What’s a name? That’s a fantastic question. Places are labeled by name for many reasons. Sometimes they’re named because of physical attribute or sometimes they’re named for a person. And Maine has many instances of both.

During the pandemic, many people had their travel plans canceled.  My plans were to go to visit Canada but that fell apart due to COVID-19. So what’s a person to do to visit those exotic destinations while stuck in Maine?  You can start by visiting Denmark.

Yes, you can visit Denmark without leaving the state of Maine. You can also visit Norway, Poland, Sweden, Naples, Peru, China, Mexico and Paris.  Who knew you could visit Sweden right in the state of Maine.

One would imagine that most of these towns were named for the countries of the same name. But that’s not always the case. Take Paris, which was named to honor Alfron Paris who was the leader of the movement to separate Maine from Massachusetts.  We owe him much gratitude!

Then let’s look at Norway. Apparently none of the early settlers even came from that area so it is believed that this may have been a spelling error. The residents originally asked at the Town be called Norage, Which is similar to the Native American word  norridge. Norridge means falling water. Norge is  the Norwegian spelling of Norway so you can see how this may have just been a mistake. Nevertheless, Maine has a town named Norway.

What about Augusta? How did Augusta get its name? Originally it was named Cushnoc, which translates to head of tide. That changed in 1797 when it became Augusta named for Augusta Dearborn, daughter of Henry Dearborn.

What’s in a name? For places in Maine it is history with a bit of whimsy perhaps. With COVID-19, it’s also endless places you can travel without leaving the borders.

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