Photo by Muffy Aldrich
The Modern Guide to The Thing Before Preppy

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Maine Coast, 1980s

Photo by Salt Water New England
Practically speaking, since the early twentieth century when the automobile became the primary form of transport, many affluent New England families spent summers in Maine, both in summer homes and at summer camp.  In fact from my own experience traveling the world, I am always surprised at the number of people who went to summer camp in Maine when they were younger.  This includes diplomats' kids, assorted foreign nationals, and of course, New Yorkers, many of whom further tell me that their fondest memories of childhood derived from their time "at camp" in Maine! 
After Labor Day, all of it was packed up and taken back to suburbs and cities all the way down to Washington, D.C., with children often enough getting ready to return to their secondary schools and universities. 
As they drove down Route 1, these families would stock up on back-to-school supplies, stopping at many now iconic stores, including of course, at Beans, and also at Quoddy stores, and at the stores with  G.H. Bass and Hathaway. 
This was how, every year, these Maine-based products purchased there became part of the collective wardrobe and cultural consciousness.  This is how the Prep aesthetic, if not always the ethos in its purest essence, made its way around the globe, from New York and Hollywood (through such icons as Miles Davis, Grace Kelly, and Steve McQueen), to Japan and beyond. 
- JA, via email, and with permission to share.


  1. The gentlemen remind me of the Kingston Trio.

  2. Well said! Thank you.

  3. In one of my favorite books from years past, in The Official Preppy Handbook, Maine is featured front and center as the place to school, summer, sail and shop.

  4. This is what life was like. Where has it gone ?
    I see bits and pieces here and there. This reminder is very bitter-sweet.

  5. It is interesting, looking at the various older photos that appear here at SWNE and other places, how trim people once were. Processed foods and constant snacking have not been kind to society during the last 40 years or so.

    Best Regards,


  6. Perhaps it is also an outcome of an active life. That is/was an important part of each day. It has been replaced with an inside existence. Fresh air,sports,exercise and just a general active- ness. Generally with the people I grew up around the focus was on the activity not on the looks.

  7. A famous scene from "Flatt and Scruggs go to Harvard."

  8. Looks like counselors at Camp Chewonki.

  9. Reminds me of staying at my Aunt and Uncle's lake house in New Hampshire and day trips over to Maine. Never attended camp there but spent a week or two each summer up there. I miss those days!

  10. Loved my summers at Wyonegonic in Denmark, ME!


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