An August 2005 trip
to Boothbay Harbor by travelwisdom
Quote: After a long summer of Florida heat, humidity, and hurricanes, a long weekend on the mid-coast of Maine looked like the perfect prescription for summer doldrums. We were not disappointed. Join us as we meander around the mid-coast of the Pine Tree State, lighthouse hopping, and overdosing on lobster.
A telephone call to check details was answered by Laura’s warm welcome. Laura not only provided answers to all our questions, but proved to be a valuable travel resource with ideas that turned out to be highlights of our trip. Another plus, the Inn is a 5-minute walk into the center of Boothbay Harbor.
Portland (PWM) is the closest airport to Boothbay Harbor (58 miles away). Map in hand, we headed north along Interstate 295 through Brunswick, Bath, and Wiscasset. A south turn at Route 27 led us straight into "downtown" Boothbay Harbor and to the door of the Blue Heron Seaside Inn.
It was love at first sight. Blue Heron Seaside Inn is a sparkling white, three-story home. Porches and walkways are framed by rows and baskets of blooming flowers and American flags. Laura and Phil greeted us like family and escorted us to our third-floor water-view room. What a view! Our oversized room with a private bath offered all the comforts of home and more. The cove-side private porch overlooked the entire length of Boothbay Harbor. It became our daily ritual to sip morning coffee or afternoon wine and watch the tide come in and go out.
Every 6 hours, the cove emptied and shore birds descended to search for tasty treats in the mud flats. A short time later, the water began to return and landlocked floating docks and dinghies floated in 6- to 8-foot-deep water.
Mornings, the enticing aroma of Phil’s fresh baked cinnamon bread or fresh blueberry French toast drifted up the stairs, calling us to breakfast and banter with our hosts and other guests. Laura and Phil are natives of the Boothbay Harbor region and offer a wealth of fascinating facts and tips for day trips around the area.
Each day after our explorations returning to Blue Heron was like "coming home." The Chapmans love what they do and it shows. Their pride in their home and community is heartwarming. Daily, we returned to a fresh, clean room, linens, and towels. No details missed.>
Too soon our 3 nights at Blue Heron Seaside Inn came to an end. Will we return? Absolutely! We are already planning a trip to view the full glory of the foliage in October 2006. Can we wait that long? Probably not. Laura says spring is a great time to visit Maine. Looks like a spring visit is not out of the question.
Visit Blue Heron Seaside Inn at www.blueheronseasideinn.com, or call 866/216-2300. Tell Phil and Laura that Lynne and Hank sent you!
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 7, 2005
Blue Heron Seaside Inn
65 Townsend Ave.
Boothbay Harbor, Maine 04538
Committed travel foodies, we seek out distinctive dining discoveries on every trip. As lobster lovers, we wanted to experience an authentic Downeast Clambake during a visit to Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Phil and Laura Chapman, owners of Blue Heron Seaside Inn, recommended the Cabbage Island Clambake. Often, "mass feedings" are overpriced and undervalued. The Cabbage Island Clambake is not in that category. We were delighted, not disappointed. Let us whet your appetite for an afternoon of scenic and savory seaside eats and treats.
Our clambake adventure begins when we board the Argo for a harbor cruise enroute to Cabbage Island, forty-five minutes away. Narrated facts and folklore about the area accompanies close up views of historic lighthouses, magnificent homes clinging to the towering rocky cliffs, marine wildlife and lobstermen working their traps.
Cabbage Island is a private 5 1/2-acre island located in the heart of Linekin Bay. It is owned by the Moore family and the clambake has been a family affair for over 17 years. Bennie Moore, the clambake "Mom," handles the hospitality and charms her guests as she visits each table. Brothers Wayne and Bob Moore are the brains and brawn of the operation overseeing a crew of sons, daughters, nieces and nephews.
As the Argo approaches the dock, the Moore family is out in force to greet their disembarking guests. Steam is rising from the nearby lobster pit and our taste buds are primed. Rustic picnic tables perch along the sloping, shady lawn overlooking Linekin Bay. The lodge has welcoming front porch and inside dining room with a large fireplace for rare days when days when Mother Nature brings rain or fog to the island.
Hundreds of bright lobster buoys mark each lobster trap dotting the bay waters like colorful confetti. (Each lobsterman has distinctive multi-colored buoysmarking his individual traps.) What a view!
What a feast! We thought we would share a tray of two lobsters and a dozen clams. Wrong. Each person receives two lobsters, a dozen steamed clams, corn, a potato, an onion and a boiled egg. Declaring that there is "no way we can eat it all," we savor every bite. (Tip: Light eaters bring a small cooler to take home leftovers.) Groans ring out as three-inch high towers of fresh blueberry cake arrive for dessert. Again, we devour every crumb.
Following the clambake, there is time to work off the calories exploring the island or with a game of volleyball, or simply sit and soak in the scenery.
Wayne Moore is a wealth of information about lobstering along the coast and patiently answers all our questions. We learn that each licensed lobsterman is allowed to have up to 700 traps. This explains the thousands of bright trap buoys dotting coves, harbors and bays in every direction. Most lobstermen check from one half to one third of their traps each day. Getting one "keeper" out of each trap is considered a good day’s catch. There is strict regulation on legal lobster sizes in Maine. On average, a legal lobster is over one pound and under four to five pounds. Legality is judged with a small device called a "clicker" that measures the lobster carapace. (The 18-20lb. giant lobsters you see in movies come from waters off Nova Scotia, not Maine.) Most days at Cabbage Island, 350-375 pounds of lobster are served along with 1800 clams, 150 ears of corn and an equal number of potatoes, onions, and eggs.
The Moore family bid warm farewells as we "waddle" on-board the Argo for our return trip to Boothbay Harbor. Cabbage Island Clambakes operate from early June through early September. Clambakes are held Monday through Friday leaving Boothbay Harbor at 12:30pm and returning at 4:30pm (there are also evening clambakes from 5pm until dark on Saturdays and Sundays). Including the harbor cruise, the cost is $44.95 per person. We agree this could become one of our must-do annual getaways!
Plan ahead. Reservations are a must especially on weekends. For more information or reservations, visit www.cabbageislandclambakes.com or call 207/633-7200.
Mary Esther, Florida