Unusual Things to Do in Maine

The quirky state of Maine is filled with visual surprises and new experiences to enjoy
The quirky state of Maine is filled with visual surprises and new experiences to enjoy | © Joe Mamer Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
Christopher Crosby

Rural isolation and a seasonal influx of tourists have made Maine the home of quirky roadside attractions. From a museum of mythical animals to the world’s biggest globe, there’s no shortage of oddities to explore – here are a few of our favorites.

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Meet the Creatures of Cryptozoology

Laying claim to the title of the world’s only International Cryptozoology Museum – cryptids, as you recall, are animals the scientific community deems made up – the specimens here go way beyond Nessi and Bigfoot. There are models of the Montauk Monster and the New Jersey devil, a huge coelacanth, a primitive fish that’s gone extinct – or not –and a replica of P.T Barnum’s Feejee Mermaid. The museum has a light tone, and the owner is very enthusiastic.

Pay a Visit to the King of Horror

The gate has gargoyles, which is the least you’d expect of the mansion belonging to the master of modern horror fiction. This is the home of Stephen King, a Maine native, who has lived here in the quaint Bangor neighborhood home for years – when he’s not at his, less creepy, bucolic orchard in western Maine. His association with the city where he wrote many of his books still draws plenty of visitors.

Take a Walk in the Desert of Maine

If you think it seems unlikely that one of the greenest states in the country has its own desert, that’s because it’s not a dry desert, but a 16ha-patch (40 acres) of sand between the trees. The sand was deposited by receding glaciers and uncovered by poor farming practices around the turn of the last century. Now a tourist site in coastal Freeport, the Desert of Maine is a well-known curiosity.

Visit the York Witch Grave

Mary Nasson, A witch’s grave in York, Maine, USA

You wouldn’t expect this graveyard in the town of York to hold such allure for tourists, but one of the souls laid to rest here has become the stuff of legends. Mary Nasson’s patch is known as the York Witch Grave. When she died at age 29 in 1774, the locals were reportedly so worried about the witch rising from the grave, they placed a granite slab over the top – which is still here today.

See the World Traveler Signpost

This signpost of nine international destinations is confusing at first sight, with Paris, for example, just a mere 15mi (24km) away. That’s because the immigrants who settled in Western Maine in the late 1700s and early 1800s named the towns where they live after their ancestral homes. They didn’t use this sign for orientation, however, as it was only erected in the 1930s as a homage to the region’s history.

Follow the Maine Solar System Model

You can travel the length of the solar system in just 40mi (64km) at the Maine Solar System Model, thanks to its 1:93,000,000 scale. Up north in Aroostook County – known as just “the county” – the planets (and Pluto) pop up in fun places run along a rural highway. Mercury is above a garden, while Venus sits just off the parking lot of a motor inn, and Earth is in a used-car dealership.

Have Fun in Wild Blueberry Land

If blueberries are religion in Maine, this is a high temple. Off Route 1 in Columbia Falls, lifelong blueberry farmers, Dell and Marie Emerson built Wild Blueberry Land to celebrate the state’s favorite fruit. The space is now a wonderland of pained-blue sculptures, as well as a mini-golf course and small museum. It’s also the perfect place to pick up some local produce – from pies and jams to jellies, sauces and various bottles of vinegar.

Gaze Up at the Paul Bunyan Statue

Several places claim to be the home of Paul Bunyan, the giant lumberjack and hero of American folklore. Bangor is one such place – a city built on the back of lumber, it has tried to outdo the rest by erecting a 31ft (9.4m) tall statue of Mr Charming, dressed in flannel, with an axe in one hand, and a peavy – a tool to hook and move a log – in the other. The statue, donated to Bangor in 1959, now overlooks a casino on the outskirts of downtown.

Eat Eggs from a Giant Frying Pan

Every July for the Pittsfield Egg Festival, town officials crack a 10ft (3m), 300lb (136kg) pan out of storage and start frying eggs – the burners, as you might have guessed, are custom-made. Made for this mid-Maine town in 1973, the frying pan is just one of several egg-themed events at the festival, which includes an early-bird breakfast, chicken barbecue, and the Egglympics. The festival is held annually on the fourth Saturday of July, in Manson Park.

See the World’s Biggest Rotating Globe

At 41ft (12.5m) in diameter, the Guinness Book of World Records named Eartha the biggest rotating and revolving globe in the world. Mimicking the earth’s movements – albeit at a slightly faster rotation of 18 minutes – it’s displayed in a glass atrium at the DeLorme headquarters in Yarmouth. The mounting equipment in the pit is visible, and two balconies allow you a better look at the higher parts of the globe.

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