Editor’s Note by Brian Kevin
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For a few years there, Down East threw a small party in the summer to toast the people and businesses and organizations we recognize in our annual Best of Maine issue. I always enjoyed going, more than I enjoy going to most things where I have to wear a tie, mostly because the nature of the event guaranteed a pretty eclectic mix of people. Any party where you can mingle at the same snack table with a hotshot artist from Portland and a pub owner from Monson and a trail builder from Lubec is my kind of party. There’s talk of bringing it back next year, and I hope we do.
We try to preserve a similar spirit in the feature itself: fun and smart, with a motley mix of entries that represent the state in all its modes — inland and coastal, highbrow and middlebrow, pastoral and urban, digital and analog. Best Of packages are stock-in-trade for magazines like this one, but of course, the concept has its roots in a time before TripAdvisor, crowdsourcing, and clickbait listicles, back when subjective takes on the Best Of anything were harder to come by. As such, we try not to present ours as some kind of roundup of authoritative Yelp reviews, but instead as the equivalent of mingling at that snack table — a chance to get to know some sundry, standout Maine characters you maybe wouldn’t have otherwise, invited by somebody you trust.
This getting-to-knowing is the best part of our jobs, of course, a kind of deep mingling with people from all walks of Maine life. Will Grunewald spent months palling around with Charlotte Gill, MDI’s crunchy, compassionate lobster shack proprietor. Kathryn Miles traveled 1,600 miles and slept in a van with dog trafficker Heather Hobby. Photographer Benjamin Williamson, in his photo feature on Monhegan Island, says that for all the island’s knockout photo-ops, one of the things he likes best is simply the fellowship among the sunset oglers at dusk.
On the subject of mingling, we sponsor a couple of cool events in July: the biannual summer party of the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, June 27, in Phippsburg, and the Maine Stone Symposium, July 27–August 4, in Boothbay. I’ve been to both and enjoyed hobnobbing with all the smart, talented folks from Maine’s arts community. Hope to see you there — and all the best.
Editor in chief
More of you than ever participated in our annual Readers’ Choice poll — and we’ve chimed in with a few picks of our own. Here’s our annual list of Maine’s best everything.
Make a new canine friend in Maine and chances are she’s from away. We joined a van full of Maine-bound pups to find out why.
By Kathryn Miles
When staff photographer Benjamin Williamson wants to shoot Maine at its most essential, he hops the ferry for this island community 10 miles out to sea.
The owner of Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound is experimenting with ways to ease the perceived pain of the crustaceans in her pots. Her preferred method? Getting them high.
By Will Grunewald
North by East
A Moody Beach legend hangs up his hat, exhibits celebrate three venerable art colonies, and a gleaming new vision for Westbrook. Plus, the governor signs the country’s first Styrofoam ban in Maine Dispatches.
Food and Drink
Tuesday night tacos for a good cause in South Thomaston, sweet and savory breakfasts at Northport’s The Hoot, and wild blueberry brandy from Camden.
Good Things from Maine
Editor’s note, responses to May’s Where in Maine, and more.
Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard on his company’s role in undamming the Kennebec River.
On the cover: The cliffs at Whitehead, on Monhegan Island, by Benjamin Williamson.
Additional photos: Benjamin Williamson; Gabe Souza