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Have you ever spent a day or weekend at this scenic spot?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

A June day at this central Maine state park looks so inviting that you want to swim all the way to the mountains in the distance. Better to wait until a lifeguard is on duty, though, and the cool waters warm a bit. This photograph doesn’t lie — the lake is a picture-perfect one, located about ten miles from the geographical center of Maine. Established in 1969, the park was a gift from a wealthy attorney — it bears his name and that of his sister — and it deserves to be busier than it is. In a typical year, only about 25,000 people put their toes in here, picnicked nearby, or camped in the fifty-six sites spread out across its 839 acres. Compare that to Sebago Lake State Park, which saw more than 202,000 visitors, or Camden Hills State Park, which was visited by almost 140,000. But as this image attests, this park is a special place, and those who have never stopped by are missing out. Have you ever enjoyed a day or weekend at this scenic spot? Turn to page 99 to learn more about this little-known gem.

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Are you familiar with this western Maine community?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Perhaps we should really be asking “Where in New Hampshire?” Motorists driving through this western corner of Maine are often unsure which state they’re in. This church is indeed in the Pine Tree State — but just barely. It sits about a mile from the border in a very quiet section of town on a road that slides in and out of the Granite State on its way north. The real question, though, is where is the rest of the village and, why is this sweet, white Unitarian church by itself on a corner with nothing else around but a cornfield? Meetinghouses, as all who have been to New England know, are usually at the very heart of a community. Someone who might have known why this church was built here was Admiral Robert Peary, famed explorer of the Arctic. He was once a surveyor in town. Orator and politician Daniel Webster could have had an explanation, too, or at least would have convinced you that he did — he once wrote deeds here to supplement the income he made as a teacher at the local academy. Hopa-long Cassidy, legendary Western hero, is another proud son of the town, created by resident Clarence Mulford in the early part of the twentieth century. And art great Eastman Johnson once painted landscapes here. But on this pretty late summer day no one seems to be around to ask. It just might be that everyone has gone for a paddle down the state’s most popular canoeing river, which is nearby. Or they could all be at home getting their prize produce together for the local fair — the state’s largest county fair turns this picturesque riverside town into a big carnival at the beginning of October each year. See page 100.

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Have you driven the lonely highway that traverses this ridge?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Here we have the king of the hills — or the view from the king of the hills. A string of small peaks lift motorists to beautiful views along a legendary byway in eastern Maine, but this is arguably the most picturesque prospect of them all. What we’re after is the name of the prominent natural feature that created the humpbacked rise upon which our intrepid photographer was standing this glorious fall afternoon. It’s an alluvial ridge, or esker, created by a retreating glacier that neglected to pick up after itself. As it melted, the ice mountain dropped dirt and silt and gravel, creating a pronounced spine, upwards of seventy-five-feet tall and 2 ½ miles long. When engineers were building the long and lonely highway through the region, a two-lane, ninety-eight-mile road known for its lack of curves, its wild character, and its unusual name, they logically decided to build atop this ridge. Tales persist about nineteenth-century highwaymen who would rob stagecoach drivers here because the pitch was so steep the coaches couldn’t outrun them. Today’s travelers can safely delight in a lovely panorama of the Union River and the bog that surrounds it. Looking in another direction, you’d see Lead Mountain, a 1,400-foot eminence that you probably wouldn’t want to let your kids eat. The town in which this ridge is located is sparsely populated, much like the rest of the communities along this route, save for the two anchors on either end of its run, one of which is among the state’s largest cities. The landscape here has changed very little since the glacier passed by, according to geologist David Kendall in his book Glaciers and Granite. DeLorme calls the crest “a unique natural area” in its Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, which is cartographic code for “really beautiful place worth driving to see.” Turn to page 100 to find out how to get to this stunning spot.

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Can you identify this snowy scene?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Views like this are not easy to find in southern Maine anymore. A weathered dock, a graying boathouse, a curve of undeveloped shoreline — this scene looks much the way it might have fifty years ago. The same can’t be said about this particular community, now synonymous with shopping and trading. In fact, open space is at a premium in this, the oldest incorporated town in Maine, which is why conservationists are working hard to preserve what remains. The local land trust got some good news recently, when a generous resident helped it acquire sixteen acres of prime real estate along this saltwater stream — at two thousand feet long, it’s the longest undeveloped riverside property in town. You’ll have to drive around the notorious tangle of streets to find it, but lots of people do, searching for one of the best lobster shacks in Maine (in the judgment of Travel & Leisure magazine and others). Here’s a hint: the popular seafood restaurant is named after this tidal waterway. Turn to page 99 to identify this snowy scene.

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Can you recognize this colorful community?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Vermont might like to think of itself as the foliage capital of New England, but it’s lacking one thing only Maine can provide — the glorious contrast of blue-green saltwater. This tidal river in the midcoast, separating two closely entwined communities, is a prime example. It’s one of two major Maine rivers flanking a well-known town that is home to five distinct villages. If early settlers had their way, the place would be called New Dartmouth today, or perhaps County Cornwall. But the town got christened after an English duke during the reign of King George II. The area is renowned for its annual run of alewives, its Glidden Middens — oyster shell heaps — and its Catholic church, which is the oldest continuously operated Catholic sanctuary in all of New England. But this time of year its most famous feature is its hotly glowing hardwoods, radiant above river and bay. Turn to page 98 if you recognize this scene.

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