Why Maine is the best place to feel far away right at home

On a recent Sunday evening, while sitting around a fire, I was overcome with a feeling of satisfaction.

Satisfaction in the simple things.

Marinated chicken, beef and a rainbow of vegetables filled skewers that slowly roasted over the open fire. Wine and conversation flowed easily as children climbed in treehouses and played in the dirt, bright red watermelon juice dried to their faces and fingers.

Photo by Brian Feulner

Photo by Brian Feulner

It was the perfect way to end a nearly perfect weekend.

We hadn’t done anything special, but it was that simplicity that made it such a memorable 48 hours. On Saturday, we wound our way through the Rolland F. Perry City Forest — aka The Bangor City Forest — taking time to literally stop and smell the flowers.

On Sunday, we picked up subs and headed to Gould’s Landing at Pushaw Lake to eat lunch. We came home and basked in the sun — me working my way through my summer chick-lit books, my husband listening to a podcast.

Afterward, we headed to Winterport for a barbecue.

Simple.

But all weekend we felt worlds away from the everyday pressures of life.

We inadvertently adopted a slogan I pass once a week on my way home from the grocery store. It’s advice plastered on every piece of propaganda put out by the University of Maine at Augusta.

But it’s also great life advice.

“Stay close. Go far.”

Since the first weekend we moved here, my little family has enjoyed living out this slogan, soaking up every corner of Maine.

Collecting sticks at the city forest.

Collecting sticks at the city forest.

We’ve spent winters snowshoeing high up mountains, snowboards strapped to our backs for a quick ride down through the trees.

Spring brings coffee sipped slowly outside on the back deck and open windows breathing in the fresh air. It’s a chance to hike without the bugs biting every exposed limb and a great time to visit Bar Harbor before the tourists descend.

We spend summers far away from civilization, but yet only ever an hour or so away from home. We fish. On hot days, we swim in warm lakes, camp at public reserved lands and spend late nights sitting around our own backyard fire pit cooking s’mores and sharing stories and laughter with friends.

Exploring one of Maine's many lakes.

Exploring one of Maine’s many lakes.

And every fall we drive into the hills of Jackman and other mountain towns, “oohing” and “ahhing” at the changing colors and isolation. There’s something that feels so uniquely New England about perusing small towns, a cup of piping hot cider in hand.

So what are you waiting for? Get out of here.

Or wait, don’t.

Stay nice and close to home but feel far, far away.

Where do you go when you don’t want to travel but want to feel far, far away? Comment and read more on Natalie’s blog, rootedinme.bangordailynews.com.

Natalie Feulner

About Natalie Feulner

Natalie Feulner is a journalist and “semi-crunchy” cloth diapering momma to a rambunctious toddler named after a county in California. She drinks too much tea and loves to climb rocks but not at the same time.