From features on plant biodiversity and Maine wildlife to profiles of professional ponderers and hard-charging restaurateurs, these are our most-read stories of 2023.
Over the course of the past year, Down East delved into stories that ran the gamut: small islands, big ideas, long drives, and so much more. Whenever we take stock of what resonates with readers, it always turns out that you share our wide-ranging interests in all things Maine. So the list of 2023’s most-read stories is, completely unsurprisingly, full of the people and places making this state of ours a fun, fascinating, beautiful place to live. Whether you’re finding some of these stories for the first time or maybe taking another spin through a personal favorite, many thanks for reading. And here’s to more great stories in 2024.
The art establishment ignored Lynne Drexler in life and, for more than two decades, also in death. But suddenly, the brilliantly colored canvases she kept piled in her ramshackle Monhegan home are fetching millions. Who was the enigmatic painter, and why is her immense talent only beginning to get its due?
By Will Grunewald, Jesse Ellison, Brian Kevin, Kat Englishman, Adrienne Perron, and Sarah Stebbins Photos by Dave Waddell, Clayton Simoncic, and Benjamin Williamson
They’re not the state’s heralded scenic byways or well-worn tourist routes. They’re not the stuff of epic road trips — in fact, none are more than a few miles long. They’re just a few of our favorite back roads, the stretches we never get tired of traveling, where the traffic thins out and Vacationland becomes Maine.
The cognitive scientist has written stacks of influential books, but his new one is in an unfamiliar genre: memoir. We visited him on Eggemoggin Reach for a porch chat about consciousness, artificial intelligence, farm tools, and Maine as a lifelong refuge.
On its surface, 700 Acre Island is much like vegetated piles of rock all across the Gulf of Maine. When famed Life magazine illustrator Charles Dana Gibson bought a piece of it as a summer getaway, in 1903, he was likely enticed by the classic Maine views and the access to woods, waters, and solitude. But he couldn’t have known that, beneath its surface, this island was unlike most any other island in Maine.
Happy New Year from all of us at Down East!
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