There are days in a magazine editor's life when you don't see the sunlight, and this was almost one of them for me. Work kept me in the office for close to eight hours. The phone kept ringing, email poured continually into my inbox, instant messages were constant distractions. It was only toward the end of the afternoon that my wife emailed to say that a friend of ours had spotted a rufous hummingbird at her feeder.
Maine has only a single native species of hummingbird—the ruby-throated—so this sighting was of real significance. Rufous hummingbirds normally spend their summers in the Pacific Northwest, meaning this little guy was seriously off course.
Thirty-nine years ago, Yvonne Drown of Hope was a contestant in the Maine Wild Blueberry Queen pageant, and nine years ago her daughter, Janelle, was selected Crown Princess, or first runner up. This year mother and daughter are once again involved with the competition, Yvonne as the organizer and Janelle as a judge.
I met with Yvonne this week because, as part of my research for The Wild Blueberry Book (to be published by Down East Books in 2011). I am interested in the ways we celebrate this beautiful and delicious fruit. The pageant is the cornerstone of the Union Fair’s fifty-one-year-old Maine Wild Blueberry Festival, scheduled for August 21 to 28.
Last night, dozens of people came to Rockland for the Maine Art & Design Dinner, presented by Thos. Moser & Down East Magazine. The opening reception took place at the beautiful Eric Hopkins Gallery in downtown Rockland.
August 6-8 is the Maine Fairy Festival at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. It's a truly wonderful event with thoughtful and fun programs like fairy house building, a fairy photo workshop, a parade of fairies by the Shoestring Theater, book signings, and a beautiful setting. Last year I took my children (then 1 1/2 and 4 1/2) and they had the most magical time. And that's why, when the CMBG asked Down East if we wanted to build a fairy house for this year's fairy house competition, I jumped at the chance.
We assembled a crack group of Down Easties, gathered materials from the woods, the beach, the farm, and then last week, we set to building.
Another Down East editor and I watched the fireworks in Camden from the top of Mount Battie, the mountain that inspired many Edna St. Vincent Milay poems. While we waited for the sky to darken and the show to start, our children played on the rocks and explored the peak. It was a wonderful scene. A classic Maine moment.
And to top it off, while there was still just enough light in the sky to see, my daughter discovered a patch of ripe wild blueberries, and after commenting on how early it seemed to find ripe blueberries, all of us feasted on them.
Two Down East Books have won IPPY awards from the Indpendent Publisher Book Awards. Becoming Teddy Roosevelt: How a Maine Guide Inspired America’s 26th President by Andrew Vietze, won a Silver Award in the “Best Regional Non-Fiction” category, and Chosen Faith, Chosen Land: The Untold Story of America’s 21st-Century Shakers, by Jeannine Lauber, has won a Bronze Award in the “Religion” category.
Chosen Faith, Chosen Land explores the world’s only remaining Shaker community. Weaving together proprietary Shaker quotations, interviews, and photographs, the book exposes a multitude of popular misconceptions and myths, most notably that the Shakers and their faith are dead. The contemporary Shaker community has become surprisingly outward-reaching and in this book the author strives to place the topics of faith, community, work, and worship in the context of Shaker history and contemporary developments on the American landscape.
The Poacher's Son, a new mystery written by our very own Editor-in-Chief, Paul Doiron, has hit the book stores and is getting amazing reviews. And we have SIGNED COPIES for sale.
Set in the wilds of Maine, The Poacher's Son is an explosive tale of an estranged son thrust into the hunt for a murderous fugitive—his own father. It is a sterling debut of literary suspense. Taut and engrossing, it represents the first in a series featuring Mike Bowditch.
Here is what the New York Times, Publisher's Weekly, and Booklist have to say about it:
New York Times
“The novel’s eye-popping scenes, idyllic and otherwise, are conveyed by Doiron’s narrator, Mike Bowditch, a rookie game warden who loves the ‘solitary and morbid profession’ that is threatened when his father, Jack, a notorious poacher, is accused of murder.
Calling all artists!!! Win a chance to have your photo, illustration, or design appear on the cover of Down East's "Best of" issue.
For the last 2 years, Down East editors have combed the length and breadth of Maine in order to find the best of the best, and then share these discoveries with you.
This year, we're asking photographers, illustrators, and graphic designers to submit cover art for our "Best of" issue. The graphic should be a photograph, illustration, or a typographical solution that pays homage to something iconically Maine. Submissions will be juried by Down East's Art Director and Editor-in-Chief.
Opening Day at Wiscasset’s famous eatery is a sure sign of summer on the horizon.
Nothing marks the beginning of the summer season like the opening of Red’s Eats in Wiscasset. And with Down East’s new book on the world-famous lobster shack set to hit bookstore shelves this June, we thought we’d take a trip to celebrate.
With fresh advanced copies of the book in hand, we drove down Route 1, found a parking spot quickly, and were warmly greeted by co-author Debbie Gagnon Cronk. Virginia Wright, the other co-author, has recently joined the staff of Down East Magazine so she was thrilled to make the quick trip down from our offices in Rockport.
Spring has come to Maine a little early this year. It's mid-April and already some of the trees are blooming, seemingly without fear of a late frost, and if you walk by the shore you can smell the ocean. Fittingly, April is National Poetry Month, because the great weather has, no doubt, put us all in a poetic state of mind.
The True Encounter
"Wolf!" cried my cunning heart
At every sheep it spied,
And roused the countryside.
"Wolf! Wolf!" —and up would start
Good neighbors, bringing spade
And pitchfork to my aid
At length my cry was known:
Therein lay my release.
I met the wolf alone
And was devoured in peace.
- Edna St. Vincent Millay