My wife and I are from Richmond, Virginia, but have been visiting and vacationing in Maine for many years, mostly for camping, hiking, and trips up to and through the north woods.
The last four Februarys we have also made the trek up from Richmond to compete in the National Toboggan Championships…a great excuse to head north for some winter fun (not much winter in Virginia these days). This year, I officially transitioned to a ‘work-at-home’ associate with my company, and since this working arrangement brought me some new freedom and much appreciated flexibility, my wife and I decided to stay up in Camden this year after the National Toboggan Championships.
So, we found a small place to rent from the end of January thru the end of April, when we will be returning home to Virginia.
At least we think we’ll be returning to Virginia at the beginning of May, but who knows what tomorrow brings these days…maybe there will be a halt on interstate travel to mitigate future outbreaks of the COVID virus? Oh, to be stuck in Maine past May…not really such a bad thing, is it?
When our friends back in Virginia, and other states, were asking us, “why are you going to live in Maine during the winter months?” our honest answer then, and even now, is because this is a BEAUTIFUL state full of amazing people, natural landscapes as far as the eye can see, and it has snow (well, had snow…).
We also came because Maine is full of cool things to do, many of which we could never do in Richmond.
In the span of just a few days in late January and early February, we were able to experience car racing on a frozen lake, compete in the National Toboggan Championships, and participate in community discussions about climate change in Belfast.
And although we were aware many of Maine’s Midcoast businesses typically close up from October – May, we actually welcomed the slower pace.
But, we soon found out Maine’s local communities are incredibly vibrant and active.
In February and early March, we learned about making maple syrup at Aldermere Farm, how to harvest and cook with acorns at MerrySpring Nature Center, how to create our own Mardi-Gras themed artwork Rockland, and we even finally got to visit the Katahdin Sheep farmer we’ve bumped into previously in other parts of the country.
At times, we’ve felt more involved and active than we had been back in Virginia.
So even though we are all now being asked to keep inside, to close up schools, and to stop eating out, we still find this place to be amazing and restorative.
Maine is full of resourceful, hardworking, proud, and friendly folks.
My wife and I have always appreciated the old state motto: “Maine, the way life should be.”
There is definitely some truth in those words, and in these strange and trying times, we really believe Mainers will rise to the occasion, by finding ways to help friends and neighbors and by offering support to those who might need it, because isn’t this really the way life should be? Best of luck to all of us in the coming weeks, and thank you to the PenBay Pilot for keeping the lights on, it is appreciated by so many.
Get some fresh air, take a hike, and just enjoy the beauty this wonderful state provides.