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Frank's Favorite Places in Maine

Former People Plus staffer Frank Connors, trying to come up with “his” way to celebrate the 200th birthday of the Great State of Maine, decided it would be fun and informative to create a list of the 200 places and things that make Maine so “special.” His list debuted in our March 2020 People Plus Newspaper with this article. His hope for this list is that it will ask as many questions as it answers, and that YOU will be motivated to take it, go out and explore Maine, and find your own answers. 

Frank’s article, from March 2020 People Plus News:

Oh Pine Tree State,
 Your woods, fields and hills …
Will ever fill our hearts with thrills …” * 

MY Maine — OUR Maine — can she really be 200 years old? Birthed
 out of something called the Missouri Compromise of 1820, when our country was still trying to avoid a Civil War, it hardly seems possible. Then Jane reminds me I’m pushing 75, and, when I’m forced to do the math, I realize I’ve been here for more than 35 percent of those days … and we all know I’m not old yet! But time does fly, and folks, now it’s time to party! 

I’ve spent most of MY years, crossing and re-crossing this great state, to play, to visit, to learn, to do jobs, and I’m thinking this year, more than any before or since, it’s time to take stock. You all may know of my passion for lists — “To Do” lists, “Finished” lists, “bucket” lists — so this is just an extension of that logic that makes me want to produce and share a “Favorite Places in Maine” list. Stacy wants to call it a “master plan” for Frank’s Field Trips into the NEXT century; I just want to make the point that Maine is filled with special places, and we ALL need to share them. 

Last month I made it clear what I think of “experts,” and that years worth of experiences may give me special insights, but it does NOT make me a Maine “Expert!” The list below, I hope, is creative, inviting, interesting, fun. It’s not intended to be final, to be master- ful, and certainly NOT professional. I hope you study it, use it, contact me and tell me what I left OFF! The goal was/ is simply to create a BASE list of 200 places. 

If you actually count them, you’ll see I’m six or a half dozen short. When we actually publish this list, we’re thinking maybe a guidebook, it will include some additions, some changes, some new information. Right now you can go to our website and get started, and I hope you have as much fun using it as I had creating it! 

By the numbers, Maine’s impressive. Our Pine Tree State has 48 state parks, (not counting the king of them all) Baxter State Park, and more than 50 historic, or unique sites. There are 64 lighthouses, nine covered bridges, 114 fire towers atop 114 notable peaks. Our state has 2,450 miles of tidewater coastline, 5,000
river and streams, 2,500 lakes, 350 mountains over 1,000 feet, 14 peaks over 4,000 feet, and one (Katahdin) at 5,268 feet, is just a short 12-foot cairn shy of a mile! Do you get where I’m going with this? Maine has more natural features than most of us can hope to visit if we had ANOTHER 200 years! 

You’ll see my list
pushes canoe trips, mountain hikes, historic places, and natural sites, and is pretty short on shopping
or “civilized” visits. I think Maine’s like that. I included some restaurants
(a fellow has to eat), but it is not my intention to play one diner over another, or to convince you where you might eat. I added a few cemeteries, just because they are too often overlooked as great places to visit. Someone once told me there are surely more DEAD people in Maine than live, and after you’ve visited just a few graveyards, you’ll realize it’s a Maine custom to place cemeteries in some of the prettiest places in town. 

Some of the places can be seen and reviewed from your car window, others will require a day’s hike and a commitment of sweat to locate. Remember, ALL these places are best enjoyed when enjoyed with a friend. Some places are on the list only because they are special to me, but they’re worth your attention, and soon enough, the same places will be special to you! 

Besides, it is MY list! 

So enjoy, my good friends. Realize that Maine is special and it will always become MORE special after you’ve visited one, or a dozen of these places. Mountains to ocean, forests to field, towns to cities (Jill reminds me we have a desert), there is something here for us all. Go out and enjoy! 

*Chorus from “State of Maine Song” by Roger Vincent Snow