This year’s most-read and most-shared stories are a classically Down East blend: deeply reported features exploring the personalities and issues shaping our state; roundups of opinionated, insider insight on where to stay and eat and shop; smart and unexpected looks back at the historical moments that have made Mainers who they are. It’s a mix that speaks to the character of a Down East reader, somebody equally invested in Maine’s past, Maine policy, and Maine pizza.
As we close out our seventh decade in 2023, don’t miss out on another year of great Maine storytelling: sign up for the Down East Extra e-newsletter and subscribe to the print magazine.
10. What a Maine Road Trip Taught Eleanor Roosevelt
By Kate Ver Ploeg
From our May 2022 issue: In 1933, on a surprisingly freewheeling ramble through the Northeast, the reluctant new First Lady crashed with potato farmers, packed a pistol, and realized what she could bring to the office.
9. How Did Gulf of Maine Lobster Get Canceled?
By Kathryn Miles
From our December 2022 issue: And does it matter? A look at the red-listing of Maine’s iconic export — and the continuing fallout.
8. Nirav Shah Is Ambivalent About His Celebrity (and Uncommonly Curious and Deliberate About Everything Else)
By Jesse Ellison | Photographed by Tristan Spinski
From our August 2022 issue: The state’s surprisingly visible CDC director has a complex relationship with ego, a mean waffle recipe, and…political ambitions?
7. Maine’s 16 Best New (Or Improved) Hotels and Inns
By Brian Kevin & Adrienne Perron
From our June 2022 issue: We checked in with some of the ambitious proprietors who make the state’s hospitality sphere sizzle and visited new and updated properties all across the state, from a complex of captains’ houses to a mountain yoga retreat to a reinvented MDI resort.
6. What Lies Beneath the Water in Frankfort’s 150-Year-Old Abandoned Quarry?
By Michele Christle | Photographed by Dan Rajter
From our August 2022 issue: A penchant for mystery inspires a group of scuba lovers to ditch the ocean and go quarry diving.
5. A Gifted Maine Photographer, Gone Too Soon
By Jennifer Finney Boylan | Photographed by Alec Hartman
From our March 2022 issue: When 30-year-old Alec Hartman passed away in 2019, after years of struggles with depression and anxiety, Maine lost a talented photographer at the start of a promising career.
4. The Four Maine Antiques Trails No Treasure Hunter Should Miss
By Virginia M. Wright, Adrienne Perron, Brian Kevin, and Sarah Stebbins
From our July 2022 issue: Seasoned collectors know: Maine’s reverence for history, abundance of old homesteads and estates, and generations of tourist traffic make the Pine Tree State an antiquing destination par excellence.
3. The Golden Road Brought “Tectonic Change” to the Maine Woods
By Murray Carpenter
From our April 2022 issue: Great Northern’s wilderness thoroughfare replaced the Penobscot log drives — and opened the woods to a new kind of visitor. Part of our special issue on 1972, the “year that changed Maine.”
2. The State of Maine v. Parole
By Will Grunewald | Photographed by Tristan Spinski
From our June 2022 issue: Maine was the first state to eliminate the possibility of parole. Now, a hard-nosed state legislator and a once-incarcerated PhD student are making the case that parole deserves a second chance. Can they sway a political establishment wary of looking soft on crime?
1. 30 Maine Pizzas You Have To Try
By Joel Crabtree, Will Grunewald, Brian Kevin, and Adrienne Perron
From our February 2022 issue: From old-school parlors to chi-chi Neapolitan joints to brick ovens on trailers, Vacationland has more and better pie purveyors than ever before.