“Maine: The Way Life Should Be.” The expression, found on welcome signs at the state’s borders since the late eighties, is as deeply rooted in our collective consciousness as the much older (circa 1936) license plate slogan “Vacationland.” Read the story behind the slogan in the May 2013 issue of Down East.
Last winter, I headed north to Aroostook County to pay a visit with Mark Bloomer and his nightly visitors — a colony of flying squirrels. Northern flying squirrels are not uncommon, but because they are nocturnal and dwell in mature coniferous forests, they are rarely seen. That’s why the squirrels’ reliable visits to Bloomer’s cabin in Fort Fairfield have made them celebrities of a sort. They have starred in wildlife documentaries such as Sir David Attenborough’s BBC series The Life of Mammals, and they have served as subjects in biological research. My article about these enchanting creatures, Gliders, appears in the January issue of Down East.
Among Maine’s fifteen year-round island communities served by passenger boats, Islesboro, a retreat for America’s elite since the 1890s, occupies a unique niche owing to its location and its culture. Unlike its Penobscot Bay sisters, North Haven and Vinalhaven, which are too far flung to attract many daily commuters, Islesboro is just a twenty-minute jaunt. And unlike Peaks and Chebeague islands in Casco Bay, whose residents stream to mainland jobs in Portland and the suburbs, Islesboro is where most of the bleary-eyed workers who ride the Margaret Chase Smith ferry each morning metaphorically punch the clock. Making it on time means knowing the rules. It also helps to have a sense of humor. Read The Commute.
It got mighty steamy in the Down East offices as our editors taste-tested dozens of Maine-made hot sauces. Read Some Like It Hot in the February 2012 issue of Down East.