The Lobster Shack | Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Memory is a funny thing. Returning to the Lobster Shack at Two Lights State Park, just outside of Portland, I expected a vision I’d preserved in my mind for fifteen years. The last time I visited, I recalled a weathered, beaten-down hutch whose lobster-slinging was done through a sliding window pane. What I returned to was a cleaned-up, slick operation—either the place had evolved dramatically, or the creaky little shack had always been a construct of my ten-year-old imagination.

There was plenty, though, that hadn’t altered from my childhood memories: the salty breeze that puts a curl in your hair, the pitch-perfect strawberry shortcake and lobster rolls, and the tidal pools down on the rocks full of jewel-toned ocean life—all things I hope will endure till my next visit.

Camera: Mamiya 645AF
Film: Kodak Portra 400, Ektar 100

The Calendar Islands | Peaks Island, Maine

As the old legend goes, Casco Bay—an inlet carved out of the Gulf of Maine—is dotted with 365 little islands, one for each day of the year. Though these “calendar islands” number fewer in reality, it doesn’t make the ferry ride out of Portland any less majestic. The water is studded with rock formations; landmass juts out from the shimmering surface as far as the eye can see.

We spent a lazy August afternoon on Peaks Island, basking in the ferry ride over, the wafting sounds of a reggae band playing Radiohead covers, and a languid stroll spent admiring sweet little island houses. The obligatory end-of-day scoop of coffee ice cream (suffocated by Oreos and Heath bar bits!) was the best nightcap that $3 could buy—and kind of made you wish that there were 364 more islands where Peaks came from.

Cameras: Mamiya 645AF, Canonet QL17 GIII
Film: Kodak Portra 400, Tri-X 400 pushed to 1600

Portland(ia)

Portland, Maine is a city where lobster fishermen greet the dawn at the counter of Becky’s Diner, and where businessmen stride purposefully through the streets—businessmen, that is, whose rolled-up sleeves reveal an armful of tattoos. It’s the kind of city where you can smell the salt air at every turn, and where cresting a hill means you’re met with an ocean view rife with tall ships. It’s the home of Otto Pizza, where pies are topped with pulled pork and mashed potatoes.

It’s a city that’s laid-back yet bustling, cultured yet firmly blue-collar—and most certainly worth a visit.

Cameras: Mamiya 645AF, Canonet QL17 GIII
Film: Kodak Ektar 100, Portra 800, Tri-X 400 pushed to 1600

On the Waterfront | Lake Sebago, Maine

At the lake house, most days were defined by raindrops and rolling thunder. So, the second that the sun broke through the cloud cover, I was ready to venture onto the water. We motored out to Turtle Cove, where we spotted two legitimate turtles sunning themselves atop boulders, and circled the miniature rock island where the loons nest.

I brought my hardy rangefinder camera—the newest in my tiny arsenal—along for the ride, and was delighted to see that the results mirrored the kind of ever-so-grainy 35mm vacation shots my parents took decades ago. Cue the nostalgia! I’ll be toting my little Canonet around on dry land now, too.

Camera: Canonet QL17 GIII
Film: Kodak Portra 400

At the Lake House | Raymond, Maine

As we mark the end of summer, I think back fondly to a week in August spent on Lake Sebago, Maine, with our dearest family friends Dave and Sue. I’ve been visiting them in New England since I was a baby, when our sunrise canoe rides were interrupted by my excitable pre-breakfast chatter about “moose eating-a-pancakes.” My father still likes to tell the story about my very first splinter being removed here by a trauma surgeon (that would be Dave—who’s also an organ player in his off-hours).

Punctuating these most recent days in Maine: the Perseid meteor showers and stargazing out on the pier; quiet nights spent listening to the rain lash against my bedroom window; family-style dinners and too much blueberry pie for dessert. I may not have grown up in this cabin, but going back to the lake house is always and unfailingly like coming home.

Cameras: Mamiya 645AF, Canonet QL17 GIII
Film: Kodak Portra 400, Tri-X 400 pushed to 1600, Ilford Delta 3200 pushed to 6400