Smells like spring in Maine. I caught a distinct whiff of skunk in the air when I let my dog out the other night. That might be an unpleasant smell to some, but to me it is as sure an indication of the on-set of summer as the sound of peepers in the ponds and the appearance of all those work crews trying to mend the potholes before someone loses another tire.
Also tourists. Another reliable sign that the season is changing. Can we have an honest moment about how we residents really feel about all you seasonal interlopers? I slogged through 20+ years in hospitality before trying out a new hat, so I feel qualified to tell you that we love you. In our own, distinctively distant New Englander way, we’ve missed you. We’re thrilled to see you. How was your winter? Ours was long, cold and snowy, as usual. As much as we grumble under our collective breaths about the influx of out-of-state license plates, bumper stickers declaring loyalty to rival sports teams, and the overly aggressive driving techniques of a certain state’s visitors (I’m looking at you, Mass), we are so pleased you’ve chosen to spend your leisure time in Vacationland. We can’t eat all this damn lobster on our own, after all.
My thinking is this: secrets don’t make friends and don’t drive business. We don’t want our small businesses to be a bunch of well-kept secrets; we want to be loud and proud about them while you’re here spending your hard earned money. You have to make hay while the sun is shining, and Lord knows that Maine’s sunshine season is glorious, but short lived. I want you to bask in the cyclical glow along with me. So come and sit a while; I’ll pour us a libation and we’ll make our plans together.
In recognition of the symbiotic relationship between locals, tourists and our small business owners, I believe it makes sense to share the very best our beloved Mid Coast region and afore mentioned entrepreneurs have to offer. Grab your napkins because I’m going to spill the Moxie on the most excellent places to shop, eat, play, create and relax in inimitable ways from Camden down to Freeport and everywhere in between. Check in often, I’ll be updating this little virtual nook on the regular; as the seasons change, you never know what kind of shenanigans I’ll get up to.
There is an old rule my mother (and everyone else’s) used to recite often: “Treat others the way you would like to be treated.”
I imagine that I’ll find myself in your neck of the woods someday, wherever that might be, and I hope that you and yours would be willing to share your honest to goodness, best recommendations. There is ‘More to Maine’ according to the Maine Office of Tourism’s slogan, and I couldn’t agree more. So here it is, your formal invitation to be in the know and go where the locals go. Be sure to use your new found powers for good; mind your manners, watch for pedestrians, tip your wait-staff generously and use your blink-ah.
About the Author:
Chandra Thoits is a born and raised Mainer who loves the smell of low tide, but hates the smell of ketchup. She wants to know three things about everyone she meets: What/where do you like to eat, do you need help with anything, can she pat your dog?