A Mainer on the Seasons of Maine

A view of Moosehead Lake from Lily Bay State Park in Maine
A view of Moosehead Lake from Lily Bay State Park in Maine

Maine is a great state!

It is a great place to live.

It is a great place to visit.

I have lived in Maine my entire life. I was raised in a small town just a few miles from the coast near Belfast, Maine. Sometimes, usually in the dead of winter, I long to be somewhere else, but I know I wouldn’t really be happy living anywhere else but in Maine.

Maine enjoys four very distinct seasons: summer, fall, winter, and spring. Sometimes, I feel like I get to experience all four seasons within a matter of days. There is an old saying that goes like this, “If you don’t like the weather in Maine, wait a few minutes.” On laundry day, you are quite apt to see sweatshirts and jeans on the same line as shorts and tanktops.

View from the snowmobile bridge of Manson Park in Pittsfield, Maine
View from the snowmobile bridge of Manson Park in Pittsfield, Maine during summer festival

Summer in Maine is marked on the calendar as June 20th or 21st and is the day the sun is farthest from the Tropic of Cancer or Summer Solstice. With the onset of summer, the days actually start getting shorter. Don’t be dismayed though, there is still lots of daylight and plenty of hot sunshiney days ahead to enjoy. Days you can spend barbecuing, at the beach, hiking Maine trails, swimming, riding 4-wheelers, kayaking and canoeing, or just relaxing in your backyard in the shade of a spreading maple tree. On Saturdays, head out for a drive and stop at yard sales you see along the way. You never know what treasure you might find in someone else’s cast-offs.

Fall coincides with the Autumnal Equinox on September 21st or 22nd. Days are shorter and most generally cooler. Nights are noticeably cooler and as season progresses, mornings are marked by a distinct chill in the air. The leaves on the trees change color in the fall, and Maine is transformed from greens and browns to hues of reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. The leaves reach their peak color about midway through the season and then they start to drop off onto the ground. During the fall, hiking, biking, and driving around are favorite things to do.

Cardinal in the snow
Cardinal in the snow

Winter oftentimes happens overnight, quite literally. The season begins on December 21st or 22nd with Winter Solstice, which is also the shortest day of the year. After spending one day enjoying a late fall “heat wave”, I wake up the next morning to a dusting of snow and find I need to start the woodstove to burn off the chill. Rain showers become snow showers and rakes are exchanged for shovels. Many Mainers get out their snowmobiles and get ready for the first big snowstorm. Maine has miles of snowmobile trails and several places for downhill skiing, as well as other places to enjoy wintertime sports. Though winter starts in late December, January is the month I hunker down as this is the month marked with extreme windchill and major snowstorms.

Once I make it through January, though, I really note the days’ lengthening and the warmth of the sun as the season wraps around into Spring which starts on March 20th or 21st, the Vernal Equinox. The days are markedly longer and warmer, but always be ready for that spring snowstorm with wet, heavy snow and dangerous driving conditions. In Maine, we may get a snowstorm as late as mid-April. With spring comes rain as in the saying, “April showers bring May flowers.” And the May flowers do come: crocuses, daffodils, and tulips followed by the many varied flowers of Maine summers.

Lemon Lily from my garden
Lemon Lily from my garden

From 80 degrees to -10, Maine’ seasons are truly extreme. Each one brings it own beauty and challenges. Maine truly is a great state, a great place to live and a great place to visit. Come visit us anytime here in Maine.

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