Welcome to Maine Sign

Feeling Homesick: 13 Things I Miss About Maine

I had barely passed the “Live Free or Die” sign of New Hampshire before I started missing Maine. I’d made this drive before, mostly to reap the benefits of a state with no sales tax. This time was different. As a lifelong “Mainer,” I was moving to a new location for personal reasons. Suddenly, the decision felt more personal than ever.

As I move forward in life, I can’t help but look back on all the reasons I love Maine so much. Before I turn this car around, let me share the best things about living in Maine.

Southern Maine Lobster Co.-York
Southern Maine Lobster Co. | photo via thefoodluvers

1. Fresh Seafood

There’s a bit of a disconnect when a server in a landlocked state restaurant boasts about fresh seafood. To Mainers, fresh seafood was living its best life 30 minutes ago and is now on the plate.

Sure, there’s lobster, as flatlanders call it. However, “lobstah” is just one in a potpourri of seafood options, and we know the best seafood seasons as well as we know the alphabet. We certainly know the peak season to eat oysters is in months that end in “r,” which makes me miss Maine even more because we don’t actually use the letter except for that very occasion.

We won’t tell Kansas City how to make barbecue. Don’t claim to know what fresh seafood is until you’ve bought a lobster at the dock.

More to Explore: ULTIMATE Guide to Maine Lobster | 25+ Facts About Lobster & Where to Get It in Maine

Moose, Fall

2. Fall Foliage

“The leaves are so pretty this year.”

The nice lady at the coffee shop in Flatland, USA, wasn’t looking for an argument. She was right. The leaves are pretty as the seasonal shift from summer to fall unfolds. What she likely didn’t know was that fall foliage could be an emotional experience akin to seeing heaven itself unfolding before you.

Mainers know that fall foliage is a delicate balance of altitude, latitude, and daylight. In Maine, there are regions of fall foliage that unravel the seasonal explosion of colors, starting from Aroostook (aka “The County”) and working its way to the coast.

More to Explore: ULTIMATE Maine Fall Foliage Map & Peak Prediction Guide

Bull moose munching on water plants in Maine's North Woods

3. Moose Sightings

For all the white-knuckled trips I’ve taken down Moose Alley in Maine’s mountains and the North Woods, I can’t even believe this is nostalgic. Then I remember the time a moose and her calf were munching on the side of the road with their rear ends in the roadway, and I smile with a twinge of homesickness.

The majestic essence the animals offer while still being gentle giants reminds me that people come to Maine and pay money to see something that was a roadside attraction for my daily commute.

I fondly share with my coffeehouse friend how well moose can swim, recalling the time one soaked in the town beach dock waters for a good half hour before wandering back into the woods.

More to Explore: Experiencing a Moose Safari in Maine

Ripe Maine low bush wild blueberries ready for harvest

4. Wild Blueberries

Mainers bow down for wild blueberries. Not in a demigod sense of bowing—you literally have to get on the ground to pick or rake them. We don’t plant low-brush blueberries because we don’t have to. They’ve woven a runner of stems underground. One bushel of wild blueberries could be part of a football-sized field of stems.

The blueberries are more rugged than you’d think, not just defying the brutal weather but thriving in spite of it. This creates a deeper-hued skin that is packed with exponentially more antioxidants and health benefits than the cultivated blueberries you’ll find in your flatland grocery store from high brush stems.

The “blueberriest blueberries” are smaller, packed with more flavor, and range between sweet and tangy.

More to Explore: Maine is famous for its food- more than just lobster!

Moxie
Moxie | photo via wesley.harris72

5. Moxie Drink

Long before you could have a Coke and a smile or take the Pepsi Challenge, Moxie was the first carbonated beverage in America. It was invented by a Mainer, and don’t let those “Massholes” (a real word!) convince you otherwise.

Masshole: n. A term of contempt for: a native or inhabitant of the state of Massachusetts.

– As added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2015.

Originally sold as a cure-all medicinal drink, the drink is synonymous with New England. Even super slugger Ted Williams joined an ad campaign for the sweet and bitter bottled concoction.

Does Moxie taste good? That’s not the point. The point is that it’s the official soft drink of Maine! Come on up to the Moxie Festival in Lisbon and try it for yourself. I’ll drive.

Big G's Deli-Winslow-Whoopie Pie
Whoopie Pie from Big G’s Deli | photo via laurlandry

6. Whoopie Pie

I probably should’ve had lunch before I wrote all this down because my mind keeps going to Maine food. Whoopie Pies are the official Maine State Treat, not be confused with the Maine State Dessert, which is wild blueberry pie.

Two devil’s food cakes about the size of your palm have buttercream frosting at the center. Don’t let those Pennsylvanians tell you it’s a “Gob.” At least, don’t call it that in Maine.

Whoopie Pies have been based at Labadie’s Bakery in Lewiston since 1925. If you’re looking for another excuse to visit Maine, sweeten the pot with the Whoopie Pie Festival in Piscataquis County.

L.L. Bean-Portland
L.L. Bean | photo via ian_duggan_maine

7. L.L. Bean

Now I’m in the mood for Beans, but it has nothing to do with food. The L.L. Bean Boot (aka Beans or Duck Boots) is and has always been “made in Maine since 1912.” The Freeport flagship store and surrounding campus welcome more than three million visitors each year. Beyond New England, it’s hard to find an L.L. Bean store, and the company doesn’t franchise out to big box stores.

While Mainers are proud of Maine-Made products, we also know that L.L. Bean is more than a brand. It’s a lifestyle. It caters to the average American outdoor lover in all seasons. The L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Programs should be part of your Maine itinerary.

More to Explore: Don’t Miss Exploring the Iconic LL Bean Flagship Store in Freeport Maine

Scarborough Land Trust-Scarborough
Scarborough Land Trust | photo via mainemountainshots

8. Land Trusts

Every coastal and mountain state has faced a fork in the road—develop land or preserve it. Maine Land Trust Network expands across more than 80 preserved spaces (and growing). If you think these trusts don’t come with the same great sites you’ll find at resorts and state parks, you’re wrong.

MORE: Map of Maine’s Land Trusts

Better yet, it’s one great way to avoid the crowds in Maine. Land Trusts are more likely to be dog-friendly with off-leash access at the majority of trusts.

The part I love most is seeing land gifted by local families to protect the ecosystems. While developers would pay big bucks for these locations, some families sell the land to trusts for a small fee or keep the private property but allow public access.

Marginal Way-Ogunquit
Marginal Way | photo via molldoll113

9. The Sea Sounds

I’ve always been a fan of an angry sea, whether watching storms come in from Marginal Way in Ogunquit or sneaking away from the crowds of Kennebunkport for a trip to Blowing Cave. I was taught to read the tide schedule at the same time I learned to tie my shoes.

The sounds of Jasper Beach in Machiasport singing as the waves sweep over is a sweet symphony. The Long Island of Maine that gets lost in search engine results for the New York variety has a “South Beach” (aka Andrews Beach, Sandy Beach) where the sand sings to you when conditions are just right.

While the southern Maine beaches get the most attention, the Bold Coast is where you can find me when I return home.

Maine Maple Sunday
Maine Maple Sunday | photo via thehomesteadyrambler

10. The People

Mainers are a special breed of the human spirit. You can’t just move to Maine and be a Mainer, as much as you can’t just move to the South and call yourself a Southerner. Many arguments have ensued at my favorite local brewery about “What is a Mainer really?” Most will say it’s a generational requirement that requires kinship connection going back decades.

What I can’t emphasize enough is that Mainers are more than happy to help tourists out. Want to avoid the Maine crowds? The local ice cream vendors know just the place. Planning a trip up to the mountains? The cashier can tell you which logging roads to avoid.

The spirit of Maine is in its people who protect the land and keep it worthy of a being place to visit.

Gooch's Beach - Kennebunk, Maine
Gooch’s Beach | photo via @enzo_the_doxie_doggy

11. Dog Lovers

Nearly 62% of people who live in Maine own at least one dog. Maine’s laws are liberal about dog access, requiring dogs to be “under control at all times,” which means voice control or a leash. That spirit spreads through many counties, with dog-friendly boats, parks, and decks.

We also have responsible dog owners who respect the protected Piping Plover habit along the beaches from April through August. As it turns out, the dog days of summer at the beach are for the birds!

America loves dogs, but Maine treats them like family. It’s worth considering taking a dog-friendly Maine trip. Portland has East End Beach with dog-friendly access and a dog park!

More to Explore: The Best Pet Friendly Hotels, Resorts, Inns, and Lodging in Maine

Winter Hike Acadia
Winter | photo via itsmejesspierce

12. Seasonal Change

It’s hard to have a favorite season as a Mainer. Sure, winter can be brutal, but no more so than walking through a salt marsh in August when the biting flies are feasting. Maine embraces and welcomes each seasonal shift, with more festivals than you can count and a special nod to winter with Winterfests in towns across the state.

Something is always “in season” when you live in Maine.

Night Sky-Otter Cliffs
Night Sky | photo via iso100f11

13. The Night Sky

Every state can see the sky, but Maine’s celestial show feels like you’re walking in Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night. With minimal light pollution across a large chunk of the state, mountaintops and shorelines sparkle above you. My grandmother always took us outside on Christmas Eve to see the North Star. It wasn’t until I left Maine that I realized what a true treasure hangs overhead and how rare it is to see it in all its glory.

Space storms can also trigger those mystifying Northern Lights, and Aroostook County gets the best screenings of those.

Tell us your favorite Maine memories in the comments below.

Similar Posts

25 Comments

    1. Absolutely. You really captured the essence of Maine. I grew up here and lived here for years before moving ( and now living in the Midwest – for various reasons🙄). However, I return for my Maine “Fix” at least once or twice a year (Never enough!).
      Throughout my travels in life – ( and every place has its “plusses”) – there is nothing to compare to the sheer down to earth beauty, graciousness, and solid citizens of Maine. It truly is the “Way life Should Be” as stated on signs as one enters the State from elsewhere.
      I treasure my days of growing up here.

  1. My family was a 2740’s import from Massachusetts ( we came in 1637 ) l. My roots in Maine s deep …on both sides. I moved away some years back while all my cousins are still up around Lincoln county. The article I just read is heart warming . They nailed it. There could many more things added. I go back every year.. I sure hate seeing that Piscataway bridge in my rear view mirror. It’s not just that I grew up and my folks we from Maine. There is a spirit that lives in our mind all of our lives about all that is good about the people and places. So special

    1. and when you cross and see that little square sign that says MAINE,you are home. I am not a native, but my 9th g-g arrived in Pemaquid 1635 maybe, along with a hurricane that night. The souls dwho remained aboard were lost. The hospitality of the villagers helped him to survive.
      Back then it part of the northern territory of (gasp!) Massachusetts.

  2. Born and raised in Maine and would move back in a minute if I didn’t have my kids and grandkids here in PA.

  3. Born and raised in Maine, now retired in GA. OMG, I SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO miss my Maine. All of the above plus the Red Snapper Hot Dogs, Sam’s Italian Sandwhiches. You can take the girl out of Maine, but you CAN’T take the Maine out of the girl, LOL

    1. Love your post, Carmen! I, too, was born and raised in Maine and now retired in TX. I also miss Maine, home of THE BEST SEAFOOD ever!!! Thankful I get to go back for a yearly visit! You also are so right, “You can take the girl out of Maine, but you CAN’T take the Maine out of the girl.” !!!

  4. Don’t want to be a bugger.
    I adore this state just like the author.
    Iam very sad we’ve lost our legacy with
    wind mills and solar farms, corridors the people voted for naught.
    Just saying, nothing more
    Iam sad.

  5. Owned an old Victorian home overlooking downtown Bar Harbor. The two hour 4th of July Shriner’s parade went by our front door. The best time to visit there; foliage season, viewed from atop Cadillac Mountain, with the islands ablaze in reds, oranges and yellows, against the deep blue bay. Traveling around the mountain provided breathtaking views at every turn. 55 miles of car free trails thru Acadia made for amazing biking. Walking the coastline was like living in an artist’s canvas (my hobby). And the people; Aaaayeh. Best lobsta down the street a bit. Unbeatable hospitality. Maine; my favorite state.

  6. I was born and raised in Maine and moved to SC when I married a military man who was stationed here way back in 1985. I’ve been sad ever since the day we arrived in SC, and would move back in a heartbeat if it weren’t for most of my family being here now. I only get home once every 3-4 years now, and it’s never long or often enough. Maine will always be home to me. SC is just where I reside.

  7. Born in Portland, spent many years in Maine until forced to move because of the economy .
    Love the weather and food there👍

  8. Born and raised as a 23rd generation Mainer. Educated and made a good living in Maine. Now I spend most of my time in tax friendly FL and have become a citizen here. No income tax. I remember Maine as a RED state. As Maine goes so goes the Nation. Now all the folks from away that have arrived and made Maine home and turned it into the way life is now what it where they came from. It is very Blue
    now. Sad to see but I still love Maine and my Heart will always be their.

  9. I love Maine- I was there as a little kid at the York Beach Animal Farm, sometime in the 60s at a family reunion in North Berwick, with friends on a Labor Day weekend taking in the sights of New Hampshire crossing over in Wells Beach, Maine there for a restaurant. My last visit to Maine was to see my aunt who had moved to Maine. It was an interesting week. We visited the Lighthouse Museum in Rockland ending on a tv station – the people from Portland doing a story about the upcoming Lighthouse season coming. The highlight of the trip was checking out 8 Lighthouses most near Rockland plus a trip south to see my favorite- the Portland Head Lite and 2 others in area. I have a picture of the Nubble Lite painted by my grandfather hanging in my living room. Many chances to see the state I absolutely love.

  10. Not only the sound of the ocean but the smell of an oncoming rainstorm. Maine is full of sights, sounds , scents, tastes, and touches – so much more than any other state. And the neat thing about all of these “Maine things” is that they are genuine – not artificial – and they can’t be reproduced by manufacturers or A1.

    And did any non-Mainah notice the absence of the billboards?

    1. Oh….and don’t forget about “fiddle heads”…..cant find those anywhere besides Maine….

  11. Coming from LA, it’s the freshness of the air that always excites me. A little salt, pine, and crispness brings me back.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *