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Vacationland . . . who knew?
I went to Maine. Having already set foot — plus my other parts — in Siberia, the Galapagos, Congo and downtown Afghanistan, I figured what’s left is Maine.
How far the crow flies couldn’t be farther than Ogunquit. Czechoslovakia’s closer. With airlines suffering lately I worried they’re not just losing my luggage — they might soon be selling it. So, eight hours by car. After you spot your 30th lighthouse, you turn right and it’s only another 10 minutes and by then you could reach crosstown Manhattan.
The state’s beautiful. Prefer skyscrapers? It’s New York. Texas? It’s oil. Lawyers? Los Angeles. Delaware? The Bidens. This state’s got air. Trees. Farms. Health. The official state animal is the moose. With us it’s the politician.
However, want a bagel? You have to import it. And the local version of English would not work in Bed-Stuy. But Maine’s historic. Even if it doesn’t crop up a lot in conversation, Maine is historic. America’s first chartered city. Joined the Union 1820. Our 23rd chartered state — whose hotels even predate that. Its most eastern city in the New World is our first to see the sun. And the people who came from there include Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Stephen King, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Patrick Dempsey, Linda Lavin and Anna Kendrick. I don’t say they stayed there. I only say they came from there.
More than just lobstahs
Maine’s dress code is plaid shirts. L.L. Bean is considered black tie. Calling for takeout dinner, they replied, “We don’t take orders after 6:30.” Shops feature home furnishings tchotchkes which all feature signs that say “Made in China” and last until you get to the Lincoln Tunnel and throw them out. The state has 3,478 miles of coastline, rivers, streams, lakes, ponds and nice people — maybe because they’re happy to see visitors — anything that’s not waterlogged.
It has famous visitors, too
Saturday even our ventriloquist First Lady Jill Biden showed up for a photo op in Democratic Portland. With her, the state’s governor, the city’s mayor and a Secret Service kennelful which her husband’s increased taxes pay for. She came to Becky’s Diner where people wait in line to get in. One car idled at the curb. A Secret Service guy removed the keys and stood with his arm inside its open window. The street was closed and a patron sitting at the diner’s bar got removed.
Her pit stop was just for cameras. It was 10 minutes. Happens that lunching there were my friends Rich Harris, Spencer Harris and Cooper Harris. She posed with them, asked where they’re from, shook hands, took photos, collected a brown paper bag filled with whoopie pies — and split. Secret Service stood on both sides of her car.
One ungracious Republican murmured: “She looks like Alice Cooper.”
Another sight to see — besides Jill — is the mini Coney Island. It’s Old Orchard Beach. Amusements, rides, souvenirs, Ferris wheel, roller coaster, crappy food. Inside the main hall — Hooligan’s Landing, tattoos, psychics, Caribbean braids and a sign saying “Rest Room — 75 cents.”
Here you have to pay to pee.
Maine was discovered by the Vikings 1,000 years ago. It’s heavy on lighthouses. Summer’s average temperature was 70 degrees except it was in the 50s all week. Maine, our only state with just one syllable, produces 90 percent of the country’s toothpicks — and what you’ll do with this knowledge I have no idea. Not my problem. My problem was to get the hell out and back to whatever civilization’s left of New York.
The one thing the state isn’t is that it’s not Only in New York, kids, only in New York.
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