When you summer in Maine, do you feel like a local? We’ll give you the inside scoop into Midcoast life, so you know all the cool spots and inside routes. The Midcoast way of life has been built by harsh winters, glorious summers where we live side by side with visitors from away, a love of the sea, and a high priority placed on self-reliance. Rockland, once a hardscrabble fishing town is the new art capital of our state. Camden is posh and perfectly picturesque. Rockport is like a genteel lady, a great aunt in an old mansion on a hill. And the villages of the peninsulas are a bit like the wild west, in the best possible way. We’ll take you on a tour of the Midcoast sensibility, which has a long history of being both independent and incredibly interconnected with our extended families, neighbors, communities, and friends.
Maine folks may seem a bit taciturn at first, in a typically New England fashion. But once you get to know our dry sense of humor and ability to see all sides of an issue, you will be a member of the tribe. We love our neighbors, we rely on them for helping fix a stone wall, building a barn, or sharing a cup of coffee – light and sweet – on a long, dark January afternoon. We respond to a strong work ethic, and a connection to the land that runs deep. We don’t love the land because it is trendy, we love the land because she is our mother. Once you’ve developed a relationship with the people in your community they will welcome you back after an absence of a month or 5 years. Once established, you will always have a home in Maine.
Once you’re spending a few weeks or months of summer here, you’re going to want to cook seafood at home. Go to Jess’s Market. Or better yet make friends with a lobsterman. Get your lobster caught that day, and cook them like we do here, steamed in salt water. Get invited to a lobster feed and watch the experts as we suck the legs and savor the tomalley. You are definitely going to want to get messy. Forget the bib and crackers, you have to get your hands in and dribble butter down the front of your shirt. We don’t stand on ceremony. We don’t steam them with the bands on. We always eat at least two. And we only use mayo on our lobster rolls.
Maine is a casual place, in terms of dress. You can go almost anywhere in a nice pair of jeans. Our style is definitely based on function. Think: tall rubber boots, L. L. Bean boots, wool socks, the right hat, canvas boat bags, and layers. We are always prepared. We know to bring a sweater wherever we go, especially in summer. Mornings are chilly, evenings are cool, sometimes even the midday breeze has a northern feel. We may not be fancy, but we are tidy. We like things to be just so, and are especially fond of handknit items and clothes that represent who we are. Lobstermen will wear a sweatshirt emblazoned with the name of their F/V (fishing vessel). Women will pair a new skirt with a cape that’s been worn by generations of mothers. We know our roots and like to augment them with well-chosen pieces. We invest in quality clothing, things that will last for years. In Rockland shop at 412, Over the Rainbow Yarn, and Black Parrot.
We are creatures of habit, and spend time at the same beaches and coves we’ve been going all our lives. At the same time, we are attuned to new events, new places to go and things to do. We turn up to see what’s going to endure. We support our friends in new business ventures. We give back to our community as often as we can. We host spaghetti or bean suppers to raise money for a person or a family in need. Millennials sit side by side with The Greatest Generation at bingo night. We don’t judge our neighbors, because we know we all have hard times and a history that is complicated. We will tell your our woes in a matter of fact manner, and expect you will be honest in return.
We are authentic in our lives, from what we eat, to what we wear, to how we raise our children and conduct ourselves socially. We may not wear our hearts on our sleeve, but we are always honest with each other. Come to Maine to spend your summer if you want genuine interaction, deep human connection, and friends that will last a lifetime.