Feeling brave? This October is the perfect time to take advantage of living so close to a world famous horror author and jump into some paranormal activity. Stephen King is a graduate of the nearby University of Maine in Orono and calls Bangor (often appearing in his books under the guise of Derry) home. From haunted sewer grates to sematary tours, there’s lots of ghoulish fun to be had.
Go See IT
If those red balloons that keep popping up all over town send shivers down your spine, maybe it’s time to go see Stephen King’s IT. Check out the new film on the big screen (now showing in local theaters and the Bangor Drive-In) for the full fear factor. You could even prep ahead of time by adding the novel to required reading for your book club or planning an IT tour around Derry, I mean Bangor, to get in the mood. Visit the Paul Bunyan statue on Main Street in front of the Cross Insurance Center — the statue comes to life in the novel thanks to that clever clown Pennywise. Check out the sewer drain on the corner of Jackson and Union Street where Pennywise lured young Georgie Denbrough (just don’t stick your arm in there), then head up the hill to the Thomas Hill Standpipe that inspired the haunted water tower in the story.
Take the Full Tour
For the full Stephen King experience and visits to many other nearby spots that inspired King, check out SK Tours of Maine. Stu Tinker offers private narrated tours seven days a week all year round. The tour features about 30 stops at places King worked, lived, spots that have inspired him, and actual film locations from his movies. Check out more here.
New to downtown Bangor is Gerald Winters & Son, featuring an impressive collection of rare Stephen King books and memorabilia. Part store, part museum, you’ll find signed copies of books, T-shirts and posters, fun collectibles, and lots of rarities. An asbestos wrapped version of Firestarter, perhaps? You’ll also find some awesome first-edition works by J.R.R. Tolkien, J.D. Salinger and more.
And one last stop — drive by King’s house at 47 West Broadway in Bangor and stop for a picture in front of the famed gargoyled gate. Just keep an eye out for red balloons.