It turns out that the directions from Cambridge, MA to Cambridge, Maine are almost as straightforward as they were to Cambridge, NY. It’s basically U.S. Route 95 all the way north to exit 150 for Maine State Route 152, which (with a few quick turns) takes you straight into town. I’m still going to give the edge for ease to Cambridge, NY because of the abundance of rest stops on the Massachusetts Turnpike, but there was little opportunity to go off track on the way to Cambridge, ME. It’s the farthest north I’ve gone into the center of the state, though I may have been further north on the coast.
My schedule was, to say the least, not over-booked for this trip. I almost accepted that I wouldn’t have any appointments until I tried a new potential contact and succeeded in connecting. So I left early Friday morning, aiming to be in the Town Office by 11:30. More about my meeting with the town selectmen later this week.
Beyond that, I wasn’t sure what I’d find, but my focus was on the General Store and the Post Office, which are the only two entities of consequence in the town. I had good conversations all around. Everyone was very friendly and generous with their time. Plus, I have a special fondness for the Maine accent, which is increasingly difficult to find in the southern part of the state. (There’s more detail here than you might want. While the old (also increasingly rare) Boston accent similarly involves dropping final R’s, the two accents do not sound the same.)
Much to my own surprise, I learned a lot on this trip. That is, I assumed I’d learn something (or why would I even do this?), but I left with a whole new framework for how to think about small towns. I’m going to pull together my notes and share this week and next, even while I haven’t finished reporting on Cambridge, NY and I’ve written almost nothing about my own Cambridge, MA.