Everyone knows that Maine is strange. We’re all the way up here in the (almost) Great White North and some people think we talk funny. But, it gets even weirder than that. From a giant roadside fisherman to an entire museum dedicated to Sasquatches, Vacationland has enough oddities to keep you busy once you get tired of all that coastline. Check out these 10 weird places in Maine!
1. The Desert of Maine - Freeport, ME:
This curiosity has been welcoming guests since 1925. Now offering a campsite, tours and various museums, it's worth the trip if only to take photos next to the giant camel. Note: Camels are not at all indigenous to the area. How did this place come to be? The land was farmed by the Tuttle family beginning in 1797, but one thing led to another and someone forgot to rotate the potato crops, then must have forgotten about the sheep who overgrazed the place. All of this led to soil erosion which revealed the glacial silt beneath that eventually took over the entire farm. Tuttle family, this is why you can't have nice things. Just kidding. Thanks for the cool desert.
2. The Umbrella Cover Museum - Peaks Island, ME:
A huge thank you to Nancy Hoffman for curating not just this museum, but joy on Peaks Island. Hoffman's museum began when she realized that so many umbrella covers get tossed aside, but kept for no real reason. The museum is "dedicated to the appreciation of the mundane in everyday life. It is about finding wonder and beauty in the simplest of things, and about knowing that there is always a story behind the cover." Take the ferry from Portland to Peaks Island to check this out!
3. "Doc" Grant's Restaurant Sign - Rangeley, ME:
Rangeley is known for its lakes, ponds and waterfront camps, but it's also a mystical place that sits halfway between the equator and the North Pole. A quick 3,107 mile trip north or south will prove it.
4. Author Stephen King's House - Bangor, ME:
With black bats on its forbidding wrought-iron fence, Stephen King's home looks a lot like you might expect. Take a picture outside, but don't expect anything more. It's closed to the public, because he's busy living in it. And probably doing scary things like writing books and making sandwiches.
5. Perry's Nut House - Belfast, ME:
Get ready for a roller coaster of emotion. Perry's Nut House was once known for its variety of taxidermy animals and outdoor painted animal sculptures. In 1997, many of these things were sold at auction making the place much less exciting. But then! In 2009 new owners began searching for and buying back the previously sold relics. Last I heard, Ape-Raham the gorilla was back in the store, but the old elephant was still at large. Check this place out on Route 1 heading to Bar Harbor.
6. Rooftop Elephant - Belfast, ME:
Remember the "at-large elephant" in #5? Surprise! He's actually just on the roof of the Colonial Theater in town. He was sold in 1997 and subsequent attempts to buy him back to return him to his former home at Perry's Nut House have failed. So, you'll have to visit him here. On this roof. For now.
7. WIld Blueberry Land, World's Largest Blueberry - Columbia Falls, ME:
Despite the fact that it evokes images of small blueberry people twirling around within blueberry bushes, Wild Blueberry Land will satisfy most of your (other) blueberry desires. Since 2001, owners Dell and Marie Emerson have been catering to visitors looking for blueberry scones, ice cream, muffins and just about anything else that can house a blueberry. Check it out in the summertime, but call ahead in the fall to make sure they're open.
8. Big Jim the Fisherman - Prospect Harbor, ME:
Big Jim has been watching over the good people of Prospect Harbor for the past 40 years. Originally built to promote the (now shuttered) Stinson Canning Company, he has undergone a few changes in the last few years. Most notably, Jim traded his "Beach Cliff Sardines" tin for a lobster trap in support of the lobster processing facility now housed in the former Stinson factory. The only other major change came in the 80s when he was rebuilt out of metal after his wooden pants blew off in an unfortunate storm. Hey, we've all been there.
9. International Cryptozoology Museum - Portland, ME:
The world's only museum exploring the study of hidden or unknown animals such as Yetis, Bigfoot, Lake Monsters, and Sea Serpents, as well as hundreds of other yet-to-be-found animals (cryptids) is located right here in Maine. Makes sense considering all the Sasquatch sightings reported here. And, good news! Until February 2016, you can see the Minnesota Iceman on display.
10. The Casco Bay Mailboat Tour - Portland, ME:
Not quite ready to jump into the weird world of Bigfoot or a giant fisherman in new pants? Ease into Maine's weird by taking a tour of Casco Bay aboard the boat that delivers mail and freight to the main islands in the bay - Little Diamond, Great Diamond, Long, Cliff and Chebeague. This $16 tour lasts three hours and, I'm told, is not as strange as it sounds.
Okay, what did we miss? Some of the best things about Maine are the secret places known only by locals living nearby. What’s the strangest thing to do in your part of the state?