We took a lovely drive to Hallowell and had a pleasant walk in Vaughan Woods. But our tranquility was shattered by finding our car missing upon our return from the trails an hour later. It seems that the city had authorized the towing of at least five vehicles that had been parked on Middle Street near the small but overflowing parking lot. Our collective parking violations amounted to $75 in fines to the city clerk’s office and $540 in fees payable (in cash only) to the towing company.

Three of us were greeted by the taciturn police officer handing out the towing company’s business cards: “Call the number.” Later hikers were only left to guess who had stolen their car. Fortunately several kind folks offered us scofflaws rides the seven miles to the towing site while our family members (16 people left stranded) waited for our return.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but none of us could have remotely imagined that our vehicles would have been impounded for parking roadside for an hour. How unprogressive of the town not to mark Middle Street “no parking” nor to suggest additional parking available at the high school with a helpful map.

In most Maine cities (and the rest of the U.S.), “no parking” signs and a ticket would have sufficed to deter our infraction, but beware the omnipotent Hallowell that clears their roads hourly of those daring to park roadside.

Fair enough, you win. We will never return to Hallowell nor any of its eateries, art galleries, or any event the city may concoct to entice visitors (though we love your chairs by the river).

Charles Annable

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