Hey Maine, guess whose birthday we missed in these strange, strange times?

There’s nothing about COVID-19 and everything that’s going on that you haven’t already heard, so I’ll save it except to say that I’ve been a social isolation hobbyist for my entire adult life and I can assure you, you’ll come to enjoy it.

Also, those friggin’ kids on the beach need to read Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death,” not that they’d get it or think it applied to them. I blame T-ball.

But on to the point of today’s post.

Happy birthday, Maine! The party may have been postponed (let’s hope it wasn’t canceled), but we love you and want you to know it. For those of you who may not know, Maine turned 200 on March 15. And she never looked better.

Maine used to be a giant appendage of Massachusetts, separated by New Hampshire’s 18 miles of coastline. It was born as a state out of an ugly and unfriendly marriage of convenience, the Missouri Compromise. And if you don’t know the details, the simple definition is that, because Congress couldn’t agree that slavery was an abhorrent horrific shameful stain on the union, they made a deal. Missouri could come in as a slave state and Maine could come in a free state. A little something for everyone.

But out of that graceless start grew the most graceful state.

We Maine crime writers are asked all the time why a state with so little crime spurs so much of it in fiction. There’s really no right or wrong answer to that, but more and more frequently I think what it is is that cool people who are creative and have imaginations want to be in this very cool place.

I’m lucky enough to live here, to have grown up here and to have been able to come back after the early part of my adult life in our neighbor to the west.

I try in my books to treat Maine with the love and care I feel for it. And if there’s one writing tip in here somewhere, it’s that if you’re going to write about a place you love, do it with love. Maine should never be the boring character or bad guy in your book.

But enough from me. Sappy gushy stuff is boring, too. That’s why I write mysteries.

I like to drive around and see the sights, and here’s some snaps I’ve taken over the past couple of years. I’ve reprsented every county in the state, believe it or not. And some more than once just for the heck of it. Happy birthday!

Lewiston, Androscoggin County

Island Falls, Aroostook County

Williard Beach, South Portland, Cumberland County

Ramgeley Lake, Franklin County

Brooksville, Hancock County

Downtown Augusta, Kennebec County

Hallowell, Kennebec County

Olson House, Cushing, Knox County

Whitefield, Lincoln County

Pownalborough Courthouse, Dresden, Lincoln County

Canton, Oxford County

South Branch Pond, Baxter State Park, Piscataquis County

Katahdin, Grindstone, Penobscot County

New Meadows River, West Bath, Sagadahoc County

Route 16, Moscow, Somerset County

Unity, Waldo County

Eastport, Washington County

Lubec, Washington County

Ogunquit, York County

About Maureen Milliken

Maureen Milliken is the author of the Bernie O’Dea mystery series. Follow her on Twitter at @mmilliken47 and like her Facebook page at Maureen Milliken mysteries. Sign up for email updates at maureenmilliken.com. She hosts the podcast Crime&Stuff with her sister Rebecca Milliken.
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18 Responses to Hey Maine, guess whose birthday we missed in these strange, strange times?

  1. What a lovely idea to honor your state! I live in the opposite “corner” of the contiguous 48, Washington State. You’ve inspired me. I mentioned your county photos to my husband. It would be a fun bunch of outings for us to visit all the counties out here, but what a lovely collection we’d have later…not only photographs, but the memories that go with them.

    • Maureen Milliken says:

      I love getting in the car on a weekend day and driving to a place in the state I’ve never been before. Last night when I decided to do this, I wondered if I actually had photos from all 16 counties and was surprised at how easy it was to find them. I encourage everyone to get out and really see their state!

  2. Amber Foxx says:

    Thank you so much for the pictures. I had to cancel a planned April trip to visit relatives, and this was like a mini-trip. I actually remembered Maine’s birthday. I called my stepmother In Maine on the 15th and wished her a happy statehood birthday.

  3. Anne Cass says:

    Maureen, what a wonderful start you’ve given my day…it’s a Maine hug to keep me going. The bright spots of color in your pictures give me smiles, and you’ve provided view of places I’ve never been. A hug, smiles, and new knowledge all in one passionate post. Many thanks.

    • Maureen Milliken says:

      Thanks! I love taking photos of Maine and all those photos gave me smiles both when I took them, and when I look at them. I had to cull down what I’d picked out to use from more than 100 photos, and that doesn’t count the ones I lost when my hard drive melted down!

  4. Judith Moore says:

    Happy Birthday, Maine. I did not know about it’s formation. Interesting. Thanks for the pictures. There is yet much to see.
    We have been to Waldo on our way to Moose Lake as the then Garmin cut out about there. It was several years ago when the character from Where’s Waldo was still remembers. So the question of “Where’s Waldo means a time when we were totally lost. We did find our family st the lake eventually.
    Thanks for the pictures and the post

    • Maureen Milliken says:

      I got lost in Waldo County several years ago, before I moved back to Maine, looking for my friend’s camp on Unity Pond. GPS wasn’t widely used then, and it turns out they’d changed many of the names of roads after Maine transitioned to its emergency 911 system in 2010, so my Maine Atlas & Gazeteer wasn’t accurate. I literatlly drove around Unity and Burnham for two hours trying to find the place before I asked in a store, where they had a list of all the old road names and all th enew ones.

  5. kaitlynkathy says:

    Lovely post, Maureen, and great photos.

  6. Thank you, Maureen! This is a terrific post – I second the sentiment about the wonders of Maine and thank you for the marvelous photos, which include a lot of my favorite places.

  7. John Lovell says:

    A professional writer and editor should know not to use “who’s” in place of “whose” in a headline, Maureen. Do you agree?

  8. Susan Blaisdell says:

    Thanks, Maureen! Beautiful photos!

  9. Pingback: On Our Own In Maine–Part One | Maine Crime Writers

  10. John Lovell says:

    Truly wonderful! Thanks!

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