I greatly enjoyed Edgar Allen Beem's profile of architect Carol Wilson in your May issue. Learning of the personalities that are shaping the Maine of today is one of the reasons I so value Down East. Wilson's designs are wonderful, and I see no reason why the new cannot be embraced side-by-side with the old. It will only enrich the urban landscapes of our world. It is a shame that the Portland bureaucracy is moving to stifle this form of creativity. At present, my wife and I are living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a town that is basically composed of a single type of architecture. It is lovely and beautiful - and it is terrifically boring having everything so uniform. Viva la difference!
Santa Fe, New Mexico
In the mid-1980s, I purchased a piece of property between two vintage Maine cottages on Kennebunkport's Ocean Avenue. I was not interested in "making a statement" with the house to be built but, rather, wished it to be in keeping with the grand homes nearby. Richard Willis of Royal Barry Wills Associates did a masterful job of achieving that goal, and the neighbors (including former president Bush) were delighted. Regrettably, this cannot be said about Carol Wilson's creation in Portland's West End. It stands out like the proverbial sore thumb, as cold and stark as most modern architecture - a Boca Raton office building in a traditional New England setting. In Boston, the Back Bay and Beacon Hill Architectural commissions have successfully prevented such intrusions into these unique areas and I applaud the efforts of Barbara Barhydt and others who seek to preserve the integrity of Portland's historic neighborhoods.
Susan Shetterly's piece "Listening for Spring" in your May issue is a gem. The "heraldic flight" of those northbound geese alone rates listing her among your contributors. Next time, please give her more wing space to fly.
and Mount Desert, Maine
Where in Maine?
As summer residents of Great Cranberry Island, we dive right by the view captured in your May mystery photograph every time we pass through Mount Desert Island. From this vantage point at the head of Somes Sound, the view down the East Coast's only natural fjord to the outer islands, framed by the spectacular mountains of Acadia, lifts our spirits each time we pass by. The village of Somesville, the earliest settlement on Mount Desert, would be just off to the right from where this picture was taken.
I was just reading my April issue of Down East and lo and behold, there was this wonderful article about Lubec, one of my favorite destinations in Maine. I have been coming to Lubec for the past seven years, and staying at the Peacock House B-and-B is a great joy.
I have stayed there during the Summer-Keys program and have met many wonderful, talented musicians who are dedicated to perfecting their craft through countless hours of practice and performing for the public. It is one of the many reasons I continue to come back year after year to this captivating town. I encourage others to seek out the charms and joys Lubec and this area have to offer: its people, beautiful landscape, breathtaking views, the Peacock House B-and-B, and the famous West Quoddy Head Light. What more could you ask for?
Corning, New York
Regarding the 1934 broken-canoe hijink at Camp Ettowah, the subject of your April "What's in a Picture?" feature, you may be interested to know that, as best as I can tell from its profile, the "Luger look-alike pistol" shown was no starter pistol but a Colt Woodsman, a very popular .22-caliber semiautomatic targeter and plinker in its day. Such "cruising" pistols were, and are, commonly carried by timber cruisers, prospectors, guides, and hunters for signaling, taking small game for the pot, and administering the coup de grace on larger game if need be. It was a pleasure to read of a time when the discipline of marksmanship was provided at summer camp, given its all-but-absence under modern sensibilities.
In "Winter-hardy Perennials" (May 2007), a photograph of a Japanese iris ran in place of a Siberian iris, and a photograph of an evening primrose (Oenothera spp.) mistakenly appeared in place of a true primrose (Primula spp.). Blame the editors and not the author, Rebecca Sawyer-Fay, who never saw the photographs.