Need some advice for Maine mid-Sept.

Old Jan 2nd, 2023, 02:04 PM
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Need some advice for Maine mid-Sept.

Hello, everyone and Happy New Year! Looks like several of us have this same idea for Sept. and I've read all your posts and the great responses. We have a 2+ week trip planned that includes VT and NH and my first question concerns routing. We will leave Concord NH heading for Brunswick ME, and I really would like to avoid going all the way south to Portsmouth just to pick up the interstate and go back north. I can't persuade DH to drive that far in one stretch so I'm thinking an intermediate point would be Dover, but what's the best route from Concord? This will be mid-week, probably Sept 13-14. Then, we have roughly six nights and I would like to base in Brunswick and Camden (it's just a short mid-Coast trip). Would you say 3 nights in each? Our main purpose is to go to the Farnsworth in Rockland, but have some interest in Harpswell, Bowdoin, the Maine Coastal Gardens (thanks posters!) and a can't miss recommended restaurant in Five Islands. Time for all that in 6 days? Suggestions welcome, we eat but we don't shop. We will have a 7th night to get back to BOS, but I'd like a stop 3/4 way - Dfrostnh, you seem to particularly like Portsmouth, is that good idea? Thanks to you all - none of us say that enough for the invaluable help we receive here.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2023, 02:02 AM
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It's only 2 minutes longer to go Concord Rt 4 to Portsmouth traffic circle and conmecting with I95 which is the route we favored. It is a pleasant drive and the approach over Great Bay is scenic although used to be nicer before the highway was upgrades and sound barriers were erected. I do not like rt 101 which google maps prefers. It's slightly faster but more miles. Ne aware however that Rt 4 goes thru Antique Alley and i've seen Fodor complaints about traffic and quick stops. But google maps gives you a third option that is slightly longer but commects with I95 further north. Sis used to head north from Concord towards Lake Winnipesaukee area/Alton which adds almost an hour of travel but connects in the Portland area. Not sure I was looking at the route she used to take. There's the Rt 28 option but we rarely go that way.

Concord to Brunswick is just over two hours.

Portsmouth is a popular tourist mecca with a variety of lodging options. Wonderful restaurants and we used to window shop the Market Square area. I usually recommend a boat trip but jard to decide between harbor cruise and inland rivers. If you just want a scenic drive we opt for Prescott Park Rt 1B thru Newcastle. Rt 1A is along the cost past beautiful mansions. Strawbery Banke historic area for history lovers. If you are just stopping for the night you will miss out on what one of the most beautiful towns in New England has to offer.

We have to spend more time in the Rockland area because dh likes the Owls Head classic car museum. Our favorite lobster shack is McLoon's but it might only be open weekends in September and it's picnic table outdoor dining. Beautiful spot on the water. We kept missing Rockport but finally spent a lottle time there watching children have sailing lessons in little sailboats. It's a pretty harbor.

Good lick trying to decide.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2023, 08:31 AM
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Even if lobster shacks are closed, you can buy bulk lobster meat at any lobster pound or fish market. Current price is ~$45/lb, and with that you can make a damn good lobster roll with some celery and either mayo or butter....
Or if you prefer, just butter and lobster, hold the roll....

A pound of lobster meat is 2 or 3 whole tails, and a bunch of claws.
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Old Jan 4th, 2023, 03:30 AM
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Originally Posted by J62
Even if lobster shacks are closed, you can buy bulk lobster meat at any lobster pound or fish market. Current price is ~$45/lb, and with that you can make a damn good lobster roll with some celery and either mayo or butter....
Or if you prefer, just butter and lobster, hold the roll....

A pound of lobster meat is 2 or 3 whole tails, and a bunch of claws.
Best price if you are willing to put in the effort and have the necessary tools is to go to a grocery store that will steam lobsters for free. We find two small lobsters will make three generous rolls. Buy the New England style split top rolls and mayo. Here in NH the grocery chains that do this are Shaw's, Market Basket and Hannaford. Current price is hovering around $9.99/lb. If soft shelled usually kitchen shears, pick and nut cracker are all you need. If hard shelled I usually have to whack the claws with a meat mallet. When we have lobster cravings we get 4 lobsters. Two to eat right away with warm butter and the other two to make into lobster rolls the next day.
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Old Jan 4th, 2023, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by dfrostnh
Best price if you are willing to put in the effort and have the necessary tools is to go to a grocery store that will steam lobsters for free. We find two small lobsters will make three generous rolls. Buy the New England style split top rolls and mayo. Here in NH the grocery chains that do this are Shaw's, Market Basket and Hannaford. Current price is hovering around $9.99/lb. If soft shelled usually kitchen shears, pick and nut cracker are all you need. If hard shelled I usually have to whack the claws with a meat mallet. When we have lobster cravings we get 4 lobsters. Two to eat right away with warm butter and the other two to make into lobster rolls the next day.
Love it!

I'll happily do that in the summer when I can cook a large pot on a pit outide - I have a huge pot just for camping/outdoor fire pit cooking just for that purpose - lobster & clam bakes. But it's a messy job inside - especially that whack-a-claw part....

Price at a dockside lobster pound recently has been around $7 a 1 pounder, with both hard and soft shell's for sale.
Price for local oysters is $1.50 to $1.75 apiece. It takes a little practice, and the right knife + glove to do it right (safely), but once you get the hang of it you can whip up a dozen in no time.

Half a pound of my 1lb lobster meat never made it to a roll, and some of the bits and pieces went directly from the tub to a fork to my mouth in one swoop....

Last edited by J62; Jan 4th, 2023 at 04:52 AM.
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Old Jan 4th, 2023, 09:34 AM
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OK, now I'm really hungry for lobster!! We are from Seattle, so just getting there is a big deal, and we rely on places to stay with no kitchen trappings, so we'll look for the shacks this time. But I am intrigued....
Thanks for the routing info and notes on Portsmouth. We are older people and slow travelers, and regret it every time we pack too much into a day. Portsmouth should get better attention on another journey. We're not going to want to do Camden to Boston in one swoop, so just looking for a decent stopping point.
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Old Jan 5th, 2023, 02:51 AM
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It's 3 1/2 hours from Camden to Boston. Camden to Portland Maine via Rt 1 is 1 hr 40 minutes. Portland would give you a variety of restaurants and lodging options. I like the Mailboat cruise but have only done it during the day. I think there's one in the evening to see lights. There are huge parks at both ends of Portland. Bite Into ME food truck parks in Fort Williams Park to the south. Check their hours. They have several different kinds of lobster rolls. If you have bag chairs you can easily find a good spot to sit and enjoy the view of Casco Bay. There are some benches. To the north is Eastern Promenade overlooking the Bay. Very popular for picnics etc.
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