The Maine List
Authors of The Maine House share their favorite addresses up and down the coast
Last year at around this time, it seemed like The Maine House was suddenly everywhere, from Instagram to indie bookshops—its pages of weathered seaside cottages, rocky inlets and buoy-hung boat houses conjuring a Maine-ia for a state that does summer nostalgia like no other. The book had sold out by the time we tried to get our hands on it, but now in its fourth printing, it is once again inspiring visions of icy ocean swims, wind in the pines and lobster rolls. So we asked the authors—who all have life-long ties to Maine—to share their favorite addresses in the coastal region they know best.
THE MAINE LIST
“Maine water is hate,” humorist John Hodgman wrote in his memoir, Vacationland, referring to the icy temperatures of the Atlantic which hugs the state’s 3,000 miles of coastline. By contrast, when my co-authors, photographer Maura McEvoy and art director Basha Burwell, and I traveled to book signings for The Maine House in mid-late 2021, we encountered only gushing warmth for the state—about summers spent at sleepaway camp, a memorable visit to a friend’s lakeside cottage, a family vacation-turned-search for a permanent home, of hiking Mt. Katahdin. Maine has a way of getting under your skin—and staying there.
For each of us, the gravitational pull of Maine is bound up in distinct childhood memories: Maura spent every single summer of her life in a 1911 family cottage on a broad beach in southern Maine; Basha, a Maine native, ran back and forth between her grandmothers’ historic cottages, one of them in Harraseeket; I grew up in the only land-locked New England state, which meant family trips to Maine each summer were essential if we wanted to test our mettle in the Atlantic. So much of what made Maine compelling all of those years ago continues to dazzle us. From the epic, sandy beaches and pounding surf in the southern part of the state to the mid-coast’s mountains and picturesque harbors, to Downeast, where sailing is a religion, connecting to the outdoors is essential. It is what continues to lure artists, writers, composers, naturalists, and chefs to the place that Alex Katz, now 94, still calls home. “I come to Maine for the culture and the light,” he has said. There are hundreds of reasons to love Maine, and with these favorite spots from the three of us, each with roots in a different coastal region, you are bound to find yours. —Kathleen Hackett
What better place to begin a trip along the coast of Maine than at one of the state’s 65 lighthouses? Nubble Light, named for its location on a “nub” of land, is quintessential postcard Maine and nothing quite compares to seeing it up close.
The very best thing to do in all of southern Maine is to walk the area’s vast beaches at low tide. One of the most beautiful is in the town of Ogunquit, the Abenaki word for “a beautiful place by the sea.” Indeed, Footbridge Beach, on the northern side of the peninsula and somewhat quieter than nearby Ogunquit beach, is just that. In town, a favorite lunch stop is Cornerstone Artisanal Pizza and Craft Beer, a good place to enjoy a slice before poking around the shops along Perkin’s Cove, where the Marginal Way, a rocky, seaside path that hugs the ocean, begins. You’ll pass The River Mouth, a very cool vantage point from which to watch the surfers, if the waves cooperate. While in Perkin’s Cove, book a deep sea fishing cruise aboard The Ugly Anne, a Cove treasure for generations. My family looks forward to our yearly visit to the historic Ogunquit Playhouse, founded in 1933 and one of the last remaining summer stock theaters, in which Broadway-caliber performances are given. A classic.
Just 5 miles north of Ogunquit, Wells Beach, where I spent every summer of my life, features public parking at the north end of Atlantic Avenue—and also the jetty adjacent to my family’s favorite surf spot—where you can begin a roughly 2.5 mile out and back walk. If you’d rather hit the waves, Liquid Dreams will suit you up for either surfing or paddleboarding and give you a lesson. We love surfing on an incoming tide, working up an appetite, and grabbing a bite to eat at either the Bitter End on Rte. 1, the commercial artery that runs the length of the Maine coast, or stopping at Wells Lobster Pound, where family friend Troy has been keeping two generations of McEvoys in take-out lobster rolls. Tell him Maura sent you! In Wells, the beach is the draw, but my sisters and I love to play nine holes on the par 3 golf course at Merriland Farm, followed by blueberry pancakes or lobster cake benedict at the cafe on the property, a working blueberry farm. Antiquing is synonymous with the section of Rte