Editor's Note

Maine Homes by Down East Magazine, The Camps Issue, July/August 2020

Editor’s Note

The Guide

Hopeful rainbow-themed finds, vintage L.L. Bean catalogs to collect, a Portland florist sells artful bouquets on her front porch, how local creatives are showing their community love, the best Maine-made soaps, bar none, a Durham Cape with a heart-stopping staircase needs a hero, the backstory on a Great Camps-inspired Boothbay retreat, lake and ocean cottages for sale, and candid answers to your home dilemmas.

Get Inspired

We’re crushing on this dreamy Sorrento camp compound, a designer’s unassuming Cape gets a dramatic makeover, five minutes with Rockland curator/church dweller Donna McNeil, meet Miss Marigold, an Alna Family’s sunny vintage camper, and a new wave of owners is modernizing Maine’s A-frames.

Bat-Grit Crazy

Amidst a global crisis, and an infestation, a community grows in a Portland two-unit.

By Michaela Cavallaro


Homebound Maine creatives have been slaying rehab projects, and so can you, with inspiration from these eight inventive spaces.

By Sarah Stebbins 

Fantasy Camps

New players on Maine’s “glamping” scene make this the summer for social distancing under the stars.

By Virginia M. Wright


Hidden Figures

You’d be hard-pressed to spot this Sebago Lake compound from the water or surrounding forest — which is precisely the point.

By Jen DeRose

Launching Pad

A dilapidated Stonington camp kickstarts a Brooklyn family’s new life in Maine.

By Sara Anne Donnelly

Diamond in the Rough

Seasoned renovators shine up a neglected Great Diamond Island gem.

By Joyce Kryszak

Field Days

In Freeport, native plants restore a landscape ravaged by invasive weeds.

By Aurelia C. Scott

Why I Live Here

From the moment she first stepped off the ferry, Hallowell’s Libby McCullum knew she’d spend the rest of her summers on Vinalhaven.

Cover photo by: Jeff Roberts

Editor’s Note

This year, we headed to my husband’s family’s camp in Deer Isle earlier than we ever have, in late April. Desperate to escape the news and the house where we’d been working and homeschooling our kids for five weeks, we chanced turning the camp water on when there was still a risk of pipes freezing, huddled around the woodstove in the evenings, and slept in long underwear and Smartwools. Being there was surreal at first, and not just because we could see our breath inside. Here we were, fearful, masking up for hikes, avoiding the grocery store, and assessing how much toilet paper and disinfectant there was to pilfer, and here this place was, entirely unchanged. The whole world was, and remains, stricken, and each day on Long Cove the same pink-granite boulders vanish and reappear with the tides, the same weather-battered spruces superimpose themselves on the shoreline, and the same “animals” appear in the patterns on the knotty-pine ceilings. Predictability has never felt sweeter.

Given the outsize place camps hold in the hearts of Mainers — now maybe more than ever — I’m gratified to present our second annual issue devoted to them. You’ll find a cleverly camouflaged new build on Sebago Lake with old-school rules: no T.V., microwave, or dishwasher allowed at camp. “I don’t want anything to break that we then have to replace,” says the owner. “It’s more maintenance free, which is freeing.” Plus, a quirky Stonington rehab that launched a New York family’s new life in Maine, an elegantly renovated 1885 Great Diamond Island cottage built atop tree trunks lugged from the beach, and the cutest little vintage camper ever — really, everyone says so! For those in the market for a vacation place, we’ve got a roundup of our favorite listings on the coast and lakes and the lowdown on the A-frame trend currently sweeping the state.

Sarah Stebbins
vintage camper
Maine-made soap

Corona Camp Life: With my family’s summer plans mostly canceled, I’ll be logging more time in my Deer Isle “office” — don’t I look bummed? I could get used to socially distancing in an adorable vintage camper too. Wherever you’re riding things out, you’ll need boatloads of soap, so we’ve rounded up hard-working local bars that are beautiful to boot.

Summer, and camp, will look different for many of us this year. For the first time, we are not gathering with my husband’s three siblings in Deer Isle, a reality our kids haven’t quite accepted. “It’s not the same without the cousins,” our 7-year-old lamented on our last visit. Some of you may not be making your annual trip to Maine and, man, will we miss the vitality you bring. My hope is that, wherever you spend the season, you have a place, be it a trail, a park, or a camp, where you can feel sad about what we’ve lost, but reassured that there is beauty and constancy in the world — and we’ll see each other on the other side.

Sarah Stebbins