by Barb, who was writing this on the front porch but came in because she was getting cold (he, he, he)
We hope you’ve enjoyed this summer’s “A Day in…” posts from Maine Crime Writers. Today’s post comes to you from my Maine town of Boothbay Harbor (with a quick trip up the peninsula to Boothbay–more on this later).
Breakfast: When you ask, “What’s the best place for breakfast?” the answers always depend on the criteria. For example, our friend Stan is all about where to get the best hash. He’ll wax on about potato to onion ratios, or say something dismissive like, “It’s a beef-pork combo.” Other people are all about the omelets. (Though for my money, that’s not even a contest. The French-inflected Vietnamese cooking means the omelets at Baker’s Way are the best in town. Have a croissant while you’re there.) Other people are into the lobster benedict or the fish and eggs (my husband’s favorite.)
Personally, I believe all Maine breakfasts should be judged by the blueberry pancakes, which is why my current favorite breakfast place in town in the Harborside Tavern. Order 1, 2 or 3 of their fluffy blueberry pancakes and real maple syrup. (If you’re staying locally, order two and take half your order home.) Both the bacon and the sausage (link or pattie) are excellent.
A harbor cruise: From breakfast, let’s walk down the pier and take a harbor cruise. There are several available. We’re going to take a cruise because the best way to see Boothbay Harbor is from the water. You’ll have your choice of whale watches, puffin watches, sunset sailboat cruises or a general tour around the harbor. Whichever you take, you are almost sure to see seals, eagles, osprey, working lobster boats, two to four lighthouses, islands with 100 or 1 or 0 houses, and maybe a minke whale or two, even if you don’t go for the whale watch.
A walk through town: Back from the cruise, let’s take a walk through town and maybe do a little retail therapy. Don’t forget to stop at Sherman’s where you’ll spot books from most of the Maine Crime Writers for sale.
Lunch: For lunch we’re going to cross the famous footbridge to the Lobster Dock. This is one of my favorite places to eat in town, with a large menu of local favorites (including crab cakes that famously lost in a fixed fight with Bobby Flay). You sit outside. The food is delicious, the scenery glorious.
Alternative: If you are all about lobster rolls, and only lobster rolls, stay on the town side of the footbridge and order up at Shannon’s Unshelled. Every houseguest we have ever sent there has returned home raving.
Botanical Gardens: After lunch, we’re going to buzz up the peninsula to Boothbay to visit one of Maine’s newest tourist destinations, The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Built on 270 acres of total shoreland, the gardens offer a spectacular children’s garden, miles of trails, and many beautiful sights, including a garden of the 5 senses designed to enhance the enjoyment of people with physical and sensory challenges. The gardens are open from April 15 to the end of October, and then re-open for a spectacular holiday illuminations display. What to see and do depends on what’s in bloom, but the gardens are always a terrific tourist hit. If you’re feeling energetic, you can even rent kayaks there. Our kids did that over 4th of July weekend and saw hundreds of seals.
Time to sit on the porch: Go back to wherever you’re staying and grab your beverage of choice and a book. If you’re on a day trip, one of our local watering holes will welcome you.
Dinner: There are so many great choices, but our favorite is Ports of Italy. The food is traditional Italian with lots of fresh local seafood, homemade pasta, and local vegetables. I’ve been there twice this year and failed to take photos either time, which is too bad because the presentation is as beautiful as the service is impeccable. So this photo will have to do.
Like all the “Day in” posts, this one barely scratches the surface of all the things there are to do in Boothbay Harbor. We hope you’ll come stay as long as you can.
All photos in this post, except the two views from the Lobster Dock and the one of relaxing on our porch, are by Bill Carito. If you like them and want to see more, you can friend him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/bcarito and follow him on Instagram at billcarito and bill.carito.colorphotos.