PHOTO ESSAYS

VIEWPORT On a sleepy stretch of Downeast shoreline along Lamoine’s Eastern Bay, Bobbie Ames’ gorgeous property enjoys stunning views of Mount Desert Island and Acadia.  Though Bobbie’s family has spread out across the country, their roots are here in Maine: her parents, Bob and Veda, grew up in Guilford and Dover-Foxcroft.  Bob would spend summers working on a farm in Lamoine and each season he fell a bit more in love with the town.  They bought a home in Lamoine in the 60s, though the property as it stands is a 1983 rebuild planned as a retirement home.  They called it Viewport and Veda incorporated elements from every place she’d called home along the way.  Bobbie began restoring the home in 2015 to honor her late parents; Veda’s decorative style has been lovingly woven into Viewport’s timeless coastal decor.

SMELT CAMP On the last high tide of the season, we rented a small shack over a perfectly-cut ice trench at Jim Worthing’s Smelt Camp in Randolph, Maine. We dropped lines and waited for schools of anadromous smelts to swim by as they ran down the river looking for an exit to the ocean. Sea run smelt camps have long been a winter tradition in Maine. The species once bred in rivers and streams as far south as Chesapeake Bay, though dams and other man-made changes to river systems have taken an extreme toll on their reach. We were here, more or less, to understand how such small fish could garner a large enough reputation to keep seven smelt camps on the Kennebec and its tributaries busy all winter. At times we were glued to our lines, hawkishly watching and earnestly waiting; just as often our attention wandered to the production of properly toasted hot dog buns on the wood stove or grabbing a new brew from a bucket at the door of our hut.  An excuse to sit in quiet company with a friend might be smelt camp’s most enduring tradition (but the tasty fried fish help, too).

GURNET VILLAGE Blake and Lili are restoring an historic lobstering village in Brunswick, Maine right where Buttermilk Cove meets the Gurnet Strait on the Harpswell town line.  With a storied history dating back more than a hundred years—and inextricably linked to one of the oldest lobstering families in the region—Blake and Lili are working to preserve the village’s history while adding their own multicultural flourishes.  A descendent of the original lobstering family still hauls traps from a small skiff docked on Blake and Lili’s float.  The centerpiece of the village is a decades old lobster pound, now converted into a galley and living room.  Despite their standalone home just steps away, the galley is where Blake and Lili spend most of their time. The last night of our stay while documenting Gurnet Village’s living history, Blake and Lili forwent the traditional lobster boil for something more representative of their travels and life together: Chinese style lobster with wok-fried noodles.  

AUSTIN OYSTER CO It all started with a shipment of Maine oysters and a few friends hanging out in a Texas backyard.  Fast forward a year: a growing catering service in Austin focused on Maine oysters with pop-up events at breweries, wineries, and bachelorette parties alike.  With family connections in Maine to plant the seed, Austin Oyster Co started cultivating relationships with oyster farms up and down the coast.  While visiting some of the farms they source their Maine oysters from, Austin Oyster Co planned to host a small get-together with friends, family, and oyster farmers.  The original idea was to meet at an oyster bar.  My input, respectfully, was this: boooring.  Ultimately we agreed on a much more authentic expression of summer in Maine--a beach fire and lobster boil in the late evening sun while the Sturgeon Moon slowly rose over the sea behind us.