Tuesday May 14, 2013 | 09:38 AM
Posted by Harold Johnson

Summertime on Maine’s coast.


Nothing says the good life like freshest-of-fresh seafood, crispy fries, maybe some slaw, listening to the surf & the gulls, smelling the salt air, feeling the cool breeze.

It’s a Maine institution. Lobster shacks, clam huts, and open-air harborside restaurants dot Maine’s seacoast. Maine's very windy seacoast.

So I guess it’s little surprise that much of what I find washing in happens to come from such places. Such as ketchup packs with fish bite- and poke-marks:

I have a growing collection of these, as well as spoons, forks, straws, little sauce tubs, etc.

More unexpected is this:

This is a menu from a Kennebunkport restaurant that washed in a few months back. It's from 2007, and the restaurant is now defunct! One gust of wind 6 years ago as a couple or family dined happily (?) out by the harbor -- whoosh, plop!

But for now, the most amazing wash-in related to seaside eating in Maine is this:

I found this at Bay View beach in Saco a couple years ago. It had traveled all the way down from Bar Harbor, some 120 miles as the crow flies. I don’t know how long it had been in the ocean. By the time the menu had reached me, this restaurant too had closed down.

It’s good living, having a nice meal with family or friends by the ocean. But in a world where plates, cups, cutlery, sauce packs -- and now even menus -- are plastic, the remains of our good life last.

And last.

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About the Author

Visiting a Maine beach in March 2010, Harold Johnson was shocked by the ocean-borne debris left by recent storms. He grabbed a garbage bag and a camera, and hasn’t looked back.

Since then he has spent most of his free time studying marine pollution, coastal ecosystems, and the mysteries and science of ocean and shore.

Copyeditor and writer by trade, historian and archaeologist at heart, Johnson’s philosophy is simple: Dig below the surface, travel the currents, make the connections, learn. Then share what you learn. He lives in Saco with his wife and young daughter. Follow on Twitter @FlotsamDiaries.

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December 2013

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