Road Trip Week 7: Armchair Explorer
We've made it home to Maine, which means we've reached the end of our Adventure Across America! Before we finish our trip, though, there's still a lot to learn about our home state!
Did you know Acadia National Park is one of the top 10 most visited parks in the US? If you can't visit the park in person, you can take a virtual tour or learn more about the park through their Ranger ProTips series and the movie that played in their visitor center up until the building was renovated in 2019. There's also a tremendous amount of historical and cultural information available, about the creation of the park itself and about the Wabanaki nations.
The Wabanaki is composed of four nations - Maliseet, Micmac, Penobscot, and Passamaquoddy. You can learn even more about the Wabanaki nations through the Abbe Museum and a collection of resources from the University of Maine, including a series of videos. The Hudson Museum, which is part of the University of Maine, is another great resource - check out their listing of tribal sites to learn more about each individual nation, and be sure to visit their YouTube channel for some really interesting videos featuring native artists demonstrating traditional weaving, wood carving, and more.
If you're a fan of Stephen King, there's lots to explore in Stephen King's Maine. You can take a virtual road trip from the comfort of home, or an actual road trip to many of the real-life locations that inspired his stories. One of the most iconic locations is the town of Derry, from the book It. Derry is based on Bangor, and there are plenty of memorable locations from the book to explore.
Did you know there's a museum dedicated to the Arctic located in Maine? The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum is part of Bowdoin college and dedicated to two Arctic explorers - and Bowdoin alumni - Robert Peary and Donald MacMillan. There are a number of virtual activities and exhibits available from the museum.
Smuttynose Island, which is part of Kittery, was the location of the infamous murders of Karen and Anethe Christensen in 1873. If you're interested in true crime, there's a lot to explore about this case. Local author J. Dennis Robinson, who wrote the book Mystery on the Isles of Shoals (which is available to borrow from the library!), gives a great overview of the murders and the people and places that are all part of the story on his website. Celia Thaxter, who was at the Isles of Shoals at the time of the murder and was one of the first people on the scene, wrote her account of the crime, A Memorable Murder in Maine, in 1875. Smuttynose Island is privately owned but typically accepts day visitors, however is can only be accessed by dingy or rowboat from nearby Star Island. Additionally, you can visit the Portsmouth Athenaeum to see the axe that is allegedly the murder weapon.