It's always been a dream of mine to travel to new places and discover what life is like there. When I was younger, I wanted to travel to well-known cities such as New York City, Paris, and Rome. Most of the places I wanted to go to were in Europe. As much as I love cities like NYC and Paris, I realized that most of these cities just have better PR than others. The older I get, the more I'm attracted to nature and less well-known locales.
In the thirty-something years that I've lived, I've never really been to Maine. I got to drive through Portland but didn't have the opportunity to spend more time there. This past November, I had the opportunity to stay for about a month in Monson, Maine. Here are the things that I discovered.
1. Winter Sauna--this is the perfect way to end an evening. I first learned about saunas through some Russian friends and have always wanted to visit a real Finnish sauna. Luckily, Finnish immigrants settled in Maine in the early 1900s and some of their traditions remain. I'm always petrified of the winter but saunas offer a warm welcome to the chilling temperatures ahead. It was fun to jump into a frozen river at the end. This was my favorite activity in Maine.
2. The Onawa Trestle offers one of the most beautiful views. Plus, it's fun and exciting to walk along old train tracks. When you get to rural Maine, you quickly realize that Google Maps stops working. Unless you have a giant truck, use these directions instead: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Monson+Arts+Gallery,+Greenville+Road,+Monson,+ME/45.3670106,-email@example.com,-69.5103444,12z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m10!4m9!1m5!1m1!1s0x4cb06b3dcda69fc7:0x2a715e6415df1b7e!2m2!1d-69.5009324!2d45.2865614!1m1!4e1!3e0
3. Everyone knows about the Appalachian Trail so I won't write much about that.
4. There are many small waterfalls near Monson, Maine. Goodell Falls is easy to get to and beautiful to see both in the summer and the winter. There's also the more difficult Barrows Falls and others.
5. There are quarries throughout Maine. They're really cool to see up close. I got to see a closed quarry that was about a few thousand feet deep at The Dump in Monson. It felt strange to see these black slats all the way down--something that feels very dystopic as a part of nature.
6. Walking through old railroad beds in Monson, Maine near the Depot, I felt like I was in the film Stand By Me. I felt like a kid again, walking through the trail towards Sheldon's Slate, searching for adventure. It was one of my favorite things to do and something that evoked a sense of childhood and that curiosity for the world.
7. The General Store in Monson has delicious food and makes for a wonderfully fun stop to rest your legs.
Next time you're in Maine, I hope that you visit one of these places!
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