Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Redneck Disney World

At the southernmost tip of the great state of Maine lies a magical place known as the Kittery Trading Post. When you Google this mythical land, the subcategories that show up include "shooting accessories, "ammunition & magazines," "hunting clothing & footwear" & "archery," which should give you a feel for where this is going.

This moose greets you at the entrance. Similar moose greet you at the other entrances - because this place is freaking huge, multiple suburban blocks long & three floors high, so as far as I can tell, there are approximately a bazillion ways to get in. I once asked an employee for directions out & when I said, "I came in near the big moose," she asked, "Which one?" But lest you think this cadre of moose complete the KTP's taxidermied troops...

Would a zoom help? And maybe some big red circles to help you identify each dead animal? OK, here you go:

Yeah, I don't even know what some of those are. Is that a mountain goat? And that's just one wall! Kittery Trading Post is a veritable Where's Waldo of formerly living forest creatures.

But if formerly living forest creatures are too creepy for you - though I can't see why they would be - KTP also sells the cuddly creatures featured below. This is also a great way to prepare small children to their futures as expert marksmen.

The Foursquare reviews of the Kittery Trading Post are largely positive &, I assume, largely written by hunters & archers. I think I'm on Scott K.'s side:

But three floors is room for a lot of crap, which I have taken great pains to thoroughly explore. KTP specializes in actual hardcore outdoorsy gear, with the second floor almost entirely devoted to camping gear, kayaking equipment & the like. Because I am one of life's least outdoorsy individuals, I have yet to explore this area, but I have put lots of effort into checking out KTP's many tchotchkes, which is Yiddish for "crap that accumulates dust on shelves." If there's one thing I like, it's tchotchkes. Here's a smattering of some of my favorites:

At KTP, it also becomes obvious that these Mainers really embrace their Northeast roots. Just about everything in the store screams, "ALL WE HAVE IN THIS STATE IS MOOSE & LOBSTER & TOTAL WILDERNESS!"

But KTP is more than just a souvenir haven for Maine-bound tourists! It also sells items of great practical use. For example, if you're a lady cowhand in search of a new pair of overalls to wear while mucking in animal dung all day, KTP has just the section for you:

And you'll need shoes for all that dung-steppin', so don't forget to stop by KTP's shoe section*, where you can go hog-wild over the latest style of Dingos. Next wall over: UGGs. I kid you not.

If you fancy yourself a homemaker who values locally sourced foods, you'll love KTP's fascinatingly excessive selection of jellies & jams, stocked with everything from classic Strawberry Jam to the naughtier Spiced Rum Butterscotch Sauce to savory choices like Roasted Garlic Onion jam.**

And if you've got an unsightly hitch on the back o' yer truck, KTP can help you cover it up... with even more sightly plastic hitch covers in the shapes of feathered & furry friends! Turkeys, for example. And coyotes, but you have to pronounce it "KI-yotes," please, like the locals. And, um, buoys, for all you animal-haters out there who still want to cover your hitches in style. God, I've never used the word "style" so liberally in my life.

If you want to know the truth, I'm mildly obsessed with the Kittery Trading Post. OBVIOUSLY. It really is like redneck Disney World, but without the princesses & excessive branding. It's the Country Bear Jamboree come to life! At least they own it:

And in case, at the end of your visit, you're feeling overwhelmed by the dirty sin of consumerism, just stop by the bathroom on your way out, where your friendly local evangelicals have left reminders for you of Jesus's love. Atop the soap dispenser.

*Full disclosure: I bought a pair of discounted Sperry Topsiders here.
**Let's face it, this shiz is delicious; I can't bring myself to hate.
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