PORTLAND, Maine — Monthly publications work on a long lead time, so their staffs regularly find themselves in the disorienting position of, say, starting to think about the contents of the Christmas issue as they eat freshly-picked blueberries under a hot August sun. It comes with the territory.
“Down East” magazine is saluting Maine’s 200th birthday with a bicentennial collector’s issue, a project the editors have been thinking about for years. Most of the issue is devoted to a list called “200 Reasons to Love Maine,” which covers everything from paintings to puffins, boats to Baxter State Park, chefs to chainsaws. Browse through it and you’ll find all kinds of inspiration for things to do, see, eat, drink, experience and explore in every corner of the state.
Coming up with this kind of list, one filled with the surprising and quirky (the A-frames of Route 27 near Sugarloaf) as well as the familiar (Maine’s windjammers), is not the work of a few weeks or even months. That’s why the staff began stockpiling ideas for it years ago. “Allow me to recommend this habit,” writes Editor in Chief Brian Kevin, “of tending a menagerie in the back of your head of all the reasons you love a place, of pausing for a moment during a sunset or a meal or a long drive to tell yourself, ‘This is special. This belongs on the list.’”
If you like Maine, the “200 Reasons” will only deepen your appreciation as well as make you want to get out and see as much of the state as you can, from the summit of Cadillac Mountain to the Umbrella Cover Museum on Peaks Island. In time, like Brian Kevin, you may find yourself starting to keep your own list of what’s special around here. As he says, “It’s a practice that has more than once nudged me out of autopilot, and I hope to keep it up.”