Down East 2013 ©
Photograph by Ed Callaert
With its soaring white church, brick downtown, and white-clapboard colonials, this waterfront village could be Anyplace, Maine. Look around the edges, though, and you’ll find that this beautiful burg is as unique as Pine Tree State communities come. That’s why the aboriginal Wawenocks decided to settle here — where a briny bay meets a saltwater river — living large on the rich oyster beds and preponderance of alewives. They called the place “Madamescontee” after the little fish, which still run in such numbers that one could almost walk across the water on their backs. When Europeans arrived in 1640, they found themselves besieged by the natives. By the nineteenth century it was safe enough for the town to grow, thanks to an industrial base that included a match factory, sawmills, shipyards, and brickyards which produced the material used to build much of Boston’s Back Bay. In more recent times the village here has produced — or attracted — an unusually large number of celebrities, from artists Barbara Cooney and Jake Day to actress Anna Belknap of CSI: New York to opera star Kate Aldrich to Depeche Mode founder Vince Clarke. If you can identify this picturesque place, send us a note at P.O. Box 679, Camden, ME 04843; whip off an email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or post a comment at www.DownEast.com .