Has it really been forty years since Rubber Soul? Ten years since Jerry passed away? Man oh man, where did the time go? But take heart, brothers and sisters. Some outposts of the sixties still live on in Maine. They might have . . . changed a bit since the Woodstock era. But every silver lining's got a touch of gray, right? So if you're feeling nostalgic, musically estranged, and flabby of body and soul, here's the antidote. Jump in the VW bus (or the Subaru Forester, as the case may be) and hit the highway. These back-to-the-landmarks will help you get your groove back.
Starks: Hempstock: While the activist group Maine Vocals hasn't been very successful in its drive to legalize the cannabis leaf (all right, it's gotten nowhere), it did give birth to Hempstock, an annual music jam in Starks characterized by its clouds of mood-enhancing smoke. This year's fest is August 18 to 21. Expect long hair, bell-bottoms, and beards - and those are just on the undercover DEA agents. www.mainevocals.net
Brunswick: Gulf of Maine Books: In the age of megabookstores, independent bookseller, poet, publisher, and environmental activist Gary Lawless shines as a beacon of real intellectual freedom. Looking for a copy of Martin Espada's political verses? How about Zinn's Ultimate Betrayal? You might find one at this Brunswick idea bazaar. 207-729-5083.
Kennebunk: Tom's of Maine: Who knew people wanted to brush their teeth with myrrh? Tom and Kate Chappell, that's who. In 1968 the power couple left corporate jobs to move back-to-the-land to Kennebunk, but instead of raising beans and corn - they raised a corporation, selling calendula deodorant and fennel mouthwash. Ka-ching! www.tomsofmaine.com
Guilford: Burt's Bees: Honey turned into money for bearded Burt Shavitz and radical Roxanne Quimby who parlayed a few beehives into a cosmetic company that sold for $175 million a few years back. Not too shabby for a business once headquartered in a Water Street bowling alley. Burt's left Guilford for North Carolina a while go, but Guilford's always worth a visit. www.burtsbees.com
Blue Hill: WERU-FM: Maine's ultimate community radio station had its first home in a chicken barn owned by Noel Paul Stookey (of Peter, Paul and Mary), broadcasting from the top of Blue Hill. The station moved to East Orland in 1997 but still transmits its subversive signals - Democracy Now! - out into the ether, waging a daily battle of ideas with the Clear Channel chain. www.weru.org
Unity: Common Ground Fair: It started in Litchfield and later moved to Windsor, but it wasn't until 1998 that the annual celebration of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association found a permanent home in Unity. It's 100 percent organic everything at this seed-selling, llama-loving, coffee-eschewing rite of fall (September 23 to 25 this year). www.mofga.org
Belfast: Belfast Co-Op: Belfast was hippie heaven - earthy, artsy, live-and-let-live. The '60s dream might have died elsewhere, but it keeps on trucking here, especially at the crunchiest grocery store in the state. Those so-called natural food markets in Portland are corporate wolves in sheep's wool clothing. For organic goodness, the Belfast Co-op is where it's at. www.belfast.coop
Cape Rosier: The Good Life Center: Here is your final stop, the mecca of every back-to-the-lander, the former homestead of Scott and Helen Nearing, whose 1954 book Living the Good Life started thousands of baby boomers planting kale and tending goats. With the Nearings gone, their Harborside farm lives on as a nonprofit center welcoming hippies, ex-hippies, and youngsters who feel like they missed out on the best era ever. www.goodlife.org