The talk over what’s and what’s not “Down East” has all the time been a barely fraught one. Some say it’s solely Washington County. Some say it’s something east of the Union River, or the Taunton River. Some say it consists of all of Hancock County. And a few say it’s absolutely anything north of Portland.
Who’s proper? Who’s unsuitable? It’s onerous to conclusively say. Colloquialisms have a manner of not being straightforward to pin down. In spite of everything, “Down East” does stem from an 18th century time period for a way ships sailed downwind from Boston or Portland towards the east, to succeed in what’s now jap Maine.
However regardless of the place you’re in Maine, as Bangor Day by day Information reporter Invoice Trotter put it in a definitive essay earlier this 12 months, “should you level towards the rising solar, you’re pointing Down East.” And in a ballot that accompanied that article, greater than two thirds of almost 300 BDN readers stated that, on the very least, Down East begins east of Ellsworth.
As proud Mainers, it could rankle us only a bit when individuals take the time period Down East and apply it to issues that not solely aren’t positioned in Washington or Hancock counties — they aren’t even positioned in Maine.
Listed here are seven of the extra controversial examples of individuals claiming a centuries-old Maine time period for one thing that has little or nothing to do with that a part of the state.
Individuals love Amtrak’s passenger rail line from Brunswick to Boston, and as nicely they need to — it’s an inexpensive, comfy solution to get from quite a few cities and cities in southern Maine and New Hampshire into the center of Boston. However the identify “Downeaster,” whereas cute, was clearly not chosen due to the place the practice goes, which isn’t any additional north than Cumberland County. Even by probably the most liberal of definitions, Down East Maine doesn’t begin for an additional 100 miles east of the jap finish of the road. Prolong passenger rail north or east after which we are able to discuss, Amtrak.
Down East Dickering
Historical past Channel actuality TV present “Downeast Dickering” featured a bevy of cut price hunters bartering their manner across the state, laying on the thickest Maine accents attainable whereas searching for offers within the pages of Uncle Henry’s Swap or Promote It Information. The 4 pairs of “dickerers” have been based mostly in Minot, Poland Springs, Sangerville, Bethel and Portland. Final time we checked, none of these locations are in Hancock or Washington County. The present was canceled after two seasons. If it was ever to be revived, the least the producers may do could be to discover a solid member based mostly Down East. There’s no scarcity of colourful characters there, that’s for certain.
“The Downeaster ‘Alexa’” by Billy Joel
This paean to the hardworking Lengthy Island fisherman written by one William Martin Joel places a Downeaster-style boat — a lobster boat, primarily — at its narrative middle. Apart from the truth that the tune is about on the waters between Lengthy Island and Nantucket, resulting in a little bit of confusion about whether or not or not it’s a “Maine” tune (it’s not), there’s some debate as as to whether or not it’s appropriate to name a lobster boat constructed or used outdoors of Maine a “Downeaster.” We’ll by no means know if Joel’s noble boat captain is piloting a correct Down East-built lobster boat, however he’s undoubtedly not a Mainer — even in a tune with “Downeast” within the title.
Downeast Clothes & Residence
This clothes and residential items firm is predicated in Utah. It sells barely stylish and female clothes in pastel and earth tones, and furnishings and residential items that might not be misplaced on an HGTV dwelling renovation present. It’s maybe probably the most egregiously non-Down East factor on this record. It looks as if a pleasant sufficient firm, however come on.
Downeast Cider and Downeast Espresso Roasters
Downeast Cider was began by a pair of Bates School graduates and Massachusetts natives who first brewed up their onerous cider in 2012 in a warehouse area in Waterville. They selected the “considerably boring” identify Downeast Cider as a reference to their “Maine roots,” in keeping with a 2016 Boston Globe article. By 2015, nevertheless, they’d moved their operations to Boston.
Downeast Espresso Roasters, in the meantime, is a 70-year-old household enterprise — based mostly in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. It references Maine on its web site, and there’s a cute little salty sailor on its packaging, however its beans are all roasted within the Ocean State.
Down East Journal
We’re fairly inclined to offer this venerable Maine journal a move, because it repeatedly writes about issues in each Washington and Hancock counties, and it’s no less than based mostly in Maine. However Down East’s headquarters are in Camden, which, regardless of being nearer than any of the aforementioned examples to the true Down East, remains to be not Down East. We’ll let it slide, Down East Journal.