Road Trip: The Maine Lobster Trail
U.S. Route 1 may be the Main Street of Maine’s Mid-Coast, but the best of its Victorian B&Bs and fishing villages lies down back-road detours
Pemaquid Point lighthouse (see Day 3).
I’ve always hated lobster.
My otherwise happy memories of childhood vacations along Maine's mid-coast between Portland and Penobscot Bay are clouded by recollections of sitting grumpily at the picnic table of lobster pounds—the simple dockside restaurants where fresh lobster is loaded right off the boats and into the kitchens to be boiled and sold at market prices.
My parents delighted in sitting on lobster pound decks overlooking tiny harbors bobbing with fishing boats, cracking claws and dipping the pink meat into paper tubs of melted butter.
I was left to poke morosely at my plates of mashed potatoes and overcooked corn on the cob, longing for a hamburger.
My girlfriend, Frances, on the other hand, prepared for our Mid-Coast Maine road trip last spring by trying to work out ways to have lobster for breakfast as well as lunch and dinner.
Mid-Coast Maine Road Trip
Day 1: Yarmouth, Freeport, and Westport Island
Day 2: Bath, Brunswick, Bailey Island, Damariscotta, & Waldoboro
Day 3: Pemaquid Point, Thomaston, Rockland, & Vinalhaven Island
Day 4: Rockland, Rockport, & Camden
I hadn't been back to Maine since high school, and was eager to spend four days exploring offshore islands, the gargantuan LL Bean flagship store, and Victorian fishing villages filled with funky shops and art galleries.
But mostly, I was just looking forward to trading the concrete canyons of New York for scenically meandering drives along the mid-coast's long, narrow peninsulas of pine-forested granite tipped with lighthouses.
As for the lobster: By the end of our trip I was stopping at every lobster pound we passed, grabbing a dockside picnic table, and—claw-cracker in one hand and Maine microbrew in the other—ordering the largest lobster in the tank.