Open Thread WE 23 JUN 21 ~ the Maine idea


"There's a quality of life in Maine which is this singular and unique. I think. It's absolutely a world onto itself." -- Jamie Wyeth


Welcome to this edition of the Wednesday OT. This week finds us in a cabin on a remote lake in central Maine. It has become an annual event. Pack-up the truck with victuals, bedding, reading material and puzzles. Hook up the trailer with the little sailboat and spouse's kayak. Then drive the 5 hours or so north (Boston traffic is always trippy). A great respite from the frenetic normal life.
Once here, the pace of life slows considerably. Watching / hearing the loons, turtles, eagles, Blue Heron and occasional leaping fish. Ahhh...


What is most striking in the Maine wilderness is the continuousness of the forest, with fewer open intervals or glades than you had imagined. Except the few burnt lands, the narrow intervals on the rivers, the bare tops of the high mountains, and the lakes and streams, the forest is uninterrupted.

— Henry David Thoreau

Regional dialect: Mainers...

1. don’t ask “what are you doing?”…they say “Chuppta?”
2. weather doesn’t get “windy”…it gets “breezed up.”
3. Things don’t “break” in Maine…they get “stove up.”
4. don’t eat until “full”…they get “mugup.”
5. roads are never “icy” or “slippery”…they’re “greasy.”
6. don’t “go to the country”…they “go out in the willie-wacks.”
7. don’t say someone is “flamboyant” or “eccentric”…they say they’re “a rig.”
8. don’t take their boots off in the “foyer”…they use the “dooryard".
9. don’t have “midnight snacks”…they have “bed lunches.”
10. don’t drive small distances…they go “up the road apiece.”
11. don’t say “I don’t know”…they say “hard tellin’ not knowin’.”
12. don’t “get stuck” or “get in trouble”…they “get in a gaum.”
13. don’t put things “in the basement”…they go “down cellar.”
14. don’t take out the “trash”…they deal with the “culch.”
15. don’t say “that was good”…they say it was the “finest kind.”
16. don’t move things in small amounts…they move them “just a dite.”
17. don’t say “I lost it”…they say “it’s down cellar behind the axe.”
18. don’t get “get drunk”…they “catch a buzz on.”
19. don’t get “sick”…they get “pekid.”
20. don’t “steal”…they “kife.”
21. don’t say something’s “awesome”…they say it’s “savage.”
22. don’t “hurry”…they “book it.”
23. don’t say “that’s cute”…they say “that’s cunnin’.”
24. doesn’t have “tourists”…only “flatlanders.”
25. don’t become “senior citizens”…they become “old timers.”

Maine phrases explained

1. From away
One of the most widely used phrases you’ll find in Maine, referring to someone who wasn’t born and raised in Maine. For some, it’s more extreme than that and they’ll go back generations for a cut-off, but let’s keep it simple. People from away can be easily identified by their accent, lack of knowledge about where to pick the best fiddleheads, and inability to get all of the meat out of a lobster.
2. Ayuh!
An informal agreement that basically means ‘yes.’ Most commonly heard from the 40+ crowd in Downeast Maine. It’s also probably what you imagine when you try to concoct a stereotypical Maine accent.
3. Southern Maine
This is a tricky one dealing with sensitive regional designations. Southern Maine, or the Southern Coast, is the very bottom-most tip of Maine, south of Portland. If you’re from the northern part of the state (think north of Bangor), however, Southern Maine is everything south of where you are — essentially the majority of the state. This phrase is an excellent one to wield if you’re looking to blend in regionally — but beware of the wrath of a mid-coaster if you tell them that they live in Southern Maine.
4. The County
Speaking of regions, this is one that’s universally recognized. It is, of course, referring to Aroostook County, the ‘crown of Maine,’ and the largest county east of the Mississippi. It’s a place where the moose population is larger than the human one and it wouldn’t be strange to hear French being spoken at the local diner.
5. You can’t get there from here (he-ah).
First of all, every Mainer travels with a Delorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, so we can probably figure out a route. But our craggy coastline and endless forests do make it pretty difficult to get places quickly. So just do yourself a favor and pick up a Gazetteer, instead of receiving this incredulous response when asking for directions.
6. Wicked
Ah, the quintessential Mainer word. This is going to be thrown around more often than you can keep track as it can be used alone or as a modifier. Dollar shots in the Old Port? Wicked! The Black Bears’ goalie is on fire tonight? He made a wicked save! Probably a throwback to New England’s Puritan ways, it’s certainly one of the most pervasive terms in this collection.
7. Italian
Confusingly, this is normally not referring to someone from Italy. Rather, it’s the name for a very specific type of sandwich that you typically find in saran wrap at gas stations and bait shops. Imagine this, a white hoagie roll with ham, American cheese, thinly sliced onions, green peppers, tomatoes, black olives, sour pickles, and oil — add salt and pepper if you’re feeling deluxe. Pro tip — it’s best eaten in a canoe while fishing.
8. Steamers
Clams! Specifically, soft-shelled clams steamed in water (or white wine, butter, and shallots — you’re welcome). Delicious, meaty, and best fresh with an ocean view.
9. To bang a (insert direction here)
Now hold on, this is not going where you think it is. In Maine, “to bang a…” means to make a quick move, most likely in a vehicle. “Bang a left” or “bang a right,” and for advanced speakers, “bang a uey” (make a U-turn). It’s crucial terminology for when you’re about to miss the last exit to get gas for the next 60 miles.
10. Beater
Again, not what you think it is. This term refers to an old, barely running, but weirdly resilient vehicle. It could be a car, but it’s most likely a pick-up truck with a manual transmission. It probably hasn’t passed an inspection in years. Many Mainers learn how to drive in a beater, most likely on dirt roads.
11. Dinner vs. supper
Dinner, historically the larger meal of the day, is served at noon (aka lunch). Supper is served in the evening. Some believe that this may be derived from our French Canadian and Acadian Mainers who eat ‘souper’ in the evening, a lighter meal typically centered around soup. Whatever the case, it’s good to know in order to avoid any confusion.
12. Same difference
Instead of saying ‘no difference,’ Mainers prefer the oxymoron ‘same difference.’ That’s really all there is to it.
13. Champagne of Maine
Now here we have a double-whammy, the ‘Champagne of Maine.’ It’s also known as ‘fat-ass in a glass,’ and is a typical alcoholic beverage in Maine made of Allen’s Coffee Brandy and milk over ice. Allen’s is the best-selling liquor in the state and it doesn’t top the bestseller list anywhere else in the US. In fact, 85 percent of all Allen’s produced is sold in Maine, even though it’s not from Maine. So maybe it’s possible for something ‘from away’ to find a home here after all.


Silliness aside, this thread is open. Post away whatever ya cotton needs be said. Wink

15 users have voted.


ovals49's picture

and a night in a fancy NYC hotel, and a week in a soulless time share with a hot tub gifted by relatives, it was off to the Alligash Wilderness Waterway for a week in a canoe: the honeymoon we actually had dreamt about. As a wee lad, a cottage on Highland Lake was my refuge from the pablum of suburbia.

Sadly, even forty years ago, Thoreau would no longer be able to write

What is most striking in the Maine wilderness is the continuousness of the forest

Even then the “continuousness of the forest” was a facade. The Alligash “wilderness” consisted of a hundred yards or so of virgin forest surrounded by clear cut suitable only for growing blueberries. Even so, Maine is still one of the finest places in the country to slow down, look around and listen to the sounds of a world not completely overrun with bipeds.

11 users have voted.

The cool thing about a US president with obvious dementia symptoms … it is like training wheels for the reality that all administrations are run independent of any president’s authority. - Caity Johnstone

QMS's picture


Used to canoe as a kid in Michigan. Haven't been on the Allagash, but sounds nice!
Found these links..

5 users have voted.
ovals49's picture

and pre-cell phone and GPS it sure felt like wilderness. It took about an hour on dirt (logging) roads to get to the put in, and once on the water we rarely saw other people. A ranger in a small outboard stopped by our campsite to say hi and get an idea of where we were planning to go. It’s possible to travel a good distance, with some white water in the mix, but since we were sticking to the interconnected flat water stretches, it was a simple out-and-back trip for us, two lakes and a short portage and shallow stream between the two. We saw eagles and loons and moose and ate what we carried in and what we caught. A wonderful and memorable honeymoon to be sure!

7 users have voted.

The cool thing about a US president with obvious dementia symptoms … it is like training wheels for the reality that all administrations are run independent of any president’s authority. - Caity Johnstone

Everything I know about Maine I learned from reading Stephen King books as a kid. (King was a more present father figure for me than my actual Dad, who was sort-of around, but at a great distance, and sometimes I'd not see him for years at a time, but Mr. King was always just a bike ride away at the library.) Because of spending so much mental time hallucinating in King's Maine as a kid, I've always wanted to see the real deal. Maybe someday.

Thanks for sharing this experience, QMS, and hope you both are able to enjoy it to the fullest!

8 users have voted.
QMS's picture

@Reverend Jane Ignatowski

Perhaps this blog would be of interest to you?

We get the Working Waterfront paper from Island Institute to keep up with local issues.


5 users have voted.
Lookout's picture

Common Ground County Fair w/ Jim Kovaleski (Unity, Maine) 10 min
Every fall, approximately 70,000 people come out to attend the Common Ground County Fair in Unity, Maine. This fair has been run with consecutive success by the great folks at MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association.)

and one more...
WILD BLUEBERRY BUFFET! Harvesting - Packaging - Selling (Jim Kovaleski in Maine)
Jim has been a pivotal role model of ours since 2011, not long after we first began to grow food. We can genuinely say that he was a significant catalyst for change in our lives & we owe the foundation of our success to Jim's influence. Now it is your turn to spend a week with Jim, at your own pleasure. 15 min
Learn more here:

Have a great relaxing trip QMS!

8 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

QMS's picture

plucking wild blueberries in the bush..
see an occasional porcupine rustling along
peaceful pleasures.

6 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

can say of many states. Some of the phraseology is familiar, however, from various other places and times. I do appreciate thw whole pack up the truck and get the hell out to the boonies thing, we used to do it annually, approximately now, with a small group of somewhat like minded persons, but in the sierras, or (once) along the north coast.

Falling further behind hourly here, and yet here I sit. Ah well, perhaps some somatic memory telling me to go load the truck, even though we just got back from a weekend away. Enjoy yourselves, though it seems that canoe vs sailboat is unfair competition - she should at least get a single scull shell.

Coffee finally kicking in, so time to get getting.

be well and have a good one

6 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Interesting to read some of the phrases you mentioned and what they mean. Some of those very same phrases are found in deep East Texas such as same difference and a beater. Love the idea of packing up and getting away from it all. Working on finding some spots that speak to me about the wilds as what you described.

Have a good week and Maine is one of those states I have never visited but maybe someday.

7 users have voted.

Life is what you make it, so make it something worthwhile.

This ain't no dress rehearsal!

He grew up on a potato farm. Went to school carrying mashed potato sandwiches on potato bread. when i met him he would not even touch a french fry. Joined the merchant marine after High school, got a master's certificate. Was commissioned as a Lieutenant Commander during the Korean War, commanded a destroyer. Came up the hard way and had disdain for Merchant marine academy graduates. Smoked and drank way too much but was a good guy. Was an engineering supervisor at the agency we worked for.
he had a fight with his father when he was 14. left home and started working at a neighboring farm. his mother called the woman and got her assurance that she would make sure Don finished High School.
He said that was not uncommon in that place and time.

8 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

Raggedy Ann's picture

Since this is an OT, I'm dropping this must see video here. It describes how owns everything and the plot to ensure we own nothing. Don't watch it at your own peril.

7 users have voted.

The UFO’s are coming to unify us.

mimi's picture

a very special model... Smile
Thanks for the OT. Mainly a true maine-palooza, which made me smile a lot. Words ... they always have a special meaning and it is intriguing to learning new ones. Thanks QMS.

6 users have voted.

Please get along with each other. We have only one planet. Do not destroy what we have. Do not kill anyone and do not kill yourself. Nature doesn't care about what you think.

QMS's picture

The toil of all that be
Helps not the primal fault;
It rains into the sea,
And still the sea is salt.

A. E. Housman


3 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

I was only in Maine one time, almost 50 years ago, so can tell you all about it. Wink Loved it, was beautiful. I just hit a couple of the more famous birding stops. Baxter St. Pk., and the best, Mt. Desert Island, in Acadia Nat. Pk. where Bar Harbor is.

Mind-blowing place. Big just for general tourism, but well-known amongst birders. Mt. Desert Is. is not a desert but does have a mountain. There are about 20 species of BREEDING warblers there amongst all the various habitats. One of the furthest south spots you can get a bunch of the far north spruce nesters mixed in with the furthest north deciduous nesters. Incredible place. Boreal Chickadees, summering Black Guillemot and Common Eider say you are way way far north. But the people talk funny. Wink

There used to be a great ferry you could take from Bar Harbor there to Yarmouth N.S. that was awesome for Atlantic seabirding. Bluenose. I rode it once. It carried about 300 cars I think. The new Bluenose II or whatever the last few decades is too fast for birding.

There are a few very famous (with birders) islands off the Maine Coast, including Hog Island where an Audubon Soc. summer camp for many decades, and the best most famous birders in America are regular as guest lecturers. They have brought nesting Puffins back to a few islands I think. A lone Red-billed Tropicbird has summered in a Ternery on one of the islands for a dozen years or so now. Maybe Machias Seal Is. is where it is.

One other good place was in the interior, Screw Auger Falls, beautiful eroded rocks with ginormous deep round holes in them, and nesting Black-throated Blue Warbler. Would love to go see more again.

Mainely, this was a good open thread QMS! Wink

edit: thread, not threat. sorry!

5 users have voted.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

from DC who are currently visiting Maine, staying at a friend's home on a penisula with water on three sides.They were given the phone number of a family nearby. In the morning, they call the family and order fresh lobster. The family kids go out in a row boat, catch them, row over and sell them to my pals. They are overdosing on lobster. This couple has traveled the globe, gone to places we have never hear of, and this is the first trip out of their zip code since COVID appeared.They want me and my very cool guy to join them on a small group tour of Bali and Indonesia in a year or two down the road.
We shall see.

4 users have voted.

WERU- community radio in Orland, and worldwide on the net.

Robert Shetterly- portraits of truth tellers.

3 users have voted.