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New England

Down East.PNG

Down East in New England is a geographical term that is applied in several different ways.

In the narrowest sense, Down East refers to the coast of the U.S. state of Maine from Penobscot Bay to the Canadian border.

As a cultural region, Downeast Maine encompasses the rural communities of Hancock and Washington counties.[1] Principal Downeast towns include Lubec, Calais, Eastport, and Machias. Bar Harbor, Blue Hill, and Ellsworth can also be considered Downeast communities. It also includes Acadia National Park and the mainland portion of Acadia National Park known as the Schoodic Peninsula. Villages in the Schoodic area include Gouldsboro, Winter Harbor, Prospect Harbor, Steuben, and Milbridge. There are three National Wildlife Refuges (NWR's) in the region: Cross Island National Wildlife Refuge, Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, and Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge which is in Steuben (formerly Petit Manan NWR).

Contrary to what some non-Mainers may believe, "Down East" can be best described as any point on the coast between Ellsworth and the Canadian border. At times, it is jokingly referred to as any point along the coast, east of the speaker.

The Down East, The Magazine of Maine FAQ explains the origin of the term: "When ships sailed from Boston to ports in Maine (which were to the east of Boston), the wind was at their backs, so they were sailing downwind, hence the term 'Down East.' And it follows that when they returned to Boston they were sailing upwind; many Mainers still speak of going 'up to Boston,' despite the fact that the city lies approximately 50 miles to the south of Maine’s southern border."

North Carolina

In North Carolina, "Down East" historically refers to the group of communities east of Beaufort in Carteret County in the Coastal Plain region of the state. The residents of Down East Carteret County have referred to their group of communities by this name for many decades, but recently that the media has broadened this term to encompass the central Coastal Plains region of the state. Many residents of these communities feature a High tider accent, a dialect remnant of Elizabethan English that was once spoken in colonial Carolina. This dialect is indigenous to the lowland areas of North Carolina, in combination with the general southern accent of the Southeastern region.

Maritime Canada

Canadians refer to their Maritime provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island) as "Down East," with "down" referring to the areas down river from the more western provinces up the St Lawrence River.


  1. ^ Woodard, Colin. The Lobster Coast. New York. Viking/Penguin, ISBN 0-670-03324-3, 2004, pp. 27-32 (for full discussion of the term and the cultural region)

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


Down East [1] is a region in Maine. It encompasses Hancock and Washington Counties.

Cities and towns

Some of the major tourist towns are:

  • Enjoy a boat tour or fishing trip.
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