Summary of The Great Lobstah Hunt Bicycle Tour
Tour days: 7
Miles ridden: 515
Total elevation: 32,745
Lobstah Shacks: 4
Lesson learned: order fresh, boiled lobstah and forget lobstah rolls!
Taste of Maine: locals call this restaurant “Waste of Maine”
When hunting lobstahs you have to make your way to the coast of Maine. Don’t let anyone convince you that good lobsters can be found anywhere. They can’t. Those are imitation lobsters!
The first thing on my agenda was to fuel up. That meant a stop in Plymouth, NH at the Main Street Station restaurant for chocolate chip banana walnut pancakes. They are the best!
I stopped for the night, ahead of schedule due to massive tailwind, in Alton Bay, NH at a lovely motel right on Lake Winnipesaukee; gorgeous view. 50 miles to go to the sea; lobstahs here I come!
Welcome Maine! 25 miles to the coast!
First stop: The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, ME. Truth be told it was a bust. Wicked expensive and not particularly good. In fact, not good at all; $50 for lobster roll, a few fried clams, a drink. Toureesta Trap!! The lobster was cold and very chewy and not flavorful. Did I mention the color was grayish? The fried clams were OK but not the big belly clams I remembered as a kid. This is not where locals go to have a lobster roll. So while I will continue my hunt for lobster I might not actually get lobster rolls unless there’s a compelling reason like a local tells me it’s the best lobster roll ever. It’s too likely a lobster roll will be filled with old, subpar meat.
I had a wonderful visit with Mim and Roger that afternoon; they saved my bacon when my tire blew out. The timing was perfect; they drove me into Portland to a bike shop and then we went for our dinner little early. They are not lobstah eatahs so we went to Flatbread Pizza where I had the best pizza I’ve ever had in my life. I stayed in downtown Portland, ME at the lovely Morrill Mansion B&B.
I skipped the famous, traffic-jam-causing Red’s Eats because I was too early plus I didn’t need another stupid-tourist experience today. I rode 25 miles out of my way to go to highly recommended Shannons Unshelled down in Boothbay Harbor. They only offer lobster rolls. It was a pretty good; much better than yesterday but honestly I’m just not into very cold lobster. When I poured the hot butter on the lobster it immediately solidified so it just wasn’t very appealing. Lots of grease. Which of course I ate. I think tomorrow I’m going to try the regular boiled lobster and see if it’s any better fresh out of the pot.
Note to self. When cycling the coast of Maine find any route other than route 1 which is the highway from hell. It’s not that it’s particularly dangerous; it’s just extremely noisy with nonstop trucks. Very unpleasant experience. And the pavement is broken up so it’s a kind a relentless bang bang bang bump bump bump.
Next stop: Timbercliffe Cottage Bed & Breakfast, Camden, Maine
Finally! The perfect, absolutely PERFECT lobster shack: Young’s Lobster Pound in Belfast Maine just north of Camden. I got to pick out my live lobster and clams too. I saw them cooked for me. It doesn’t get any fresher than that! I had the most amazing lobster and steamed clams lunch I have had in memory. So glad I went here. The day was made that much better riding with friends as part of the AMC Italy Tour bicycling group reunion. An excellent day overall.
Today was another visit to perfect lobster shack #2: McLoons Lobster Shack in Thomaston, ME. The coastal and lobster boat views are exceptional and my 1 1/4 pound was cooked to perfection and very, very hot. This was the true lobstah dining experience because I had to break the claws with the metal cracker.
This evening’s dinner with the AMC group was filled with laughs and top quality food at 40 Paper in Camden.
No more lobster as I rode inland to Gorham, NH. I was exhausted and headed straight for The Saalt Pub after checking in to the Town and Country Inn. The food was good; the beer even better. After returning to the motel I started chowing down on vending machine candy and cookies. Note to self: don’t expect to “diet” on a bike tour!
The best news of the day: I found my new favorite IPA at Saalt Pub. Moat Mountain Call It A Day IPA.
Rain during the night made for early AM wet roads so I left later than I wanted but at least the roads were mostly dry. Coffee and a bagel at the White Mountain Cafe and Bookstore gave me the start I needed. The mountains were still beautifully covered with clouds and blue sky patches coming through. It was a short ride of about 55 miles to Landaff but plenty long enough after such a big adventure. The highlights were the mountains that no photo from a phone could capture and then the bobcat running across the road and finally the high-pitched, whistling voice of an osprey from its large nest built on top of a power line tower.