Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost portion of New England. Maine is known for its scenery—it’s rocky coastline and rolling mountains, it’s heavily forested interior landscape and picturesque waterways. Maine represents many different things to many different people. Memories of Maine from childhood tend to be of trips to Camp, taffy on the beach, hunting in the woods with Lobsters and Lighthouses often being the most common reference points.
Not a lot has changed in Maine over the years and that is what is most precious about it. It seems that even people who live there cannot get enough of it. If you ask someone who is a river guide or a whitewater paddler, what they do with their free time, the response will be, playing or paddling on some river in the area or they will go in search of a new river to explore. If you ask someone who lives in the woods or a small rural community on the edge of the woods where they spend their free time – usually their response is that they go deeper into the woods of Maine to seek an even more remote location.
The interior landscape of the Maine woods is a region that has been mentioned in media since the 1860’s when Thoreau published his ever popular book – The Maine Woods, wherein he recounted his three individual trips to Maine in three essays; Thoreau himself had quite a fascination with Maine and the richness and wealth of sounds and experiences that are found here. “I also heard the sound of bull-frogs from a swamp on the opposite side, thinking at first they were moose; a duck paddled swiftly by; and sitting in that dusky wilderness, under that dark mountain, by the bright river which was full of reflected light, still I heard the wood thrush sing, as if no other civilization could be attained…then at night the general stillness is more impressive than any sound, but occasionally you hear the note of an owl farther or nearer in the woods, and if near a lake, the semi human cry of the loons at their unearthly revels” – The Maine Woods.
Maine has a population of over 1.3 million people, resulting in a population density of just 41.3 people per square mile. With 40% of this population residing in the Portland area, this allows for the rest of Maine to benefit from low light pollution which naturally occurs in high density population areas – in Maine people can still see the stars. The result is that the Milky Way shines bright in the largest expanse of naturally dark sky east of the Mississippi. Also due to Maine’s northern location The Northern Lights are visible two or three times a year in Maine, usually during the winter months. The Northern Lights, known as Aurora Borealis, is caused by charged particles from the sun striking the Earth’s magnetosphere – resulting in a type of solar storm casting colored lights onto the night sky.
Maine’s coastline is beautiful and unique and when one thinks about the State of Maine, lobsters come to mind. Historically, the lobster industry has dominated the ranks as Maine’s most valuable commercial fishery. In the year 2008 alone, according to the state of Maine, preliminary finds show over 69,700,000 pounds were harvested in the State at a value of over $244,000,000. That number is something to digest. Lighthouses – the other popular Maine buzzword, according to the US Coast Guard there are fifty-seven active lights in the state, two of which are maintained as private aids; nine are standing but inactive, and three have been destroyed. Maine’s lighthouse number is not surprising as it has the 4th longest coastline in the US according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with approximately 3,478 miles of coastline.
Maine’s abundant natural resources are optimal for engaging in activities such as hiking, rafting, downhill and Nordic skiing, fishing, whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking and snowmobiling. People visiting Maine will likely see wildlife on their trip – moose, bald eagles, loons, osprey, fox, whitetail deer and some very shy black bears are most frequently spotted, along with loons and other water fowl. Those who fish the waters will find land-locked salmon, small and large mouth bass and trout to name but a few of the many fish that populate Maine’s waters.
There are so many things to write about Maine – its most natural resource is its people. For thousands of years indigenous people were the only inhabitants of what is now known as the State of Maine. In the 1600’s the British and the French settled in various parts of the State; many of the Northern parts of the state are French speaking due in part to the proximity to Quebec. Approximately 24% of Maine’s population claims some French ancestry, 22% English and 17% Irish. The Penobscot (Panawahpskek) are an indigenous people of Maine. The Penobscot Nation is the federally recognized tribe of the Penobscot People; native peoples are thought to have inhabited Maine and surrounding areas for at least 11,000 years.
One of the Penobscot Nation’s many unique contributions to Maine’s heritage is the birch bark canoe. The birch bark canoe was at one time an important mode of transportation for all nations of the Wabanaki Confederacy, a confederation of five principal nations. The shape of the canoe varies slightly between each nation. The canoe is made of one piece of bark from a white birch tree, which, if done correctly, can be removed without killing the tree. The Penobscot Nation’s main settlement is now the Penobscot Indian Island Reservation, and it is not a coincidence that the home of Old Town Canoes – Old Town, is adjacent to this community.
The beauty of any place is in the details and Maine has lots of details, lots of unmarked roads leading to awesome vistas, hidden treats, an occasional logging truck encounter and abundant rivers. In a state with over 35,000 miles of territory there are lots of treasures to be found. Where nature is big, untouched and wild, man is most moved by his encounters with her. Maine provides for an abundance of that experience for both the amateur and the experienced traveler.
The New England Outdoor Center, Maine’s premier adventure resort, is uniquely situated to showcase Maine’s natural beauty and provides access to spectacular outdoor adventures year round. NEOC offers a variety of experiences on the doorstep to Maine’s North Woods and the Penobscot River. Hiking, rafting, Nordic skiing, fishing, whitewater rafting and snowmobiling are just a sample of the activities the New England Outdoor Center can provide for all ages and abilities. The resort offers luxury accommodations in individual cabins completely equipped with the amenities of home. Alternatively, choose from a variety of camping options including primitive campsites, bunkhouses and cabin tests. An on-site restaurant, The River Driver’s, offers both casual and fine dining choices as well as catering for large events such as weddings, corporate retreats and family reunions. For more information visit http://www.neoc.com or call 1-800-766-7238