During the nineteenth century, awareness of Maine’s striking landscape was raised in part due to the first generation of Hudson River School artists. The coastal towns and quaint harbors dotting the shoreline offered unobstructed ocean views that attracted artists and beachgoers alike, and today areas such as Ogunquit, Rockport, Kennebunkport, and Monhegan have maintained their status as popular, year-round tourist destinations in the New England region. Thomas Cole and Thomas Doughty were among the first Hudson River School painters to capture Maine’s natural beauty, and American audiences were captivated by their dramatic portrayals of Mount Desert’s looming cliffs, scenes of lonely lighthouses, and the churning waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Younger artists such as Martin Johnson Heade and Sanford Robinson Gifford also gleaned inspiration from Maine’s scenic views; Mother Nature, in all of her untamed glory, was the muse that motivated their sublime scenes of the surrounding wilderness.
Maine’s picturesque terrain has resulted in generations of loyal visitors, many of whom return year after year to fulfill the mouthwatering tradition of devouring the Homarus americanus—the American lobster. This local delicacy has put the state on the map as a foodie-mecca, but the next time you’re relishing the buttery taste of a lobster roll in Maine, be sure to open your eyes and savor the surrounding sights—the same views that inspired our nation’s early American landscape painters.