Every state has its must-sees. Those iconic structures or natural formations that define it in the eye of every tourist and traveler. Often it’s the firs thing that pops into your mind whenever that state’s name is mentioned.
New York has its Statue of Liberty, Texas has the Alamo, Missouri the St. Louis Arch, South Dakota its Mt. Rushmore and when I think of my native state of Oregon, it’s always against the backdrop of Mt. Hood. Closer to home, for those “from away” few things say “Maine” like a massive lighthouse clinging to our rock-bound coastline.
All awe-inspiring, but according to the folks at Yahoo Travel, all falling woefully short when it comes to the cool-factor.
” There are things in every state that make you go ‘Wow,'” says Yahoo’s online travel article. “With no strict definition of ‘cool’ in mind, Yahoo set out to bring you one thing in each of the 50, designed to make you want to jump on a plane, train,or automobile and explore this very cool country of ours.”
So what’s Maine’s cool magnet? None other than Eartha, the world’s largest rotating globe rotating on its true-to-scale axis the headquarters of Maine-based mapmakers DeLorme in Yarmouth.
I could not agree more. In fact, the entire DeLorme facility is one, wonderful temple of cool to those of us who love all things map-related. I mean, where else can you find the most up-to-date topography map software tucked in next to Map-of-the-World shower curtains?
An aside – it was in no small part thanks to one of those very shower curtains years ago that I scored 144 out of 145 on a college geography test. Had the Ethiopian Plateau appeared on the curtain, certainly the score would have been 100 percent.
Over the years DeLorme has given us the bible of road trips – The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer and expanded the collection to include every state. I’d no more venture out on a road trip without my DeLorme than I would without a full tank of gas.
So, hail to you, DeLorme, the epicenter of all things cool in Maine. I can’t wait to stop in on my next trip south to pay homage to Eartha and check out some maps so I can find my way to cool spots like Oheka Castle in New York, the second largest private residence ever built in the United States; State Highway 16 in Texas; the Bonne Terre Mine, the world’s largest subterranean lake in Missouri; the world’s only corn palace in South Dakota; and, my personal favorite, Powell’s City of Books out in Portland, Oregon.
Who knew a road trip could have such cool potential?