Visiting King's Derry

I recently returned from a six day road trip to Maine with my best friend. This was my third visit to the state and it did not disappoint. There are so many things to share about Maine and the trip, but I thought I would start with the one consistent thing that all of my trips have in common and that's Bangor. On my first trip about nineteen years ago, we just stopped in Bangor to have lunch and took a picture of the enormous Paul Bunyan statue. Even in that brief time, I knew I would be back.

Paul Bunyan and I - Bangor, Maine 2000

Then, I found out that Stephen King lived in Bangor and had wished I had taken more time to look into the place. Many of King's books take place in a town called Derry and once I did some research I learned that in real life Derry is Bangor! Now I really wanted to go back.

In 2013, I passed through Bangor again. This time, only for the three hour Stephen King tour that I had found online. The tour was incredible. Even if you don't think you are a Stephen King fan, (and let's face it, who isn't a fan of something Stephen King has done? Shawshank Redemption, Stand By Me, The Shining, Under The Dome, The Green Mile, Dolores Claiborne, It) the tour is still interesting. You learn about Derry/Bangor, you learn about who Stephen King and his wife, Tabitha are and how important they are to the community. Plus you get to see some of the places and sights that have inspired King and his writing.

Fast forward to this year. I spent more time in Bangor and was able to take the Stephen King tour again. I was happy to see that the tour company, SK Tours of Maine has grown and become even more successful in the last six years. The owners, Stu and Penny Tinker, have made sure to keep it current including new books and movies that King has done. Their success has proved Stephen King wrong with his prediction that no one would want to come on the tour. They do two tours a day and people come from all over the world!

Check out SK Tours of Maine here.

I think one of our favourite parts, if not THE favourite part of the SK tour, was the cemetery. We liked it so much we returned again the next day to explore when it wasn't raining. Mount Hope Cemetery is probably the nicest cemetery I have ever visited. It was built as a garden cemetery and was made for the living and the dead. It is well used by the public and is a beautiful, peaceful place. It is also the cemetery that was used for three scenes in Pet Semetary.

Stu and Penny are pretty cool people. The more I learn about them, the more I like them. Not only are they Stephen King fans and not only do they do these tours, but for twenty years they owned a bookstore in Bangor, Maine called Betts Bookstore. Now, you probably know that I like bookstores. What I am most impressed with is that for the last nine years that they owned the bookstore, they sold only Stephen King books. It boggles my mind that a bookstore can be successful with only ONE author.

We visited Gerald Winters and Son Rare Books which is now the bookstore that sells only Stephen King. It was wonderful. I purchased the complete and uncut edition of The Stand which many people (including the store owner) say is their favourite King book. Hopefully soon, I will delve into the 1439 pages and see what all the fuss is about. I mentioned how I didn't think there was another author that you could have a business solely selling their books. The owner agreed and said, maybe JK Rowling in England if you included all of the product too, but not just on books alone. Another reason to be impressed with Stephen King and it has inspired me to read the SK books sitting on my shelf that I haven't gotten to yet.

Check out Gerald Winters and Son Rare Books


In just less than a month Stephen King will be turning 72. He doesn't seem to be slowing down. The movie It Chapter 2 comes out at the beginning of September; his novel, The Institute and Season 3 of Mr. Mercedes comes out less than a week later; then in November Doctor Sleep (the sequel to The Shining) will be out.

“Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.” - Stephen King

Do you have a favourite Stephen King book/movie?

Derry adventures await!

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