Maine Vacation - early September (after Labor Day)
We are planning a trip to Maine (1st time) along the coast to Bar Harbor. Would like to know best place to get New England clam chower, fried clams, and of course fresh lobster. On a budget so any information on coupon books and good deals would be appreciated. We are so excited to see this beautiful state. Have heard many good things about it.
A couple of my favorites along the way...
The Sea Basket on Rt. 1 about a mle before Wiscasset center. Great fried seafood and chowders:
Also, Chase's Daily in Belfast. Great vegetarian fare and home baked goods, as well as a farmer's market. Great value for the quality, and almost all the vegetable used are from the owner's farm.
A couple of my personal favorites along the way:
Sea Basket in Wiskasett for unbeatable chowder and fried seafood. They use convection fryers, which produce a very non-greasy product. The sweet potato fries are awesome! All at very reasonable prices. On the left about one mile before you enter the Wiskasett historic district.
Chase's Daily in Belfast is great...maybe not as cheap as you are looking for, but beautiful vegetarian fare and fresh baked goods. A great value for the quality!
Billy's Chowder House in Wells (near Ogunquit) has some of the best chowder I've had: www.billyschowderhouse.com. If you make it to Camden, Cappy's Chowder Hosue has great chowder too, and I really like the atmosphere: www.cappyschowder.com. Both are inexpensive. My favorite spot for lobster in the rough is the Lobster Shack, in Cape Elizabeth. You can't beat the food or the view: lobstershack-twolights.com. I've had some really great fried clams at Bob's Clam Hut in Kittery: www.bobsclamhut.com. However, they were very expensive because of the market price at the time. I'm not sure what the price is now.
I live in the Bar Harbor area. Please see my reply to an earlier request. First the bad news. Lobster is at an all time high and once you cross the bridge to MDI and Bar Harbor the prices increase dramatically, due to tourism (Local bumper sticker: If it's Tourist Season, Why Can't We Shoot Them?). On the island I would suggest Beals Lobster Pound in SW Harbor or Thurston's in Benard. They are both on the water and if you're going to pay a lot and it is just boiled lobster, make sure you find a place w/ a view. Tidal Falls Lobster Pound, off Rt 1 in Hancock, is that place and it is BYOB and they supply real glass wine glasses! It is owned by a nonprofit, The Frenchman's Bay Conservancy and the profits from lobsters are used to buy private land and open it up to the public. Sounds like a good deal to me. Also along Rt1 in Hancock is Ruth and Whimpy's. It's where the locals go for lobster, cheapest I know($10 for lobster, mussels and corn last summer). It is a local fun family-style restaurant,has no view but lots of down downeast cultcha. The locals are a hoot.
Fried clams are a passion for my wife and me. Our benchmark is Jordan's Snack Bar in Ellsworth. Two other fun roadside places are Bagaduce Lunch on Rt. 186 in Brooksville and The View(?) on Catapillar Hill on Rt.15 in Sedgwick. Chowder? Make my own, but if you are on a budget, try cafes and diners.
And remember Bar Harbor is a tourist destination and prices and sometimes quality reflect this. For best food values, local color, and views, leave the island and cruise the beautiful secondary roads and quaint villages of Hancock County. Ellsworth has fine restaurants too,and often cheaper, including The Union River Lobster Pot.
The best food value I know is Joshy's Place(road side take out) on Rt. 1 entering Milbridge. It's the only place I know for $5 clam or crab rolls and a $5.95 lobster roll. You'll pay double in B.H.
Finally, remember, that most of these are byob, so have some beer and wine in the cooler, just in case and happy hunting!
Besides lobster, which is good where ever, you stop.
A very special dessert in Maine is the "Woopie Pie". I am salivating just writing about them and they do not get any better then the homemade ones' at Moody's Diner on Route 1 in Waldoboro. http://www.moodysdiner.com/diner.html
I highly recommend that you drive out of your way to eat the Woopie pie at Moody's diner! People adore the food there, for me it's just diner food and not bad either. They have good chowder. However, the Woopie pie is to die for!
Folks may be hesitant to jump in as this is a topic that comes up often.
Here are a few threads to get you started:
Please also realize that Maine is a big place. If you are driving up the coast from NH border to Bar Harbor I suggest you search/inquire about specific geographic areas. Very broadly speaking these four areas might be "Southern Maine", "Greater Portland", "Midcoast", and "Bar Harbor/Mt.Desert".
Along the coast to Bar Harbor??? Where are you starting- are you going to be driving through Southern Maine (Ogunquit, Kennebunkport, Portland????). Not knowing where you are going, one place that is not too far south or north is Five Islands Lobster Co. You sit on picnic benches looking at the water with five pine covered Islands. Great lobsters, steamers, crab claws, etc. Also separate shack has fish sandwiches etc. Also has an ice cream place. Great place to enjoy MAine. In september you may still be in blueberry season and you will find lots of people on the road to Five Islands selling blueberries. One thing- be sure to use the bathrooms in gas stations or convenience stores right after the Bridge in Bath before you turn off the road to five Islands. The portapotties at 5 are not pleasant.