Field trip to Augusta.

It’s not enough to simply live here.  Over the past several weeks my daughter has been indoctrinating us in ALL THINGS MAINE.  Often at dinner, when none of us can get away.  What is the Maine state bird?  The Black-Capped Chickadee.  What is the Maine state insect? The Honeybee. And the largest vegetable export? Po-ta-toes.  Being non-natives, I actually find this knowledge helpful and interesting, if not strictly practical.  Perhaps someday I’ll be invited to a cocktail party where this sort of thing will simply WOW my fellow guests.  ANYWAY. Yesterday was the culmination of this Maine school segment – at least for me.  B/c yesterday I chaperoned my older daughter’s class trip to Augusta.  For those of you with fuzzy recollections, Augusta is the capital of Maine.  It’s where the State House is located, the governor’s mansion (The Blaine House), and more.  My daughter & I were EXCITED!!!  Not only to soak in our new capital, but to have a capital adventure together.

Behold!  The beautiful Maine State House.  The building below is its next-door neighbor.  It looked governmental, so I took its photo too.  [I believe it houses the cafeteria.]

Our group arrived early.  Mostly b/c we live in MAINE where traffic is virtually unknown.  To pass the time, the students were grilled on Maine facts.  YES!  I thought!  TIME FOR ME TO SHINE!!  Until I realized they were only asking the 4th graders.  Not wanting to seem pushy, I kept my mouth shut.  Even though I knew all the answers.  YOU KNOW I DID.  Those 4th graders were thrusting hands in the air, chanting in unison and even singing a song about all sixteen counties.  (I did not know that one and will now have to practice.)  Before we knew it, the time had flown and our tour guide had arrived!

But WAIT!  That’s no tour guide — that’s

Governor Baldacci ~!!

Who delighted each & every one of us with a PERSONAL VISIT!

[Insert Loud Applause]

After all, Maine’s motto isn’t THE WAY LIFE SHOULD BE for nothing!  Even though our beloved Governor is beyond busy, he took the time to greet us, let us all traipse through his office and – he even shook my hand!! (AND Yes, I did wash it grudgingly this morning.  But only b/c I knew I “had to.”)

PS: Governor Baldacci is so cool and important, he’s even got a RED PHONE.

But the Governor has a job to do – so back to the tour!  Our (real) guide led us upstairs to the House of Representatives and the Senate.  Conveniently located at opposite ends of the enormous hallway.

This is the House of Representatives.  No offense to the Senators – who likely prefer their chamber b/c of its cozy size – but I found the House much more impressive.  It’s HUGE!

And the Representatives allow tour groups to sit in their chairs.  Which we didn’t have time to do b/c of the Governor’s surprise visit, but still it was a nice offer.  Those Representatives are really nice about their stuff.  Remind me to register to vote sometime.

This is the Senate.  At the other end of the hallway.

Like I told you, meh.  They’d tried to curry favor with us by including an electronic welcome message on the board:

But the tour guide kept reminding us not to touch anything.  Senators are really particular about their stuff.  No chair testing.  HANDS OFF!  You’d think these Senators would share the wealth a little bit (seeing as we TAXPAYERS are footing their bills..)  Sheesh.

In the middle of the hallway is the Rotunda, and BOY is it lovely.  You can look straight up several stories to the inside of the capitol dome.

I was also really impressed by the scope of the artwork on display throughout the building.  TONS of exquisite oil portraits, as well as landscapes, and in Governor Baldacci’s quarters, even Norman Rockwell originals!

And then, all too soon, our tour was over. But the fun wasn’t!  We proceeded a short distance across the complex to the Maine State Museum.  A hidden gem of a place, that truly everyone in Maine should visit at least once.

After eating lunch, we broke into smaller groups in order to take in the exhibits.

I kept thinking how much my husband & family would enjoy it.  It really is such a neat place.  They have displays on everything imaginable in Maine’s history.  From the earliest Paleo Indians to the industrial revolution and beyond.  And all the native Maine trades are covered.  Things like Agriculture, Stone Quarrying, Timber, Fishing, Ship Building.

I particularly liked the display of colorful sardine tins.. But was incredibly saddened to hear from my husband last night that the last remaining Maine sardine cannery had recently closed.  A tragic loss for a state where jobs are already incredibly hard to come by.

Many thanks to the Maine State Museum for keeping it alive – at least in spirit.

And when you get a chance to visit Maine – check it out yourself!  You’ll be glad you did.

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26 thoughts on “Field trip to Augusta.

  1. Couple of thoughts:

    Baldacci should get a haircut like mine; it would really go well with the name;

    They should sell some of that fancy artwork to help reduce the state deficit;

    Register to vote!

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  2. Please tell me you’re kidding about the voter thing. You’re kidding, RIGHT?

    That is 100% fantabulous that you got to meet the governor. So cool!

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    1. Well Hayden, I WISH I could tell you I was joking.. BUT. When we got our new Maine driver licenses I thought we’d be registered by default (they do it that way in PA) but no. John & I need to figure out how to register, and soon. The gubernatorial race is on. Two of the candidates have ties to the girls’ school here in Portland. One of Maddie’s best friends – her father is a candidate. We’ll get registered, don’t you worry. I meant it more as a joke than anything.

      PS: YES IT WAS WAY COOL!

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  3. i also read about the sardine plant closing–it was so sad…not that i’d step up and eat a sardine to keep it in business.

    glad you had fun at the state house. i took a similar trip in 5th grade to trenton to visit our state house (we all wore kevlar vests).

    i volunteered my mom to come along, but she decided she didn’t want to go. instead, my DAD came along. i cried for 3 days leading up to the trip…i don’t know why i was so anti-dad but NO DADS ever came on field trips back in the day.

    anyway, dad hung out with all the boys in my class and was a huge hit. after that trip, other dads started volunteering to go on field days.

    glad you love maine…i thought you took a trip to georgia when i saw the title…

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    1. The boys gravitated to the Dad in our group too. Although I wrangled two of them into my group. CULT OF PERSONALITY, let me tell ya! HAH=!!

      PS: WHY does everyone assume OTHER places when I mention these Maine names??! Portland, Augusta… Cripes!

      PPS: We did not get vests. But we did make arrowheads.

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  4. Hi Christy,
    You would like Gov. Baldacci’s wife, Karen. She is both a registered dietitian and a primary school teacher. She is, like her husband, very casual and down to earth: a really fine person. Abbie Barber

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    1. Hi Abbie, I bet I would like her. He had lots of family photos up, which I would have studied if I’d had more time. It’s pretty amazing how “available” politicians are here in comparison to Pennsylvania. It’s wonderful.

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  5. OMG! I love your perspective on our trip to Augusta this week! It’s so cool to have a view of Maine through a newcomer’s eyes – and such a humorous view to boot! All the planning and preparation it took beforehand was more than worth it just to be able to read your blog – never mind that the kids had a wonderful experience! (I, as their teacher, should have listed that first!)If you ever need more quizzing about Maine, let me know. Ayuh!

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    1. What a compliment, Mr. Fuller! But the real praise should be directed towards you & Ms. Lammers. You are such wonderful teachers. Thank you, truly, for all that you do!

      PS: Madison has been grilling us on the solar system too. If you keep this up, we will never know a quiet dinner. (just kidding) 😉

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  6. Christy/Dishy

    I loved reading about our Augusta trip through your eyes and words. ( I should hire you to write my blog! I’ll be putting some of your photos up there, too. Thanks for sending them to us.)

    It was a great day. I’m so glad went to Governor Baldacci’s secretary and asked her if he had time to come out and talk to our class. I knew it would be a highlight for all the students and in your case the adults, too.

    So glad you could join us. I had a fabulous day, too.

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    1. Pat, I am so glad you have such pull! Thanks to you, the whole group had a treat we won’t ever forget. Thank you – not only for that, but for all you do daily in the classroom. You & Mr. Fuller are superlative teachers and have made this year a remarkable one for our daughter. We are deeply grateful to you both.

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    1. I lost count. Good thing too, I might have really grossed myself out. Just kidding; I actually went to the bathroom before lunch and washed them. And after we toured the museum. And when we got home, they felt a tiny bit dirty from the drive, so I washed them again. I forget what I was doing after that, but I know I washed them just b/c. And then of course the mandatory BEFORE DINNER washing. After that, I washed them to make sure I was clean enough to watch TV. Then it was time for bed, so I washed them before & then after I brushed my teeth. And then I fell asleep and dreamed of washing them, I was dressed in a duck suit and …

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  7. Awesome photos of the trip to your state’s capital! Don’t you just love the architecture and history? The sardine can display was interesting to see. I wonder if a sardine town in Maine was the inspiration for the movie version of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs?” 🙂

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  8. Sounds line you kept the Maine thing the main thing! Glad you guys had so much fun. Imagine being 55 years old and going on those field trips with all those cluless parents. lol

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