Yesterday, I took the Boy to yet another train museum – the Sandy River & Rangely Lakes Railroad in Phillips, ME. This one is several hours from here, and far enough off the beaten path that they are only open the first and third weekend of the month. From June to August. More or less.
No one was there, but we didn’t expect there to be. I had emailed the museum a few weeks ago and the secretary very kindly sent a list of all of the sites to see along that railroad as well as within the museum grounds. The Boy and I walked the track and explored as much as we could, and just soaked in the history of the place. It was hot and humid and buggy, but we’d driven over two and a half hours to get there and we weren’t about to turn back because of a few of Maine’s notorious winged inhabitants, or the lack of breeze. So we sweated it out.
To be fair, he sweated it out and I retreated to the car so I could blast the a/c.
Driving through all of the other small towns along the way, I began to notice a recurring trend. Virtually every business we passed had a sign declaring “Closed July 4 – 6″ or a variation of the dates surrounding the Independence Day holiday. Away from tourists, businesses were closing so they could spend the holiday with their families instead of trying to lure people in with holiday sales.
What a concept! In the middle of Maine where big box and chain stores are non-existent, retail is run by Mom & Pop shops who still close for the holidays, and even close early the day before.
Y’know, like in the old days of my childhood. When I was a kid, the holiday was all about hanging out with extended family, eating charred meat and corn-on-the-cob, and joining the masses at the beach for fireworks.
People in the middle of the state have their priorities straight. This really was a case of:
“Maine, the way life used to be.”