Howdy, Y’all! That’s how I want to talk when I’m in Maine. The Pine Tree State is the northern-most redneck state amoung the contiguous 48 in the Union. I’m visiting my Augusta Bro for a few days and it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. It was snowing at a very nice clip all morning, leaving a blanket of white for miles around.
Maine is an interesting state. It’s sort of like Massachusetts until you drive north of Brunswick and then the income plummets to welfare levels. Augusta Bro just bought a house in Gardner, ME for $44K and is fixing it up. It was built in 1820, sits on less than an acre, and has a natural spring in the basement. Funky. Once he’s through with it, the house will be a cool place. Right now, he’s pulling out all the 1970’s interior crap and bringing it back to it’s 19th century (with 21st century accoutrements) glory. The upstairs has no electric outlet. Not a one. Good luck, Bro!
During this trip, I visited my first pawn shop. Maine is loaded with ’em. (Tells you a little about the economy here. Maine’s largest is in Lewiston; a whole seven stories of pawn shop goodness.) Actually, pawn shops are very cool. Shopping in one (Hint: Make sure it’s not owned and operated by anyone named Ivan. Russian Mafia=BAD) is very hip. It’s like drinking PBR in a townie bar. It has the same vibe. For the record, in a Gardner pawn shop, I bought a used Reservoir Dogs DVD in nice condition for $5. Beat that, Wal Mart!
It’s not all doom and gloom in Maine. Augusta Bro brought me to the Renys in Gardner. Renys is the Maine version of Woolworth’s, a store with a little bit of everything: groceries, clothing, kitchen goods, bedding, etc. I visited on a Tuesday, around 12 pm, and the store was hopping. Granted most of the shoppers were over 50 (which makes up the majority of Maine’s population), but I was pleased to see a local business busy. I bought two boxes of Stash tea for $1.99 each. (An excellent price, BTW.) Augusta Bro bought me a knit hat all the way from Nepal for $19.99. (My Christmas present. Thanks, BRO!) I LOVE RENYS!!!!!
What else can I say about Maine? Hubby loves the state. He spent his childhood summers on Wells Beach, so he has a soft spot for the place. I love dramatic views. Since the coastline has been out-priced by carpetbaggers like Martha Stewart and a long line of biotech CEOs from Boston, the interior of the state doesn’t hold much interest for me. I prefer the craggy peaks of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. But for a slower pace of life (though state taxes do kill any sort of love for the governing), Maine can’t be beat.