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  • Writer's pictureMonique Coombs

Scuttlebutt: A Guide to Living & Working in a Waterfront Community

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

Scuttlebutt: How to Live and Work in a Waterfront Community'' is a collaborative effort among Harpswell organizations aimed at educating the current community and newcomers about living and working near the ocean. The partners in this effort are the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust (HHLT), the Holbrook Community Foundation, the Harpswell Anchor, and the Cundy’s Harbor Library.

Photo by Gina Caldwell, Harpswell Recreation

“Scuttlebutt” includes information about the different types of fisheries in Harpswell, ways that homeowners can minimize their impacts on the town’s coastal environment, tips for cooking local seafood, and information about preserving access for future generations to work on the waterfront along with many other resources. The title of the guide speaks to its intention to provide the insider information, or “scuttlebutt” to those living and working on Harpswell’s waterfront in order to foster a sense of community and shared values.

The guide was created following a series of panel presentations held in the fall of 2021 and spring of 2022, “Living and Working in a Waterfront Community: A Conversation Series.” These presentations were aimed at creating a dialogue for those in the community seeking to learn more about the town’s working waterfront and included a variety of topics including the seasonality of fisheries, fishing through the generations, access on the waterfront, and etiquette on the water. The panel presentations were accompanied by articles in the Harpswell Anchor as well as recorded for those interested in listening to the discussions after the event (linked above).

**Where to find Scuttlebutt around Harpswell is listed below.

If you are interested in learning more about the guide, or developing one in your community, please contact Monique Coombs, Director of Community Programs at MCFA, at


Where to find Scuttlebutt around Harpswell

Henry Allen's Seafood

Harpswell Heritage Land Trust

Cundy's Harbor Library

Harpswell Town Hall

Keller Williams Real Estate (Orr's Island)


Quotes from partners about the guide:

As Harpswell's local land trust, HHLT is dedicated to supporting Harpswell's fishing industries through protecting clean water, access, and education. The Scuttlebutt guide is a great resource for those new to Harpswell so they can get to know and understand our local community.

Julia McLeod, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust

The Holbrook Community Foundation's mission is to provide for the long-term protection of the coastal heritage of Harpswell by preserving Holbrook’s working waterfront, supporting commercial fishing and providing opportunities for education about our marine environment to the local community. Scuttlebutt contributes to our local education about the working waterfront in Harpswell.

Deirdre Strachan, Holbrook's Community Foundation

Known as the little library with the big view, Cundy's Harbor Library continues our mission to support our harbor and all those who are fortunate enough to live in Harpswell. We are committed to continuing conversations and providing resources that bring us together across our islands and harbors.

Heather Logan, Cundy's Harbor Community Library

Sustaining Maine's fishing communities for future generations is a critical part of the Maine Coast Fishermen's Association's mission. Working with community partners, and sharing information about Maine's working waterfront and commercial fishing, are an integral part of that work. MCFA was pleased to collaborate on publishing this guide for Harpswell and hope that it might serve as a model for other communities.

Monique Coombs, Maine Coast Fishermen's Association


The Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association is an industry-driven non-profit working to restore the fisheries in the Gulf of Maine and sustain Maine’s fishing communities for future generations. The MCFA office is located in Brunswick but the organization works with fishermen all along Maine’s coast, including Harpswell.



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