There's no question what a wonderful state Maine is.

Honestly, I don't think I'd ever want to live anywhere else. As opposed to a lot of people from away, I like here... just the way it is. If I ever left, it's because I'd want a change, not to go somewhere else and try to make it like where I was. Home is where you hang your hat, so why not just embrace where you are?

The Portland Head Light at sunrise just outside of Portland, Maine.

But people move here all the time, and I think they often base their expectations on their vacation experiences. Maine is a whole different place when the tourists leave town, in a lot of ways. New Mainers need to know it's not just all lobster bakes and blueberry pies up in here. There's plenty you'll learn to be low-grade terrified of. Let's dig in...

Maine can get way colder than most think.


Sometimes I think we underestimate how cold it gets here. We let those really cold mornings and nights just fade into our memory, or talk about how it was in the old days. But it wasn't the old days at all. The record cold temp here in Maine was only set in 2009, at a weather station on the Big Black River. It hit -50 that day, with no wind chill. That was just a few years ago, not 200.

Stephen King was responsible for educating Maine's youth at one point.

TSM Library
TSM Library

Before he became the famous author we know him as today, Stephen King was an English teacher at Hampden Academy in Hampden, Maine. At the same time he was dreaming up his first twisted plotlines for what would be his eventual hit books, he was teaching kids in school. I'm not saying people who had him became psychopaths, but no doubt his books have warped the minds of Maine's youth for a couple generations.

Merging onto almost any road in Maine.

Lane ends merge sign for construction purposes
Garrett Aitken

Honestly, merging is probably the scariest thing you'll ever have to do in Maine, because it's a giant paradox. One of two things will always happen. You'll either create a road rage situation when you simply try to merge, because literally no one will let you in. Or, you have people who try to enter the highway with no regard for anyone around them, while they come off the ramp at 643mph. Either way, get ready for a panic attack.

Hitting/almost hitting a deer or moose.


Ok, hitting one of these adorable creatures of the Maine woods is the scariest thing of all. It has to be. I've hit a deer twice, at low speed. Luckily both of these situations weren't a big deal. But it can sometimes be fatal. A good friend passed away a few years ago when he hit a moose. It's nothing to take lightly when you're driving at night. It'll always be in the back of your mind.

If Maine stops making toothpicks, there won't be any.

Photo by Jonathan Singer on Unsplash
Photo by Jonathan Singer on Unsplash

This is a weird one, but it's true. Maine produces over 90% of the toothpicks in the US. You don't really think about them, until you really need one. And when you do, there is just no other substitute. Plus, think off all the other uses they have besides picking spinach out your choppers.

Ticks never go away, even in winter.

Close up photo of adult female deer tick crawling on piece of straw

When I was a kid, I'd heard of ticks , but had never seen one. Of course, these days you can't do anything without being consumed by ticks. And frankly, they're dangerous. Between potential for Lyme Disease and a host of other tick-borne illnesses, they aren't to be trifled with in the least. You always need to be on your A-game for you and your pets when it comes to ticks.

The isolation can be brutal.


Sometimes it self-imposed, sometimes it's location, sometimes it's weather. But in Maine, at some point you will feel the cold grip of loneliness. Especially if you move here from a warmer, more urban location. Your first few winters will seem a bit nutty until you find your cold-weather rhythm.

If Maine freaks you out just a little too much, you can try any one of these places...

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