March 2018

Down East Magazine March 2018 Cover

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Editor’s Note by Kathleen Fleury

Ed note
Last June, I wrote a short essay about moving to Maine in which I rebutted a few of the objections often cited by those who harbor idle fantasies of relocating here. Many of you wrote to say that the essay resonated — a few even said you were finally motivated to make that fantasy a reality. The piece clearly struck a chord, and it helped inspire this month’s special “How We Do It” feature on the realities of living in Maine (page 56).

Because making a life in Maine is about more than simply making a living, more than finding the right job or the right partner or the right town. Maine is as much an identity as a locale. And if you’re reading this as a subscriber (and if you’re not, why aren’t you?), my guess is that it’s for more than just our recommendations of where to eat or recreate, or for the striking photos we run, or for our storytelling — although, of course, we love these things. My guess is that you like who you are when you’re in Maine, or who you were the last time you visited, or who you imagine you could be.

Of course, there are practical matters to consider — questions about housing and employment and community. This issue lives in the pocket where the philosophical and the practical meet — it’s about how we get by and why we make the effort to do so. Frankly, some aspects of Maine life can be trying. (I’m writing this note in the aftermath of a record-setting cold spell that tested my patience with Maine winters.) It’s no accident we’ve chosen March to delve into this topic. It isn’t the dreamiest time to live here — winter is wearing out its welcome, and before the month is up, we’ll enter the sloppy transitional phase Mainers know as mud season.

And yet, we endure this trying season, year after year, together. We even learn to love it. Because perseverance and appreciation and affection are all deeply linked here. And it’s in that spirit that I hope you enjoy this issue, particularly those of you who fantasize about living in Maine. Let this be an inspiration and a roadmap, and we hope to see you here soon.

One more thing — we’ve been doing some early spring-cleaning throughout the magazine. You’ll notice we’ve reorganized our departments, added a few new elements, and spruced up the design. We’d love to hear what you think at [email protected].

Kathleen Fleury


How We Do It

[dropcap letter=”F”]or every one of us living the good life in Vacationland, there’s somebody somewhere merely dreaming about it. For our special primer on making a Maine dream a Maine reality, we asked a few of our favorite writers for the skinny on how to:

Make Sense of a Maine Home

What does that light switch do? And what’s with the tarp? An expert weighs in.

By Hannah Holmes

Pull off a Creative Career

If Spose can be a successful rapper here, you can be whatever you are.

By Ryan “Spose” Peters

Get Real About Money

On a life lived closer to the bone.

By Jillian Bedell

Know Everyone in the Refrigerated Aisle

Because anonymity is overrated.

By Mary Pols


The reality behind the fantasy of Maine homespun entrepreneurship.

By Carrie Braman

Beat Back Homesickness

One long, chatty lunch at a time.

By Marco Avilés

Have a Baby on an Island

And preferably not on a lobsterboat stuck at sea.

By Laura Serino

Learn to Love the Hustle

When living your Maine dream means working four jobs.

By Irene Yadao

Date (and not lose hope)

Don’t panic if Tinder tells you Maine is fresh out of singles.

By Jesse Ellison

Survive Winter

Hint: You’re going to want help from friends and neighbors.

By Johanna S. Billings


North by East

An impromptu marathon in Millinocket, a preview of Portland’s mega-diverse Sunaana music and beer festival, and a chat with Maine Public Radio’s Abukar Adan. Plus, malevolent owls and lucrative meteors in Maine Dispatches.

Food & Drink

We whip up the ultimate maple brunch, check in at Portland’s Chaval, and dish on our favorite stands at the United Farmers Market of Belfast.

Good Things from Maine

Wabanaki traditions meet high style from Decontie & Brown, and Bigfoot Pushovers are your new mud season savior. Also, an indie-retail lover’s guide to lively downtown Hallowell.

Maine Homes

Peek inside a Kittery Point bungalow that’s big for its size, tour our favorite high-design Maine inns, and check out a few of artist Dietlind Vander Schaaf’s favorite things.

Where in Maine

Maine Moment


Editor’s note, reader feedback, responses to January’s Where in Maine, a flashback to September 2014, and more.


Geary’s Redux. Letters from Adult Summer Camp. Room With a View.

My Favorite Place

Author Lois Lowry on Mackworth Island State Park.

Additional photos: Greta Rybus, Molly Haley

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