The North Face outpost of Cadillac Mountain Sports in Bar Harbor is the only location in the state to carry the brand’s Summit Series. Elijah O’Connor wears the Summit Series L6 coat, which was designed to endure winter hiking in the Himalayas. PHOTO BY TAYLOR BIGLER

Texas transplant braces for second Maine winter



ELLSWORTH — If you moved to Downeast Maine as a native of, let’s say, Texas and Louisiana, and 2014-2015 was your first winter here, you would be insane to stay through another one, right?

If that’s the case, I must need a straightjacket, because instead of boarding the first flight back to DFW International Airport, I’m digging in my heels. (Do straightjackets come in a nice fleece? If so, I’m interested.)

Last winter was a learning experience. I learned that all it takes to survive a brutal Maine winter are the following: thick socks; long johns (the uglier, the better); unfashionable, insulated boots; a funny looking hat; a coat resembling the Michelin Man; an ice scraper for your windshield (actually, two, because if you misplace one, spatulas do not work, even in a pinch); plenty of extra towels to stuff under doorframes; a seven-figure salary to cover the heating bills and a magic genie to shovel the driveway.

See? It’s not so bad.

This women’s jacket by The North Face features the brand’s Thermoball technology. This jacket is perfect for staying active in cold temperatures and was formulated for maximum warmth without the bulk. PHOTO BY LETITIA BALDWIN
This women’s jacket by The North Face features the brand’s Thermoball technology. This jacket is perfect for staying active in cold temperatures and was formulated for maximum warmth without the bulk.
PHOTO BY LETITIA BALDWIN

Now I can’t help you with that seven-figure salary, nor can I divulge where to find the best genie. But luckily, area merchants can equip you with tried and true gear as well as the latest in winter apparel technology.

If you’ve ever seen a lobsterman outfitted for hauling traps in the winter — and chances are, you have — it’s more likely than not that many are sporting Muck Boots. And for good reason.

“We sell those boots to everybody. A lot of the fishermen wear them, hunters — my son is a chief mate on a ship up in Alaska and he wears them,” said Chris Eaton, a salesman at Hamilton Marine in Southwest Harbor. “They are comfortable, warm, they breathe; they are really a great boot. We sell some other brands but nothing near as insulated as those.”

Eaton said Hamilton Marine probably sells more Muck Boots than any other brand.

Muck Boots aren’t just for sportsmen, and if style is a priority, the boots come in bright colors for the ladies and fun colors and patterns for kids. Renys, Super Shoes, Curtis Shoes, Tractor Supply Co. and Cadillac Mountain Sports in Ellsworth also carry the brand.

Cadillac Mountain Sports in Ellsworth and Bar Harbor can outfit you with the necessary garb to climb a mountain in sub-zero temperatures, or just so as not to freeze on the way to your car.

For those of us who won’t be climbing Mount Everest anytime soon, The North Face men’s and women’s sleek Gotham Parka features a mix of down and down alternative insulation for extra warmth and water repellency without the bulk.

Columbia makes base layers with Omni-Heat technology, which reflects 20 percent of the wearer’s body heat.

Rab, an outfitter named for British climber/adventurer Rab Carrington, treats the down feathers in its lightweight jackets with a durable water repellent finish (DWR), and Mountain Hardware’s insulated jackets feature a similar technology.

“The DWR treatment is relatively new in the industry and it makes it so the down won’t knot up, and it makes the jacket highly water resistant,” said Amy Sundberg, outdoor apparel buyer for Cadillac Mountain Sports.

If you would rather dress yourself without the chemistry lesson, go for handmade accessories from local shops and artisans.

Felted mittens by Zip Sopp of Jackman, Island Artisans, Bar Harbor
Felted mittens by Zip Sopp of Jackman, Island Artisans, Bar Harbor

At Island Artisans in Bar Harbor, felted mittens by Zip Sopp of Jackman are cozy and unique. Around the corner at Village Emporium, infinity scarves in muted plaids can be worn multiple ways for different layers of warmth.

In Trenton, Lacy Sinclair hand knits and crochets custom hats, cowls and even bikinis.

Jenn Tozier of Southwest Harbor crochets colorful headbands, baby booties, scarves and cozies for the very important task of keeping your beer insulated and hands warm.

Now that I know where to find a handmade beer cozy, I’m prepared for anything, including another bad winter.

To hear the weathermen tell it, this upcoming winter could be even worse than last.

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, we could see a Thanksgiving snowstorm and colder than usual temperatures through December and January. If the Almanac is correct, snow will be heavy throughout the season and could linger well past March.

I may just be crazy for staying in Maine with all this Southern blood running through my veins. But maybe it’s not so much insanity as it is pure physics.

As the poet Anonymous explains:

Yes, the winter here is wonderful

So I guess I’ll hang around.

I could never leave Maine

’Cause I’m frozen to the ground.

Taylor Bigler Mace

Taylor Bigler Mace

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Taylor covers sports and maritimes for the Islander. As a native of Texas, she is an unapologetic Dallas Cowboys fan. [email protected]
Taylor Bigler Mace

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