Readers who happen to land on Jeopardy might
want to remember this little bit of trivia. If Alex Trebek asks the name of the
only state with a one-syllable name or a one-state border, respond with, “What
is Maine?” Likewise, if Trebek asks for the name of the first East Coast city
to legalize recreational cannabis use—albeit an unlikely scenario, even on a
420-themed episode—proudly declare, “What is Portland?”
Sure, Oregon voters may have legalized
recreational cannabis use last year, but Maine’s was way ahead of the game when
Portlandia East voted for cannabis to become legal back in late-2013, followed
by South Portland last November. Crowning the northeast corner of the country,
Maine is famous for its amber-colored fall foliage, but the Pine Tree State now
seems intent on going green all year long.
Portland, which Bon Appetit magazine
called “America’s Foodiest Small Town,” is an ideal base to explore Maine, and
restaurants like Fore Street and Eventide Oyster Co. epitomize the state’s
status as New England’s trendiest culinary destination. After enjoying the
waterfront views in Portland’s vibrant downtown, jump onto U.S. Route 1 and
head toward Bar Harbor about three hours to the northeast on a scenic route
passing by waterways, bays and jagged rocky coastlines.
In Bar Harbor, travelers should spend at least
one full day exploring the adjacent Acadia National Park. Acadia was the first
U.S. national park east of the Mississippi River, and it is one the Top 10
most-visited in the country. For non-trekking types, Acadia boasts a large car
loop that allows people to drive to various hiking trails, many of which
stretch along the water. The park highlight is the 1,500-foot Cadillac Mountain
with stunning views of peninsulas, bays and the Atlantic.
-Maine was originally part of Massachusetts, but
it seceded in 1820 and became the Union’s 23rd state that same year.
-Located on Moose Island across the bay
from Nova Scotia, Eastport is the easternmost city in the 50 states.
-Pine Tree State towns (often fictional)
are popular settings for horror novels by the likes of H. P. Lovecraft, Dean
Koontz and Maine native Stephen King.
If You Go:
Maine residents will likely vote for statewide cannabis
legalization in 2016, but medical use has been legal since 1999, and the state
collected almost $1 million in taxes last year on $16 million in MMJ sales.
Maine is one of the more smoke-friendly places, and MMJ lounges like the 13
Owls Club in Bangor have begun popping up. Likewise, the city of Augusta hosted
the 4th annual Home Grown Maine Expo last month with cannabis-themed speakers, workshops,
vendors and a vape tent. Be courteous and cautious when using, but the state’s
natural settings offer many gorgeous places to medicate.
Time to Go: Late spring to early fall
Weather: Cool and breezy.