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Love of Maine Lakes

By John K. Hanson, Jr.

JKH sailing his Blue Jay on Megunticook Lake. I’ve lived on the ocean since I was a baby and consider myself a salt-water guy. The beach was my second home when I was younger, the bays and rivers, my backyard. Then as a young man I moved to a coastal community in Maine that was blessed with an abundance of lakes, and I learned about enjoying water that does not have a salty sting.

I learned the wonderful clean feeling of diving into a clear, cool Maine lake. I learned about loons, and their supernatural calls, freshwater fish and even snapping turtles. I learned about that first brief moment of incredibly smooth black ice in the winter, just thick enough to support a couple of skaters, while providing a disconcerting window to the water below. 

Forty years later, I am still learning new ways to love Maine lakes, including the joys of exploring by canoe. Let this issue be your figurative canoe as we visit just a few of the state’s more than 3,000 lakes. Meet the fourth-generation owners of a boatyard on Sebago Lake; cruise on Damariscotta and Moosehead; watch loons; admire beautiful wooden boats on the Belgrade Lakes, and more. Welcome to the Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors first-ever lakes issue. 

All that I find endearing on the coast—the great people, the great scenic beauty, the vastness, the history—are all just as evident in this state’s fresh-water world. Yet Maine’s lakes also have their own mystique and traditions. For me, reading this issue has been a wonderful introduction to even more ways of living on, and loving the water. 

Don’t get me wrong; I am not going to give up my mooring in salty Rockland harbor. But I do plan to sneak over to the lake and sit on the dock, soaking my feet in the water. I will paddle a canoe, row my Adirondack Guide Boat, and maybe even find time to take a Laser or the old Blue Jay out for a sail. So much water, so little time.    —JKH