I first came to Maine in the early 90s to attend a summer camp built for science nerds, run by the Audubon Society on an island in Muscongus Bay. When it came time to choose a college, I remembered how the scent of pine affected my mental health and decided to attend the University of Maine in Orono. Twenty years later I'm mortgaged in Damariscotta with three Mainer kids and a Waldoboro native for a husband, so you could say I'm familiar with the place. 

Of course, that doesn't make me a mainer.

Mainers are funny about terms like that. To be a true Mainer, one must have been born in Maine, preferably with Mainer parents and grandparents. The fact that someone deliberately chooses to leave their birthplace and settle in Maine on purpose, you would think, should earn a speck of merit, but instead is met with the look a toddler gives when you ask for one of their gummy snacks.

And rightfully so. With its tart rarity and popularity, Maine is, after all, the gummy snack of the nation. Its climate and glacial record have left it with some of the most unique and breathtaking natural features in the country. From steep granite shores to cathedrals of pine forests, every part of it is vulnerable to both gentrification and simply ceasing to exist. The landscape's struggle is mirrored by creative all-season businesses shouldered with the difficult task of balanced survival. In order to last they must make the most of our short, tourist-crowded summers without literally sticking a giant inflatable crustacean on their roof, then ride out our long winters with the steady, knowing friendship of their snow-hardy neighbors. 

Maine is, after all, the gummy snack of the nation.

In this series we'll take you to every secluded cove and quiet taproom that makes home our favorite place to be. With any luck, they'll stay secluded and quiet long enough for you to sneak in and enjoy them yourself. 

Amanda Nelson-McNelly

Soapmaker and minivan driver in Midcoast Maine

Come along as we visit Coastal Rivers' Seal Cove Shore Preserve


1 comment

  • Rhonda Conway

    Just discovered your blog. I’ve been in your store, being a generational Mainer and loved the Medomak soap I bought there. More recently, I have seen the bagged orders in front of your store and wondered how to order. I finally remembered (I’m old!) to search and find your website.

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