Maine was once a part of Massachusetts but was successful in becoming its own state in 1820. Maine is famous for producing most of the country’s supply of lobsters and blueberries. It has thousands of miles of coastlines dotted with lighthouses and expansive forests. Writer Stephen King has set many of his stories there, making Maine sound like a place you wouldn’t want to be stranded but it is a beautiful and welcoming state.
Burt’s Bees is a company that is known the world over for their lip balm and personal care products. It was started in Maine in 1984. Burt Shavitz was a photojournalist who decided to start over in Maine and become a beekeeper. Roxanne Quimby started making candles from his left-over beeswax. They got their start in an abandoned one room schoolhouse. Then they began to bottle and sell the honey along with the candles. By 1989 they had slowly branched out into other products, including personal care, and were being sold in boutiques. They continued to grow and in 2007 they were purchased by Clorox. Today, you can find a variety of their products at local pharmacies and grocery stores.
Desert of Maine
Maine is mostly known for it being snowy and for their forests but did you know that Maine also has a desert? Outside of Freeport, Maine there is about 40 acres of sand dunes that is known as the Desert of Maine. While it is not technically a desert since it receives too much rain, it is actually sand. What happened was after the Tuttle family purchased the land in 1797, they eventually over farmed and overgrazed the area. A patch of sand appeared, then more and more. It even ended up swallowing buildings that are now buried under the sand. In 1919, the land was purchased by Henry Goldrup who eventually turned it into a tourist attraction.
Earmuffs are one of the favorite accessories for those who enjoy cold, snowy weather. They were invented in 1873, by Farmington native Chester Greenwood. He was just fifteen years old when he came up with the idea for thermal earmuffs. The story goes that he was ice-skating and asked his grandmother to sew tufts of fur between wire loops. He patented the idea for improved ear protectors. He manufactured them for nearly 60 years, providing many jobs in the Farmington area. So, next time you throw a pair on, think of fifteen-year-old Chester who came up with the idea.
The highest point on the East coast is Acadia National Park’s Cadillac Mountain. It is located on Mount Desert Island. Cadillac Mountain is 1,530 feet high. It is also the first place to see the sunrise in the United States for part of the year. It used to be known as Green Mountain before being renamed in 1918. The new name was to honor famous French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. In 1688, he was given a parcel of land that included Mount Desert by the Governor of New France. The famous car company was also named for him.
Maine Coon Cat
The Maine Coon is the largest domesticated cat breed. It is the official state cat of Maine. They are also one of the oldest natural breeds in North America. Males typically range from 13-18 pounds but can get as big as 25 pounds. Females tend to be 9 to 12 pounds. They are tall and muscular with long water-resistant coats and big bushy tails. Its nickname is “the gentle giant”. No one quite knows where they came from but there are numerous theories. A popular one is that they came from Marie Antoinette. The story goes that she had planned to escape France and had her possessions loaded up on a ship, including her prized cats. She never made it to the ship but the ship made it to Maine and her cats mingled with the local population. Other theories include that the Vikings brought them. Most likely they came from various seamen who brought longhaired cats that mixed with the shorthaired ones to create the Maine Coon.