Cold water, fresh air and of course some lobster—there’s nothing quite like a trip to Maine.
I drive up, around and through Maine’s varied topography on a cold, crisp, late-fall afternoon. Sun sets early—way too -early—this time of year. An auburn sun casts long, tired shadows from shrink-wrapped boats on the side of the road. This trip to the Pine Tree State is in many ways the antithesis of my previous adventures in the North Country. The harbors are empty, and “Closed for the Season” signs hang in front of nearly every restaurant.
“Winter is coming,” is not just a Game of Thrones reference in this part of the world, but a warning, a warning to get oil delivered, split wood for the stove, stock up on provisions, bundle up and winterize your favorite toys. The thought of this may sound a bit dark, but in a way, I find this period of hibernation peaceful.
But there is something missing. It’s not the lobster roll stands or the bustling marinas or the incredible hiking that I miss most. On this November trip to run the Hood 57 LM, I miss the people.
In my early years, trips to Maine were synonymous with family vacations. Then Karen and our pup became my willing crew. And more often than not, a trip to Maine—under the guise of work—included a healthy stable of my Power & Motoryacht colleagues. A spike in COVID cases necessitated that this be a short, solo mission. I would spend a total of 17 hours in the state, yet it wasn’t even my shortest sojourn to Maine this year. No, that feat of a logistical nightmare came when Simon Murray and I ventured to Maine to shadow a pair of lobstermen from Deer Isle. We arrived in the evening, were up at the ungodly time of 2:45 a.m., spent the morning on the water and were back on the road faster than you can say, “I need hazard pay.”
On that trip, we met Ethan Turner and Deven Haskell, multi-generation lobster fishermen who work hard day in and day out to put food on their families’ tables—and lobster on yours. I’m biased, but I think you’re really going to enjoy Simon’s story about this underreported way of life in “Consider the Lobsterman”.
My more recent venture to Maine took me to Thomaston, home of the storied builder Lyman-Morse. I’d been to this yard a couple times over the years and always look forward to stopping there. From around-the-world sailboats to custom powerboats, they always have an interesting project in the works. In this case, it was one of the most beautiful boats I’ve ever seen; more on that in “Timeless”.
What stuck with me more than the boat, however, were the people I met on that trip: builders, designers and a fellow marine journalist from another title. There’s just something different about people from Maine. I think it probably has to do with their values. Now, there are exceptions to every rule, but to generalize from the people I’ve gotten to know, Mainers seem to put a premium on family and hard work. You have to respect that.
2020 was the bicentennial anniversary of Maine, and like most things this year, COVID threw a monkey wrench into that plan; the state officially moved the celebration to 2021. While I don’t know if you can technically move an anniversary, I support the decision nonetheless.
My trips to Maine this summer were brutally short. They were but a bite of the appetizer, a tease that left me hungrier than I was before. Still, I’m thankful for the short stints that I got to visit; absence, after all, makes the heart grow fonder. I can’t wait to get back to Maine next summer, in what I hope will more closely resemble the carefree summers of my youth. I look forward to seeing the harbors bustling again, and I hope to shake hands with the hard-working men and women who call the state home. I hope to meet new people and reconnect with old friends. I hope I’ll savor my time in this place with a whole new appreciation. I hope you’ll join me.