Recently we visited a new state: Maine! Some of my best girlfriends and our families planned a reunion and we were fortunate enough to be able to use one of their family homes. I had looked forward to this vacation for months because I love catching up with my friends, had never been to Maine, and let’s be honest, I will do anything to get out of the southern summer heat. We flew into Portland and out of Boston and stayed in St. George, Maine in beautiful Turkey Cove near the town of Port Clyde.
Since we were being hosted by our friend who has been traveling to the area most of her life, she treated us to a true Maine experience. From clamming to lobstering to island picnics, every moment was so special and authentic. We had seven kids in our group ranging from 9 months to 8 years old so if you are traveling with kids, I highly recommend our weekend activities. It was one of my favorite weekend vacations and one I hope to repeat again!
First things first: lobster. If you’re going to Maine, you’re going to want to eat all of the lobster all of the time. We got fresh lobster rolls at McCloon’s, a family-owned restaurant located at a working lobster wharf in Spruce Head Island. A McCloon’s lobster roll includes perfectly tender lobster tail and claw meat served with melted butter and/or mayo. The restaurant offers several other items made with fresh seafood like lobster stew, roasted littleneck clams, and crab rolls and cakes. McCloon’s also has burgers and grilled cheese for any non-seafood lovers, and delicious ice creams and pies for dessert. The Maine wild blueberry ice cream is not to be missed!
We also did our own lobster boil at the house to end the weekend. We picked up live lobsters from nearby Miller’s Lobster Co, where you can watch the fishing boats come in to unload the day’s catch and pick out your lobsters. Once we got back to the house, we boiled them and learned how to eat them properly out of the shell. I am so spoiled by the fresh Maine lobster now, I don’t think I can go back to eating it any other way!
Each afternoon, our group would walk down to the beach and hunt for littleneck clams. It was lots of fun, but truth be told, I was a terrible clammer. The first step is to find the clam holes, which are very tiny and hard to see amongst all the pebbles. Once you locate a hole, the second step is to use a shovel to dig straight down as far as you can and then lift out the pile of mud. Theoretically, you should see the clam’s “finger” at this point and the third and final step is to grab it! I had trouble locating the holes and proceeded to be the world’s worst clam digger as well, but what I lacked in clamming skills, I made up for in eating them! Each evening, we all snacked on steamed clams along with happy hour drinks while making dinner and getting our kids ready for bed.
During the weekend, we did a few daytime adventures like going to town or taking a boat ride. St. George is just a few minutes from the charming seaside town of Port Clyde. We visited to restock on supplies at the general store, which carries just about anything you might need, or for coffee and breakfast items at Squid Ink. If we were returned to the area, I’d want to take the puffin and nature cruise to Monhegan Island. We also had a group dinner one evening in Port Clyde at Dip Net, a casual wharfside restaurant that has an extensive menu, but specializes in lobster and seafood, of course.
Just past Port Clyde, you can visit Marshall Point Lighthouse, which has been operating since 1833 and was made famous in the movie Forrest Gump. Most of the year, the lighthouse is closed to the public, but we were lucky enough to visit on one of only two days a year when it is open! We were able to climb the few steep stairs inside for a view of Penobscot Bay. The museum offers historic information about the lighthouse and area and features behind the scenes photos of the filming of the famous Forrest Gump scene.
We took a short boat trip out to Little Caldwell Island for a picnic, fishing, and seaside exploration. It was the perfect day and so much fun to watch all of the kiddos hunt for hermit crabs and seashells.
Another day, we drove 30 minutes to Rockland for lunch and shopping in town. Rockland has great boutiques, vintage shops, and galleries. We had gourmet sandwiches for lunch at Maine Street Markets. One of the highlights of Rockland was visiting the Project Puffin Visitor Center, where Audubon welcomes visitors in to watch real-time video of puffins while learning about the adorable seabirds through interactive exhibits like a puffin burrow. Suggested donation is $5. The center also features a great gallery and gift shop where you can purchase nature-related books and puffin-themed items to bring home.
On the way back to the airport, we stopped in Portland, Maine for a lobster lunch at High Roller Lobster Co. The restaurant began as a food truck and became so popular it opened a permanent location. You can get lobster several ways – roll, grilled cheese, taco, pop, and more! After lunch, we did a mead tasting at Honeymaker Mead, which stands out in a city filled with breweries. We recommend a tasting flight which includes interesting blends using wildflower honey and herbs like lavender or fruits like apple. We hope to get back to Portland again for a long weekend exploring the beaches and breweries!
Thank you for reading! Have you ever been to Maine? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the state in the comments below!