Maine: Natural Beauty, Rich History and Unmatched Quality of Life

Maine CoastMaine, best known for its rugged coastline dotted with picturesque lighthouses, its lobster fishing industry and its stalwart residents, became the 23rd state in the Union on March 15, 1820, as a result of the Missouri Compromise. Though much of Maine, particularly the Portland area and other coastal towns, has experienced more than its fair share of trials and tribulations throughout its history, the people of this awe-inspiring, geographically diverse state have always managed to pull through, rebuild and emerge stronger and more resilient than ever.

As the northeastern most state in the U.S., Maine is ideally located to experience all four beautifully distinct seasons unlike anywhere else in the country. The changing of leaves in autumn is such a breathtaking sight that many visitors come just to witness the spectacle, which results in a patchwork display of burgundy, oranges, reds and yellows. Apart from this annual demonstration of just how beautiful a simple thing like changing seasons can be, Maine also is home to snowy mountain peaks, vast waterways, expansive forests and an abundance of wildlife.

Well known for its clean air and good living, newcomers often note that there is something about Maine that draws you in, settles into your bones and leaves you with a feeling of contentment, knowing that this is how life was meant to be lived. Locals have always known this to be true and are proud of their home state consistently being recognized across the country with awards and top rankings for the safety and livability of its cities and for the high quality of life that its residents enjoy.

The spirit of Maine, which includes an unconquerable will, a strong work ethic and deep-seated community ties, was forged long ago and continues to define both the state and all who call this state home. In fact, a great deal of the past can be seen and experienced in places like downtown Portland, where 19th century brick buildings with Victorian architecture are set amongst the newer shops and high rises, offering a perfect blend of new and old, celebrating the past and embracing the future. Each city in Maine has its own piece of historical significance and its own atmosphere, shaped by local events and echoes of the past, but they each share that same Maine spirit and the same magnificent land.

Maine is so captivating and stirring that more than one great poet has been swept up in its inspiring presence. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine and often wrote of his affection for this grand state and its people in his poems. Writer Henry David Thoreau, also taken by the beauty of Maine, referred to Bangor as a star on the edge of the night after visiting in 1846. Books that have changed history, such as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” were written here, and even modern writers like Stephen King have used Maine as the backdrop in many popular, modern-day novels. Throughout the years, artists and writers have been drawn to Maine for its inspirational beauty and unique characteristics that set it apart from the rest of the country, but Maine also has much more to offer than its awe-inspiring mountains and natural splendor.

The Lobstering and Fishing Industries of Maine: Defining the Past and Shaping the Future

Maine LobsterAmong Maine’s chief exports are electronic components, paper products, transportation equipment, seafood and wood. Seafood is the export that seems to affect the lives of Maine residents the most, as food often will. The term seafood is rather general to most folks, but to the locals it means predominantly lobster, after which follows fish, clams and the rest. Lobstering and fishing are big business in Maine, but they are also a way of life for many, going far beyond simply being a career choice. Lobsters are plentiful in the ultra-salty waters of Casco Bay, thanks to the rocky bottom, cold water and sustainability practices adhered to by local lobstermen. The men and women who dedicate their lives to lobster fishing in these waters bring in the vast majority of lobster consumed in Maine and provide lobsters to markets, restaurants and homes across the country and the world for gourmet lobster bisque, lobster rolls, lobster tails, lobster mac and cheese and a variety of other delicious lobster dishes to be enjoyed among family and friends.

The fishing and lobstering industry is vital here and is critical to the economy of the coastal towns and communities that give Maine its unique, rich flavor. These industries have played an essential role in establishing the strong work ethic and community ties that are common among locals. Lobster fishing is also part of the vibrant history that shaped this state over the years and, without this maritime heritage, Maine would simply not be Maine.

It is not just that the lobstering and fishing industries have been an important part of the economy; the importance is also in the way these industries bring families and neighbors together, create unbreakable bonds that are passed down through generations and have fostered a greater understanding of what it truly means to live in harmony with the land and the sea. As one generation passes down to another not just harvesting territories, lobster pots and fishing boats, but also unique kills, dedication and a love of the sea, both a community and a distinct culture have been formed, which is recognizable anywhere you travel in Maine.

History reveals that the first known European to sail up the Penobscot River to what is now Bangor, Maine was a man named David Ingram who arrived in the late 1500s. He returned home to tell his countrymen of golden streets and silver towers, inspiring others to follow his route. While these newcomers did not find towers of silver and roads of gold, causing many to shake their heads at the outlandish tales brought home by Ingram, others surely saw what inspired the stories. For, while there may not have been any visible gold- or silver-trimmed buildings and streets, he had certainly stood among one of the greatest treasures of the entire continent: The land that would eventually become the great state of Maine.