THE FULLEST Guide to Downeast Maine
Alle Weil is a holistic health practitioner, reiki master, holistic skincare alchemist, artist, and founder of Flora ex Machina. Her integrated approach to health incorporates traditional healing modalities and culinary practices combined with modern science, flower remedies, and energy work to create a truly holistic and sustainable approach to health and healing from the inside out and outside in.
After summering in Maine since she was a baby, she and partner uprooted during the pandemic and left Southern California for the Downeast coast of Maine, rooting in East Blue, Maine.
“It’s been quite a pivot, but I have felt rooted in a way I never have, and am able to finally utilize all the tools I’ve gathered in the way that I’ve always envisioned, rooted in this beautiful community and scenic coastline.”
The area of Downeast Maine (on Wabanaki land) spans many towns along the jagged seacoast of Maine. It’s the first place to see the sunrise on the Eastern seaboard; there are long winters and short (but epic summers). This area attracts artists, musicians, writers, and creatives who find inspiration, focus, and solitude in this magical place.
Maine is a little like LA in a way… most places are described by how long it takes to get there. And most Mainers will make the long trek to visit just about anywhere to connect, share great food, or take in nature.
The owners of the Brooklin Inn took what was once an old and run-down business and breathed fresh life and flavor into every nook and cranny. The inn itself is chic and modern, with a Cali-meets-Maine aesthetic.
(Deer Isle, Maine)
This is where I worked growing up every summer, when it was known as Goose Cove Lodge. Devin, the owner and chef, is an incredible individual who has completely made this property a destination in every sense. The once-basic cabins have been restored and refined to provide a cozy and stylish getaway on one of the most beautiful coves in Maine.
This is the perfect happy medium for those looking for a bit of nature without leaving any amenities behind. It’s truly glamping at its finest, located just a short ways outside of Acadia and Bar Harbor.
Brooklin Inn also happens to be one of the best restaurants in the area. Their menu changes regularly and is filled with unique and seasonal cuisine that features local produce and meat from neighboring farms. During the summer, opt for a reservation in their backyard, scattered with picnic tables and a bocce court. Downstairs they have a cozy pub where you can dine nearly year-round.
(Deer Isle, Maine)
Plan months ahead and attempt to reserve a spot on their deck for this incredible seasonal tasting menu featuring local produce and the freshest seafood. This is truly a meal for all the senses, as the chef and owner, Devin, is a storyteller with every dish.
The Lost Kitchen
Good luck getting a reservation. Erin’s system for booking a table is a lottery system and requires you to send in a postcard for one of the best meals you have ever had. Or so I’ve been told. I haven’t actually been pulled to dine yet, but I have been living vicariously through Erin’s cookbooks and TV series. You can also book one of her gorgeous cabins on the property, which includes the most delicious breakfast, or shop at her store, which carries our own facial and body oils.
I don’t care where you live, France included; Tinder Hearth’s bread, croissants, and pizza are the best you have ever had! These humble talents have no limits for their creativity and are equally talented musicians (they actually played at our wedding). If you happen to be able to go for pizza in their enchanted garden and a concert, you will not be disappointed.
El El Frijoles
I honestly didn’t know I enjoyed burritos so much until I tried El Els! Michele and Michael are two of the most hard-working and kind people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, and their food elevates Mexican street food to combine local Maine cuisine in the most beautiful and seamless way. Plan ahead during the summer because this small and mighty team will turn long lines away once they run out for the day. The lobster burrito is a must!
The Blue Hill Co-op
(Blue Hill, ME)
I feel so privileged to call this shop our local grocery. From the cafe, which features fresh and varied sandwiches, baked goods, snacks, and salads, to the local produce and products, it has truly been one of my favorite experiences thus far since moving to this small town and getting to know the people who work there. I feel so deeply nourished.
Blue Hill Farmer’s Market
(Blue Hill, ME)
The Blue Hill Farmer’s Market has been running for nearly 50 years, with some vendors participating for almost as long. This area is home to some of the finest produce, meat, eggs, and dairy you will ever get a hold of. I highly recommend stumbling in and discovering what this land offers to inspire your next meal. I’ve been welcomed into this beautiful family and completed my first season this past year, offering Flora ex Machina’s spreads and skincare every Saturday, May through October. I hope to see you this coming season!
(Blue Hill, ME)
Wendy, the owner of this thoughtfully curated boutique, and one of the most caring people I know, carries a wide selection of fine goods from jewelry, art, clothing, homewares, and skincare (including Flora ex Machina’s line of holistic skincare). She is so mindful about the products she carries, and her taste is impeccable. Mae is an unexpected stop not to be missed.
The Rock and Art Shop
My go-to place for crystals, plants, unique jewelry, and homewares. I love roaming the shelves here and discovering something new and out of the ordinary.
J. McVeigh Jewelry
It’s so hard to pick just a couple of artists, storefronts, and galleries. This area attracts so many artists in so many different mediums. I highly recommend taking a drive and stopping in every gallery you can. J. McVeigh Jewelry, Mozelle Fine Jewelry, Devta Doolan Studio, Handworks Gallery, The Turtle Gallery, and Tom Curry are some of my favorites.
Blue Hill Healing
Christina Montano of Blue Hill Healing is a massage therapist and healing arts therapist who weaves her immense background seamlessly into her offerings. Join her and I for our monthly new moon cacao and reiki ceremonies, and be sure to schedule a massage in advance as she is booked all summer long.
Just like the many artists who call this place home, this area attracts a wealth of healers, herbalists, and body workers who have dedicated their lives to their craft. I am so grateful to call these practitioners my friends, family, mentors, and my own healers.
The Wellness Sanctuary
Prepare yourself for Rebecca Rose’s of The Wellness Sanctuary, two and a half hour offering of deeply grounding and restorative earth spa treatment, combining integrative reiki, herbalism, and meditation.
Rachel Felson is an incredibly talented cranial sacral therapist and Rolfer whose ability to ground and restore simply in conversation always amazes me. Just one session with her is a transformative experience.
44 North Coffee
It may be a surprise to learn that this area is home to some of the finest coffee. Megan and Melissa of 44 North Coffee are roasting and brewing the best of the best. They often host events, pop-ups, and meals; keep your eyes out for upcoming events because you won’t want to miss them!
Bucklyn Coffee is another top-tier coffee brewer. More than just a place to stop for your daily brew, think of Bucklyn Coffee as a community hub!
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts
(Deer Isle, ME)
I’ve had the privilege of taking two different summer programs at this incredible oasis and world-renowned destination that attracts artists from around the globe to teach, learn, and reside in this island community. If you can’t dedicate the 2-3 weeks for a summer course, at least stop for one of the lectures, tours of the grounds and studios, or end-of-session student auctions.
Common Ground Fair
Organized by the Maine Organic Gardeners and Farmers Association (MOFGA), this once-a-year event attracts over 60K people who attend the lectures, agriculture, livestock, farm animals, crafts, products, healers, and food from Maine’s finest farmers, experts, and producers.
Flash in the Pans
(Blue Hill, ME)
Since I was little, this steel drum band has been fueling my Monday summer nights. You’d be surprised how many people come out to let loose and dance to this group’s incredible hits as they travel from town to town around the peninsula.