Editor’s Note by Kathleen Fleury
Earlier this summer, my family had a picnic at Laite Memorial Beach, near the mouth of Camden Harbor. It was a beautiful day, especially welcome after a cold and rainy spring. We splashed in the refreshing (some might say frigid) water, and my daughter, Ella, begged to test her swimming skills by front-crawling out to floating dock offshore. My son, Graeme, found his niche collecting and throwing rocks into the waves. All the while, we watched the action on the water, from the geese that landed right in front of us to the boats gliding in and out of the harbor.
I’m fortunate that my life is centered around Camden and Rockport harbors, which I pass almost every day on my commute. On my way home one evening last winter, I saw a full moon rising over Rockport Harbor that took my breath away. (Luckily, our director of photography, Benjamin Williamson, saw it too — a lot of you had the same reaction when we posted it on our Facebook page.)
Merriam-Webster has several definitions of pretty, one of which is appearing or sounding pleasant or nice but lacking strength, force, manliness, purpose, or intensity. Many of us raising children in the 21st century are sensitive to the gendered bias in telling little girls they’re pretty, because they are so much more than that. I know: Eye roll. Millennials are so PC. What’s the harm? But just as I cringe when someone calls a child pretty, I hesitated at first to use the word in this issue to describe Maine’s harbors.
Why? The “Prettiest Harbors” that appear in this month’s photo feature, beginning on page 82, are part of the fabric of economic life and cultural identity in our coastal communities. They sustain our commercial fisheries and are the pillars of our tourism industry. They are living, ever-evolving entities, with fishing wharfs, boatyards, restaurants, and shops lining their shores. And yes, it must be said, they are also very, very pretty — but their prettiness is not reductive.
So back to Laite Beach, where I sat watching the maritime traffic as Ella splashed and Graeme skipped stones. We spotted the schooner Olad, captained by Ella’s friend’s father,
Aaron Lincoln, making its way to the open waters of Penobscot Bay. On the opposite shore, we saw the powerful presence of Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding at Wayfarer Marine, owned by another of Ella’s friend’s parents. In one snapshot were two families (who just happen to have pretty and strong, purposeful, smart daughters) contributing to a harbor’s economic and cultural legacy — and making it so much more than just another pretty place.
– Kathleen Fleury
Visiting the stewards who help make Maine’s stretch of the Appalachian Trail a wilderness experience like no other.
By Kathryn Miles
For 20 years, Cape Elizabeth’s Beach to Beacon road race has welcomed the world’s elite runners — and locals have opened their homes to them.
By Tristan Spinksi
It’s time to lay anchor. Our pictorial tribute to the eight port towns and peaceful coves we never tire of gazing at.
North by East
Opinions, Advisories, and Musings from the Length and Breadth of Maine
Our Oldest Border Skirmish
Down East Dispatches
News You May Have Missed
Why Ranked-Choice Voting (Potentially) Matters
Debating Cruise Ships on MDI
Living the Maine Life
Making It in Maine
Room With a View
What to Do in Maine This Month
From Our Archives
On the cover: Five Islands in Georgetown by Benjamin Williamson
Additional photos: Douglas Merriam, Jared Kuzia, Brian Fitzgerald, Michael D. Wilson