Unlike the larger high-bush berries grown in the mid-Atlantic coast, Maine  blueberries grow in low-lying bushes, and are much smaller. That doesn’t mean, however, they aren’t bursting with flavor, and the sweet, tart taste is an annual ritual of summer. The berries grow best in cold, wet climates like the area around the Downeast  town of Cherryfield, where every August, acres and acres of blueberry barrens glow with the specks of blue that make them look from a distance like an Impressionist painting. Every year, some 20,000 migrant workers descend on the area for the annual harvest, which lasts for only a few weeks of frenzied activity.
Washington County is the poorest in Maine, and the largest town in the region, Machias, is understandably struggling. Around the area, however, the rugged coastline has an undeniable beauty that is made more stark by the lack of gawking crowds. Maine has only just started marketing this area to tourism. So far, it remains like much of the Maine coast used to be, populated with small, family-style restaurants and simple lodging houses. The pace of life is slow, even by Maine standards, and formal attractions are few and far between. It’s easy to lose yourself in long hikes along the coast in the company of puffins and pine trees, or with lingered conversation over coffee in a neighborhood diner.
Sun comes early to the far eastern part of the region, known as “Way Downeast.” Even though Calais and surrounding towns are in the same time zone as Boston , they are geographically in line with New Brunswick. It’s not surprising that Canadian influence is strong here, as residents move back and forth across the border with relative ease. Native American influence is also felt heavily here. On their reservation on an island off of Eastport, the Passamaquoddy people have done a better job, perhaps, than any other tribe in New England at retaining their traditional way of life.