Maine | A Continuous Lean.

Wants & Desires | Rancourt Boat Shoes

Mar 17th, 2014 | Categories: Footwear, Maine | by Michael Williams

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The folks at Harrison Limited down in Birmingham may be landlocked, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have good taste when it comes to boat shoes: case in point these handsome Rancourt mocs. It was only last summer that I was falling for the long-time-coming made in Maine Sperry Topsiders, but one can surely make room in his closet for two well-made pairs of boat shoes.

There have been mentions of it here before, but Harrison Limited is probably my favorite store I have never actually been to. That honor was help previously by Leather Soul, but I’ve now been lucky enough to have visited that shoe mecca the past two years in a row (and I might even see it again this April, depending on how things go).





The Salt Book.

Mar 6th, 2014 | Categories: Maine | by Michael Williams

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In 1973 a group of students in Kennebunk, Maine complied a series of home-spun articles about life in New England into The Salt Book. Led by the group’s adviser Pamela Wood, they documented lobster men making traps, a barn raising, the gathering of sea moss, wrote articles about how to make your own wooden snow shoes and generally waxed on about the characters and daily life by the sea in Maine.

Recently while I was booking a cottage in Maine for the summer, I was reminded of this book and my jaunt up there last year. I have a hard time disguising my affection for the state and nothing fills me with anticipation like an escape up to Maine. It doesn’t have to just be summer — I’m equally impressed by fall, winter and spring in the Pine Tree State. Even though I grew up in Ohio, much of my family was from New England originally and we often when on summer trips to The Cape, New Hampshire and those parts. Long after those trips I am still fascinated by Yankee culture and the salty folks of New England. So even though I am stuck in this new york winter (stuck largely inside for the better part of the past six weeks due to the most ironic of injuries) the stories in The Salt Book can easily transport me to one of my favorite places.





North Maine Woods Dispatch: Libby Camps

Jun 12th, 2013 | Categories: David Coggins, Dispatch, Hunting & Fishing, Maine, Travel | by David Coggins

The Ride

You haven’t visited most of Maine—few people have. It’s an immense state that’s largely unpopulated. Well, try this: fly to Bangor, then drive three hours north. You’re getting up there. At the end of an 18-mile dirt road is Libby Camps. Established in 1890, it’s been in the same family for five generations. That all sounds promising, and it should. We’re partial to lodges and cabins that don’t dress themselves up (wall-to-wall carpeting is a telltale warning sign). When you arrive at Libby you know you’re in a place that has earned the right to take the long view.

Come in May and June to fish for native brook trout in many of the remote ponds that can only be accessed by foot or, even better, by float plane. Or come back in September when the water falls and they turn red before they spawn. Either way, you fly fish from a 20’ Old Town canoe and cast out one of the idiosyncratic flies made by the guides. Or, if you’re more classically minded: a caddis or March Brown. You can hope for a trophy 3 pounder, but that’s a setting the bar high. Aim a little more realistically, while expecting regular action from strong, healthy fish.

Essential Transport

Cabin Main Lodge





Rancourt & Co. Branches Out

Mar 15th, 2013 | Categories: Footwear, Made in the USA, Maine | by Michael Williams

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The Rancourt & Co. shoe portfolio has been expanding beyond just loafers and blucher mocs recently. I’ve noticed a few interesting new styles have been popping up on the company Instagram and other social channels as of late. Intrigued, I reached out to Kyle Rancourt to find out more. Eventually this lead to a preview box of nine pairs of the Maine maker’s new styles —all made with a Blake welt construction—showing up at my office. They are great shoes, I didn’t get to keep any but getting a closer looked sparked this post to find out more about Rancourt’s new Blake shoes. These are their stories.

Part of this new crop of Blake styles is Hamilton boot, which is more traditional dress boot —as opposed to the handsewn styled moc toe shapes that Rancourt has become known for— made with the Blake welt process. If you like the shape but wanted something sightly different from what is seen here, Rancourt can also do custom orders of styles like these with the outsole and leather of your choosing. More on the Blake welting process and it’s similarity to Goodyear welting below.

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Good Things to be Found at Cape Porpoise Outfitters

Jul 12th, 2012 | Categories: Antiques, Maine, Retail | by Michael Williams

Cape Porpoise Outfitters is a new antiques store that is obsessed with all things military, nautical, Ivy League, booze, classic cars, books, watches, and all sorts of other great vintage oddities. Situated in an 18th century barn, CPO is the product of friend (and ACL contributor) Mr. Jared Paul Stern, who is as prolific collector of vintage “stuff” as anyone I know. It’s not just any kind of stuff, this is a shop for guys that want an interesting and edited mix. CPO is a very obvious reflection of JPS’ overall interests — be it nautical paintings, antique furniture or surplus racks for M-16s. That’s right, surplus racks for assault rifles — what home doesn’t need those?

Over the years I’ve done the antiques-drive from Wells, Maine on Route 1 many times stopping at the dozens of vintage, junk and antiques stores to varying degrees of success. Admittedly, CPO takes some of the hunt out of things, but all of the fun remains. Needless to say if you read this blog, you will like Cape Porpoise Outfitters. So if you happen to find yourself in Southern Maine, a diversion to CPO is worth it. While you are in town, stop by and see the nice ladies at the Cape Porpoise Kitchen and have a bite to eat, you won’t be disappointed.





Escape to Maine.

Jul 10th, 2012 | Categories: Escape to, Maine, Uncategorized | by Michael Williams

Last week Maine. This week I’m in NYC. Maine was better.

Lobster. Saltboxes. Becky’s. Springers in the sea. Dark & Stormys. Mabel’s Lobster Claw. Nice folks. Ice cream. Portland. Canoe trips. Harbor views. Wine. Good books. Salt water. Plank chairs. Baxter beers. Goose Rocks beach. Petite Jacqueline. The Tides. Lighthouses. Escape to Maine.





So Good it Hurts | Rancourt & Co. Handsewns

May 4th, 2012 | Categories: Footwear, Made in the USA, Maine | by Michael Williams

It’s amazing how you feel once you take the leap from “commodity shoes” that are basically made from plastic which is designed to look like leather (at least that’s what it seems like), to the real stuff that Rancourt & Co. makes from Horween leathers. My affinity for Rancourt started last year with a pair of ranger mocs that quickly became my go-to shoe. After buying those shoes I was hooked. Over the past year I have also come to know Mike and Kyle Rancourt personally and even spent some time up at their factory in Maine witnessing first hand how they do business.

Wearing the shoes, knowing the people and seeing the process all leads me to confirm that Rancourt makes one of the best, if not the best handsewn shoes in the world. It’s a bold statement, but one I genuinely believe to be true. It was with this appreciation that, a few weeks ago, I ordered some new Rancourt shoes — a pair of ranger mocs with Vibram cristy soles and a Horween shell cordovan (#8) beefroll penny loafer. As you can see from these pictures, they turned out as perfect as expected.