Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wonderful, Wacky Maine

The South has in no way cornered the market on crazy, kitchy attractions. Maine is simply chocked full of them.

One of my favorites so far is Perry's Nut House, in Belfast. You can't miss it...just look for the gi-normous squirrel holding the colossal peanut out front.

Inside, Perry's sells all kinds of nuts, as one would imagine, as well as about 30 flavors of homemade fudge. They'll give you free samples of the fudge, and if you're not careful, you'll be on a serious sugar high in no time.

It's kind of like a Stuckey's on steroids. Toys and wacky gift items, bumper stickers, postcards and magnets. But there's some really weird stuff as well.

Like Jay.
Jay is a real mummy.

Now here's the really crazy thing. The back-story of Jay, the Forgotten Mummy is that he was taken from Egypt as a souvenir by aristocrats, which was a common practice back in the 20's and 30's, so that they could throw fashionable Mummy Parties. They'd unwrap the mummies to see what loot they were buried with, then throw the bones in the fire. Becoming an unwanted family heirloom, the last owner of the Jay the Mummy decided it would be better suited as a display at Perry's Nut House.

You can't make this stuff up.

Perry's Nut House was founded in 1927, as was Moody's Diner, where we ate breakfast this morning. In 1927, it looked as though Waldoboro, Maine might be getting some automobile traffic from folks headed north up US Route 1. The Moody's thought it seemed like a good idea to build a couple of cabins to see if they could find any weary travelers looking for a clean, inexpensive place to stay the night. Travelers would stop in for a five cent cup of coffee or a ten cent sandwich, and Mrs. Moody would "up sell" them a $1-night cabin.

We ate breakfast at Moody's this morning. Browine and Jane are flying out of Portland today, so we decided to go have a farewell breakfast. It's a typical diner, complete with sassy waitresses who just snap their fingers and tell you where to sit.

The cabins are still there, but they charge a bit more than a dollar a night. At least they have wireless internet access.

In a little while, Jonni and I are driving up to Camden to have lunch with a special new friend at Cappy's. We're going for their famous "chowda," but I'm also hoping to see Alexander the seagull. Mounted in an ornate frame in a restaurant, Alexander had been dead for 150 years before he ran afoul of an obscure federal law that almost had him banished -- but the town rallied to save him. That should be almost as good as Jay the mummy.

I'm keeping my eyes peeled for more wacky attractions. And you can bet that if it's crazy enough, I'll share it with you. There are some things in this world you can't keep to yourself.

Blessings to all who read this!

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