Down East http://www.downeast.com The Magazine of Maine Wed, 24 Dec 2014 17:46:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Our Favorite Stories of 2014 http://www.downeast.com/favorite-stories-2014/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/favorite-stories-2014/#comments Wed, 24 Dec 2014 16:26:28 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=14590 Although they run the gamut from reporting to narrative to profile, our fave favorite stories this year have a few things in common: community, resilience, deep connection to place.

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Telling the stories of Maine is our passion. Although they run the gamut from reporting to narrative to profile, our five favorite stories this year have a few things in common: community, resilience, deep connection to place. And yet they’re as different as Ashland is from Monhegan, as Islesford is from Kennebunkport. Settle in this holiday with these five great reads.

 

Garrison Cove Thunderstorm

The Survivors

Story by Brian Kevin / Photos by Mark Fleming
From our January issue

“In lyrical prose that’s rich with great characters, lively narrative, and even psychological depth, Brian follows nine recently discharged Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans as they negotiate a nine-week course in bushcraft in the Maine North Woods.” — Ginny Wright, senior editor

 

Garrison Cove Thunderstorm

The Last of the Monhegans

Story by Will Bleakley / Photos by Benjamin Magro
From our May issue

“Among Maine’s 3,000-plus coastal islands, Monhegan, that remote home of lobstermen and artists, has a solitary allure. Will captures the strong emotions surrounding this iconic place as he sensitively considers its fragile future.” — Ginny Wright, senior editor

 

Garrison Cove Thunderstorm

Is This Girl Committing a Crime?

Story by Rob Sneddon / Photos by Skyler Kelly
From our July issue

“Rob’s greatest strength as a writer is his ability to explore complex topics in a way that’s thorough, engaging, and often surprising. Here, the highly emotional issue of public access to Maine’s beaches gets the Sneddon treatment as it is peeled apart, layer by layer, and examined from an entirely fresh perspective.” — Ginny Wright, senior editor

 

Garrison Cove Thunderstorm

Unshaken

Story by Monica Wood / Photos by Séan Alonzo Harris
From our October issue

“Our profile of the last three surviving Shakers is one of my favorite stories we’ve told since I started working at Down East, seven years ago. Many people love our magazine for its beautiful landscape photography, but I think this piece shows that Maine’s people are as vital a part of our landscape as any treasured vista. Monica gathered the tales of these three extraordinary people and wove them into must-read for any lover of Maine culture. And Sean Alonzo Harris’s photos exquisitely capture the essence of Shaker life.” — Kathleen Fleury, editor in chief

 

Garrison Cove Thunderstorm

Alone Together

Story by Virginia M. Wright / Photos by Douglas Merriam
From our December issue

“The familial closeness felt by the residents of these two islands — particularly in the winter — really shines through in this piece. The way Ginny frames the article with a memorable incident from the island’s history perfectly illustrates the importance of shared stories and bloodlines on the Cranberry Isles.” — Brian Kevin, associate editor

 

Need a last-minute gift for someone who loves Maine? Give a subscription to Down East and get a second subscription at a holiday discount!

 

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4 Holiday Table Ideas http://www.downeast.com/holiday-table-setting-ideas/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/holiday-table-setting-ideas/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 22:46:15 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=14668 Impress your guests with a beautiful table for your holiday dinner. Check out these four festive and inexpensive ideas.

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Looking for some ways to enhance your holiday feast? Some of our favorite local purveyors show us new ways to deck the table and offer tips on entertaining during the holidays.

Circa Home & Vintage’s Holiday Table

IMG_0947

What’s on your table:
This is how I picture my imaginary rustic camp kitchen table would be outfitted during the cold, Maine winter months. Vintage wool blankets pulling double-duty as a table cover, rugged enamelware dishes, vintage sporting decor, and books. Always books.

Design Inspiration: Nature and literature

Entertaining Style: Bits of nature and simple vintage touches blended with contemporary clean is my go-to look.

Tips for Decorating: Pick a color scheme and stick with it. Different patterns, textures, and sizes will all blend together if the colors are similar. Also, If it makes you smile, you nailed it.

Circa Home & Vintage
247B Congress St.
Portland, Maine
(207) 899-0198

Portland Flea-For-All

IMG_6347

What’s on your table: Bronzed antler candle holders and architectural spires create the textural backdrop for vintage ironstone plates and cut glass stemware. The look is pulled together with an antique linen table runner and live air plants, which create motion and lighten the rustic feel of the farm table.

Design Inspirations: Vintage eclectic. Design seems to be trending more towards mixed collections and crossover time periods. People don’t collect sets of antique china the way they used to, so our tables usually reflect the fun of pulling together different styles and eras on a single palette.

Entertaining Style: Casual and eclectic — much like our guests. Our store (and home) have an open door policy, so we try to create a warm environment where people feel at ease and well cared for. We want our tables to feel alive. Here, we based the styling around the amazing organic feel of the Tillandsia Xerographica plants, but brought it back home to Maine winter by incorporating the aged bronze antlers.

Tips for decorating: Make sure you’ve got the basics, but don’t be afraid to improvise for the rest. We generally pick a color scheme and pull coordinate things from around the house to enhance our table. Always have something fresh and alive, and invest the time in setting good lighting.

Portland Flea-for-All
125 Kennebec St.
Portland, Maine
(207) 370-7570

My Sister’s Garage

photo

What’s on your table: We’re dreaming of a vintage white Christmas with crystal candlesticks, handmade linens and glam Christmas decor.

Design inspirations: Rachel Ashwell, Audrey Hepburn, and DIY ingenuity!

Entertaining style: At ease. Do the prep work before but enjoy the moment-the host sets the whole tone!

Tips for decorating: We love old Hollywood style with a twist. Be playful like our sheet music placemats and teacup ornaments and create something memorable because it stands out!

My Sister’s Garage
610 Roosevelt Trail, Windham, ME 04062
(207) 892-2268

Kate Lowry Designs

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What’s on your table: I placed two jute runners, accented with orange dots, under the two rows of place settings, leaving the center of the table exposed. Each setting is layered with a wicker charger, a simple white dinner plate and topped with vintage Fire King Jadeite salad plates. Covering the salad plates are 6 different whimsical napkins that I designed, with abstract images of tree ornaments, dreidels and a menorah. Flatware and glasses are simple and modern. The centerpiece is a glass vase filled with hydrangea, atop a modern white porcelain tray to add contrast. I’ve also placed some pinecones and bark around the base.

Design inspirations: Inspiration comes to me from anything that I find aesthetically appealing, which could be art, tools and hardware, junk, a piece of clothing, the bark falling off a tree or fruit at the farmers market. I get many ideas from things that have texture and natural patterns.

Entertaining style: My style is very eclectic and often has an artistic component. And it’s always simple. I strive to create settings that are a little unexpected.

Tips for decorating: Stand back and look at the entire setting often, throughout the time you’re creating your space. The eye is naturally drawn to symmetry and repetition, so make sure the whole scene feels harmonious. Understated is almost always better. Mix up styles and colors and don’t fall into the “bed in a bag” syndrome where everything matches. Use items you love, simply because you love them.

Kate Lowry Designs
Falmouth, Maine
(207) 776-9558

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Our Three Must-Watch Videos of 2014 http://www.downeast.com/best-short-maine-films/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/best-short-maine-films/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 19:57:34 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=14530 You'll laugh. You'll cry. Grab some popcorn and watch our three favorite Down East videos of the year.

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We produced some two dozen videos this year, expanding on the stories in our magazine’s pages. Here (after much intra-staff squabbling) we’ve selected our three favorites. Two are poignant; one is playful. All three are very Maine.

 

The Light Keeper

Meet Matt Rosenberg, the lighthouse keeper for the Nubble Light in York, Maine.
Created by Joe Carter Films. / Aerials by Eric Tremblay.

Why it’s a favorite: “If you’ve ever looked at a lighthouse and pondered, as I often did, whether lighthouse keepers still exist, then this video is for you. Stunning cinematography, a moving story, and (finally!) an answer to that long-tantalizing question.” — Laura Serino, digital editor

 

Behind The Lens: Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village

Photographer Séan Alonzo Harris brought his 8×10 wooden field camera to Maine’s Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village to capture the three remaining Shakers, their surroundings, and their friends.
Video by Kevin Sennett.

Why it’s a favorite: “I was lucky enough to be on hand for one of the two days that Séan spent shooting around the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, and it was such a pleasure to watch him work. This video lets our readers see what I saw that day: A pro who knows how to make his subjects comfortable, yeah, but also just a really genuine guy with a clear passion and delight in his work. The smiles in this video (Séan’s and his subects’) say it all.” — Brian Kevin, associate editor

 

Bangor’s Duck of Justice

Tens of thousands of fans, countless TV appearances, and now, a new corner office. But has all the fame gone to the Duck of Justice’s beak? In this exclusive interview, we found out how folks around the Bangor Police Department have been handling their social media mascot’s newfound notoriety.
Video by Kevin Sennett.

Why it’s a favorite: “When the Bangor Police made their inside jokes public, their Facebook page became an international hit. Who knew Maine cops had such a talent for deadpan humor? They took it to the next level in this hilarious video about their mascot, the Duck of Justice.”  — Virginia M. Wright, senior editor

 

Need a last-minute gift for someone who loves Maine? Give a subscription to Down East and get a second subscription at a holiday discount!

 

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Our 10 Favorite Photos from 2014 http://www.downeast.com/best-photos-of-2014/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/best-photos-of-2014/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 22:54:02 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=14472 We've looked back on the hundreds of images that graced the pages of our magazine this year and picked the 10 that stayed with us long after the issue went to print.

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We’ve looked back on the hundreds of images that graced the pages of our magazine this year and picked the 10 that stayed with us long after the issue went to print. Here are our faves from 2014.

 

Beast / Photographed by David Yellen

Brahma-Bull-David Yellen

From our September story “Does This Look Like a Man Who Would Name His Boat Princess?

“Sending a NYC-based photographer to a fishing village on Maine’s Bold Coast may sound like a crazy idea. However, David is no ordinary NYC photographer. He spends his every minute of free time on the ocean, usually holding some sort of rod and reel. As such, David wasn’t just perfect for this shoot, he also hit it off with the Cutler fishermen.” — Mark Fleming, visuals editor

Cribstone Bridge / Photographed by Ben Williamson

Garrison Cove Thunderstorm

From our August story “Maine Scenic 60″

“Ben told me he’d been chasing thunderstorms all summer, hoping to capture the dramatic cloud formations. When he finally caught up with this storm on Bailey Island, he got this image, which practically jumps off the page. It was the first one I picked for our Maine Scenic 60 feature for the magazine’s 60th anniversary.” — Mark Fleming, visuals editor

Jack Mountain Canoeist / Photographed by Mark Fleming

Survivor-Canoe-Mark Fleming

From our February story “The Survivors”

“While working on this story, Mark and I spent time at the Jack Mountain Bushcraft field school in northern Maine, where learning to pole a canoe is a big part of the curriculum, and this shot nicely captures the sense of freedom that’s a big part of life up there. Love the waterline perspective too.” — Brian Kevin, associate editor

Grafton Notch / Photographed by Mark Fleming

Grafton-Notch-Mark Fleming

From our August story “Maine Scenic 60″

“Views like this are why people go in hiking in Maine’s western mountains — and the search for a shot like this is why so many people pursue photography. Still, not every image of Grafton Notch feels so rich and three-dimensional.” — Brian Kevin, associate editor

Bob’s Clam Hut Lobster Roll / Photographed by Kristin Teig

Lob-Roll-Kristin Teig

From our August story “Best Lobster Roll in Maine”

“This photo represents all that is good about spending your summer in Maine. It reminds me of volunteering to sample every lobster roll I could get my hands on for this story. I got to taste the winning roll with Kristin while she photographed it. In fact, we might have polished off several, just to ensure she got the shot right.” — Laura Serino, digital editor

Monhegan Island / Photographed by Benjamin Magro

Monhegan- Ben Magro

From our May story “The Last of the Monhegans”

“For our story about year-round life on Monhegan, we wanted to showcase the quintessential shot of the island that conveys its magic and grandeur. This picture itself is an invitation to visit.” — Kathleen Fleury, editor in chief

North Woods / Photographed by Mark Fleming

North-Woods-Mark Fleming

From our September photo feature “Once More to the Woods”

“The golden light, the blazing foliage, the misty mountains on the horizon — Mark captured the essence of October so well that I can almost feel that warm sun and smell the soft, spicy scent of the forest.” — Ginny Wright, senior editor

Brother Arnold Hadd / Photographed by Sean Alonzo Harris

Brother-Arnold-Sean Alonzo Harris

From our October story “Unshaken”

“When I learned we were doing a story on the world’s last three remaining Shakers, Sean was my first choice for a photographer because of his passion for documenting history and his personal approach to portraiture. The portraits he captured on 8×10 sheets of film are timeless.” — Mark Fleming, visuals editor

Gardener of Eden / Photographed by Melonie Bennett

RV-Park-Melonie Bennett

From our August photo feature “0.02 Acres of Heaven”

“I can’t help but grin whenever I see this photograph of Glen Guidi mowing his postage stamp of a lawn at Libby’s Oceanside in York Harbor. Glen looks like a guy with stories to tell — and I bet most of them are funny.” — Ginny Wright, senior editor

Star Point / Photographed by Susan Cole Kelly

Star-Point-Susan Cole Kelly

Featured in our July story “Best of Maine”

“Star Point makes the perfect cover image for Down East, and here’s why: I was having lunch with a lifetime resident of MDI who had never heard of this breathtaking spot on the island. Success! Oh, and it’s magnificently beautiful.” — Kathleen Fleury, editor in chief

 

Need a last-minute gift for someone who loves Maine? Give a subscription to Down East and get a second subscription at a holiday discount!

 

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January 2015 http://www.downeast.com/january-2015/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/january-2015/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 13:00:54 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=13219 The post January 2015 appeared first on Down East.

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Click here to purchase this issue. 

Features

A Winter Place

With snowmobiles, sled dog races, and plow parades, Fort Kent embraces the cold. Here’s why you should embrace Fort Kent. By Virginia M. Wright

Romancing  the Stove

Nothing beats wood heat in the depths of a Maine winter. We extol the humble woodstove. By Michael Burke

The Belfast Operation

The year was 1984. The drug was cocaine. The setting was the last place anyone expected. Go deep behind the headlines of a legendary Maine drug bust. By Brian Kevin

Maine’s Top Docs

We asked physicians all across the state: who would you go to see if you were under the weather? The votes are in. Meet Maine’s doctor-recommended doctors.

 

Departments

Where in Maine?

Can you identify this sleeping harbor?

Editor’s Note

Yearning for a Woodstove

Letters to the Editor

What You Said

Your Maine

Describe your relationship with your woodstove.

 

North by East

Opinions, Advisories, and Musings from the Length and Breadth of Maine

Down East Dispatches

News You May Have Missed

What’s in a Picture

The Annual Migration of the Bathing Girl

Zoning Out

Should Maine Adopt Atlantic Time?

Other Views

Commentary from around Maine

Talk of Maine

20 Questions About Maine Charter Schools

 

Dooryard

Living the Maine Life

Home

Tiny Home, Tony Feel

Cooking

Cafe Miranda Cookbook

My Maine

Heat, Play, Love

Room With a View

Mousemobile

 

Guide

What to Do in Maine This Month

Dining

Thistle Pig, South Berwick

Book

The Essential Danby

Calendar

Go here. Do this. See that.

From Our Archives

January 1993. A look back at Down East twenty-two years ago.

 

Cover: Wood Hauling, with Willow by Hillary Steinau.

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Breaking Trail http://www.downeast.com/breaking-trail/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/breaking-trail/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:48:55 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=14168 Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making ski trip plans.

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Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making ski trip plans.
By Brian Kevin
Every December for the last three years, I’ve gone on a cross-country ski trip to Acadia National Park with my wife. Actually, that’s not true. For the last two years, I’ve gone on a cross-country ski trip in Acadia with my wife. The year before, it didn’t snow, and she wasn’t my wife. So I spent the first day with some woman who lived with me and the second day with my fiancée. Somewhere in the middle, we got engaged atop Gorham Mountain.

The lack of snow was disappointing, because I love snow, and because I wanted to pop the question surrounded by it. But the Gorham Mountain summit was a decent substitute. The hike to the top is two miles long and not particularly challenging unless the trail is covered with ice, which it was on that December day three years back. We wore some stretch-over-your-shoes cleats from Renys and held hands while we walked across the more treacherous sections. Gorham Mountain tops out at 525 feet above sea level, which is pretty much where the hike begins — at sea level, I mean — just a stone’s throw from where the crashing waves give Thunder Hole its name.

Back in Montana, where my Mainer wife first picked me up, a 525-foot mound of dirt and rock would be called a “hill” or perhaps, quite generously, a “butte.” Under no circumstances would Gorham be considered a real mountain, but I’ve learned in Maine to be more generous with the term. In Montana, one of my favorite places to ski was at a 7,251-foot pass on the Continental Divide. It was beautiful, but then so is Acadia, and besides, I usually skied there alone, which isn’t as fun.

Under no circumstances would Gorham be considered a real mountain, but I’ve learned in Maine to be more generous with the term.

The place where my wife and I stay in Bar Harbor is that town’s least expensive B&B. Or anyway, it contains what I’m pretty sure is the least expensive room in any Bar Harbor B&B. The husband and wife who run the place are warm and eccentric and have two of the fattest cats I have ever seen. I’m guessing that they — the cats, I mean — get some of the leftovers from breakfast after the guests are done eating, because the breakfasts are hearty, accompanied by a mountain (Maine-size) of homemade pastries, and because it just cannot be possible for cats to get that fat eating cat food alone.

It was so cold at the top of Gorham Mountain that first year — the kind of cold that the wind carries right through the fibers of your outerwear. I got down on one knee, as one does, and when my now-wife saw the ring, she cried a few icicle tears. “Is this real?” she asked. Then she clarified: The unfolding engagement, I mean. Not the diamond.

The next year, we went back, good and married, and it snowed so hard on Mount Desert Island. We skied our brains out: around Witch Hole Pond, along the edge of Penobscot Mountain, down the side of Eagle Lake. The snow was fluffy and abundant and wonderful. It took me and the B&B owner an hour just to shovel out the driveway one morning, his enormous cats somehow hoisting themselves onto the windowsills to watch. At night, my wife and I trudged our ski-sore bodies through the white and silent streets, and we ate an extravagant dinner we probably couldn’t afford at a restaurant where Barack and Michelle once hung out.

When we went to Acadia last December, the snow was meager, but skiable. It’s one of those chest-thumpy things I like about Nordic skiing: we cross-country skiers make do with the snow we have. Downhill skiers have it a bit differently, particularly here in Maine, with all our diminutive mountains. Some years, it feels like they — the skiers, I mean — spend half their season schussing on crunchy, machine-made snow. Ours in Acadia last year wasn’t so different, really — a base of week-old stuff, refrozen and dusted with a couple inches of fresh — but hey, at least it was real.

Of course, we only skied a couple of miles last year, because my wife, who is a badass, was nine months pregnant.

I can’t wait for this year. I can’t wait to see those rounded little mountains and to ski alongside my wife (who is still a badass). I can’t wait to strap on the used ski trailer that I bought on Craigslist and put my year-old son inside and show him around the treasure that is Acadia. I can’t wait to pose for a selfie with my little family in front of icy Gorham Mountain. And I can’t wait to put a handful of newly fallen powder in my son’s mittened hand and see what he does with it, to tell him, “This is snow, buddy. This is wonderful. This is real.”

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Soft Surf http://www.downeast.com/soft-surf/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/soft-surf/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 20:27:10 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=14029 I am constantly amazed at the detail the lens captures during an exposure especially ones created of the moving ocean currents. This image was...

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I am constantly amazed at the detail the lens captures during an exposure especially ones created of the moving ocean currents. This image was taken as stormy seas were subsiding at Quoddy Head State Park.

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Nice N’ Easy http://www.downeast.com/nice-n-easy/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/nice-n-easy/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 13:23:08 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=13268 A 1980s Cape is redesigned to take full advantage of its perch on a sinuous waterway in Camden.

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A 1980s Cape is redesigned to take full advantage of its perch on a sinuous waterway in Camden.
By Virginia M. Wright / Photographed by Mark Fleming

The Megunticook River is best known for its finale: it disappears under Camden village’s main street, reemerges from beneath the rear deck of a harborside restaurant, and tumbles down a steep rock stairway into the sea. Just 3½ miles upstream, however, is an entirely different Megunticook: here, the river is wide and ever changing, with hints of adventure waiting around a wooded bend.

That scene, dressed in a fluffy blanket of snow, won the hearts of this airy Cape’s current owners 11 years ago. Parents to three young girls, the couple had been looking for a house in Maine — somewhere not so remote as Mount Desert Island, where both had summered as children, and not so suburban as Greater Portland, which was similar to the New Jersey town they then called home. Camden fit the bill.

The couple spent the next few years remodeling the 1980s-vintage house to suit their lifestyle and to more fully embrace the river view. They removed some of the interior walls, creating an open floor plan that flows from the kitchen to the dining area to the living room. Red accents are a unifying theme: there’s the glossy enamel range, the bright lacquer chairs in the casual dining area, and the walls of the formal dining room, which are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Bull’s Eye Red, a rich color that suits the antique furnishings, all family heirlooms.

The spacious kitchen, with its cherry-topped island and the AGA dual-fuel range, was designed with the couple’s shared passion for cooking in mind. The maple cabinets are custom made by Pine Ridge Carpentry in neighboring Hope.

The family has shopped locally for art as well. The landscape above the sofa is by Brooklin painter Tom Curry, and the whimsical giraffes in a garage-turned-mudroom and den are by Northeast Harbor artist Dan Falt.

The couple’s relaxed sense of style is inspiring for its attainability, but it’s their mudroom that is most likely to elicit envy. A row of cubbies provides storage for each family member’s belongings; footwear is tucked underneath and out of the way. The couple eschewed closet doors so the cubbies can double as benches for donning and shedding boots — plus, they get to enjoy the uniquely Maine sense of satisfaction that comes with seeing their bulky outdoor gear organized.

When it comes to renovation, post-and-beam construction is especially flexible because there are no load-bearing interior walls. The owners of this Camden home removed some walls to create an open floor plan from kitchen to living room, but retained the walls that separate the formal dining room.

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Fog at First Sunlight http://www.downeast.com/fog-first-sunlight/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/fog-first-sunlight/#comments Sun, 14 Dec 2014 16:05:21 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=13709 Three fishing boats at mooring as the suns first rays penetrate and burn off the tranquil morning fog on Johnson Bay. The island of...

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Three fishing boats at mooring as the suns first rays penetrate and burn off the tranquil morning fog on Johnson Bay. The island of Popes Folley is the backdrop in Lubec, Maine.

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Alone Together http://www.downeast.com/alone-together/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/alone-together/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 13:46:51 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=12832 Islesford and Great Cranberry Island face the Atlantic — and the future — side by side. By Virginia M. Wright / Photographed by Douglas...

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Islesford and Great Cranberry Island face the Atlantic — and the future — side by side.
By Virginia M. Wright / Photographed by Douglas Merriam
Wilfred Bunker and Elmer Spurling were two of the best boat captains the Cranberry Isles have ever produced. They were also rivals, whose competition for the lucrative mailboat contract divided them much the way the mile-wide channel known as The Gut separates the islands each man called home. During one late-winter northeaster, Spurling, an Islesford man, steered his lobsterboat across that passage to Great Cranberry Island and picked up his sometime adversary, one of the few people he could trust to help with a grim and dangerous task: retrieving the body of lobsterman Roland Sprague from a wave-battered beach in Blue Hill Bay.

Hours earlier, the Coast Guard had found Sprague and his sternman, Fred Fernald, frozen to death in their lobsterboat, which had run aground on Pond Island, some 10 miles from where they had last been seen moving traps in preparation for the storm. The guardsmen managed to bring Fernald’s body onto their vessel, but with the gale bearing down, they were ordered to leave Sprague behind.

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By the time Spurling, Bunker, and their crew arrived at Pond Island, it was dark, and Sprague’s body was nowhere to be seen. Sweeping a searchlight over the black swells, the seamen saw a man’s knee break the surface. Working quickly, they pulled the body from the deep. Then they brought Roland Sprague home.

It’s my third day on the Cranberry Isles, and I’ve heard this story in varying detail four times. This time the storyteller is Wilfred Bunker’s niece, Eileen Richards, who presides over the diminutive Great Cranberry post office on Spurling Cove, where a picture window is the only thing that stands between her and storm-tossed waves. (“I tell people this is the only post office in America equipped with a life jacket,” she jokes.) Fifty-five years have passed since Elmer Spurling and Wilfred Bunker put aside their differences to bring some sense of resolution to a widow and her two young children, but here on the Cranberry Isles, where the Bunkers still run the mailboat, and where Spurlings and Spragues and Fernalds abound, it can seem like only yesterday.

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The story especially resonates on this bitterly cold Monday after the town meeting weekend. For months, the tension had been building between Great Cranberry and Islesford. The issue: whether to make $610,000 in repairs and improvements to Great Cranberry’s Longfellow School — a school no child had attended since 2000 and a school no child will ever attend again unless the building, which also houses the public library, is brought up to code. With just 10 schoolchildren between the two islands, all enrolled in the Ashley Bryan School on Islesford, some budget-minded folks from that smaller but more populous isle had deemed the proposal wasteful. To the Great Cranberry islanders, giving up on the school was tantamount to a death sentence. Failure to restore it, they believed, would doom the year-round community, whose population hovers around 40.

On the morning of the town meeting, nearly every resident of Great Cranberry — along with some seasonal residents who’d traveled hundreds of miles for this vote — boarded the ferry for Islesford, primed for battle. Gathering in the Neighborhood House, a rustic meetinghouse with a hand-painted mural depicting the islands’ spectacular view of the mountains of Acadia National Park, nearly two dozen people from both sides of The Gut gave testimony. Eileen Richards was one of them. She said that Wilfred Bunker, “a man who served this community in many ways, a friend and relative to most of us,” had been on her mind, and she wondered what he would have to say about all of this. “This item is not about money. It is not about winning, as winning implies an opponent, and I hope my friends, neighbors, and relatives do not look at me as the enemy. I am you, only I live on a different island.”

She and her fellow Great Cranberry islanders needn’t have doubted their Islesford neighbors. The measure to restore the school passed easily, 64 to 20.

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At the turn of the 20th century, 300 of Maine’s 3,000-plus coastal islands hosted thriving year-round communities; today, Great Cranberry and Islesford are two of just 15 true island communities left. Along with Baker, Bear, and Sutton islands — each host to a smattering of summer homes — they compose the town of Cranberry Isles, served year-round by the Beal & Bunker mailboat, a passenger-only ferry based in Mount Desert Island’s Southwest Harbor, about three miles away.

In summer, the islands have a peaceful, languid air that contrasts sharply with the bustle of MDI and Acadia National Park, which see 2 million visitors a year. Islesford (the island’s name is actually Little Cranberry, but everyone who lives there calls it by the name of its village, Islesford) is the busier of the two, receiving a handful of small tour boats whose passengers stroll up the road to the village, snapping photos of the stacks of lobster traps, then spend an hour or two learning about island life at the national park museum or cracking lobsters at the Islesford Dock Restaurant before heading back to the mainland. Great Cranberry has its attractions, too, but they require a bit more effort to find — about half a mile from the town dock, there’s Cranberry House, with a café, art gallery, and history museum, and about a half-mile beyond that, there’s Polly Bunker’s Whale’s Rib gift shop. Auto traffic on both islands is almost nil.

Winter is even quieter — and it can be achingly lonely. Islesford’s population shrinks from 300 to 70, Great Cranberry’s from 250 to 40. The restaurants, museums, galleries, and shops close. The mailboat cuts its trips to four a day; the tour boats don’t run at all. The miles to the mainland — and between the two communities — seem to grow.

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“It’s surprising the distance The Gut can produce,” Tom Powell, pastor of the Great Cranberry Island Congregational Church and the Islesford Congregational Church, tells me. “Being two islands inherently means there are two distinct communities. It’s like the difference between a village and a long country road. Islesford is the village; the houses are near each other, and business and pleasure necessarily involve exchanges with your neighbors. Activities are impromptu. Great Cranberry is the long country road; there’s a trunk with some branches, and the houses are spread out along it. There’s a sense of community, but it has a different flavor. You have to make activities, because that’s how you get together.”

Powell and I are seated in the living room of the parsonage on Great Cranberry, where he and his wife, Becca, have offered me the use of their guest room, since there is no lodging on the islands this time of year. The couple is one of the reasons I’ve come: just six months into his job when we meet, Powell, 33, is the islands’ first resident minister since 1951.

Tom and Becca Powell

Tom and Becca Powell

The decision to hire a pastor — initiated by Great Cranberry parishioners, who then enlisted the support of their counterparts on Islesford — was as much symbolic as it was spiritual. “An island’s identity is wrapped up in its sense of community,” Powell explains. “There’s a postmaster, there are children in the school, there are people in the library, there’s a minister in the church. These things say ‘We are.’ For a lot of people, whether they go to church or not, knowing that I’m here is representation that the islands are looking forward with an optimism. They have a future.”

The sense of vulnerability is keenest on Great Cranberry. Its population is not only smaller, it’s older, with a median age of 58 compared to Islesford’s 41. Its once-vibrant fishing community today numbers just two lobstermen. By contrast, Islesford, home to the Cranberry Isles Fishermen’s Co-op, counts 22. Other work on both islands — carpentry, landscaping, and the like — is spotty once the summer people depart.

Such realities fueled the anxiety surrounding the Longfellow School project, Powell believes. “Have you ever met someone who has a negative self-image? I think there is some of that on this island. The question about the school created an existential crisis, and the island’s unspoken negative self-image was expressed in fear and doubt. The thinking was that Islesford would see it only as dollars and cents. They didn’t — but then again, who knows how it would have gone if people hadn’t been so motivated?”

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Powell grew up in Pennsylvania and spent summers on the island of Vinalhaven, in Penobscot Bay, so he had some idea of what he was getting into when he applied for the post of pastor. Indeed, he says, it is exactly what he and Becca were looking for. “It’s traditional for small parishes to be starter churches, but I don’t view this that way. It’s a three-year contract, but I hope it lasts far longer. We’ve put all our chips in. This isn’t parsonage furniture in this house; it’s our furniture. We could have left it in storage in Bangor. This is our home. This is our place.”

On the Sunday morning after the town meeting, 10 people — a good turnout for winter — gather around a table in Great Cranberry’s unofficial winter church, the Ladies Aid building, which, unlike the actual church, has the luxury of heat. Powell says prayers for ill members of the community and reads his sermon from an iPad, and the group shares a potluck lunch. Then the Powells dash to catch the mailboat to Islesford, where Tom delivers another sermon, and because the ferry will have made its last run by the time they’re finished visiting, the couple spends the night in a parishioner’s home. Powell is a Presbyterian, but he says, “I’m a broad churchman here. Both of these islands exist as a parish — as a local church for the people who are here. You’re really their only option. In many ways, it’s the way it used to be when people had to walk to church, or ride a horse.” On paper, his is a part-time mission; in practice, he works nearly every day, visiting shut-ins, offering comfort to the sick, and organizing volunteers for community work and activities. He makes the trip across The Gut at least once a day, often more, and making that connection, he says, is one of the most important things he does. “Part of my job,” he believes, “is knitting the islands together.”

Powell’s ability to appeal to a broad spectrum of church-goers, his musical talent (he plays the piano and sings), and his and Becca’s genuine interest in island life made him the unanimous choice of the churches’ hiring committee, member Phil Whitney tells me after the Great Cranberry service. “We were leaning toward younger people if they were mature enough to deal with older people, because we thought they would add enthusiasm and vitality to the community above and beyond the church,” Whitney says. “And that has happened. Rebecca and Tom are filling a void. Becca is on the planning board. Both help out at Cranberry House. Both are in the fire department. With the fire department especially, having two more bodies getting training is extremely important. When you get involved in just a few things out here, you can’t help but make a big difference.”

Few people have done more to try to reverse the exodus of the Cranberries’ population than Whitney, who grew up in Southwest Harbor and has roots on Great Cranberry stretching to the late 1700s. After a globetrotting career with the U.S. Department of State, he retired with his wife Karin to the island in 2001, moving into his grandparents’ house, which he’d frequented as a child. “I didn’t want to see what I loved, what my grandparents and generations of my family and other families built, disappear,” he says. “A malaise was settling in, and there didn’t seem to be a lot of motivation to turn things around. The attitude, especially in winter, seemed to be that the handwriting was on the wall and people were waiting for the island to die.”

Phil and Karin Whitney

Phil and Karin Whitney

He and Karin plunged in. As a selectman, he helped establish a town-subsidized commuter boat whose early morning and evening runs allow people to have full-time jobs on the mainland. He joined the historical society, which purchased and renovated the Cranberry House building. Karin runs the seasonal café, Hitty’s, named for a doll in a 1929 children’s novel by the late Rachel Field, a summer resident of Sutton Island. Phil is president of Cranberry Isles Reality Trust (CIRT), an affordable workforce organization that has acquired or built five rental homes, four of them on Great Cranberry.

“We talk to a lot of people who come through our doors,” Whitney says of would-be CIRT tenants. “Some of them say it’s a wonderful place, they’d like to live here, and you can tell right off the bat that they wouldn’t make it here in January. But there are others who seem to understand the issues of living on the frontier, as I call it, living on the edge of the open ocean in winter. The people you try to persuade are those you think are going to make it economically and socially. It’s a narrow section of the population that can be out here in winter without ready hospital access or a drug store or a movie theater.”

Every morning, Richard Beal opens the Cranberry General Store – the only commercial enterprise on Great Cranberry that keeps hours in winter — and takes his chair by the front window, where he plays host to regulars who stop in for coffee, politics, and gossip. It is not Beal’s store, but the key is entrusted to him by Janice Murch, a summer resident who bought the place in 2009 and who, I am told by several people, keeps it open in winter even though it loses money because she wants to support the year-round community. (When I caught up with Murch last summer, she declined to speak on the record, but suffice it to say she holds the island and islanders dear.) Located a few paces uphill from the town dock, the store stocks the basics and a surprising amount more — cereals, cheeses, pastas and sauces, frozen pizza, and other items that can be cobbled into a nourishing meal should one’s refrigerator go empty before a trip to the mainland supermarket.

“I’ll run down and unlock the store after hours if someone is having a problem — that’s normally with cigarettes. There are people on Islesford who call over here to have cigarettes put on the mailboat,” says Beal, a selectman and retired Navy captain who has called Great Cranberry home since 1998. “We have beer and wine, but no hard liquor. Not that we haven’t tried. Two years ago I wrote a warrant article and tried to change that, but nope, they don’t want it. I’ve learned a lot in 16 years, and there are some things they just won’t do. They don’t want five selectmen — nope, we’ll stick with three. They don’t want nominations for selectmen five months in advance — nope, we want them from the town-meeting floor. They don’t want a town manager — nope, they’ll get too much power.”

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The school vote is the topic this Monday morning, as roughly one-third of the town wanders into the store in the space of an hour. There’s Malcolm Donald, a lifelong seasonal resident who came up from Portland for the meeting; Polly Bunker, who never goes to Islesford (the steep dock stairs challenge her 87-year-old legs), but was compelled to go this time and be counted; Eileen Richards, who is on her way to open the post office; Eileen’s brother, Blair Colby, whose collection of used trucks makes him Great Cranberry’s de facto public works department; the Powells, who have just come off the ferry from Islesford; and Annie Alley, who, though ailing from cancer, adds her freshly baked toll house cookies and mini cheesecakes to the bakery shelf. (Both Donald, 74, and Alley, 81, have since passed away.)

One of the store’s most popular items is a tee-shirt, bearing a slogan coined by Polly Bunker’s sister, the late Charlene Alley: You Can Get a Pound of Butter and Everything Else You Need to Know. Another way to put it: this is no place for a recluse.

“You don’t live on an island unless you want to be part of the community,” Pastor Powell tells me later. “This is a wonderful community, but it’s not perfect. It isn’t Mayberry. There are people who are broken. There are people who go home and drink. Those people are in every town; the only difference here is, you can’t hide from that. You know their names. Some people may not want that, but for others, it meets a need for belonging. And because there’s that frailty, you’re free to not be perfect and you won’t be ostracized.”

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There are some encouraging signs for the islands’ future. This past summer, two families with four children between them moved into CIRT houses on Great Cranberry, thus increasing the school population by almost half and bolstering islanders’ argument for using the Ashley Bryan and Longfellow schools on an alternating schedule.

Meanwhile, Great Cranberry’s two boatyards are being reinvigorated by two young men with Cranberry roots. Josh Gray, who graduated from Colby College in 2005 and spent some time working in Washington, D.C., now lives on Islesford and commutes daily across The Gut to Newman and Gray Boatyard, a business co-founded by his father 30 years ago. The company has six year-round employees. Sam Donald — Malcolm Donald’s son — pursued careers in finance in New York and international development in Washington and Cameroon, but now he is living on Great Cranberry, managing Cranberry Island Boatyard, which has two year-round employees. “My relationship to this place goes way back to high school, when I worked here summers,” Donald says. “In the back of my mind, I always thought that this was the job I most enjoyed. It’s been much easier to be out here than I thought. I expected to feel isolated and lonely and to go stir crazy, but it hasn’t been that way at all.”

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When I was young, I was told my father was lost at sea,” Joy Sprague says. “That’s why I loved walking the beach, because if he was lost, then that meant I could find him.”

It is a balmy summer day on Islesford — five months after the town meeting — and I am sitting with Sprague and lobsterman Stefanie Alley at a picnic table in a field overlooking The Gut and Great Cranberry beyond. Sprague tells me she was just 3 when her father died in his lobsterboat during that late-winter northeaster in 1959. As the years passed, she would learn how two rival sea captains had recovered her father’s body, an act that not only gave her mother some measure of peace, but also financial security: had there been no body, Roland Sprague’s widow would have had to wait seven years to collect her husband’s Social Security benefits. “My mother was from Virginia, and she had only been living here a few months when he died,” Sprague says. “She could have gone back home to her family, but she loved this community, and she did everything to keep the pieces together so we could stay.”

Sprague is the Islesford postmaster, a position she has held since she turned 21, when she was briefly the youngest postmaster in the country. Each year, she and Eileen Richards, her friend and counterpart on the other side of The Gut, compete to sell the most stamps by mail, a contest that gives both post offices an income boost. She worked with Phil Whitney on the committee that hired Tom Powell to serve as pastor of the Great Cranberry and Islesford churches. She also is a selectman — nominated from the floor at the town meeting, she edged out Whitney, 38­­–36.

Which leads to one last story, one that Joy Sprague says not many people know. Not long before Elmer Spurling died in 1984 at the age of 83, Sprague saw him and his wife, Eleanor, sitting on the mailboat, which was picking up passengers at the dock. His old competitor for the mailboat contract, Wilfred Bunker, then in his 60s, was at the wheel. “It’s Saturday morning, the 11 o’clock boat,” Sprague recalls. “Wilfred goes and talks to Elmer. Elmer plants his cane, stands up, and goes to the steering wheel.” Sprague’s voice cracks. “And Elmer pilots that boat. Wilfred sits there, biding his time. Wilfred showed that he respected Elmer and trusted him with his boat. It was better than a handshake.”

In a small island town, sometimes your friends and your rivals are one and the same.

Meet four people that call the Great Cranberry Islands home. Click here to read more.

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Voices of Great Cranberry Island http://www.downeast.com/voices-great-cranberry-island/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/voices-great-cranberry-island/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 16:00:34 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=12851 Blair Colby Mechanic, Jack of All Trades “I was born and brought up on Great Cranberry. For 20 years, I worked as a welder...

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Blair Colby

Mechanic, Jack of All Trades

“I was born and brought up on Great Cranberry. For 20 years, I worked as a welder in New Hampshire, then I got hurt on the job. One thing led to another, and I wanted to come home. I graduated from high school unable to read or write. I can get by just fine out here, but not on the mainland. I plow the roads, sell firewood, make sure the widows’ steps are clear and the generators are working, and do pretty much anything else I can. I’m blessed to be under the umbrella of the summer people — I can’t say that enough — although it’s sad to see the state of the island in winter. When I was young, there were lobsterboats in the coves, always something going on. Now there are just a handful of people who are hanging on.”

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Beverly Sanborn

Widow of Lobsterman Norman Sanborn

“I met my husband, Norman, in Fort Lauderdale when he was in the Navy. He wanted to come home to Great Cranberry to be a lobsterman — that was around 1967. There were close to 200 people year-round then. All three of our children went to school here, and I was a teacher’s aide for six years. The number of kids in the school varied from as few as seven or eight to as many as 22. When the state started talking about having just one school for the two islands, we invited our legislators to come out. Wilfred Bunker went to pick them up — it was a blowy, snowy day, and he insisted that they get on the boat. He said, ‘If you want our kids to be boated to one school, you’re going to experience what they have to experience.’”

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Tiffany Tate

Marine Harvester

“I grew up in Washington County, but my family is wound through the history of these islands right back to the first settlers — Spurlings, Bunkers, Beals, Rices, and Rosebrooks. I feel like I’m finally home. Finding work can be challenging. I’m always right on the edge, figuring out what I’m going to do and how I’m going to pay rent. But if I went back to the mainland, it would be harder to share my son with his father, who lives on Islesford. Last Christmas, I made 250 feet of garland and draped it down the town dock. I was sitting at the store at 1 a.m., trying to get Internet and do college course work, and the wind kept whipping off the garland, and I kept going down to fix it. I’m stubborn. You’ve got to be stubborn to be out here.”

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Eileen Richards

Great Cranberry Postmaster

“My mother, Gaile Colby, is a strong woman. She has been the backbone of the community for years. She was president of the Ladies Aid, which must be one of our oldest organizations — it’s 114 years old this year. I’m president now. I swore I’d never do that, but here I am. We work to provide a community center and a ball field. The Ladies Aid building is where we have weddings, receptions, wakes, funerals, potluck dinners. It’s also our emergency shelter in case of disaster. We’re thinking about starting an inter-island cribbage tournament. We’re always trying to think of something new, because it can get very bland out here, very routine, nothing sparking you. You have to mix it up a little, while keeping the tried and true.”

Love the Cranberry Isles? Read “Alone Together,” a story about friendship and the future on Islesford and Great Cranberry, from our December 2014 issue.

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Trap Tree http://www.downeast.com/trap-tree/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/trap-tree/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 15:43:16 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=13714 Christmas tree made out of lobster traps

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Christmas tree made out of lobster traps

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Christmas in Maine http://www.downeast.com/christmas-maine/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/christmas-maine/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 15:33:11 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=13716 The Anchorage By The Sea in Ogunquit is all decorated for the holidays.

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The Anchorage By The Sea in Ogunquit is all decorated for the holidays.

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LISTEN NOW: The Belfast Operation http://www.downeast.com/belfast-operation/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/belfast-operation/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 17:26:58 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=12693 Stream or download an audio podcast of "The Belfast Operation" by Brian Kevin, from our January 2015 issue.

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A Down East audio exclusive! Stream or download an audio podcast of “The Belfast Operation” by Brian Kevin, from our January 2015 issue

In 1984 cocaine trafficking in Maine was considered an urban problem. But in the sticks of the midcoast, a loose cartel of freewheeling, twenty-something drug dealers was building an empire — until one of the state’s most elaborate and far-reaching undercover operations brought it all crashing down.

 

To read the article, pick up a copy of our January issue, on newsstands now!

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Allagash Roof Rakes http://www.downeast.com/fortkent/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/fortkent/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 13:52:22 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=13676 Roland Charette invented a rake that loosens and lifts snow from your roof - a necessity if you spend your winters in Fort Kent.

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When you spend winters in places like Fort Kent, you know how fast snow can pile up on roofs. The Allagash Roof Rake was invented by Fort Kent native Roland Charette and is an easy, innovative way to loosen and lift snow from your home. Watch the video to see how it works. To learn more about Fort Kent in the winter, pick up our January issue, on newsstands December 23!

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Escape from Spencer Lake http://www.downeast.com/escape-spencer-lake/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/escape-spencer-lake/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 13:50:49 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=13261 During World War II, thousands of German prisoners of war were held in internment camps across Maine. In the winter of 1945, three of them got away.

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During World War II, thousands of German prisoners of war were held in internment camps across Maine. In the winter of 1945, three of them got away.
By Ron Joseph / Archival Photos courtesy of Dean Yeaton
March 8, 1945, started as a routine day for Dean Yeaton. His father’s remote logging camp on the edge of western Maine’s Spencer Lake had no electricity and no running water. In the morning, the 16-year-old trudged out to the frozen lake, dipping two pails into a hole drilled through 2 feet of ice, filling them with drinking water for the camp’s 14 loggers. He had just turned to head back to the kitchen when he was startled by an explosion of sound and motion: a dozen semi-feral pigs stampeding past him on the frozen shore. The stunned Yeaton had no way of knowing it, but the frightened animals signaled the beginning of the largest manhunt in Maine’s history.

The pigs had been spooked by the dozens of law enforcement agents who were, at that moment, combing the woods with bloodhounds, searching for three German prisoners escaped from the Hobbstown prisoner of war camp on Spencer Lake’s north end, a mile from the Yeatons’ camp. The three Germans had snuck away from an ice-harvesting job the day before, and when their absence was noticed at the POW camp’s evening roll call, camp commander Major William Marshall immediately dispatched pleas for state and federal help. The next morning, some 30 officers from the Maine State Police, Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, Maine Warden Service, and FBI showed up at Hobbstown — and at the Yeatons’ logging camp. Newspaper headlines trumpeted the prisoners’ escape and publicized the armed search efforts getting under way.

For those who’d supported bringing German POWs to Maine in the first place, the escape was unwelcome news. In 1944, at the height of U.S. involvement in World War II, Maine Congresswoman Margaret Chase Smith and Senator Owen Brewster had lobbied the federal government to send captured Germans to Maine in order to help alleviate an acute labor shortage. Both the potato growers and the paper mills, Maine’s largest employers, had been hit hard by the exodus of young men either enlisting or leaving the state for more lucrative defense industry jobs in Massachusetts and Connecticut. At the time, Maine led the nation in the production of potatoes and paper, and both resources were in high demand for the war effort. In 1944, the War Production Board had challenged Maine to increase its lumber production by 45 percent — an impossible mandate without an adequate labor force. So Smith and Brewster pleaded with the War Department to send German POWs to Maine to cut pulpwood and pick potatoes, downplaying the potential dangers of establishing fortified camps for enemy combatants in the Maine North Woods. The government acquiesced, and in 1944, some 4,000 German soldiers arrived at four primary POW camps in northern Maine at Houlton, Princeton, Seboomook, and Spencer Lake.

And now three of them were on the run.

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Every cord of pulpwood cut from this moment on will help ensure victory in 1944,” announced O.A. Sawyer, a manager of the Hollingsworth & Whitney paper company and a strong advocate of POW labor. “Every battle our boys win means they’re keeping faith with us. Every tree we cut means we’re keeping faith with them.”

A beneficiary of conscript labor, Hollingsworth & Whitney constructed the 22-building POW facility at Spencer Lake. Surrounded by a barricade of barbed wire and guard towers, it was designed to accommodate 250 prisoners. At the peak of pulpwood production in March of 1945, the camp ballooned to 310 POWs, but the War Department turned a blind eye to the overcrowding, since Maine pulpwood was critical to production of artillery shell container paper, dynamite shell paper, map paper, card stocks, and dozens of other wartime paper products.

The Spencer Lake compound opened on a warm summer night in 1944 amid considerable public outcry. At 3 a.m. on July 10, a rowdy crowd in the town of Bingham met the passenger train carrying 250 POWs. The shades on the Pullman cars were drawn, so the prisoners couldn’t study the countryside, and armed guards stood at the end of each car. Roland Tozier was one of the locals watching as the prisoners filed out and boarded military trucks for the 50-mile ride to Spencer Lake.

“Seeing those frightened, young German boys headed to the Spencer POW camp softened me,” he said in an interview in the late 1960s. “I thought of my own two sons fighting in Europe and wondered if some German father was staring at my sons being carted off to a POW camp in Germany. I left the train station with a heavy heart.”

Many of the Spencer Lake POWs had served as members of General Rommel’s elite Afrika Korps. Captured in mid-May of 1943, when the Allies defeated the Germans in Tunisia and Morocco, they were among the thousands of POWs shipped to Boston, New York, and Norfolk. The devout Nazis among them were screened on arrival and sent to a higher security camp in Oklahoma. Most of the POWs shipped to Maine, meanwhile, had already worked as cotton pickers in Louisiana the year before.

There were no escape attempts at Spencer Lake during the camp’s first eight months. That changed when 18-year-old Franz Keller, 19-year-old Horst Schlueter, and 20-year-old Antone Geib woke up on March 7, 1945, hid some rations and sugar in pouches beneath their clothes, and then stole away into the snow-smothered Maine woods.

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The trio fashioned crude snowshoes from rail ties and short boards, making harnesses out of discarded leather belts and stovepipe wire. They were armed with homemade knives. They absconded with axes from their work detail and stole a map from a French-Canadian woodcutter. They even rigged themselves an ingenious compass, made from a sewing needle, a magnetized electrical coil, and the tin top from a can of peaches (“The compass worked as well as any from L.L.Bean,” one game warden later remarked). The nearest public road was 12 miles away across a wintery wilderness. The Germans’ plan: to somehow make it 100 miles to the coast, where they hoped to hitch a ride on a freighter to German-friendly Argentina.

Shortly after the escape, officials interrogated the ice-cutting prisoner crew that the three fugitives had deserted. The guard assigned to them, the prisoners confessed, had fallen asleep on a horsehair blanket beneath a fir tree.

“The guards were very lax,” a Houlton POW named Hans Krueger later told a researcher. “You could watch them sleeping and dozing in the daytime. We would throw small pebbles or stones against the guard towers. Sometimes it would take 10 minutes to wake them up.”

For two days, three surveillance planes flew above Spencer Lake while law enforcement officers searched for clues on the ground, but no one found any signs of the escapees.

Prior to the escape, visiting military officers had voiced concerns about security at Spencer Lake’s wood harvesting sites. No need to worry, Major Marshall’s men had assured them: Maine’s forests were remote, and the freezing temperatures would dissuade any potential escapees. What’s more, very few prisoners spoke English, and many had seen enough Hollywood movies to believe that the woods were swarming with bears, wolves, and bizarrely, hostile Indians.

“We had been told the forest was populated by wild Indians who would not hesitate to kill escaping prisoners,” recalled a POW named Rudi Richter. “We had no reason not to believe these stories.”

But Keller, Schlueter, and Geib were unfazed by such tales. What’s more, the young soldiers were skilled at avoiding detection. They traveled at night and built shelters from snow and pine boughs to protect themselves from the bitter winds. For two days, three surveillance planes flew above Spencer Lake while law enforcement officers searched for clues on the ground, but no one found any signs of the escapees. Then, on the third day, help came from an unexpected source: an eccentric, cantankerous hermit named Bill Hall.

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Motivated by a distaste for people and civilization, Hall had lived since 1932 in a squat, one-room trapper’s cabin halfway between the logging camp and the POW compound. Law enforcement officials were well aware of the hermit’s prickly nature, but Hall knew the woods better than anyone, and as the Germans’ trail grew colder, officers reluctantly deputized him. Dean Yeaton, who’d watched the frightened pigs trample through his father’s logging camp, befriended the reclusive woodsman over the years.

“Hall knew the woods like the back of his hand,” Yeaton later recalled. “His first contribution was unconventional but noteworthy. He killed a deer with a high-powered rifle, within earshot of the interned German prisoners. Hall placed the deer’s organs in a grain bag and carried the sack over his shoulder to the POW fence. There, as Germans gathered behind barbed wire, he dumped the bloody contents onto the snow and said through an interpreter, ‘This is all that remains of one escapee.’”

The dramatic gesture might not have had quite its intended effect, however. Hall tried to punctuate his point with a German phrase he had learned the previous day. “Binden sie ihre schuhe,” he growled through the fence. What Hall thought he had said was, “Let this be a lesson to you,” but his interpreter corrected him. The hermit instead had announced, “Tie your shoes.”

But Hall made no further mistakes. He advised game wardens to rush to the town of West Forks, some 12 miles east of the lake. The young Germans would head in that direction, the hermit assured them, after finding they couldn’t cross the open water of Spencer Stream or the wide and fast-moving Dead River to the south. Focus your search around West Forks, Hall advised, near where the Dead River meets the Kennebec — that’s where the icy rivers will funnel your Germans.

As Hall expected, two game wardens quickly picked up the Germans’ trail near West Forks. On March 12, 1945 — five days after their escape — the Germans were apprehended at gunpoint in a makeshift lean-to. The wardens relieved them of their axes and took them to a country store nearby, where the Army could retrieve them. According to Yeaton, “Hall never received the credit he deserved because he shunned publicity. He lived each day in blissful anonymity.”

Later, while being interrogated, one of the escapees told his captors that the overconfident camp overseer, Major Marshall, had actually challenged the prisoners to try and flee. “We wanted to show him,” said the soldier, “that it is possible to escape from the Spencer Lake POW camp.”

It wasn’t mistreatment that motivated the three young Germans’ flight from Spencer Lake. In fact, the impetus to escape was one many Mainers can relate to: “We did not want to endure another summer with biting mosquitos, blackflies, and no-see-ums,” one of the runaways later confessed.

On the whole, German POWs in Maine reported fair treatment. Major Marshall and the commanders of other camps abided by the Geneva Conventions in the expectation that American POWs would receive similarly humane treatment in Germany. After the escape, a Red Cross representative visited Spencer Lake to ensure that guards weren’t retaliating against the prisoners. As the Red Cross rep finished his inspection, a German soldier representing the POWs voiced a complaint: the prisoners were fed up with American white bread. The official relayed this grievance to Major Marshall, who responded by providing the Germans with what they most craved: a Dutch oven and ingredients for dark German breads.

Some German POWs actually had fond memories of their imprisonment. Later in life, many made emotional trips back to Maine to renew friendships forged between 1944 and 1946.

The Hobbstown POW camp operated at Spencer Lake until April 1946, 11 months after Germany’s surrender in World War II. With their homeland devastated by the war, not all German POWs were eager to return to the Fatherland. Even after having their rations reduced following the liberation of American POWs, many Germans volunteered to stay and dismantle Maine’s POW camps. With little food and no pay, they slept on mattresses on the barracks floor, determined to forestall their shipment to England or France, where other POWs worked as coal miners under deplorable conditions.

Some German POWs actually had fond memories of their imprisonment. Later in life, many made emotional trips back to Maine to renew friendships forged between 1944 and 1946. One of them was Franz Keller, the youngest of the Spencer Lake escapees.

Keller served a three-week solitary confinement sentence at Houlton’s POW camp after his capture in West Forks. As a POW in Houlton in 1945, he took full advantage of the educational opportunities afforded prisoners. He completed an astronomy correspondence course through the University of Maine and continued his studies after being returned to Germany and discharged from the military in 1946. In 1957, the young man who’d escaped Spencer Lake with the genius tin-can compass returned to the United States as an engineer. He worked for a company contracted by NASA to assist in the Apollo missions and later received a NASA commendation for developing space exploration technology. Keller became an American citizen in 1961. In 2000, he passed away in his adopted city of Boston, leaving a wife and two sons.

After the war, many former German POWs remembered their kind treatment in poignant letters to local families and the American men whom they worked alongside. Many letters share sentiments with this one from 1947, written by a released POW named Helmuth Claussen to a former paper company coworker:

I, Helmut, am sending you my heartfelt greetings from Germany. I am thanking you from the bottom of my heart for your dear letters. Healthwise I am doing very well, and I hope you are doing the same . . .

I often think of the beautiful times I enjoyed with you folks in Houlton. I hardly noticed that I was in captivity. I always had enough to eat; every day I could eat my fill and chocolate was plentiful, not to mention all the other plentiful things. All these are beautiful memories. The things I enjoyed while there I will, both now and in the future, have to deny myself. It will take a long time before we enjoy such things here again. Yes, my journey was very long. I had to spend four weeks in France. Many of my kameraden are still in France, working in the coal mines . . . It is a terrible shame that these young men have to experience this . . .

I would love to spend some time with all of you again, but, as my father is no longer alive I have to look after the family. I am so sorry, I have only one small photograph to send you.

Dean Yeaton was among those who appreciated the work ethic of the German pulpwood cutters.

“The Germans loved to sing ‘Don’t Fence Me In,’ the 1944 hit song by Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters,” Yeaton remembered. “It was the only English they knew, so they sang that song over and over. When I hear that song today, I think about those German boys who were only a few years older than me. They were teachers, musicians, and engineers. And like our soldiers, they were just doing what their country asked of them.”

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Woodstove Culture http://www.downeast.com/woodstove/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/woodstove/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 13:32:40 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=13670 From stump to pile, splitting to stacking, we cover it all in our video about woodstove culture in Maine.

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Here in Maine, we don’t just get along with our woodstoves, we love them. We met with two stacking impresarios to discuss why the culture of cutting and stacking wood is such an important part of winters in Maine. To learn more, pick up our January issue, on newsstands December 24!

Video by Kevin Sennett

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Barn on Blueberry Barrens http://www.downeast.com/barn-blueberry-barrens/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/barn-blueberry-barrens/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 19:21:43 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=13608 An early morning fog renders soft saturated colors on this barn and shed, taken at local blueberry barrens on Boot Cove Road in Lubec.

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An early morning fog renders soft saturated colors on this barn and shed, taken at local blueberry barrens on Boot Cove Road in Lubec.

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Early Morning Winter Foliage http://www.downeast.com/early-morning-winter-foliage/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/early-morning-winter-foliage/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 19:19:41 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=13616 I wished I had paid more attention to my truck when I went out to warm it up Thursday morning. This is the remnants...

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I wished I had paid more attention to my truck when I went out to warm it up Thursday morning. This is the remnants from a defrosting windshield once I realized what I had. It would have been much more interesting if I could have shot the whole windshield earlier.

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Sunset on Upland Road http://www.downeast.com/sunset-upland-road/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/sunset-upland-road/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 19:18:25 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=13618 The post Sunset on Upland Road appeared first on Down East.

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Snowy Skyline in Portland http://www.downeast.com/snowy-skyline-portland/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/snowy-skyline-portland/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 19:16:33 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=13606 This photo was taken in Portland, Maine after a huge snowstorm. I spent the afternoon hiking through the snow on the Eastern Prom to...

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This photo was taken in Portland, Maine after a huge snowstorm. I spent the afternoon hiking through the snow on the Eastern Prom to find this view of the city’s skyline at sunset.

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Tallwood Shortfall http://www.downeast.com/tallwood-shortfall/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/tallwood-shortfall/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 12:10:03 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=13258 A run on firewood in 2014 may be making for some smokeless chimneys this winter.

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A run on firewood in 2014 may be making for some smokeless chimneys this winter.

Looking forward to gathering around the yule log this month? Be glad you have one, as high demand for firewood this year left some Mainers scrambling to shake up a few cords in time for winter. We made some calls back in October to see just how far woodpiles had dwindled here in the country’s most heavily forested state.

“Due to the incredible shortage of firewood this year, we are not currently taking any new orders,” announced the voicemail of one southern Maine firewood dealer. No wood available until January, said another. Then there was the customer who got so desperate, he started making offers a vendor couldn’t refuse.

“One guy was willing to pay $700 for a cord in Cape Elizabeth,” said a dealer who preferred anonymity. At the time, a cord of kiln-dried firewood cost about $350 in southern Maine, with seasoned wood going for something shy of $300 and green wood between $200 and $250. “If they’re willing to pay that much, we’ll find it.”

“My phone has been ringing off the hook,” agreed Tony Carter of Carter Tree Service in Norridgewock. “I’ve had to say, ‘I’m sorry. I’m out.’”

Lumber-rich northern Maine had it a little easier this year, most dealers reported, although Lynn York of Medway’s H. Arthur York Logging acknowledged being “the busiest we’ve ever been.” Southern Maine, meanwhile, has more demand and far fewer loggers. Accessing harvestable wood can be tough down south, according to Ken Canfield, the state’s district forester for all of York and a bit of Cumberland County, making the region “a really hard place to be a contractor.”

One guy was willing to pay $700 for a cord in Cape Elizabeth,” said a dealer who preferred anonymity.

In Pownal, David Moore of Maine Coast Firewood said his company was kiln-drying firewood as fast as possible — six cords every 36 hours — but he ran into competition this year from an unexpected source: swamp mats. Central Maine Power’s huge transmission-upgrade project requires log platforms and roads (sometimes called “corduroy roads”) to move heavy equipment through woods and fields.

“We lose anything down to 9 inches round,” said Moore. “Swamp mats have chewed up half the logs.”

Last winter’s deep freeze didn’t help, according to Ken Reed of Log-Land in Madison. “The panic button was hit last winter,” he said. Mainers who saw their woodpiles dwindle before the end of last January ordered early and heavily this year, some even doubling their usual order. Making matters worse, said Reed, the wet spring was an obstacle for loggers, helping create a seasonal shortage of hardwood for both firewood dealers and pulp mills, some of which found themselves competing in recent months for a limited supply of timber.

Whatever the reason our tinder’s been hindered, most dealers agree it’s never wise to wait until fall to place one’s order. Next year, they say, call before the leaves change, and you won’t be left wanting (knock on wood).

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The Elves of the North Woods http://www.downeast.com/maine-made-wooden-toys/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/maine-made-wooden-toys/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 14:06:03 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=13247 A family handcrafts toys designed to last a lifetime.

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A family handcrafts toys designed to last a lifetime.
By Caroline Praderio / Photographed by Mark Fleming

Head Elf. It’s the kind of title a child might imagine having on a business card as a grown-up, maybe in a world where toys are still made with wood and hammers and painted by hand — a world we quickly suppose to be nonexistent when we reach a certain age.

But David Smalley really is a head elf. He looks the part, too — it’s hard to miss the impish twinkle in his bright eyes, though they’re all but engulfed by a bushy fringe of hair, beard, and eyebrows. And Smalley’s workshop really is a place where simple wooden toys — thousands of them — are made lovingly by hand.

More officially, David Smalley, 64, is known as the owner of Elves and Angels, the toy company he and his wife, Susan, began in 1988. Their line of wooden play kitchens, castles, doll furniture, dollhouses, and play stands is now sold at 35 brick-and-mortar stores and about 100 online retailers nationwide. They’ve earned a loyal following for their long-lasting products, their lifetime guarantee, and — most important — their stalwart opposition to the disposable nature of most 21st-century toys.

Smalley’s mission, he says, is to “create something that actually lasts from generation to generation.”

“When I was young, my grandmother and my wife’s mother had refrigerators and stoves in their homes, and they had one for their whole life,” David says. “But now you throw refrigerators away every three or four years. It’s that way in everything. We’ve gotten so loose with any responsibility to create something that actually lasts from generation to generation. I really didn’t want to do that at all.”

For the past 26 years, he’s stayed true to his word. The Smalleys regularly receive notes from fans who see a well-loved Elves and Angels product on Craigslist or at a yard sale — proof that their toys have lasting power far greater than the length of just one childhood.

And even though Smalley didn’t start out as a toymaker, it seems an oddly perfect destiny for a fourth-generation woodworker with a family of 12 children. Back in the 1980s, when the Smalley family lived in Scarborough, David was a remodeling contractor. Business slowed, however, and the onset of arthritis made it difficult for him to continue that type of labor — and so he got to thinking about a new line of work.

“My wife and I had already done quite a bit of toy making because we have such a large family,” he says. “We used to make a lot of toys at the Christmas season. That’s where the idea actually came from.”

So in 1989, David and his eldest son, Jacob, made for the New York Toy Fair to represent their fledgling family business, toting along a line of toys all named after the Smalley children. Though their wooden play kitchens were a unique item at the show, the initial response from buyers was lukewarm. “We took some orders at the show and we headed home and said, ‘Well, it didn’t really work.’” Or so it seemed.

Two weeks later, the phone started ringing — and ringing and ringing. The family got to work and they haven’t stopped since.

Each Elves and Angels toy begins with Maine wood, sourced from a lumber mill just outside of Bangor.

Before long, Elves and Angels had set up stores in both Scarborough and South Portland. Eventually, however, David and Susan decided to reduce overhead by moving north, to a fixer-upper farm in Wytopitlock (about 50 miles east of Millinocket). A devastating fire in 2004 wiped out the entirety of the workshop and its inventory, but both family and business have rebounded with vigor in the 10 years since.

Today, as always, each Elves and Angels toy begins with Maine wood, sourced from a lumber mill just outside of Bangor. It’s delivered to the Smalley residence and immediately stored in a temperature- and humidity-controlled section of the workshop. Each piece then travels through a series of rooms, each providing further refinement of the raw material: first milling, then the drill press, then sanding, and, last, finishing with a natural food-grade linseed oil. Finally, the parts are sent to the packing room, where each toy’s unassembled parts are readied for shipping.

It was 2006 when David began to worry about the impact of his products on the environment — namely, that shipping large, assembled toys called for lots of trucks, lots of gasoline, and a lot of wasted packing material. So he began to transition the entire product line to flat packing, a practice by which products are shipped unassembled in order to fit the smallest and flattest containers possible (think IKEA).

Flat packing has thrown the Smalleys some logistical challenges, to be sure. For one, every product had to be redesigned to meet the new standard, a shift that dragged over an arduous two years. And, to provide customers with toy assembly guidance from the head elf himself, David produced a series of instructional DVDs that ship with each product.

But the long-term gains, David explains, have already outweighed the brief production hiccups. He estimates that the change has lessened the company’s environmental impact by 50–75 percent. It’s kept prices impressively low, too. In 1989, Julianna’s Kitchen sold for $199 plus shipping. Now, it sells for $179 with free shipping.

As the business has changed, so has the Smalley family. Today, the clan has spread all across the country. David and Susan’s 12 children range in age from 17 to 43 (and their brood of grandchildren already exceeds 20). Though each of the Smalley children has at one point lent a hand to Elves and Angels, only five are employees today. Two of David’s daughters, Suzanne and Julianna, have even launched their own businesses as a result of their hands-on education in the workshop.

“My dad is the most impressive person I know,” says Julianna, now 26. “I have grown up watching him hear about someone who is in need or suffering loss, and he will instantly ship off some kitchen, dollhouse, or stable to them. People often contact him and ask for help, and I have never known him to turn them down. ‘It’s who we are,’ he’ll say. That is one of the reasons I feel he has been so successful.”

That spirit of generosity comes full circle when the head elf gets a chance to comb through each new batch of photos and emails sent by the families who have loved his toys for so many years.

“I really want both parents and children to see the love of a job well done coming through our entire product line,” David says. “And to see people still delighting in something that we did a long, long time ago — I just feel like we’ve done something worthwhile.”

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Parade of Lights http://www.downeast.com/parade-lights/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/parade-lights/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 13:58:52 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=13238 Portland Harbor’s Christmas parade is a brief — but brilliant — holiday celebration.

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Portland Harbor’s Christmas parade is a brief — but brilliant — holiday celebration.
Photographed by Mark Fleming

You won’t need to look hard to find Santa during this year’s Portland Harbor Christmas Boat Parade of Lights. In fact, you’ll probably see him many times over, smiling and waving from a dazzling procession of yachts, sailboats, tugboats, and dinghies as they glide by the city’s waterfront. But as this Christmas tradition celebrates its 14th birthday, one thing remains certain: there’s only one Mrs. Claus.

During the rest of the year, she’s better known as Chris Kean, a Portland resident who founded the parade back in 2001. But when the big night rolls around each December, she transforms into the all-important lady in red.

“We don’t really have titles,” Kean says, “but everybody knows me as Mrs. Claus out there.”

There is no better designation for the woman who transformed a wisp of an idea into Portland’s flashiest holiday event. The parade started as an offhand suggestion while Kean and friends chatted on the deck of her boat. Kean took the concept and started organizing, and before she knew it, Casco Bay Lines had stepped into the picture, providing ferries for spectators and offering to donate its ticket revenue to a local charity (after some early switches, Casco Bay Lines settled on SailMaine, an organization that provides sailing scholarships to Portland-area youth). On the night of the first parade, 32 boats cruised the harbor and a tradition was born.

And that’s the best thing about the holiday season — it’s the time of year when, no matter our age, we’re encouraged to seek out moments of magic, to believe in the incredible.

“We’ve had one every year since,” Kean says proudly. “Although we’ve had a few years where we were down around the 15- or 17-boat level, those were usually on very cold nights. But we’ve had as many as 37. And some years, Casco Bay Lines put two boats out there.”

Spectators can also take in the parade at plenty of waterfront spots: harbor-view restaurants host parties, private groups rent spaces overlooking the water, and hundreds of onlookers brave the cold to watch from DiMillo’s Marina and the Maine State Pier. Luckily, the fireworks finale looks enchanting no matter where you’re standing.

“It’s just amazing how beautiful all the boats look, and then you put it with the reflection in the water,” Kean says, pausing as if to conjure the twinkling array of colors in her mind. “The lights are just incredible.”

And that’s the best thing about the holiday season — it’s the time of year when, no matter our age, we’re encouraged to seek out moments of magic, to believe in the incredible. Maybe that snowman really did wink his coal eye. Maybe that rustling on the roof really is the stamping of reindeer. And maybe the many Santas in Portland Harbor aren’t just boat captains wearing pearly-white synthetic beards — maybe they’re some uncanny incarnation of the jolly old man himself, come to the coast of Maine on an icy night to deliver the Christmassy warmth we wait for all year long.

The Portland Harbor Christmas Boat Parade of Lights sets sail on December 13 at 4:45 p.m. Watch from the Portland waterfront or ride along with the Casco Bay Lines ferries. Ferries depart from 56 Commercial Street at 4:30 p.m. Adults, $10; children under 5, free. 207-774-7871. cascobaylines.com

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Through The Birches http://www.downeast.com/birches/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/birches/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 17:24:15 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=12073 This was a shot that I took as I was setting up camp at Hardscrabble Point on Mount Kineo this past July, and I...

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This was a shot that I took as I was setting up camp at Hardscrabble Point on Mount Kineo this past July, and I just thought it was a really cool vantage point!

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Drift Fence http://www.downeast.com/drift-fence/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/drift-fence/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 16:57:09 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=13326 Drift fence at Parson’s Beach in Kennebunk catches the rays of the autumn setting sun.

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Drift fence at Parson’s Beach in Kennebunk catches the rays of the autumn setting sun.

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Early Morning Flight http://www.downeast.com/early-morning-flight/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/early-morning-flight/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 18:47:58 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=12011 A seagull over the water at the Old Port docks.

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A seagull over the water at the Old Port docks.

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Gnarled Tree Overlook http://www.downeast.com/gnarled-tree-overlook/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/gnarled-tree-overlook/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 18:41:40 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=12986 Twisted and gnarled shallow rooted balsam and white spruce stand hardy in their battle with the the wind, fog and salt spray on the...

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Twisted and gnarled shallow rooted balsam and white spruce stand hardy in their battle with the the wind, fog and salt spray on the high coastal cliffs overlooking the Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy waters at Quoddy Head State Park in Lubec, Maine. Characteristic in appearance, these arboreal warriors remain standing, some winning, and some losing their fight to survive in the harsh environment on this the most eastern peninsula on the United States mainland.

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Sailboat Columbine Moored On Johnson Bay http://www.downeast.com/sailboat-columbine-moored-johnson-bay/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/sailboat-columbine-moored-johnson-bay/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 18:39:25 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=12988 The sailboat “Columbine” moored with the island of Pope’s Folly and the fishing boat “Late Starter” as a backdrop on the reflective waters of...

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The sailboat “Columbine” moored with the island of Pope’s Folly and the fishing boat “Late Starter” as a backdrop on the reflective waters of Johnson Bay in Lubec

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Apple Season Along the Saco River http://www.downeast.com/apple-season-along-saco-river/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/apple-season-along-saco-river/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 18:37:45 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=12996 When the nights get crisp and the days become shorter, the apples from the orchards along the Saco River are there for the taking....

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When the nights get crisp and the days become shorter, the apples from the orchards along the Saco River are there for the taking. (Photo by: David Arenstam)

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