Grand Lake Dream
On behalf of the Downeast Lakes Land Trust, I extend thanks for the Down East 2006 Environmental Award. Your excellent May article by Wayne Curtis mentions that our organization went relatively unnoticed during the past six-and-a-half years. I attribute this to our overwhelming local support. We listened closely to what residents of Washington County wanted, and then made sure their recommendations were incorporated into our management plan for the Farm Cove Community Forest. Issues of traditional use and public access were dealt with during the early stages of the project, to the satisfaction of most.Your award renews our spirits as we prepare for our next conservation project. Again, many thanks for this great honor.
Executive Director, Downeast Lakes Land Trust
Grand Lake Stream, Maine
Not just a pretty face
What splendid design changes in your good old magazine! It was a treat in your May issue to turn straight from the contents pages to the beautiful "Where in Maine?" photograph. Then "North by East," with Kate Barnes' fine wry poem. May we have a poem every month, please?
The elegant design in the departments, with their use of color and their useful sidebars, is appealing. And most of all I want to say thanks for the depth of reporting on issues that affect the heart of Maine. We used to turn to the late lamented Maine Times for that, but in Down East we find it, with maps and pictures and sidebars. Virginia Wright's "Troubled Waters" story is judiciously balanced and deeply researched on the topic of proper control of water resources. All the articles were worth reading (Jeff Clark's alone are always worth the price of the magazine), but the one that meant the most to me personally was Wayne Curtis' about the conservation effort Down East. Since 1948, when a friend and I canoed the border lakes and then improvised a water route across the Canadian border to the Penobscot, that watery forest has been dear to my heart. To read the intricate history of how a few dedicated folks have worked to preserve the wild nature of what is for me "the real Maine" gave me great joy.
As frequent travelers to Kittery, we were a little disappointed that your April cover story omitted what we feel are our two favorite stores. Just up the road from Golden Harvest is Enoteca Italiana. Since it opened two years ago it's become considered the place to go for wines, cheeses, and Italian meats. It was after Enoteca opened that the road was called Gourmet Alley. Also, farther up the road is Cacao Chocolates, a little store that hand-makes all sorts of different chocolate treats. We feel both of these shops show the new, upscale Kittery of the future.
Where in Maine?
What a wonderful surprise to identify your May mystery photograph depicting the town green in Castine, a small village with an amazing history. The building on the right is the 147-year-old Abbott School, now home to the Castine Historical Society. Inside is an interactive, multi-media exhibit where visitors learn about the disastrous Penobscot Expedition of 1779 — often considered the second-greatest American naval defeat.
Built in 1859, the Abbott School was originally the Castine High School and also served as the first home of the Eastern State Normal School for several years. Subsequently, it was privately owned and contained rental apartments before the historical society purchased it in 1994. This year, after a forty-five-year absence, students once again attended classes here, as the historical society made the building's lower level available for classes in order to ease overcrowding at the local elementary school.
The structure on the left is the Henry Whitney House, built in 1810 and home to several generations of seafaring Whitneys. While occupying the house during the War of 1812, a British officer etched on a window "Yankee Doodle upset" under the image of a Union Jack and an upside-down American flag.
Vice President, Castine Historical Society
Although I have not been back to the Castine town common since I graduated from the K-8 school in 1984, it seems like yesterday when we took part in our annual spring student vs. teacher softball game. Second base was the flagpole in the center of the common, and if you were fortunate enough to hit the Civil War monument just to the left and down the hill you were awarded with an automatic double. Judging from the photo, I would guess your photographer was standing right on home plate. The battle is not written about in any history books, but it was hard fought by my classmates year after year.
—Geoffroy I. Noonan