Hugging Maine’s Coastline
We’ve been lingering in Maine a little longer than planned, and the primary reason – Lobstah! Of course it is Maine’s main crustacean, scientifically known as Homarus Americanus, or American Lobster. They come in several colors, but not red – except when they are cooked – then they are all red like the one pictured below. It takes an American lobster 6-7 years to get to an edible size. They are long-lived animals, thought to be capable of living over 100 years.
Lobstermen with their traps and lobsters seem to be the unique and distinctive tradition here in Maine.
In addition to the lobstermen, there are picturesque harbors, wharves and small coastal towns dotted with lobster boats, traps and buoys.
Lobsters are caught using baited, one-way traps with color-coded marker buoys that uniquely mark each one. These buoys decorate the surface of the ocean along many miles of the coastline.
Buying live lobsters direct from a lobsterman is the best option and you get to see their yard littered with traps, ropes and buoys – tools of the trade.
Being seafood lovers, we had a lobster feast almost every day while in Maine. And here is a fun fact – long before they became such a delicacy, lobsters were fed to prisoners and servants. It was considered “poor man’s food” during the colonial times. Well, we were able to buy it for as little as $3.99 per pound while staying near Bar Harbor – we didn’t want to leave!
Here’s the best part – lobster is highly nutritious. Despite its rich, buttery taste, it is a low-calorie, low-fat source of protein: 3.5 ounces of meat has only about 96 calories and less than 2 grams of fat. Succulent and a healthy food to boot! We ate them with gusto every day and not worry about gaining extra pounds.
Enough said about the favorite crustacean, how about Maine’s coastline? Get this, Maine’s convoluted coastline is 51 miles longer than California’s, at 3,478 miles – that’s if you count all the bays and tidal inlets. So, off we went to journey along the mid-coast area, driving to Penobscot Bay. It was being billed as the most scenic body of water on the eastern seaboard, with the “must see” towns of Rockland, Rockport and Camden. This area also includes many historic lighthouses and museums, plus lots of shopping and excellent restaurants.
Our first stop was in Rockland, where we walked across the mile-long granite Rockland Breakwater which was built in 1880. The breakwater is now on the National Register of Historic Places and at the end of the granite pier sits The Rockland Breakwater Light.
At Marine Park in Rockport we enjoyed the small but busy sheltered harbor. Here too are historic lime kilns used more than a century ago.
After paying an entrance fee to get into Camden Hills State Park, we hiked the overlapping Tablelands, Megunticook and Mt. Battie trails. It was a fairly strenuous 4-mile round trip with steep pitches, as it climbed steadily to the ocean lookout. At the top we were rewarded with a bird’s eye view of Camden Harbor, and the panorama of Penobscot Bay and its islands.
The southern coast of Maine is known for its beaches, dozens of lighthouses and endless boutiques, antique stores and museums. We stopped at Wells, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Ogunquit.
At Perkins Cove, we followed a scenic cliff walk named Marginal Way for over a mile. It meanders along the ocean and connects Perkins Cove to the town of Qgunquit. It is a very popular trail and was crowded, even on a weekday.
For the lighthouse lovers out there, Maine has 68 lighthouses. We walked to and viewed a few of them. Each is unique with its own heroic rescues and romantic stories, and it seems we never get tired of checking them out. Most are automated now and some have been preserved as museums.
And with that, our Maine sojourn comes to an end. This was our first time staying in Maine, but it won’t be the last – we really enjoyed the atmosphere and already know we must come back. During our latest excursions here, our base camps were at Saltwater Farm Campground in Cushing, and at Moody Beach RV park in Wells. If interested in Steve’s campground reviews, click here.
Next up: The Freedom Trail, Boston MA