To get to Estcourt Station, a speck of a village in northern Maine, you have to cross the border into Canada, then cross back into the United States. Or, you can avoid the border crossing altogether by following a bone-rattling, pothole-filled dirt road through the Maine North Woods (moose sightings are likely). Find out how a Maine village became wrapped in a Quebec neighborhood — and how 9/11 changed it forever.
A SUMMER PLACE
There's no store in Pemaquid Beach, and no school, no church, and no post office — but there used to be. What happened to this Maine coastal village happened so slowly that no one noticed what was being lost until it was too late.
At the turn of the 20th century, 300 of Maine’s 3,000-plus coastal islands hosted thriving year-round communities. Today there are just 15, including Great Cranberry and Islesford. Together, they're one town, Cranberry Isles, but sometimes the mile-wide channel that separates them seems as vast as the ocean.
Chances are you've heard the unflattering nickname for Maine's state capital: Disgusta. Chances also are, no matter how many times you've driven through Augusta, you've never been downtown. There, a new crop of mostly young and mostly local entrepreneurs is resurrecting the commercial district, and they've got a message for you: Don't Dis 'Gusta.
Science & Wildlife
WHERE THE LOONS CALL
If you’ve ever been out on a lake in Maine, you know loons are elusive. But on a warm summer night on Little Sebago Lake, David Evers, of the Biodiversity Research Institute, got loons to swim right up to our boat and let us grab them. Here's how he did it and why. (Since this article was published, one of the Maine chicks translocated to Assawompset Pond Complex in Lakeville, )Massachusetts, has returned as an adult and hatched a chick of its own -- the first chick to be hatched in southeastern Massachusetts in 100 years.)
A BREAKING WAVE
While warmer waters caused by climate change have sent lobster catches plummeting south of Cape Cod, temperatures in the Gulf of Maine have been ideal for lobsters, contributing to record-breaking catches in the 2010s. Now, however, the water here may be getting too warm. Richard Wahle and his team from University of Maine School of Marine Sciences are capturing and counting baby lobsters to see what they can tell us about the future of Maine's $1 billion industry.
Scientists from around the country have traveled to Fort Fairfield to study the flying squirrels that frequent Mark Bloomer's feeders. Word of their reliable nightly visits even drew Sir David Attenborough, who spent several days in Bloomer's backyard gathering footage of their acrobatics for the BBC series The Life of Mammals (watch a segment here.) Since this article was published, Mark Bloomer's flying squirrels have continued to attract filmmakers, naturalists, and scientists from as far away as England and France.
THE RAREST OF THEM ALL
From the Katahdin tableland to the Saco landfill, naturalists have been counting butterflies for the past several years. What they discover may yield important clues about the changes underway in our environment.
One hundred and fifty years ago, a group of sensible Down East farmers and their families packed their houses and sailed to the Holy Land to await the second coming. Within a year, it had all gone wrong.
New York and Tenants Harbor artist Dennis John Ashbaugh and University of Maine engineering professor Mohesen Shahinpoor have never met, but their projects suggest their kindred spirits, at least when it comes to killing mosquitoes. (Be sure to visit dennisashbaugh.com to see all of the artist's gleefully ghoulish mosquito traps.)
Homes & Gardens
THE SAND CASTLE
A Bar Harbor couple spends roughly $400 a year to heat their house, which has three-foot-thick walls — made of dirt. They believe it's the only rammed earth house in Maine and possibly New England.
LIVING LARGE IN 900 SQUARE FEET.
Thanks to an elegant, space-maximizing design, Trisha Tobey's 30–by–30–foot hipped-roof, multi-dormered bungalow in Kittery, Maine, performs like a much bigger house.
POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE
Stretching 125 miles, from Milbridge to Eastport, Maine's Bold Coast Scenic Byway encompasses fishing villages, vast blueberry barrens, and miles of raw, wild coastline.
THE DEFINITIVE MAINE LOBSTER ROLL ROAD TRIP
This collaboration between Down East with Outside magazines dishes up nine favorite spots to enjoy the state’s quintessential treat — and favorite places to explore nearby.