Editor’s Note by Brian Kevin
Can I tell you how much I like being part of a magazine where I can write “Kathleen had a baby” and the great majority of those reading will know, without further explanation, who I’m talking about? This means a lot to me. There is more than one sort of magazine in the world. There’s the sort you might pick up and flip through at the coffee shop, because hey, it’s on the table and it’s attractive and maybe your phone is broken or you didn’t bring a book. I don’t mind if Down East is that kind of magazine for some people, at some times. I’ve learned things that way, and here and there I’ve discovered a story or an image that moved me. It’s nice having those magazines around.
But Down East has spent 64 years working to be a different kind of magazine, the kind that invites you into a relationship built around shared passions. The kind where you can name a favorite story from five (or 35) years ago. The kind you have at one time written or emailed (in praise or irritation) and heard back from. The kind that makes you smile inwardly when you spot it on an acquaintance’s coffee table, because you know it means that you and she have something meaningful in common. I’ve always said a good magazine is less like a thing you read or a thing you buy and more like a thing you join.
We didn’t set out to make it a theme, but this month’s issue ends up exploring a handful of subcultures of the sort that Maine seems particularly good at facilitating (I suspect because this place gives people room to indulge their enthusiasms). Maine’s amateur wrestlers (page 23), for all their quirks, are a kind of tribe. So are its fiddlehead pickers (page 60) and its die-hard coastal cruisers (page 68), each group with its own shared traditions and sense of camaraderie.
I like to think that Down East’s readers are a kind of tribe too. Thank you for letting me be a part of it.
In their quest for affordable, energy-efficient homes, some Mainers are thinking outside the site-built box.
By Sarah Stebbins, Virginia M. Wright, and Brian Kevin
What does a veteran forager know about Maine fiddleheads that you don’t? Plenty. Curl up with our tale of a tagalong day in the field.
By Michael Burke
Staring at a starlit Maine sky? Essayist, novelist, and physicist Alan Lightman talks about his new book, Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine. Plus, an excerpt.
Interview by Brian Kevin
For serious boat people, the Maine coast is the Promised Land. Get to know the folks for whom cruising is not a pastime but a passion.
By Caitlin Gilmet
North by East
Food & Drink
We pucker up for Maine-brewed coolship beers, take the heat at Ellsworth’s Serendib, and melt like butter over Dysart’s chicken potpie. Also, the secrets to snagging a reservation at Freedom’s Lost Kitchen.
Good Things from Maine
My Favorite Place
Two-star Michelin chef Ryan McCaskey on Tobey’s Grocery in China.
On the cover: Ferns (not fiddleheads) at Evans Notch, by Darylann Leonard.
Additional photos: The Milky Way from Popham Beach by Benjamin Williamson; Sri Lankan hot wings at Ellsworth’s Serendib by Douglas Merriam; Higgins Beach by Seth Gaffar; Georgetown by Benjamin Williamson