Recently Maine Crime Writers alum Paul Doiron, building on the theme of this year’s crime writing conference, the Maine Crime Wave, wrote a blog post that got a lot of traction on BuzzFeed about why Maine is the scariest place to live: 13 Reasons Maine is the Scariest Place in the World
Well, we’re crime writers, often looking on the dark side, so we agree with Paul. Back roads. Isolation. People so desperate for drugs they’ll do anything. A vast coastline that lends itself to smuggling. Crashing surf, surprise storms, unexpected undertow, the deadly distortions of fog. A whole lot of people with guns. Indeed, we often find ourselves quoting that great Conan Doyle passage from Sherlock Holmes:
“Good heavens!” I cried. “Who would associate crime with these dear old homesteads?”
“They always fill me with a certain horror. It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.”
“You horrify me!”
“But the reason is very obvious. The pressure of public opinion can do in the town what the law cannot accomplish. There is no lane so vile that the scream of a tortured child, or the thud of a drunkard’s blow, does not beget sympathy and indignation among the neighbours, and then the whole machinery of justice is ever so close that a word of complaint can set it going, and there is but a step between the crime and the dock. But look at these lonely houses, each in its own fields, filled for the most part with poor ignorant folk who know little of the law. Think of the deeds of hellish cruelty, the hidden wickedness which may go on, year in, year out, in such places, and none the wiser.”
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892)
Sherlock Holmes in “The Copper Beeches” (Doubleday p. 323)
But we also wanted to offer, on behalf of Mainers everywhere, our own 13 Reasons Maine is the BEST Place in the World.
So, starting today, and appearing in our weekend updates for the next few weeks, are the reasons:
Getting Directions: As Kaitlyn Dunnett wrote in one of her earliest posts, Turn Right at the Refrigerator, people in Maine tend to be rather practical about giving directions. Kate Flora likes to tell guests arriving on Bailey Island that if they come to the end of the road–they’ve gone too far. And we’re lucky that we’ve got plenty of unusual landmarks–the flying moose. The Paul Bunyan statue. The giant blueberry. There’s plenty of scenery to gaze at wherever you go in the state, but you’ll also want to keep your eyes out for some of the unexpected sights.
If you come to the flying moose, you’ve gone too far.
When you get to Paul Bunyan, take the next right.
Maybe you need to stop here and buy some blueberry-related products?
Whoopie Pies. Yes. That’s right. From country stores and grocery stores, from mom’s school lunches to trucks parked along the road, Maine is home to a fabulous selection of whoopee pies that go way beyond the traditional chocolate. Strawberry. Pumpkin. Maple. Oatmeal cookie.
And if you think we’re kidding, go here: www.wickedwhoopies.com
Where Your Dog is as Welcome as You Are: Dorothy Cannell says that her dog is so used to shopping with her at Reny’s in Belfast that he thinks he ought to have his own credit card.
Wildlife. Many places, you have to go a zoo or on safari to see wildlife. In Maine, often as not, the wildlife will come to you. Here are some recent wildlife sightings:
Fun post, Kate. For anyone who might be interested, the photo of the two cats watching the yearling was taken yesterday from inside my home office. This was the first deer we’ve seen so close to the house (this year, anyway) but there are plenty of tracks out among the trees on the Christmas tree farm.