HOME > Chowhound > All New England Archive >


Boston to ????, Maine

My wife and I are flying into Logan Airport about 9am on Saturday morning in late August for a 3 day weekend. We'd like to spend 1 1/2 days driving up and down the Maine coast (Sat & Sun) and then head into Boston for Sunday night and sightseeing all day Monday.

A few questions....

1. Where on the Maine coast should we spend Saturday night? We were thinking of driving to Bar Harbor, but it seems like too long of a haul for one day. under $150/night.

2. Along the way from Boston to wherever we end up, Maine, where are the best lobster, oysters, and clams to be found? We are looking for locals-only type places, nothing fancy, just great food. If it happens to have a view of the water, great, but its definitely not a prerequisite. I did some searching and found this list from Travel + Leisure:

Waterman's Beach Lobster, South Thomaston
Shaw's Fish & Lobster Wharf, New Harbor
Red's Eats, Wiscasset
Five Islands Lobster Co., Georgetown
Lisa's Lobster House & Grill, Georgetown
Morse Lobster, Harpswell Neck
Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster, South Freeport
Clam Shack, Kennebunkport
Barnacle Billy's, Ogunquit
Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier, Kittery Point

If there are must stops, please let me know. From other posts, I did see Red's Eats fits the bill. Any others?

3. Where should we stay in Boston if we want to do alot of walking to see the sights, without having to drive or better yet - not even having to drive from our hotel? Quirkly, small hotels work for us, but we'd also consider a large, chain if it provides better value and a more comfortable room. $150-200/night.

4. Based on #3, where should we eat that we can also walk to from the hotel. Again, we are looking for locals-only type joints. No tourist meccas, and nothing over the top in terms of price or ambience. We are solely interested in good food without breaking the bank (i.e. less than $100 for 2 for dinner including a couple of drinks).

Thank you all in advance for your suggestions.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Skip Chauncy Creek. Ogunquit is about 1.5 hours from Boston- you could stop at Barnicle Billy's on your way up for lunch.Sit outside on the deck over the water and have steamed clams and a lobster and some rum punch (special!). Or, if you are leaving earlier stop in Kennebunkport ( about another 1/2 hour) and have fried clams at the Clam Shack or a luxury baked stuffed lobster at Hurricane. Further up, about an hour is Freeport. Keep driving about 2 more hours and have crab claws, lobster, steamers, potatoes and corn at Five Islands. Fabulous view and you can't get much more Maine than this. Enjoy!

    1. For the best food in Maine, you need to stop in Portland. The city is full of everything from street vendors to amazing restaurants with James Beard-nominated chefs. Stay in the Old Port and you'll be able to walk to all the best. Try the Portland Lobster Company on Commercial St for a lobster or roll while in town.

      In Boston, my favorite hotel is always the Lenox. A smallish hotel right on Boylston Street (one block from all the shops on Newbury). It has a pub, a martini bar and a white tablecloth restaurant inside and many excellent choices in the surrounding neighborhood.

      1. Likewise, I would skip Red's.......unless you enjoy standing in line for a LONG time breathing in exhaust fumes from the backed up traffic! Try the Sea Basket, instead, on Rt. 1 about a mile before you hit downtown Wiscasset.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Science Chick

          Sarah's cafe across the street from Red's makes a much better lobster roll. One of the best, if not the best I have ever had.

          1. re: JMF

            Very true. I forgot the name of that place. Thanks.

        2. Just a few, 36 hrs, only goes so far.....

          Georgetown - Lisa's unfortunately is no more. Five Islands is more touristy but the view is spectacular and food is fine.

          Harpswell - Morse's is a real trip and The Dolphin Chowder House has the finest traditional Maine fish chowder I've ever had.

          Wiscasset - Agree with Sea Basket or Sarah's Cafe in lieu of Red's

          Boothbay Harbor - Bet's Fish Fry has an uncredible tasty, mile-high 1 lb. fish sandwich.
          As they say Downeast, if it was any fresher they'd have to slap it!

          Enjoy your trip,

          Morse Lobster
          59 Morse Shore Rd, ME 04079

          Dolphin Marina and Restaurant
          515 Basin Point Rd, Harpswell, ME 04079

          Five Island Lobster Co
          1447 5 Islands Rd, ME 04548

          Sea Basket
          303 Old Bath Rd, Wiscasset, ME 04578

          Sarah's Cafe
          45 Water St, Wiscasset, ME 04578

          11 Replies
          1. re: Harp00n

            Thank you all for your suggestions.....We are lickin our chops in anticipation of a 3 day gluttony tour up the coast....Our strategic roadmap is being constructed as we speak to maximize food intake along our journey.

            1. re: Harp00n

              HarpOOn - one question - what does "traditional Maine fish chowder" consist of? Is it a white, red or clear base? (oops - that's actually 2 questions).....

              1. re: shanghaieats

                Hello shanghaieats,
                A traditional chowder in ME, NH or MA is most always white. In addition, you will find clear, mostly, in R.I. and portions of CT. Regards that other "color", well, we just don't acknowledge its existence. The gods created Cape Cod as a diversion to keep most of "those" people out of our beloved Maine! If you decided on going to The Dolphin understand, it's a modest menu in terms of the number of items. They are justly proud of their simple, but consistent, renditions from the fishermen wives kitchens. Both their chowder and, equally excellent, lobster stew are accompanied by an incredible blueberry muffin. I can't ever get by with just the one! Between the two of you, I'd definitely order a couple of extras lest you have diner's remorse later :-))
                Here's their link; http://dolphinchowderhouse.com/


                1. re: Harp00n

                  A slight correction. The word "chowder", by the way is a corruption of the French choudilier, the cast iron pot in which it was cooked. So please order your modern traditional French Maine Chowder and enjoy.
                  Oh yes, many Mainers consider south of Disgusta(sic) to be Little Boston. For a truly unique trip drive straight up to Calais, drive leisurely south to Bangor and haul but back home.

                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                    I believe the word from which chowder is derived is chaudiere, not choudilier, which I don't think was ever a word.. Chaudiere can mean the cast-iron pot or the cast-iron stove itself.

                  2. re: Harp00n

                    Mr. Harp00n,

                    Cape Cod can't hold all of us NY'ers and our Red Chowda (although the diversion is a treat when the clams are frying and dipped in some Cain's Tartar Sauce! While I enjoy a bowl of the white stuff (and make a pretty mean version myself I've been told by some of Boston's finest), during the summer months, I like to think of Manhattan Clam as kind of a fresh veetable soup teaming with bivalves. Make it spicy and keep the beers on ice and even Big Papi mght be back for 2nds !

                    P.S. I was in Albany over the weekend and scarfed down a quick Fish Fry at Ted's !

                    1. re: TonyO

                      NoO, TonyO....if I have a Summer hankering for something on "that" end of the color spectrum the gods have suppled Gazpacho for that very purpose, really. We went by Ted's in Troy on Tuesday night on our way to Brown's Brewing Co. For a town that can't seem to fill their housing stock I couldn't believe how many people were out for the night drinking & dining in all three places on that River St. restaurant row, both inside and out, on a Tuesday night.

                      1. re: Harp00n

                        Good old Troilet ! That is one town that no one will ever figure out. I can sum it up, "Troy, a nice place to eat, but I wouldn't want to live there". The city is a real dump (98% of it) but the 2% that has character has a lot of it. I mean, how many restaurant/pubs have a sign that says "Ladies Entrance " (the venerable South End Tavern).

                        1. re: TonyO

                          That's Marty Burke's, BigO,
                          Atleast it is if you wanna sound like a Collar City boy. Still a great place to go for what it is and when in the mood. Obtw, don't ask what's for dessert, you'll blow your tourist cover.


                          South End Tavern
                          757 Burden Ave, Troy, NY 12180

                          1. re: Harp00n

                            I forgot who I was posting to, I should've known you would know it as Burke's !

                2. re: Harp00n

                  Harp00n-- I had read somewhere that Morse's was closed. Have you been this summer? I'm heading to Harpwell tomorrow for a week, and have been collecting all my restaurant info, like a good hound!

                3. Also recommend Bet's Famous Fish Fry. Returning to Boothbay Harbor in a few weeks and can't wait to eat again at Bet's.

                  Bet's Fish Fry is housed in a small trailer parked beside the Boothbay Common on Rt 27. There's only one road (Route 27) into Boothbay Harbor, so you can't avoid driving by it on your way into town.

                  1. Folks, Chowhound has a very narrow mission--where to find deliciousness. General travel planning questions, like where to stay, are off topic for our boards. Please keep your replies focused on helping the poster find great chow, as off topic replies will be removed.

                    1. One other place I should have mentioned on Bailey Island is The Log Cabin: an island inn. It's has the absolutely most spectacular views in all The Harpswells with a commanding, elevated view of Harpswell Sound. Not to gush, but the sunsets here can be simply breathtaking. This upscale inn has a great foodie rep. for breakfast and dinner. They used to be open to the public for dinner, by reservation. But I'm not sure if that's true now, so check if you're interested. http://www.logcabin-maine.com/

                      1. I would skip Red's and go to Sprague's Lobster on the docks in Wiscasset. This is where the locals go. It is well kept secret for the time being. They have great lobster rolls and steamed lobster dinners. As I found from the locals the wording at Red's on "the whole lobster in a roll" isn't that much meat. A 1 pound lobster is only about 4 ounces of meat. Sprague's Lobster gets my vote every time I'm in town.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Lizz

                          I second the recommendation for Sprague's Lobster. It's right across Route 1 and the tracks from Red's but it has some parking, quite a few tables and is on the water. The hot lobster roll was every good as Red's, if not better, as the meat was heated as well as the butter and there was plenty of it. Yes, I'm from Ct.
                          As the counterman said, "We're in the lobster business...Red's is in the lobster Roll business.

                          1. re: cheshirecat

                            Meaning you got a hot, buttered, eviscerated lobster carcass laid across a roll, Nutmeg Stater? :-))


                        2. If you go to Freeport (and who doesn't in order to shop at LL Bean) be sure to eat lunch at Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster, which is on the harbor only a short drive away from LL Bean. The place is a real old fashion "lobster shack" and is much better than anything in the main shopping area. They have really good lobster rolls.
                          By the way, the nice folks at the information booth in LL Bean can tell you how to drive to Harraseeket Lunch from LL Bean.

                          1. After you've had your fill of lobster and chowder, don't forget Moody's Diner in Waldeboro for their amazing selection of pies.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: rmbelson

                              just returned from a week on Southport Island, Boothbay Harbor

                              Delicious coconut cream pie at Moody's Diner

                              we went there twice just for the pie........Yummmm

                            2. Ok, we just got back from ME last night. By far, the best & least expensive lobster pound is Nunans in Cape Porpoise which is right outside of Kennebunkport. It is fabulous, casual and very reasonably priced. Opens at 5 p.m. everyday.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: MoMAP5

                                Ayuh MoMAPS,
                                And great lobstah rolls here as well. They open at 5:00 and you better be there at 5:00. cause there's no reservations accepted here and a line by 5:30. They've been in business for over 50 years so they might have even served your great-grand parents!


                              2. Thank you all again for your suggestions.

                                We are now closing in on our trip (less than a month to go!!!) - so please keep them tips coming.