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Aug 4, 2009 02:47 PM

Driving from Boston to Rockport, ME. Need roadside food recommendations.

This Thursday I am taking a 5-hour flight to Boston on Thursday and have to immediately get in my rental car and make a 3.3 hour drive up US-1 to Rockport to make an event I have to be at 5:30 p.m. While this drive won't really be leisurely we'd still love to stop somewhere relatively quickly once we get into Maine but can survive on snacks if there is somewhere better if we wait a little longer. Where should we not miss?

Other Texas friends making the same commute are going to tough it out and wait to eat at some lobster joint in Wiscasset. I doubt we can wait that long. We want something regional, preferably a favorite to locals. And something not inconvenient to our route North. And, obviously, the service can't take forever.


Thanks in advance for your help.

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  1. You don't want to take Route 1 up to Rockport. You'll hit terrible traffic around York/ Ogunquit and around Bath. You have to been in Rockport at 5:30? What is your arrival time into Boston.

    3 Replies
      1. re: Jambon_It

        Well if you get into the rental car and are on 95 northbound by 12:30 or so, you'll basically end up with an hour to spare somewhere along the way. If it were me, I would wait for Wiscasset only because by that point, you know where you stand and you're only 50 minutes or so from Rockport. But I usually like to play it safe.
        There are road construction tie-ups along 295, but apparently they're clearing this week? Hopefully someone local can give you more updated information by Wednesday afternoon. Currently my suggestion would be 95 all the way up to 295 North, go past Freeport, then connect with Route 1 at Brunswick Bath. (I don't think Bath traffic should be too bad if you hit it by 3pm but I could be wrong. )

        Bob's Clam Hut in Kittery is out because Kittery traffic is a mess and you don't have time. You also don't have time to find your way through Freeport traffic for the Harraseeket Lobster and Lunch. We've always enjoyed the Muddy Rudder, and it's right off the road, but others are not as keen on it. You could get lobster/crab cakes and steamed clams off the appetizer menu and be out of there pretty quickly. And their clam chowder is very good, you might even be able to phone ahead and get it to go? Then, if you make it to SeaBasket in Wiscasset with time to spare, you could stop for some more quick bites.

        P.S. Dont' forget cash and change for all the tolls !

        1. re: jillso

          It will take you about 2 - 2.5 hours from Logan to Portland. It will probably take the same amount of time from Portland to Rockport with the biggest bottleneck in Wiscasset or maybe Camden. Best case would be around 4 hours, worst case 5 hours. If I had to choose between Muddy Rudder or Sea Basket (or Reds) in Wiscasset it would be a no-brainer. I would clearly wait until Wiscasset. If you think you have a little extra time, I would try Harraseeket Lunch in Freeport. There's an easy way to get from I-295 to South Freeport without hitting a lot of traffic.

    1. Is Flo's hot dogs still in York? If so I think they are worth a stop.

      1. Three choices in Yarmouth/Freeport, which is about 75 minutes north of Kittery. For all. take I-95 to Exit 44 for I-295:

        For the first two, take Exit 17 for Route 1 north.

        1. Go about a mile or two, and you'll see Day's Crabmeat and Lobster on your right (Do NOT be tempted by the Muddy Rudder, which is next door). Order at the window, then head to a picnic table out back on the tidal estuary.

        2. Continue north to the Big Indian (trust me, you'll know it), and head left on the South Freeport Road for a few miles. In the village, at the intersection with Main Street, go right. It ends at the docks and Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster. This place is no secret, and given it's proximity to L.L. Bean and the outlets, it can be very crowded, so it might not be fast.

        3. Eontinue north on I-295 to exit 22. Off the exit ramp, go left into Freeport. Smack dab in front of you will be the Harraseeket Inn and its Broad Arrow Tavern. Excellent food with all the usuals for Maine plus a lot more. Another plus is it serves an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch in addition to the usual menu. Plenty of parking out back; easy on-and-off I-295. I'm pretty sure the menus are on its website.

        Finally, you might want to consider looping around Route 1 via 295 to 95 to 17. Longer mileage wise, but usually less traffic tie-ups--only real problem is Augusta, and that's usually not too bad. You can lose a lot of time in Brunswick and Wiscasset. Do expect road construction projects everywhere, which might put a crimp in your dining plans.

        1. Avoid Rte1 traffic altogether by taking rte 17 from Augusta out to the coast. 95 to 295 back onto 95. Exit 109 Western Av Augusta to Rte 17 to Rte 90 to Rockport.

          Now...where to stop on the way. I agree that So Freeport/Haraseekett Lunch might be a good stop. It is relatively easy on/off 295. Farther north in Gardiner is A-1 Diner (295 Exit 49 to downtown Gardiner...and can continue up Rte 9 to Rte 17 rather than get back on 95 to Augusta). Unique, historic diner w/ a gourmet twist.

          3 Replies
          1. re: HDinCentralME

            I second the advice above, The A-1 diner in Gardiner is great. Also drive time is best if you take route 1 from logan to 95 north to Portland then 295 north to Gardiner. It is super easy once you get to Gardiner to find the A1 and it is a reallly scenic New England town. You save on tolls this way too.

            1. re: bartenderfoodlover

              I dunno. It's 3 hours in summertime from Logan to Augusta, and then almost an hour to get from Augusta to Rockport. Unless he plans to run from his car to his 5:30meeting, heading up through Augusta, and detouring for a stop in GARDINER to get something to eat, is really cutting it close.
              What about the freeway construction from Freeport to Gardiner, have we established that it will be all cleared up by tomorrow?

              1. re: jillso

                Construction detours on 295 Topsham to Richmond are over...295 northbound is open.

                If Gardiner is the choice it is not a "detour" but actually another route to Rte17 via Rte 9. Not necessary to return from downtown Gardiner to 295/95 Augusta.