Lobsterboats and dinghies in Brooksville’s Buck’s Harbor. Photographed by Frederick Bloy.
Skirting the southwestern edge of the Blue Hill Peninsula, bucolic Brooksville has some of the state’s prettiest scenery and lowest property taxes. Buck’s Harbor, the closest thing the community has to a downtown, hasn’t changed much since Robert McCloskey used it as the idyllic setting for his 1952 children’s classic One Morning in Maine. That was the same year homesteaders Scott and Helen Nearing moved to town. Their writings made them icons of the back-to-the-land movement, and their influence is still felt around Brooksville. The Nearings’ hand-built stone home is open to visitors as the Good Life Center, offering homesteading and sustainable-living workshops. Kids at Brooksville Elementary grow their own veggies and attend “garden camp” in the summers. Without a high school of its own, the town pays to send high-schoolers to a school of their choice elsewhere on the peninsula.
“The lifestyle here, although it’s not lucrative, is very appealing to young people,” says Jonathan Chase, manager of Buck’s Harbor Market, where farmers and lobstermen rub shoulders. “They like the idea of raising children in a non-polluted, non-urban area. The winters are long, but a lot of these people seem to be able to make it happen. They’re not driving Cadillacs — it’s old pickup trucks — but from my perspective, there are a lot more happy people in this rural setting than you would find in the city.”