Down East 2013 ©
Earlier this summer, my wife and I drove over to Brownfield to catch a show at the Stone Mountain Arts Center. The performer was Madeleine Peyroux, who sounds a bit like a Cajun Billie Holiday. Having grown up in southern Maine and driven thousands of miles throughout the state for Down East, I feel like I know my way around Greater Fryeburg fairly well. And I had a firm idea about the fastest route from Point A (Camden) to Point B (Brownfield). Sure enough, my itinerary got us to the concert with time to spare.
On the way home, however, I decided to surrender myself to the whims of a satellite. For my most recent birthday, my wife bought me a dashboard GPS (in the hopes, I think, that we’d take more shopping trips to downtown Boston), and while I’ve had the gizmo installed for a few months, I have never actually followed its advice. When I played with it on familiar roads — trying to deduce whether it knew the same shortcuts I did — the electronic female voice always seemed inclined to send me the long way round.
But after a great show and a great dinner, I was in an expansive mood and felt open to new experiences. I programmed the GPS to take me home and left the driving to Garmin. My assumption was that the satellite would show a preference for the larger thoroughfares, but instead it seemed to be channeling John Denver, because I constantly found myself turning down country roads.
We wandered awhile through pastoral Denmark and South Bridgton, and soon found ourselves passing through Webbs Mills, on the shores of Crescent Lake. Later we followed the eastern edge of Tripp Pond in the town of Poland where my family once kept a camp. By the time we reached the on-ramp to the Maine Turnpike in Auburn I found myself wishing that the GPS would shoot us off in some new, unexpected direction. But alas, no.
In this issue of Down East we both embrace summer, when our harbors are at their prettiest [page 44], and plan ahead for fall trips [follows page 112]. But always we celebrate the spirit of exploration. “It’s a dangerous business . . . going out of your door,” J.R.R. Tolkien wrote. “You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.” In Maine, at this time of year, I’m not sure that’s a bad thing at all.
Editor in Chief