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Most Read in 2021: Stories About Mainers

This year, we got to know cobblers and foresters, civil-rights pioneers and a certain 101-year-old lobsterer.

Short profiles of interesting Mainers have been part of the backbone of Down East since 1954, and in 2021, lovers of Maine read and shared those stories as enthusiastically as ever. Six out of our top 10 most-read short profiles came from our November “70 Over 70” issue, and the rest ran a gamut, from a pawnbroker to a throwback forester to a greenhorn lobsterboat racer.

10. Married Nearly 65 Years, They’re Still Shaping Portland

Leonard Cummings in the Abyssinian Meeting House
By Monica Wood | Photographed by Danielle Sykes

From our November 2021 issue: Driven by their faith, Leonard and Mary Jane Cummings have led the charge to restore the Abyssinian Meeting House, a landmark of Black heritage in Maine, among many other causes. Now in their 80s, they look back on a lifetime of community leadership.

9. Meet Dan O’Reilly: Clamdigger, Dory Racer, Murder Reenactor

By Monique Brouillette | Portrait by Danielle Sykes

From our November 2021 issue: At 75, he rowed 10 miles of open ocean to solve a 19th-century murder mystery. It was just one adventure in a life of them for this Kittery resident and champion boatman.

8. Farewell to a Lewiston Pawnshop

By Jaed Coffin | Photographed by Jason Frank

From our October 2021 issue: Marcel Morin has seen Lewiston’s downtown change around him during more than three decades in business. Now, in a changing city, the longtime pawnbroker turns out the lights.

7. At 93, Margaret Mathis Hikes More Than You Do

By Sarah Stebbins | Photographed by Danielle Sykes

From our November 2021 issue: Even in winter, the retired teacher hikes Bridgton’s Pleasant Mountain every week. And that’s just a start. The retired teacher and intrepid outdoorsperson took us for a walk in the woods.

6. Meet Two of New England’s Last Remaining Cobblers

By Jaed Coffin | Photographed by Dave Dostie

From our May 2021 issue: Running their family business in Skowhegan, Dick and Tom LaCasse are keeping shoe repair from becoming a lost art in Maine.

5. 70 Years Behind the Counter of a Small-Town General Store

By Lyn Mikel Brown | Photographed by Tristan Spinski

From our November 2021 issue: From St. Croix log drives to a pandemic that left his back room overflowing with Canada-bound packages, Holly Beers has seen it all. We visited Vanceboro, hard up against the New Brunswick border, to hear all about it.

4. 101 and Still Lobstering, Virginia Oliver Is Bemused By Her Celebrity

Virginia Oliver, 101, at the helm of her lobsterboat
By Brian Kevin | Photographed by Michael D. Wilson

From our November 2021 issue: The Rockland resident won’t stop trapping lobster — and America is eating it up. We spent an afternoon visiting with the indefatigable Oliver last summer after the world media beat a path to her door.

3. Foolish Pleasure, The World’s Fastest Lobsterboat, Rides Again

By Kathryn Miles | Photographed by Dave Waddell

From our August 2021 issue: After the untimely death of its longtime owner, the famously fast lobsterboat motors back onto Maine’s racing circuit, piloted by longtime lobsterman and first-time racer Mark Freeman.

2. In the Woods With of One of Maine’s Last Horse Loggers

By Virginia M. Wright | Photographed by Dave Dostie

From our December 2021 issue: Scott Stevens is one of only about two dozen horse loggers left in the Pine Tree State. We spent a day in the woods with him and his charismatic equine crew.

1. A First Date at 68 Becomes an Overnight Lost in the Maine Woods

By Monica Wood | Photographed by Chip Dillon

From our November 2021 issue: Anne Wood and Joe Sirois have a “meet cute” like no other. Novelist and memoirist Monica Wood spins the love story of her sister and brother-in-law, a pair of beloved Rumford Samaritans.

Happy New Year from all of us at Down East!

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