Discover Maine with Brent
The for this episode was recorded on March 22, so keep that in mind when listening to our discussion about the weather and daylight hours.
Maine is the easternmost and northernmost state in the contiguous United States, and it’s known for its expansive forests, breathtaking coastlines, and its unique New England culture.
So much of its territory is covered by trees that it’s nicknamed "The Pine Tree State." If you enjoy hiking or just taking a stroll in the woods, you’re in for a treat; 90% of Maine’s territory is covered in trees!
Acadia National Park, which is hugged by the Atlantic Ocean, is stunning, with scenic landscapes and wildlife such as bears, moose and whales. Acadia and Maine in general boast a multitude of hiking trails. On them, you might find blueberries. Maine is the largest producer of blueberries in the United States.
As a visitor in Maine, a typical day might include visiting the rocky coastline and its iconic lighthouses. Many small picture-worthy fishing villages are also waiting for you. For example, Winter Harbor, Lubec, or Stonington, which looks like a painting in reality.
The state’s economy is driven by forestry, fishing and tourism. As a tourist in Maine, you should know that Augusta is the capital and Portland is the most populous city. Portland is known for its rich arts scene, and it was rated the number one food city in the US by Bon Appétit. If you go, be sure to order up some local delicacies like a lobster roll and a warm slice of blueberry pie for dessert.
When in doubt, always talk to locals. In fact, today we’ll be talking to one! Brent, who is a middle school English teacher in Maine will share some very interesting stuff about his state, its culture, and, of course, about his life. You might know Brent already, he’s all over the Internet. You’ll find him on YouTube, on Instagram. He’s Speak English with This Guy.
Shana: Hi, everybody. Welcome back to a new Discover a New State episode. Today I am here with Brent, Speak English with This Guy, who is originally from Maine, I believe. But we’re going to find out a lot more about the state of Maine in this episode. So my goal here is to tap into his life experience, get to know him so that you guys also get to know a local. That’s what I want, and I hope you guys walk away from this thinking, Hey, I know a little bit more about the state and I know someone from there, so let’s welcome Brent.
Shana: Hi, Brent!
Brent: Hey, Shana. How are you?
Shana: I’m doing really well. How are you doing today?
Brent: I’m doing great. Yeah, we just had daylight savings time, so it stays light a little bit later in the day. So I feel like I have a little bit more energy.
Shana: That’s good. Okay, so you’re in Maine right now. Does that mean it’s three hours later than in California? What time is it right now?
Brent: We’re recording this at about 6:18 p.m., which is just about two hours before my bedtime, because I’m an old man and I get up really early.
Shana: Okay. So what time does it get dark in Maine around this time of year?
Brent: If we were recording this in December, the sun would start going down at about 3:30 p.m. And by the summer when we get to June, the sun will be up until almost 9 p.m..
Shana: Ooh, For me, that sounds perfect because I love daylight hours when I can go out and explore and do things. Is that your favorite time of year in the state?
Brent: No, absolutely. I love summer. In fact, I did an English lesson teaching the word "loathe," [00:05:00] and I used loathe to describe how I felt about winter. So I love summer. I don’t really like winter.
Shana: So a long time ago, I lived in New York and I took a trip with Amtrak, which is great for anyone listening. You can get great Amtrak deals in the Northeast, it goes everywhere. And I took a trip up to Montreal and it was mid-April, and in my head, in my California head, I was thinking, Oh, we’re going to have so much fun outdoors and it’s spring already, and it was still cold, there was still ice on things. What’s the weather like in April, May? Is it still snowy outside?
Brent: Well, right now we do have snow on the ground still. Today, it reached about 50°F. So for me, living in Maine, that was balmy. That was nice. I enjoyed it. Maybe for you living in Southern California, you would be freezing. But yeah, I really liked it. But there have been some years in Maine where we have gotten a foot of snow on April 1st and as late as April 15th.
Shana: Wow. So I want to ask you why you live there if you loathe it so much, but first, I want to get to know you a little bit more. So you mentioned you are an English teacher. Can you tell me a little bit about who you are, what you do?
Brent: Yeah, sure. So I’ve been an English teacher in the United States for 20 years. This is my 20th year and all of my students are native English speakers and they are between the ages of 13 and 14. Some days are pretty tiring. They have a lot of energy and there are a lot of them. I have about 80 students and only one of me, so…
Shana: But it’s fun. It’s a lot of fun?
Brent: Yeah, I really like that age because if you remember yourself at 13 and 14, you’re like unsure of yourself. And a lot of times you just need someone to understand. So for me, yes, the learning is important, but developing relationships with my students to just get them through probably one of the most difficult times in their life, so that… I find that rewarding.