John Cole was an exceptional Maine writer

I want to thank Islandport Press for republishing John Cole’s wonderful book, In Maine – Essays on Life’s Lessons. John was an exceptional writer, and the guy in the 70s who inspired me to become a writer. In Maine was first published in 1974 and afterwards, John wrote a dozen other books. His articles appeared in lots of national magazines including Reader’s Digest and Sports illustrated.

This book is full of columns John wrote about Maine, from why he moved here to why he fell in love with our state and coast. I always enjoyed The Maine Times, which John created in 1968 and managed for many years. It was an outstanding newspaper.

On the front cover of this book, Ken Allen, longtime writer for The Maine Sportsman, wrote “Cole is the best outdoors writer to ever live in Maine.”

The stories in this book are very personal, and include lots of information about the natural world that meant so much to John, and inspired his columns.

I like his explanation in the introduction: “I have not lived all my life in Maine, but Maine is the only place I’ve lived my life. It was here that I became who I am. So I write about this place with great care. I love it far too much to do otherwise.”

And I especially liked his conclusion: “I look around the nation and the world and I can’t find another place where children are better raised.”

I particularly enjoyed the section of the book with columns about John’s experiences with wildlife. He was an enthusiastic ocean angler and his stories about catching bluefish and striped bass brought back my own wonderful memories of catching both species in the lower Kennebec River with my dad. It was phenomenal fishing.

And John writes about everything from deer to birds. Yes he loved everything about Maine, and he spent much of his time outside.

John received many awards for his writing and he died in 2003. Thankfully his columns live on.




George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.