What’s your dream tourist destination — either a place you’ve been and loved, or a place you’d love to visit? What about it speaks to you?
There is something about the coast of Maine that beckons my wife and I. During the nineties we spent several falls their. We purposely chose the week beyond what the prediction was for the peak foliage. The reason is that we still wanted to catch the beauty of the brightly colored leaves, but without the convergence of tourist – like us.
My wife and I can find a secluded spot with a view of the ocean and the pounding or lapping waves and be perfectly content. A bottle of wine, some cheese, a spread of jelly, a blanket, crackers and leave us alone.
We found a few spots like that in Maine. Places where no one else would think of going.
It might sound as though we don’t like to be bothered by people; not so. We want to speak only when spoken to and we want our people that way to. Maine for the most part is like that. That’s what makes the coast so inviting to us; it is really the people. They are so genuinely friendly, but first you must enter their space. They are far too polite to be intrusive to you. At least, that is our experience.
From time to time I hear stories about how cold and unfriendly people on the east coast can be. Let me share a story:
We got a late start one day. We were heading to Port Clyde. It is a sleepy little village quintessential of what one might think for the east coast. (I hate that term ‘sleepy little,’ just thought I’d throw it in to give the place the charm most would recognize.)
On the way there, believe it or not, I got lost. In Owl’s Head we saw a little place. It was a grocery/post office/hardware/restaurant. I went in looking for directions.
Behind the counter was small man with a near angel appearance. He was preparing sandwiches at the grill, likely for a lunchtime rush. His smile was warm, friendly, and kind. His hair was soft and white like cotton. His face was small and smooth.
He slowly walked to the counter. “Let me guess,” he said. “You’re lost.”
“Yes,” I smiled. “I’m heading to Port Clyde.”
He stood on his tiptoes and craned his neck to look at my car with my wife inside. Then he looked me over. “You and your wife look like good folks. Rather than go home after your vacation why don’t you just move here. We’d love to have ya.”
I hesitated. “That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.”
“Really,” he said. “We’d love to have you.” He than gave me directions to Port Clyde.
When my wife and I go anyplace it is never the scenery, it is the people. You can buy pictures of places or commit them to memory, but you can’t buy or take a picture of a warm experience like that.
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