Early on my month-long trip to Maine, you might have caught a glimpse of me coming out of Sherman’s Books in Boothbay Harbor, my arms loaded down with books on Birds of Maine Field Guide, The Lighthouse Handbook New England, and Forest Trees of Maine. I love nature; and walking, hiking and photography takes me into the beautiful outdoors quite often, so when I travel, I like to keep track of the flora and fauna I see. And in Maine, I also keep track of Lobster Shacks and Lighthouses that I have visited. How do I do this? By keeping travel lists!
I’m pretty sure this all stems from my collector personality. I’ve been collecting various things since childhood; I started with seashells and rocks and then stamps for awhile, and as an adult vintage and antique dolls. As a traveler, I suppose my photography gives me an automatic collection of photos of the places I’ve been (I’ve never been one for physical souvenirs).
Keeping lists as I travel might be seen as another sort of collection. I can’t physically bring home birds I’ve seen and lighthouses I’ve visited, but there is definitely a thrill every time I can add another one to my list. For me, it’s similar to the thrill of the hunt every time you add an item to a collection. Also, I learn quite a bit in the process of identifying the birds or trees I see or finding new lighthouses and lobster shacks to visit. And, if you want to get into the list game for yourself while traveling, it is free fun (yes, I tend to buy books, but information, identification help and lists can be found for free online on most topics). Books, however, take it to the next level both for identification help and then facts about everything you add to your list.
Maine is tailor-made for travel lists! My favorite ones right now are my Maine Birds and Maine Lighthouse Lists, but here are all the travel lists I’m currently keeping and what I’m using to keep them:
Maine Birds: I’m not an official bird watcher, but I adore birds and like to keep track of the ones I see. I am using Birds of Maine Field Guide, Field Guide to identify the birds; besides checking off the birds in that book I’m using the online app Lifebirds Journal to keep a list (cost of app was $3.99). Lifebirds Journal is not Maine specific and is more for a life-long bird list. I also take along a pair of Nikon 10×42 Binoculars when I’m looking for birds; they are indispensible (and Nikon Binoculars come in many price points if you are looking for field binoculars).
Maine Lighthouses: You can get a free list of all the lighthouses in Maine at the Chamber of Commerce//Lighthouse Museum in Rockland. Besides that list, I’m checking off lighthouses in The Lighthouse Handbook New England: 3rd Edition by Jeremy D’Entremont. It has a ton of information on each Lighthouse. Visiting lighthouses is an excellent way to see varied and beautiful parts of the Maine coast.
Maine Lobster Shacks: Yep, I keep track of all the Lobster Shacks I’ve been to! Lobster Shacks just scream Maine
Vacation to me, it’s not just the lobster, but also the locations and the experience. The book Lobster Shacks: A Road-Trip Guide to New England’s Best Lobster Joints (2nd Edition) by Mike Urban is a fantastic guide to finding some of the best ones; I’m going to have to form my own list additionally, as I’ve been to several lobster shacks not in the book.
Maine Trees: I have this thing about trees; I get attached to trees on my property and I love learning about them. I’m crazy about the Birch trees in Maine for instance. For identification and list purposes, I’m using and love Forest Trees of Maine which I purchased at the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden in Boothbay.
You might be asking what about the Lupines? Well, I just added that because it sounds nice in the title. Of course, you might prefer to have a list of wildflowers. Or insects. Or mammals. Or seashells. The possibilities for travel lists are endless and based entirely on what you love!