurant for a bountiful homemade breakfast are all in sailor’s reach. Jane and her crew at Dysarts are super helpful and friendly, suggesting walking paths, outings and places to dine.

dysarts-great-harbor-marine1Our crew poked around the shops of Southwest Harbor – favorites include Moody Mermaid and Sawyer’s Market. Strolling out the quiet island streets toward Clark’s Point where the US Coast Guard is stationed, and Beal’s Lobster Pound, was a great leg stretcher.

Cadillac Mountain viewWe did not ride the Island Explorer – the free bus system of Acadia National Park, sponsored by LL Bean, that would take us to Bar Harbor. We preferred staying on the “quieter side of MDI”. Next time we will hike Acadia Park (when no one has a broken arm). Perhaps we’ll play a civilized game of croquet too, and sip cocktails at the Claremont Hotel with a perfect vantage toward Somes Sound.

eggmogin-reach-bridge2Boating westward the next morning brought spectacular views of the Blue Hills to our North. Entering the mile-wide Eggemoggin Reach, a boaters paradise and one of the prettiest channels anywhere, we glided along the 10-mile passage by the Wooden Boat headquarters, then idyllic Center Harbor on the mainland and Deer Isle to our Port. Cruising under the huge Eggemoggin suspension Bridge that soars to 85 feet at center is impressive on any vessel.

thrumbcap-lighthouse6As we emerged from the Reach around 1854 Pumpkin Island Lighthouse off Little Deer, we cruised by Cape Rosier, a cliffy shore with magnificent homes clinging to the hillside offering the fortunate few amazing views of the Camden Hills in the distance of Penobscot Bay.

Castine Maine LighthouseOur next overnight was Castine, the pretty peninsula village where Maine Maritime Academy is based. This historic town is as charming as it has been challenged by occupations since the 1600’s – from the Natives, to the Dutch, French, and British, and now college kids, 89% male – hence the nickname Maine Male-time academy, with studies of oceanography and marine engineering.

dennetts-wharf-settingAfter docking, we lunched alfresco at Dennett’s Wharf – a wonderful waterfront gin joint in Castine. Clams, calamari, mussels and Maine seaweed salad never tasted so good – with a cold Maine microbrew and a view of the Bagaduce River. After lunch, we contributed to Dennett’s sailloft covered in dollar bills – a fun tradition that has benefited the families of 911, Hurricane Katrina and a local fireman. Dennett’s donates the haul of dollars off the ceiling (averaging $12K each time).

Castine is a gem to explore, from the ole fashioned ice cream and craft shops, to the elm tree shaded streets, battle bunkers and forts perched by the sea. Dyce Head Light is private so you can only pass by, but Witherle Woods is a wonderful 185-acre preserve of trails open to the public offering a bird’s eye view of Penobscot Bay on Lookout Loop.

castine-harbor-viewDinner in Castine at the Pentagoet Inn was extraordinary – this traditional 1894 inn serves local seafood lovingly-prepared. A gorgeous sunset on the boat concluded our perfect Castine day ~ heaven.

pond-island

Cruising the Maine coast – Pond Island

Next morning, crystal clear calm waters brought us to Pond Island – a postcard-perfect uninhabited island in the heart of Penobscot Bay – with a tidal pond centerpiece. We brought the dinghy to the beach that circles the 30-acre island – loaded with smooth skimming stones, driftwood, seashells and a few sand dollars found by One Wing in a sling – her eagle eye senses compensating.

bucks-jhjarobrmaine (6)

Bucks Harbor was our next mooring. This beautiful horseshoe cove is well protected and poetic. Brooksville and nearby Brooklin inspired the literary works of EB White, you know Charlotte’s Webb, and Robert McCloskey’s One Morning in Maine, Blueberries for Sal, and Make Way for Ducklings, to name a few.

bucks-jhjarobrmaine (4)Bucks Harbor Marine provided us a big secure mooring ball, amid the clinking of sailboat masts by the calm shores dotted with a few cottages and the 3rd oldest yacht club in Maine. Bucks Harbor facilities include a large dinghy dock, showers, WiFi, provisions and a chance to walk on terra firma.

bucks-harbor-sunset3A short walk up a steep hill and we were on a quiet street heading toward town – which consists of one general store, one church and Bucks Harbor Restaurant. Watching the sun set from the boat, after cool drinks, great music and a bountiful meal on board, was a signature end to a sublime day at sea.

cape-roisier2The next day, our destination was Stonington on the southern tip of Deer Isle for Fourth of July festivities with promise of an old home day parade, lobster bake and the crustiest crab contest (my crab curiosity was piqued), followed by fireworks. Bang, we hit something, a log perhaps, and lost one boat prop… big bummer. With twin screws we weren’t dead in the water, so we turned toward Belfast for repair. To say the adventure started and ended with a bang is bad, sad form. Boats can be repaired, bones mend, memories remain for a lifetime.

red-bell3 So Stonington remains on my Boating Bucket List – maybe the annual Lobster Boat races mid-July. So much more to explore by boat in this breathtaking part of Maine, Maine’s best harbors and marinas – Fox Island Thorofare, Pulpit Harbor and Camden, Whites Island, Winter Harbor and Tenants Harbor.

2schooner-sailing5Meanwhile, be sure to read our Maine humah blog inspired by the natives I met along the way, best things to do in Castine and Southwest Harbor’s Top 10. See Maine’s best harbors, anchorages and moorings in Kennebunkport, Camden, Robinhood Cove and Boothbay Harbor as well.

See our Maine Lodging Guide

Copyright & Photos 2018 VisitMaine.net

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