From Susan: Our first few days in Maine have been blessed by bright sunshine, clear skies and strangely hot weather. (Last year at this time, I had to run out and buy flannel PJs – the nights were cold enough to merit building a rare fire in the cottage wood stove. ) Temperatures in the 90s are unusual in mid-coast Maine, but we’re really not complaining because there is little-to-no humidity and, generally, a sea breeze!
Yesterday we ventured into the local town, Boothbay Harbor, for lunch at one of our favorite spots – Dunton’s Doghouse. I felt sorry for the guys sweltering over the grill and the fryer in the roadside hut, but they seemed cheerful enough and the crab roll was as good as ever: the top-split roll perfectly buttered and toasted, holding a generous portion of Maine crab, held together with just the right amount of mayonnaise.
After lunch, we drove up the coast about 25 miles to the pretty village of Damariscotta, which, like Boothbay Harbor, boasts a main street lined with shops and casual restaurants; unlike BH, however, most of these are open ‘year round. We had been told about a luncheonette/ice cream/candy shop called S. Fernalds General Store, a former Damariscotta landmark which had re-opened downtown following a few years of re-location in another community. The quirky shop is full of vintage charm, with creaky floorboards, funky, flea-market decor, a wall of “penny candy” jars, big wooden barrels of peanuts in the shell and saltwater taffy, a menu of intriguing sandwiches and a gift area with retro-style toys. All of the sandwiches are available “whole” or “half” – a wonderful concept that more sandwich places should adopt, if you ask me! We were still full from our crab rolls, but I couldn’t pass up a cone of (local favorite) Round Top ginger ice cream.
Of course, we couldn’t be in Damariscotta without shopping at Reny’s, a Maine “department store” with an extraordinary variety of items from fishing boots to shower curtains to gourmet food. Our mission was an “all-Reny’s” gift bag – mug, jam, beer cozy, dish towel and chocolate bars!
Dinner was more classic Maine – outside on the deck at Lobsterman’s Wharf in East Boothbay. We were a group of 8 to celebrate a family birthday; half of us had lobsters, I ordered sea scallops prepared in a traditional way – baked topped with buttered breadcrumbs. The warm evening was ideal for eating overlooking the Damariscotta River, watching the gulls swoop around hoping for a stray tidbit.
A note about our posts this month while we’re away. We have no Internet access in our cottage, so have to drive to one of the local libraries for wi-fi to write and upload photos. The Southport Island library is only open a few days a week, so I’m writing this in the lovely reading room of the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Public Library, a Greek revival-style edifice in the center of town – the sort of place that hosts band concerts on the front lawn on summer evenings. We can’t post as instantly as we do at home, but will do our best to keep the blogging going – there’s certainly plenty to write about and photograph. Next post – how to cook the perfect Maine lobster!