So after taking that little detour to Fort Edgecomb I continued driving to my actual destination – Snow Falls in West Paris Maine. The funny thing about waterfalls, hiking trails, covered bridges, and other fun roadside attractions is that they don’t have an actual address. I had no idea how hard this one was going to be to find but I figured a mechanic also named Snow Falls might be close by! So I typed that in and low and behold when I drove up my destination it was actually obvious for once. The falls were at a rest stop, a very bright and open rest stop. I drove in and found this place was awesome. They even had little camping grills out for anyone who wanted to enjoy them. Though I must say their amenities were a bit primative. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to use an outhouse!
Still, the trails that headed over to the falls were short, easy to walk, and provided far more beautiful a scene than I had expected. Apparently the falls were named after Captain Snow who had a camp set up just about where the picnic tables are. He was a fur trapper at the time living out in the wilds of Maine pretty far from any real white settlements. This may be why he ultimately died during a brutal Indian raid – easy pickins’ I suppose. The tale tells of an Indian chief leading the raid wearing an entire eagle over his head, it’s wings outstretched, and it’s beak agape. Quite an image! This happened sometime in the 1750’s or 60’s, as several historical accounts contradict each other.
It seems here in the States we like to forget our bloody history of territorial skirmishes but having visited the site of a fort (first built to keep people safe from Indians and then to fend off the British) and then coming here… well, it certainly colors your view of your country’s origins!
The Falls themselves were littered with the ruins of three mills which once spanned the property – a chair factory, a paper mill, and a wood pulp mill, which spanned from sometime before the 1850’s until 1900 or so. The first two mills burned down, the third probably just decayed, but their stone foundations are still there for everyone to see and they’re quite beautiful if you’re into that sort of Gothic decay.
(Scroll past the gallery to get to a bonus funny story – what happened after we drove away from the falls!)
None of us had been to West Paris so when we got hungry no one knew where to go. I typed in three separate restaurants into the GPS and found one was a farm stand with only fresh produce, another two were closed, and FINALLY after going past the damn waterfalls going back and forth three or four times we ended up back in town at the Market Square Family Restaurant. This proved a fateful decision.
We were all famished and ready to eat. I ordered the turkey casserole and my mother and her friend both got the scallops. The waitress was a happy woman but with the attention span of a gnat. I could dismiss this but when she put those scallops on the table we were all hit with the rank stench of bad fish. Neither my mother or her friend dared even try eating it and I told them not to because I was driving and didn’t need to be pulling over every three minutes because someone has food poisoning. My turkey casserole wasn’t much better. It appeared to be a bag of stuffing cooked and topped off with canned turkey, three pieces of broccoli, and a healthful crust of prepackaged French onions. Semi-homemade cooking alright! I was so hungry I didn’t care and ate it anyway…
My mother was so put off she said no to the offer of a different meal. June reordered a hamburger figuring that was something they couldn’t fuck up. Well! That was where she was wrong. A tiny shriveled hamburger came out looking like it’d been hacked off a mummy, with the same anemic gray coloration and wrinkles. The bun didn’t seem any more fresh… June stuffed it in her purse so she could leave without making it look like she neglected to eat two meals… She noted all the cars in the parking lot were from out of state.
We literally had to drive to McDonalds down the road to get something that was at least not rancid to eat. So I pulled up into the drive through and was about to order when my mother started screaming. Apparently some genius had put sprinklers out to water the three inches of lawn and aimed them directly into the windows of people driving up. She got absolutely drenched in ice cold water. Free shower!
I parked after ordering because I got myself an ice cream. As we sat there my mother found herself tickled beyond measure by an elderly Canadian couple parked in a very shiny convertible in front of us. They took about three hours to get in and get ready to drive off, taking out their hats and even an adorable little travel scarf I’ve never seen a man wear before in my life. His wife had a sun hat. In a convertible. The whole scene had my mother laughing so hard she nearly pissed herself and this went on for twenty minutes or so before he finally drove off, going the same pace as a slug. Maybe that sun hat would stay on after all…