Looking Forward to a Maine Summer

Dear Readers,

From time to time, we pool our resources to share some of the things about Maine that make it special for us. We could begin a discussion of Maine summer with traffic or the lack of staff at our favorite restaurants, but Maine in summertime is so wonderful that the breezes and the gull cries and the scent of evergreen tends to blow away all those complaints. Instead, here are some of the things we’re looking forward to this year:


Kate Flora: I have a hammock that hasn’t been out of storage in two years. This year is it coming out and I have a stack of books I’ve been collecting so I can lounge there and read. I will probably add to that stack books by my fellow writers that I get at the Maine Crime Wave on June 11th. Summer will definitely involve cocktails on the dock, a trip to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, and an annual event that Maine writers love: Books in Boothbay, where the Maine writing community gets together. Last weekend I spoke with a retired Maine warden about hiking up Katahdin, something I want to do before I get too old (unless I already am) but that will require getting in far better shape, so it may only be a summer dream.

Some of us at Books in Boothbay:

Dick Cass

Vaughn Hardacker

Lea and Barb at Books in Boothbay, July 14, 2018

Sandra Neily

Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson:

Since I’m old and not all that healthy, I’m still not leaving home much this summer, but I will be at Maine Crime Wave on June 11 and am looking forward to seeing folks I’ve not seen for a while. I’m on a panel on writing in more than one genre. Shouldn’t be a stretch! The only other plan is to spend some time with old friends (dating back to college days) who have a camp on a lake in Monmouth. They live most of the year in Massachusetts to be near their daughters now, but the best thing about people you’ve known for decades is that you can pick up right where you left off the last time you got together. The photo is of them and their kids on one of the many camping trips we went on together in past Maine summers, this one in 1983.

By 10 AM you’ll have tons of company here. Not at dawn.

Sandra Neily here: Because so many Maine lovely places are often summer-crowded (and Covid just added to folks’ love of our places) I am usually on site by 6 AM. When our public beaches have just wheeling seabirds. Our fabulous land trust trails are mostly deserted. (Maine has more land trusts than any other state. Find them here.) And early, our public boat launch sites on the ocean are a great place to have a cuppa and a donut and wade in cold sea water and listen to the osprey. I look forward to fly fishing, grandgirls, some trailer trips with Bob, moose in the road, and my deck flowers really flowering.

Maggie Robinson: 

We just had a crew come to do a spring cleanup, so my garden is less than glorious. The busy buzz of leaf blowers over two days resulted in a massive pile of leaves and some stunned, drooping plants. To add salt to the wound, all 200 purple tulip bulbs planted out front were eaten right to the ground by the deer who live down the street. But everything is green, and I look forward to hanging out in my own backyard for most of the summer. I’m one of those crazy people who actually likes to weed, although I’ve been trying to add more perennials to fill in the gaps.

Our kids are renting a camp near Oquossoc in August, so we’ll probably drive up for the day. Until then, I’m chaining myself to the desk in hopes of finishing my current manuscript. I make no promises, LOL.

Maureen Milliken: Summer in Maine is wonderful and short, so I don’t like to spend a lot of time away from it.

Like many summers, I’ll spend a few days at Baxter State Park, one of the best places Maine has to offer. Some years, we go as a family group, but I like going by myself, enjoying nature and reading books.

Who needs to climb Katahdin? All I need is a chair, a book, some coffee and nice spot to enjoy Baxter State Park.

I also like hanging on my porch, doing the same. In remained about the same for many years, but a COVID-fueled redecorating that began summer of 2020 is finally fully coming together.

My favorite Maine spot? The porch, of course!

While I don’t have any more free time in summer than I do the rest of the year, I feel like I spend more time reading (though in truth I read every day, all year round).

I also like to do another of my favorite things, which is drive around and see Maine. These little day-trip road-trips also help me think about the book I’m working on as I drive.

I live in one of those towns with a population that doubles in summer with people from away coming to enjoy our lakes and other stuff. We have concerts on the Village Green, a farmers market, monthly craft fairs, loon-calling, a beanhole supper. You know the drill.

Summer’s bells and whistles are great, but Maine would still be awesome without them.

One great thing about living here, rather than being one of those deprived people who live somewhere else and spend 50 weeks of the year (or 48 or whatever) dreaming about that little fraction of time they can be in Maine, is that we’re here. It doesn’t have to be some frenzied event-filled extravaganza. It just is.

I’ll end with a quote that anyone who’s read my posts here over the years will be familiar with. It’s from the great E.B. White, writing about the very town I live in. Whay applied more than 80 years ago when he wrote it still applies now:

Summertime, oh summertime, pattern of life indelible, the fade-proof lake, the woods unshatterable, the pasture with the sweetfern and the juniper forever and ever, summer without end; this was the background, and life along the shore was the design, the cottages with their infinite and tranquil design, their tiny docks with the flagpole and the American flag floating against the white clouds in the blue sky…

Matt Cost: Maine is such a treasure trove of gems in the summer that it is hard to pick amongst them. One of my favorite things to do is to combine a book presentation with a scintillating place in the state and turn it into a getaway for my wife and myself.

One of my favorites was a few years back at the library in Southwest Harbor. I’d never gotten to the quieter side of Mt. Desert Island before for anything but a drive by, but it quickly became my favored side of things.

Last summer I had twenty-five book presentations around the state to select from. Our top three were Greenville, Boothbay Harbor, and Rangeley. Two lakes and a port town. We spent three nights in each, two motels and a house. We explored, swam, boated, and went hiking. We ran into people who attended my presentations outside in the wilds and chatted more.

I am not yet sure what this summer will hold for adventures and presentations but I’m sure something will line itself up. After forty-seven years in Maine, there is still plenty to find, more to learn, and people to enjoy.

Write on.

John Clark: Beth and I started yesterday with a 12 hour trip to see the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Park. The day was perfect except for the black flies. I’m 74 and have never seen them as thick as they were yesterday. The trip involved helping a family from Georgia free their van from being stuck axle-deep in mud, rescuing two turtles, and lowering our blood supply by a couple quarts. Later this summer, we’ll head back for a week on the ocean in Perry

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