1. Eastern locals are very friendly and welcoming...at least that was our experience. People who visit this area tend to be quite friendly as well. We often chatted with people at the next table when eating at a restaurant. ("Where are you from?" "What did you see and do today?") When people are on vacation they tend to be pretty cheerful. Politics was left at home...we didn't hear any political discussion. We got the feeling that if you were in an emergency situation with these people, you could count on them and they, on you. It made me realize there are many kind and helpful people in the world despite what you experience via the internet.
3. Seafood is very popular in New England and there are many people who work in the fishing industry. On our schooner trip we saw areas with hundreds of lobster "floats" used to mark where a trap has been lowered. The floats are painted very distinctly so that a fisherman can find his trap among the hundreds. I got the feeling that messing with someone else's trap is a big NO-NO. And you can go to jail for 5 years if you try to fish for a living without a proper license. They check the traps every couple days to see what they've caught. After this trip I decided I'm buying more fish to eat. We loved it.
5. New England has a rich sense of tradition and patriotism. I immediately noticed many homes had American flags flying above their doorsteps on an average day. Small towns have veteran memorials in parks to honor their youth who served in wartime. We saw many old cemeteries with tombstones and engraving completely worn off.
6. New England weather is hard on structures. There are beautiful buildings and very worn, rundown buildings. Chip and Joanna Gaines of the HGTV Show, "Fixer-Upper" would have plenty to choose from for renovating in New England. November through March means colder weather and January-March means quite a bit of snow on the ground. If you don't have extra money and have a wood-sided home or church, chances are a new paint job is low on your priority list and chipped paint is the norm for you.
8. There are wires everywhere! They really mess with your photo composition.
10. New Englanders seem to value the past. We noticed many things were probably as they were a long time ago. There didn't seem to be a prevalence for "updating" or modernizing something. Little eating nooks were well-worn, but quite popular. There was a simplicity with the ordinary. I found that refreshing. Obviously, there isn't a great obsession to tear down the old house and build a new and larger one because we saw complete towns of very old homes with no variance in old and new construction. We did not see tracts of homes which means that the rural areas are not growing much, if at all, in population. At the little farm where we stayed in New Hampshire we loved how a portion of an old barn was preserved in the wall of a newer one. History means something in New England and even if it's old and rickety they obviously are not anxious to get rid of it.
here than anything I can attempt to articulate.
12. Maine ranks second in the U.S. (Michigan is first) in number of lighthouses. They are a big deal in Maine. A few are still operating. However, light keepers who live on the property don't exist anymore. Some of the lighthouses are on islands. They are a big tourist draw.
West Quoddy Lighthouse
13. Despite weather experts trying to predict when leaf colors will turn, it seems that even the locals don't know much about that. They said it's fairly unpredictable. We were definitely experiencing an Indian summer during much of our stay. By the time we left we noticed the beginning of more yellows and reds. Apparently, Vermont residents in higher elevations who had already had cool temps were not seeing much color yet either.
14. And lastly....when you cross the border into New Brunswick, pay attention to the STOP sign before the booth where the border officials are. The sign says, "Please stop until lane is clear." The vehicle ahead of us at the booth pulled away so we just pulled up to the booth. The person in the window put her hand up motioning for us to stop again. When we got up to the window an irritated supervisor said "when it says STOP, it means STOP." We learned that once at the STOP sign, you have to wait till the person motions for you to move up to the booth. Noting this error on our part, the second time we had to cross into Canada (when visiting Roosevelt's home on Campobello Island) we heeded the warning only to learn that it was no big deal there. Cars just pulled up to the window if it was clear. And no one got mad.
Well, that's about it. I'm craving seafood!