We just wrapped up a 5 day stay in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. We stayed at the Shorehills Campground based on the recommendation of our friends Nancy & Betsy of RVaGoGo, and we really liked it. It’s a very pretty, wooded campground and the sites in the back (where we were) have nice views of the water. Our site was water/electric only, but there are also full hook-up sites closer to the front of the park. However these sites are not as wooded and are closer to the road. So unless you really need the sewer connection, I’d recommend staying further back in the park. This was the view right behind our site.
One of the first things we did was drive a few miles up the road to Red’s Eats – a restaurant famous for their lobster rolls. It’s been named the best lobster in Maine by Travel & Leisure magazine, and featured in the book 1,000 Places to See in the USA and Canada Before You Die. We had read online that the line forms pretty early each day. We arrived around 11:30 and sure enough there was already a line, but we only had to wait about 20 minutes. Deas wanted to share a lobster roll, but I insisted on my own. As it turns out they were so large we probably could have just split one! But we still managed to eat every bite, including a side order of fried zucchini. And my
cheap thrifty husband Deas would like for me to mention that this meal cost $54!
We spent a few hours one day driving around the nearby island of Southport. On Google maps we saw that there was a lighthouse there, so we headed there and found a parking lot right at the end of the street. We started walking up the street, but then we got to a bunch of houses and noticed a “No Trespassing” sign that was very faded, but when we studied it closer, it stated that the lighthouse was on private property. I did manage to sneak a quick picture, but then we headed back to the parking lot. When we got there we struck up a conversation with a couple of locals who confirmed that the lighthouse is indeed now a private residence. A Google search later in the day taught me that this is the Hendricks Head Lighthouse which was built in 1829. There’s a famous but controversial story about this lighthouse involving a baby that supposedly washed ashore around 1870, after a nearby boat was destroyed in a fierce storm. The family of the lighthouse keeper at the time still insists that the story is true, although there is little evidence to back this up. The lighthouse was purchased and restored by its current owners, a couple from Alabama, in 1991. What a cool place to have for your house!
As we continued to drive around, we saw charming scene after charming scene. The sailboats, the lobster traps, the water, the houses – all of it was just what I had pictured Maine would look like – even better, actually.
There’s a local brewery in town called Boothbay Craft Brewery, and it we liked it so much we visited twice! They also have a restaurant and we had a delicious bowl of clam chowder and an order of fish and chips. While sitting at the bar we struck up a conversation with a couple who visited the area frequently, and they gave us a few tips on things to do. One of the things they mentioned was the Fish Ladder in the nearby town of Damariscotta Mills, so one day we drove up there. I had never heard of a fish ladder before – it’s basically a structure build to facilitate fishes’ natural migration. This Fish Ladder was built for alewives, which is a type of herring primarily used as bait fish. This time of year the alewives are running, and in addition to all the people there for this event, the seagulls were in on the action too. It was fun to watch them dive into the water attempting to catch the alewives. Their success rate was about 30% – and whenever one gull caught a fish, all of the other gulls would start making a lot of noise and crowd around the successful gull. Occasionally the gull would drop his catch, but more often than not then unlucky alewife was swallowed in a just a couple of gulps.
We found another lighthouse to visit, and this one was open to the public. The first Pemaquid Point Lighthouse was build in 1827, however a lazy builder used saltwater in the mortar mix instead of freshwater. I guess it was hard to get good help even then! The second, and current lighthouse, was built in 1835 – this time with fresh water in the mortar. The lighthouse still has the same 4th order Fresnel lens that was installed in 1835 and is operational today.
By this point in the day we were ready for lunch, and a search on Yelp led us to Shaw’s Fish and Lobster Wharf. We went inside and placed our orders, got two beers, and then went outside to sit on the deck. While we were sitting there a lobster boat came in and started unloading their bounty.
And one other meal I just have to mention – the fish and chips and Bet’s Fish Fry. This time Deas convinced me to split a meal with him, and thank goodness he did. This was one order of fish and chips – we just barely finished it off. It was really delicious!
Boothbay is a cute little town, but it did feel a little bit touristy. But fortunately, even though we were there over the Memorial Day weekend, I don’t think tourist season was in full swing yet. We enjoyed our stay and appreciated that it wasn’t overly crowded as we heard it can get in the summer. So far we’re really enjoying Maine and can’t wait to see what else it has to offer!