Most Mainers are aware of the large Paul Bunyan statue located in Bangor, and now Babe the Blue Ox has joined him on the other side of the city, but did you know that Rumford is also home to a larger-than-life Bunyan and Babe? The Bangor Bunyan sports a plaid jacket and green trousers tucked into boots and not only holds an ax, but also a peavey hook, a tool that aids in rolling logs. The Rumford Bunyan wears a red shirt and blue pants and holds his ax in his hands. He is also known as “The Muffler Man.”
There are a lot of fun and quirky things to be found in Maine if you just get out and search for them. Sometimes you don’t have to look very far, and some quirks are very well known.
Bridgewater boasts a two-story outhouse. Bryant Pond? There’s a three-story one there. I’m not sure I’d want to be in the bottom one of either of those. Coopers Mills has Elmer’s Barn of Junk and Dead Things, a place the SJ’s own Mark LaFlamme would love to haunt.
Rockland is home to “Rocky,” a 20-foot long lobster that hibernates in the basement of the city’s Discovery Center during the winter but comes out for parades and for the Maine Lobster Festival, which will take place Aug. 4 to 8 this year.
Rocky is not to be outdone by the “Mainer C. Lobster” sculpture in front of the Taste of Maine restaurant in Woolich on Route 1.
The world’s tallest Indian resides in Skowhegan, but the Big Indian on Route 1 in Freeport is no slouch (and more attractive, I might add). He stands about 25 feet tall.
Then there is “Lenny” the chocolate moose in Scarborough, and the Flying Moose on Route 15 in Rockwood. What would Maine be without giant-sized lobsters and moose wandering about?
But there is so much more. For a listing of Maine attractions and oddities, go to http://www.roadsideamerica.com/location/me/all and click on any link to get directions and learn more. Get out and enjoy the sights.
Muffler Man/Paul Bunyan
6 Bridge Street
Babe the Blue Ox
Corner of Portland and Congress streets
Paul Bunyan is outside the visitor’s center across the bridge at Pennacook Falls in Rumford. When you go to visit it, stop in the center and say “Hi” to Jon Holmes, who is full of information and interesting facts about the area. Babe is across town in front of the Rite Aid store. Both are worth a visit.
Mexico Chicken Coop
While up in the area stop in at the Chicken Coop for some great food and a good helping of nostalgia, sitting in a booth that still has a jukebox. Put your quarter in and spin a tune.
Candlestick Crank Phone
1 North Main Street, on the Town Common outside the post office
This is a 14-foot tall, 3,000-pound phone built by local sculptor Gil Whitman. The statue is in honor of Barbara and Elden Hathaway, who owned the Bryant Pond Telephone Company for 30 years until they sold it in 1983. That’s the year the town joined the rest of the country on the dial system.
Snow Falls Rest Area
This rest stop is right on the road but has some great falls along the Little Androscoggin River to enjoy, along with a few trails along the gorge. There are plenty of picnic areas, so pack a lunch when you go up there. It is also handicapped accessible.
The Big Indian
117 US Route 1
Originally owned by the Casco Bay Trading Company, it now stands outside Conundrum Wine Bistro. This 25-foot-tall statue recently had a face lift with a new paint job, and he is as dapper looking as ever.
The Desert of Maine
95 Desert Road
This is a great place to visit when in the Freeport area. This is not true sand, but glacial silt left over 11,000 years ago by a retreating glacier. It is one of only four such “deserts” in the world. Due to open in early May, visit the Web site for more information.
L.L. Bean Boot
95 Main Street
This giant 17-foot boot was built for the outdoor company’s 90th anniversary in 2002. It stands outside the main entrance to L.L. Bean’s main store, now a landmark and subject of frequent photos.
The Flying Moose
Route 15 (south of town)
This large statue of a moose with wings has a placard beneath it explaining the legend of the flying moose passed down by the Abenaquis Tribe. An amazing thing to see along the roadside in the North Woods.
The Black Frog
17 Pritham Avenue
Don’t go up north without stopping in for some great food with a beautiful view of Moosehead Lake. Hungry? Try the sandwich known as “The Chicken that Didn’t Make it Across the Road,” or a plate of “Skinny Dip.”
Giant Rooster Statue
259 Cobbossee Road
This giant rooster struts his stuff outside a private residence in Monmouth. He has been in about the same location for over 40 years, having once been taken for a “ride” by some high school students. Another time, someone trimmed his beak with a chainsaw but that has been repaired and he is his cock-a-doodle-doo-self again.