Tag Archives: DownEast Magazine

Eat lobster, of course

I found this on the Down East magazine Facebook wall. Hmm, I want some!



One syllable is plenty

I haven’t been sharing DownEast.com’s trivia questions lately because the feature apparently went green and was recycling a bunch of questions I had already shared. It didn’t make sense to share them again.

But when I first read today’s question, I immediately thought: “Well, it’s the shortest name. … Oh, wait, there’s Texas and Idaho” and probably another that I can’t think of just yet.

Anyway, a Mainer might say that one syllable is all we need.

What is unique about the state’s name?


Maine is the only state with a single-syllable name.

Amend constitution to fund Maine’s DIF&W?

Below I’ve linked to an interesting DownEast.com blog by George Smith of Mount Vernon on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and its funding.

Currently, fees from fishermen and hunters alone fund the department that takes on a very broad set of responsibilities. The agency also provides services to Mainers who do not fish or hunt.

A coalition including the Nature Conservancy, Maine Audubon, and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine is suggesting that the Maine Constitution be amended “by dedicating 1/8th percent of the sales tax receipts to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.”

Frankly, I’m unclear if that means an increase in the sales tax or merely a realignment of how the sales tax revenue is spent. I’m guessing it probably means an increase. But it might be worth it given the broad responsibilities the agency takes on and the fact that some Mainers receiving a benefit are not paying for DIF&W services.

By the way, according to DownEast.com, Smith is “a columnist, TV show host, executive director of the state’s largest sportsmen’s organization, political and public policy consultant, hunter, angler, and avid birder and most proud of his three children and grandson.” He also works for one of the three groups offering the idea to change the constitution, Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.

Here’s a link to George’s Outdoor News blog.

I’ll have a pair of Maine-made pajamas – and make ’em silk

The DownEast.com trivia question stumped me today.

 What exotic fabric was once produced in Maine?


Maine was once a center of silk manufacturing. The Haskell Silk Company in Westbrook produced silk textiles from 1874 to 1918.

I did not know that silk was once made in Maine. Interesting. The worms must have been a bit chilly.

They sure grow tall in the Great North Woods of Maine

Maine is one of the supposed birthplaces of Paul Bunyan. And to mark that wonderful piece of Maine history, there is a statue of the woodsman in Bangor. Here’s today’s DownEast.com trivia question.

 How tall is the Paul Bunyan statue in Bangor?


The legendary (and mythical) woodsman’s statue in Bass Park stands thirty-one feet high.

You can get there from here

Here’s DownEast.com’s trivia question of the day. I believe I may have been here once or twice. Maybe. I’m not totally sure that it is accessible.

Where is the geographic center of Maine?


In Piscataquis County, eighteen miles north of Dover-Foxcroft at Longitude: 69° 14.0’W and Latitude: 45° 15.2’N.

Let them eat lobster …

Here’s a trivia questioned from DownEast.com and the answer brought to mind the quote often attributed to Marie Antoinette: “Let them eat cake.”

She supposedly said it after she was told that peasants had no bread. It reflected the princess’ lack of knowledge – or concern – of the famine at the time.

What key development expanded lobster’s popularity?


Once considered “poverty food,” lobsters became popular after the first cannery in Eastport was established in 1843. At their peak, Maine had more than thirty lobster canneries.

Lobster as a “poverty food” seems amazing today.

Maine townsfolk supported revolution by renaming town Mexico

Here’s another bit of Maine trivia from DownEast.com. For those who are not from Maine, there are a number of towns in the central part of the state that are named for foreign nations and cities. There is a Moscow, China, Paris in Maine, among others. Here is how Mexico, Maine, got its name. 

How did the town of Mexico get its name?


Originally called Holmanstown, the community was renamed Mexico in 1818 to show support for the Mexican revolution against Spanish rule.

Decline of white-tailed deer more than just about coyotes, bears

George Smith yesterday again wrote in his DownEast.com blog about the decline of white-tailed deer in northern Maine.

It appears unscrupulous landowners may be just as to blame for the drastic decline of deer as are back-to-back harsh winters and predators such as coyotes and bears. (I blogged about a Chamber of Commerce in Maine that had promoted a tournament for killing coyotes. That shows the level of frustration in the region.)

Personally, one of the more stark passages in the blog read:

At some northern Maine game registration stations, more bear than deer or moose were tagged. For example, the Fish River station registered forty-seven bears, twenty-three moose, and just four deer. The Portage station tagged ninety-two deer in 2007, thirty-one deer in 2008, but only nine deer this year.

I’m pretty certain the “Portage station” is Coffin’s General Store, of which I have written before. The Mom occasionally helps out at the store and she told me in the fall that kill numbers had dropped off drastically, but 92 to nine in just two years is terrible on so many levels.

For those who are non-hunters or anti-hunting, annual deer hunting is significant to the life and livelihood of Mainers. It is a rite of passage for youngsters in which responsibility, gun safety, and an appreciation for the outdoors are taught. It also is a significant economic component for rural and remote areas of the state where unemployment historically has been high. Hunting camps and other lodging, restaurants, gas stations, guides, taxidermist and more feel the pain in a poor hunting season.

Smith writes about the loss of wintering habitat for deer and how a land sale and swap ended up costing the state some of that habitiat.

Smith, the blog’s author, lives in Mount Vernon and is described as “a columnist, TV show host, executive director of the state’s largest sportsmen’s organization, political and public policy consultant, hunter, angler, and avid birder and most proud of his three children and grandson.” He knows that of which he writes.

Click this link to go to George’s Outdoor News blog.

Maine coon cat rules

I was pretty sure I had the answer of the DownEast.com trivia question for the day.

What species of cat originated in Maine?


The Maine coon cat. The legendary feline was created by natural selection, the Maine climate, and a polyglot gene pool of cats brought back to Maine during the Age of Sail. It is the largest domestic cat in the book.

It is also the Maine state cart. Yes, the Maine state cat. Here’s what the Maine.gov site had on the Maine Coon Cat.

Maine Coon is regarded as a native of the state of Maine. Most Coon Cat breeders believe that the breed originated in matings between pre-existing shorthaired domestic cats and overseas longhairs (perhaps Angora types introduced by New England seamen, or longhairs brought to America by the Vikings). 

Maine Coons were well established more than a century ago as a hardy, handsome breed of domestic cat, well equipped to survive the hostile New England winters. 

Everything about the Maine Coon points to its adaptation to a harsh climate. Its glossy coat, heavy and water-resistant, is like that of no other breed, and must be felt to be appreciated. It is longer on the ruff, stomach and britches to protect against wet and snow, and shorter on the back and neck to guard against tangling in the underbrush. The coat falls smoothly. The long, bushy tail which the cat wraps around himself when he curls up to sleep can protect him from cold winters. His ears are more heavily furred (both inside and on the tips) than many breeds for protection from the cold, and have a large range of movement. Big, round, tufted feet serve as ‘snow shoes.’ Their large eyes and ears are also survival traits, serving to increase sight and hearing. The relatively long, square muzzle facilitates grasping prey and lapping water from streams and puddles. 

Maine Coon Cats are tall, muscular, big-boned cats; males commonly reach 13 to 18 pounds, with females normally weighing about 9 to 12 pounds. Maine Coons don’t achieve their full size until they are three to five years old. Their voices set them apart from other cats; they have a distinctive, chirping trill.

For full disclosure, I am allergic to cats and think they are plotting to kill us all in our sleep. But the Maine Coon Cat is pretty cool. For a cat.

They don’t call it the Pine Tree State for nothin’

Today’s DownEast.com trivia question asks:

How much of Maine’s land area is covered with forest?


Ninety percent, 17.7 million acres, the most of any state. (www.forest.umaine.edu)

When it says “the most of any state,” I’m guessing that’s by percentage.

First radio ministry in the country … in Maine

DownEast.com’s trivia stumped me again. I would have figured Portland as the location. Or Bangor or Augusta or any other fairly large Maine city. But I would not have guessed how early it started.

 What is the oldest electronic church in the country?


The First Radio Parish Church, broadcast daily by WCSH-TV in Portland, was first heard over the airwaves on WCSH-AM radio in 1926.

Oh, oh, oh! I know this one!

OK, so DownEast.com’s trivia question stumped me two days running, but the question today was, well, a little too easy. Here it is.

How many states border Maine?


Only one, New Hampshire.

Everyone knows that. Sheesh!

Two things I didn’t know about Bangor

The thing about trivia, of course, is that there are times when you simply do not know the answer to a question. That day is today – and almost any other day, for that matter.

Of course, given that I pick questions from DownEast.com’s trivia treasure trove, the answers almost always have a very clear Maine connection.

And in a way, today’s DownEast.com trivia question is a twofer – two questions for the price of one answer.

Where was the extension ladder invented?


Bangor. The Queen City is also the birthplace of the canvas-covered canoe.

I don’t recall if I ever owned an extension ladder, but I did own a canvas-covered canoe when I was a kid. It was built by a Canadian Indian from Quebec. I couldn’t get it out to California when I decided to remain, so I ended up selling it to John Robertson, of whom I wrote the other day. Given his skill, that canoe may still be cruising Maine waters.

Maine blogger’s look at the coming decade

A somewhat interesting look at the coming decade by Maine novelist Richard Grant in his “Coffee With That” blog on DownEast.com.

Here’s a link to “A Prophecy for the Coming Decade.”

What is Maine’s northernmost community?

From DownEast.com’s trivia chest.

What is Maine’s northernmost community?


Estcourt Station in extreme northwest Maine.

Global trivia for the last day of 2009

From the DownEast.com trivia collection: Where is the largest revolving globe in the world?


The DeLorme Mapping Company headquarters in Yarmouth is home to Eartha, a forty-one-foot diameter globe is housed in a three-story glass atrium.

Eartha at DeLorme in Yarmouth, Maine.

Here’s a link to learn more about Eartha.

Oh, oh, I know this!

My newspaper friends will be disappointed that I bothered using a slammer (aka exclamation point used in a headline), but I DID know the answer to today DownEast.com trivia question.

What is the largest county in Maine?


Aroostook, with 6,672 square miles, larger than Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.

I also believe it may be the largest country east of the Mississippi River. Or the Rocky Mountains. I forget.

Water, water everywhere … and even some to drink

I went back to the DownEast.com trivia question today and was interested in it because I grew up in a home on a hill overlooking Portage Lake, Maine.

My mother continues to live in a cottage in a cove of that lake and I have posted photos here of views from the deck of her home. It is a wonderful place, albeit incredibly cold in the winter.

The question today was: How much of Maine is covered by water?


About 12.8 percent, or 4,523 square miles of the state’s total 35,385 square miles.

Frankly, I would have thought it would have been more. I grew up canoeing and sailing on that lake in the summer and snowmobiling across it in the winter. It seemed like whenever driving we were crossing a bridge over a river or driving near a lake or pond or other bit of water.

And if you take a look at a map showing water – rivers, streams, ponds and lakes – it would seem to be better than a mere 12.8 percent.

Well, there you have it.

Gazing at the most famous house in Maine

Andrew Wyeth's "Christina's World"

Andrew Wyeth's "Christina's World" may depict Maine's most famous house.

OK, so I suppose this is why they make brain-straining games based on trivia questions.

I did not know – at least, I wasn’t confident that I knew – the answer to today’s DownEast.com trivial question.

What’s the most famous house in Maine?

And I didn’t know the answer. I thought of a couple of houses that might fit in this category – Blaine House, Stephen King’s place by which tourist and locals drive to get a glimpse of the writer, or Longfellow’s in Portland, or Joshua Chamberlain’s, and a couple of others.


“The Olson House on Hathorn Point Road in Cushing, forever memorialized by Andrew Wyeth’s iconic ‘Christina’s World.”’

I had a vague, back-of-brain image of this place, but wasn’t sure. But after Googling – where would we be today without Google? Don’t answer that – I got it, it made perfect sense.