People are coffee or tea. Sloppy or clean. Left brain or right brain. Chocolate or vanilla.
Hot lobster roll or cold lobster roll.
In New England, this is especially important, and becomes more so the farther north you go, as the lobster gets fresher and fresher. I know this as a recent visitor. And I know I fall into the former category. For me, there’s nothing better than a hot lobster roll with nothing to adorn it but a squeeze of lemon and clarified butter. Glorious butter.
Here are some other wonderful things we had to eat on a fall New England adventure last year, traveling from Boston to Hampton, New Hampshire, into Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, Maine and finally dipping into Vermont’s White Mountains.
Boston’s food scene is like many other large cities, with cuisine available at every price level and for every taste. Our first night in Boston was also our first wedding anniversary, so we treated ourselves to a French meal at La Voile along the tree-lined Newbury Street. We found it charming, authentic and the perfect spot to celebrate.
When doing the touristy thing in Boston, one must go to the Cheers-themed bar in Faneuil Hall in the Quincy Market, sit at the bar, and get a cold one. It’s what Norm would have wanted.
Quincy Market was also where we had our first lobster roll of the trip. Cold, dressed in mayo and paired with clam chowder, it was probably the most expensive meal I’ve had on a paper plate. It was deliciously rich, satisfying and exactly what I wanted to eat on the East Coast.
At the end of the Freedom Trail, and a day in which we walked almost 12 miles in total, we got ourselves some delicious fried seafood and fries at The Barking Crab, and maybe got a little silly. Maybe.
Salem was a relatively quick stop, but we made time to do a quick tour of the harbor. I got a stamp in my National Parks passport and we ate clam chowder (of course) and shrimp and bacon pizza al fresco on the patio of Sea Level Oyster Bar.
Driving north from Massachusetts, we stayed along the coast, stopping for a few nights with Justin’s aunt and uncle in their summer beach house in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. The town was mostly shut down for the winter, but we still made it to Brown’s Lobster Pound for “lobstah and steamahs.” As I’d never attempted to eat an entire lobster by myself, I now know I’m a fan of methodically eating all of the leg meat, no matter how small the legs. We brought our own beer, as one does, and I also ate most of an order of steamers. I’ve never been so stuffed. Happy, but stuffed.
Continuing on into Maine, we impetuously stopped at Snug Harbor Farm, and I’m not kidding when I say I wanted to stop the trip and live there. It was a perfect fall day, there were picturesque chickens and horses and pumpkins placed autumnally everywhere and we got ourselves a gallon of fresh apple cider. It was gone before the end of the day.
Kennebunk’s The Clam Shack was our first warm lobster roll of the trip, and it was even more delightful than the cold version. Just look at that claw meat. The flavor of the lobster shines through and I think a ramekin of clarified butter should be served with every dish in every restaurant.
Our stay in Maine included a few nights at The Claremont Hotel in Southwest Harbor. We wanted to catch Sunday Night Football one of the nights, and made our way over to the locally recommended Joey’s Sports Place, where our Raiders-fan host talked us into chicken wings and we watched the Broncos continue a then-perfect season (although if you end up with a Super Bowl win, does it matter if you have a few losses?). I can’t think of a more perfect business model than one that combines laundromat and sports bar. And the chicken wings were top-notch.
We also spent a full day in Acadia National Park, getting some amazing pictures and some great hiking miles in as well. We capped our day with a late lunch in Bar Harbor for some Shipyard beer, clam chowder and burgers. Fall beers are some of my favorite. Crispness in the air is perfectly matched with warm spices.
I am a Moody. And I am distantly related to the Moodys that run Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro, Maine. Whoopie pies are one of their specialties, so we stopped in for the biggest one I’ve ever seen, pumpkin spice-flavored, of course. I can’t stand the orange flavored coffee monstrosity, but pumpkin in baked goods? Count me in.
Ahhhh, fall. Welcome back.