Letters to the Editor
Readers respond to our mystery photograph and other articles.
Your vivid October "Where in Maine?" photograph shows the very active, scenic, and diversified community of Newcastle as viewed along the Damariscotta River. As a nature lover and amateur photographer, I frequent this little town year-round. In the cooler months I hike or snowshoe through Dodge Point or one of the many preserves to witness and catalog the abundant wildlife (wild turkeys, deer, eagles, great blue herons, and even an occasional moose). In the warmer months it's exciting to watch eagles scare off gulls during the May run of alewives and to canoe along the local shores. And on stormy days I find no lack of artistic and cultural events to fill my time, including those offered across the bridge in Damariscotta.
-Carole E. Spritzler
I'm home - at least in heart, soul, and mind - standing on the bridge between Damariscotta and Newcastle looking up at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church on Glidden Street. Upriver to the right is the mouth of Great Salt Bay, which I believe is the second-largest breeding ground for horseshoe crabs in the world. To the left are the reversing falls of the Damariscotta River - great, so I've read, for beginner kayakers to practice on. Behind me is the quaint downtown of Damariscotta with Pine Tree Yarns, Reny's, Maine Coast Book Store, Aboca Beads, and many other fine shopping establishments and restaurants.
Thank you for bringing me home again month after month.
City Mom, Country Mom
Unfortunately, we are now back in New Jersey after another glorious summer in Maine at my parents' house. I am lucky to be able to spend the summers in Boothbay with my three children, ages eight, six, and four. After reading Heidi Julavits' article "City Mom, Country Mom" in your September issue, I think there needs to be a support group for mothers and children who attempt to bridge the divide between the two worlds.
My license plate says "frmaway." (It is hard to hide a Suburban with Jersey plates in Maine, so I'm just pointing out the obvious before everyone else does.) There are times, though, that I feel more "from away" when it comes to New Jersey than when it comes to Maine. I am the weird mom who doesn't let her kids watch television, and we don't have video games or Webkinz. My kids actually enjoy playing outside. They swim in sixty-degree water, play with crabs, and my four-year-old can kayak.
Shortly after getting back from Maine this year, I took the children to the playground, and as I sat watching them play I overheard some older boys, probably about ten or eleven years old, talking. They were reminiscing about playing on the monkey bars when they were younger. One said: "Remember when I fell off that one and landed on my face?" The other one laughed and said he did remember it. The first one laughed, too, and then said, "Yeah, my parents sued THAT babysitter."
We weren't in Maine anymore.
Moorestown, New Jersey
Moorestown, New Jersey
I send my thanks to you for including "Autumn Gold," the article by Rebecca Sawyer-Fay, about birch trees in your October issue. There has been a long simmering question in my mind about what present to give my husband, Don, for an upcoming important event. The gift will be a Maine paper birch tree - long-lasting, beautiful, and special for him and for everyone who might walk by his charming, quiet, back garden. He will give his new tree a very good home and I will include your article inside the gift card.
I have watched and enjoyed the reinvention of Down East - a little updated, but still Maine. However, in your September issue as I read "In Love With Lola" and "Alone in
a Crowd" in your "Inside Maine" section I noted a disturbing stylistic note. In the article about Bar Lola, your writer says the "Crepes with Pernod cream are light and delicious,
if a little bit bland. . . ." Then in the music column we are treated to "Cox can tell a million stories with a meaningless da-da-da. . . . "If you are sharing information with your readers, we assume you think it's good and worth noting. One thing Maine is not is snide. Please consider eliminating the tedious critic's tone from your articles. We can find that anywhere.
Thank you for the interesting October article "In Search of Franco-America (and its Food)." I enjoyed the article, but was left wondering: why not drive to Madawaska (as mentioned in the article) if one is truly in search of authentic Franco-American food in Maine? Or Van Buren, Frenchville, Fort Kent, Grand Isle, or St. Agathe? Acadians and French Canadians first came to the St. John Valley beginning in 1785. There was no border and no state of Maine. It is in the St. John Valley where the Franco-American influence, language, and culture has flourished the longest and still has the strongest presence in Maine.
I was most disappointed in your choice of a doughnut recipe as representative of Franco-American food. I am sure chef James Tranchemontagne's doughnuts are absolutely delicious, but there is nothing uniquely Franco-American about doughnuts. More authentic would have been tourtiere, chicken stew, ployes, boudin, pattes de cochon, sauce au saumon, and feves aux lard.
How delighted I was to receive my October issue of Down East. The colors and the pastured b`tail (farm animals) were very familiar to me. I quickly perused the "In Search of Franco-America (and its Food)" article by Michael S. Sanders. Excellent! Formidable! Fantastique! Thank for you for including the whole state in your publication.
Sanders' article spoke well of our invisibility as a people. When I went to Augusta [as a legislator] more than twenty years ago, I was shocked at how deeply closeted the Francos were. We had come a long way in the Valley acknowledging who we are as a people, and there was no way I was ever going to hide my ethnicity again. "The accent you hear is French; I'm Acadian," I'd say to my colleagues. It worked, and they'd proceed to tell me their French family connection.
-Judy Ayotte Paradis
Thanks for sending me my monthly shot-in-the-arm of Maine. I enjoy it all and appreciate the various "trips" you allow me to take while living in North Carolina. But, more importantly, thanks for including the special features that are written by Jeff Clark. He does a first-rate job in explaining thorny issues every time he writes.
Cary, North Carolina
Cary, North Carolina
Down East erroneously stated in its September story "Gone to the Dogs" that Pettengill Farm in Freeport still allows dogs. It no longer does. The magazine apologizes for the error.