Today: Must do in Boothbay Harbor and {a giveaway}.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Remember that 90’s jam, “Back to life, back to reality?”  I feel like the singer with the serious shoulder pads has been whispering the lyrics into my ear all week long.  I’m back in the city, and back to the grind, but certainly feeling more relaxed and rested (and freckled) after our Maine vacation.  Boothbay Harbor is only half a tank of gas from Boston, but feels like it could be on another planet.  Mostly because my office and laundry pile aren’t there.

Mini ship in a mini bottle.

If you’re looking for a quick getaway from your own pile of laundry, I highly recommend a trip to the Boothbay area.  The drive from Boston takes about 3.5 hours (though I make it under 3 once last year…), and is really scenic.  Towards the end of the trip, you pass through adorable towns like Wiscasset, where everything is cute and old and you sort of want to take pictures of random people walking their dogs.  Or maybe you didn’t get enough sleep because the night before you go on vacation feels like Christmas Eve.

Regardless, a few tips if you’re thinking about heading north.  Or south.  Or however you get there from where you are.

Where to stay

My fish eye lens is one of my favorite little gadgets-- it was super inexpensive and really fun to use.

Last year, Nick’s mother found the most adorable cottage, located right on Linekin Bay, on Home Away.  The house was built in the 1920’s and is the perfect place to spend a week on the water.  I was so excited when she rented the same house again this year.  If I wasn’t floating in the bay, I was curled up on the glider on the porch with a book.  Nick and his brother fished from the dock, while we chatted with the family staying next door.  It really feels like a home away from home.  If you’d prefer to stay in a hotel or inn, there are a number of great options right downtown, as well as the Linekin Bay Resort, located right on the water with numerous amenities.

What and where to eat

Time to get crackin'. (And yes, that is a vacation beard.)

If you’re into seafood (specifically, lobsters), Boothbay Harbor is where it’s at.  If you’re a vegetarian, and you like when your boyfriend is happy (after consuming 9 lobsters over the course of a single week), Boothbay Harbor is most definitely where it’s at.  There are several places downtown that sell lobsters wholesale (~$6/lb.) for cooking and eating at home.  We had two lobster dinners at the cottage, out on the deck overlooking the water.  I wore yoga pants.  And no shoes.  Those were probably my favorite meals of the week.  While everyone else went to town on their lobsters and clams, I enjoyed corn on the cob, salad, tomatoes, potatoes, pasta and ice cream sundaes the size of my Ford Focus.

We also enjoyed some great meals in town.  I would recommend a visit to any of these restaurants and cafes.

I bet this guy catches some pretty big fish.

Breakfast

  • Mama D’s: Lots to look at, including a fairy village built inside one of the bay windows.  Breakfast was consistently good there.
  • Ebb Tide: Skip the bowl of berries (too sweet, possibly frozen) and go straight for the cinnamon roll.  Trust me on this.

Lunch

  • Lobster Dock: Grab a picnic table right next to the water for incredible views of ships coming in and out of the harbor.  And be sure to take a peek in the tank for “Lucky,” the rare yellow lobster.

Dinner

  • McSeagulls: Gigantic menu (including several vegetarian and gluten free options), and really great service.
  • Boothbay Lobster Wharf: Beware the seagulls at this casual restaurant.  Though there is indoor seating, you won’t want to miss the view.  Grab a seat at one of the picnic tables on the dock.

Snacks and Sweets

I'm a get-get-get it popping.

  • Ice Cream Factory: This video pretty much sums it up.  Also, I ate so much ice cream this weekend, it’s a miracle I didn’t sink my pretzel float.
  • Coastal Maine Popcorn Company: We stopped into this cute storefront twice last week.  First round: 1 small bag of garlic parmesan, and 1 small bag of white cheddar.  And then we went back for round 2: dill pickle (amazing) and something chocolatey for Nick.  I was too busy inhaling my bag to take note of the actual flavor.  Check out the website for their popcorn of the month club, and a full list of varieties.

What to do

Maine in the rain.

The weather is incredible (even when it’s raining, which only happened once), the views are breathtaking, and your phone likely won’t get reception (which is both awesome and terrifying… hello, how do you call 911?).  Boothbay Harbor is the perfect place to do nothing.  Once you’re done doing nothing, I recommend renting kayaks.  And searching for pufflings.

If the sticker's facing you, you're holding the paddle correctly.

  • Cruise: There are a number of companies located right in the harbor that will take you on half- or full-day excursions.  From puffin tours (amazing!) and whale watching, to mackerel fishing and an adventure to Monhegan Island, there’s likely something for everyone.  Except the people that hate boats.  Obvi.
  • Rent a kayak or two: Nick’s parents rented two kayaks for us to play with for the week.  Someone from Tidal Transit dropped up the boats, did a safety demonstration (which I ignored) and gave us some tips on which coves to explore.  Nick and I went on a few explorations– it was really fun to “see Maine from sea level.”  Until I almost got capsized by a lobster boat.

What is this? A center for ants?!

  • Make a fairy house: Fairy houses are a coastal Maine tradition.  The house I built last year using an acorn cap, some moss and a few twigs, didn’t survive the winter but our next door neighbors made sure no fairies were left out in the cold.  They were on to something with those shells.

What a bad photo of something really good. Whoops.

  • Do a bit of shopping: Boothbay Harbor has lots of great little shops and galleries.  We browsed at a few antique shops, where I fell in love with a set of small pilgrim dishes and pair of clip-on “Ike” earrings from President Eisenhower’s campaign (don’t worry, I didn’t buy either).  I picked up a two of Dana Heacock‘s gorgeous prints of beach stones and a little surprise for my parents at Abacus Gallery.  We also picked up a toy for Clark at a really great place called The Creative Turtle and a few goodies from Sherman’s Books and Stationary.  Oh, actually… I got a few things there for you!
Because it wouldn’t be a vacation if I didn’t bring home a souvenir or three, I’d love to give* one of you a braided sailor’s bracelet, your very own “No Puffin'” sticker, and a sail-inspired journal.

Fun fact: We have painted concrete floors. And sadly, no puffins.

To enter, all you have to do is:
  • Leave a comment below
  • Not mind that I have a matching bracelet, journal and sticker and will probably claim that a. we planned it and b. we’re BFFLs
  • For an extra entry, feel free to tweet (please include this link: http://wp.me/pySBS-182 and @ElizabethEv, so that I catch it)

I will choose a random winner on Sunday.  *No need for disclaimer, I paid straight cash, homey.

Congratulations, Michelle!  Please send me an email (ontapfortoday@gmail[dot]com), and I will send your goodies out right away!

Also On Tap for Today:

Where do you go to getaway?  And what’s your favorite thing to do when you get there?

13 thoughts on “Today: Must do in Boothbay Harbor and {a giveaway}.

  1. I would love to win, especially because this post made me SOO homesick for Maine. I lived in Dresden which is pretty much right next to Wiscasset. i’m glad you had fun, and found what I consider to be the best place on earth!

  2. The last few years I’ve been volunteering over my summer vacation. So my idea of relaxing is apparently chasing kids around in Maine for a week. 🙂 It’s right on Casco lake in Maine though so even with the kids, it’s pretty relaxing!

  3. I haven’t been to Maine in years! How fun. I used to always get those bracelets when I was younger, and I would love to have one again (just saying….)

  4. I love to get away to the beach and usually every year I go to Atlantic City and enjoy the casinos, eat lots lol drink some martini’s and get some beach time in. I enjoy walking the boardwalk and ppl watching. It’s a great time for my husband and I. Maine is fantastic I went to a wedding last year and it was absolutely gorgeous! Great place to visit and love the pictures you show. Follow on twitter @ladylisa1

  5. Elizabeth, Thanks for featuring our cottage, Compass Rose, on your blog! I thoroughly enjoyed your narrative and photos! It means so much to us when others enjoy our family getaway as much as we do. And I loved your super creative photos to and from our dock. We’re completely booked for 2011 but if anyone wants to walk in your “moccasin steps” and rent the cottage next year, they can go to Homeaway.com, listing 129590. And just a little tip: our peak dates are usually gone by October! Thanks again,
    Laurie McCammon, Owner, Compass Rose Cottage, Boothbay Harbor, Maine

  6. Hi Elizabeth,

    My name is Jocelyn and I am with Dwellable. I am looking for fun and authentic blogs about Boothbay Harbor and yours happened to catch my eye. If you’re open to it, shoot me an e-mail at jocelyn(at)dwellable(dot)com.

    Hope to hear from you soon!
    – Jocelyn

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