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Everybody wants a bargain and I think I just found one. You say the cold weather is getting you down and you need a vacation in some beautiful and exotic place but don't have the time or money to go there at the moment, is that your trouble, Bunky? Is that what's making you droop those baby-blues?
Just go online.
The other day I was checking out different sites and stumbled on the web site that claimed to promote Maine tourism. Before my eyes my home state - the state I know only too well but still love anyway - suddenly unfolded before me as an intoxicating and beautiful 'destination.'
On the home page of this site was a map of Maine with each region a different color. To be carried off to that region all I had to do was point and click.
To begin my journey I clicked “Down East” to read: “Centuries ago the explorer Samuel de Champlain named it L'Isle des Monts-deserts, "the island of barren mountains." From the splendor of these mountains of Acadia to the spectacular beauty of dawn's first light in Lubec, Down East will awe you.
Feel the joy of spotting a whale offshore or an eagle's nest in Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. From glacial rock formations to quaint towns and seldom explored lakes and woods, Down East beckons you.”
I loved being”beckoned.” Suddenly I didn't feel like I was living in a cold wind-swept outpost, where winters lasted for six months and where people were struggling to keep warm and pay their heating bills. No, I was suddenly in a place of 'spectacular beauty' and 'quiet solitude.' What a great place to be in January.
Feeling uplifted I then clicked on York County, the Gateway to our state where I read: “Graced with miles of white sandy beaches and acres of farmland and pastoral countryside, the Southern Maine Coast welcomes you. History and geography come together in a montage of images you'll treasure forever.
Outlet shops, antiques, boutiques, resorts, and Maine's best seafood is here to savor. Enjoy a cruise along the coast, canoeing on Mousam Lake, an electric trolley ride, or the thrill of oceanside amusements. Open year 'round, the Southern Maine Coast has it all. Let us entertain you.”
After reading that I had all I could do to keep from grabbing my hat and coat and running out the door.
Greater Portland then 'beckoned:' “Listen as the waves wash over the rocks at Cape Elizabeth; listen as the cymbals of the Portland Symphony signal a passage from the 1812 Overture.
View colorful boats in Casco Bay and colorful designer clothes at the mall in South Portland or a Freeport outlet.”
Where has this 'colorful' place been all my life? Continuing my journey I then clicked the Mid Coast region: “Like fingers reaching into the sea for its treasures are the peninsulas of the Mid Coast. Hardy souls along these shores build the vessels that explore the ocean for the food it provides. Let your imagination paint each image for your mind's eye to see forever. Offshore islands and rolling countryside, the Wyeths' brushes and the sword of Chamberlain-from Stockton Springs to Brunswick, the Mid Coast's rich heritage, formidable character, and charming personality await you”.
Wyeths' brushes? Fingers? OK.
The Kennebec region was a natural choice: “Imagine the sparkling waters of the mighty Kennebec River, the picturesque mountains dotting the Appalachian Trail, and crystal clear lakes at every turn in the road. You have entered the realm of the Kennebec and Moose River Valleys, beginning at historic Fort Western and the capitol in Augusta.”
Wanting more I clicked the icon marked 'Maine's Highlands:' “The waters and mountains will lure you here and then lull you into a dreamy serenity. It is a place of natural delights: forested mountains, sparkling lakes, crystal blue skies and starry nights. Winter brings fantastic snowmobiling, skiing and ice fishing.”
Nothing wrong with being lured and lulled but I didn't want to drive up the interstate to the area around Bangor to experience the 'dreamy serenity' they were talking about.
Thinking it was time to head home I clicked the map for Western Maine and - I'm not kidding - this was the opening line: “Imagine you're a snowflake, one of millions cascading down the ski slopes of Western Maine. You'll create exciting runs for skiers, snowboarders, and snowmobilers.”
A snowflake?
Well, be it ever so “flaky” there's no place like home.
John McDonald is a humorist and storyteller who performs regularly throughout
New England. Contact John at or 899-1868.
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