This outdoor enthusiast’s favorite way to enjoy August is by hiking the Maine coast where a bounty of parks and preserves offer endless miles of pleasure on foot.
Another joy of high summer on the coast is a lobster roll at a classic seafood shack, a simple place where you and your hot and sweaty hiker self can enjoy some Homarus Americanus on bread with a hint of mayo, perhaps a pickle and maybe some slaw outdoors at a picnic table, preferably with an ocean view.
I asked Hilary Nangle, author of the Moon series of travel guides to Maine, Coastal Maine and Acadia National Park and someone who has yet to meet a lobster she didn’t like, for the skinny on a few of her favorite spots to enjoy a Maine lobster roll. Here are her top picks matched with my suggestions for nearby hikes. Enjoy.
The Kennebunkport Conservation Trust has 15 miles of trails on its 2,000 acres. You can spend the better part of a day tramping through the Edwin L. Smith Preserve, part of the largest undeveloped block of forestland on the coast between Kittery and Brunswick (www.kporttrust.org).
The Clam Shack has been serving patrons on the banks of the Kennebunk River since 1968. Get your lobster – served on a fresh-baked round roll – and grab a seat at the picnic tables to watch the summer scene of people, boats and kayakers near Dock Square.
Georgetown is home to hiking opportunities ranging from a four-mile beach and woods loop at Reid State Park (www.maine.gov/dacf/parks) to miles of paths at the Josephine Newman Audubon Sanctuary (maineaudubon.org). Find more trails at Higgins Mountain Preserve (kennebecestuary.org) and the Berry Woods Preserve (www.nature.org).
Five Islands Lobster Co. is perched on an active fishing wharf on Sheepscot Bay. Enjoy the picture-postcard perfect scene as well as your lobster, which comes on a buttered and grilled roll with lettuce and a smidgen of mayo.
Here on the west side of Mount Desert Island are miles of terrific Acadia National Park trails. Take your pick, from Acadia and St. Sauveur mountains rising above Somes Sound to the twin peaks of Mansell and Bernard mountains west of Long Pond. Between these two locales are Beech Mountain and Beech Cliff plus the popular swimming beach at Echo Lake (www.nps.gov/acad).
Sawyer’s Lobster Pound is a few miles south of town on Route 102A. The place has a vintage 1950s look, which is fitting since it used to be a drive-in restaurant. Grab your lobster roll (watch for occasional specials on foot-long rolls) and dine at the outside tables or head for the oceanfront cobbles at Seawall.
Long Ledges Preserve and the Baker Hill Easement are adjoining conservation properties managed by the Frenchman Bay Conservancy. An extensive network of forest paths lead to ledge views, granite outcrops and a small pond. Download the pocket guide “Preserves/Short Hikes” for more on FBC preserves in the region (frenchmanbay.org).
Tracey’s Seafood on Flanders Bay is your classic vertically integrated family business: They catch, cook and serve the lobsters. Nothing fancy but food as fresh as it can be. You should have no problem polishing off two-for-$10 rolls.
At nearby Shackford Head State Park, three miles of trails explore the peninsula bounded by Cobscook Bay and Broad Cove. Enjoy views at Schooner Overlook, Shackford Head Overlook and the end of Ship Point (www.maine.gov/dacf/parks).
Quoddy Bay Lobster is on the Eastport waterfront. It’s a family operation where the men do the fishing and the women run the eatery. Every lobster roll is topped with a full claw.
Carey Kish of Bowdoin is editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide. Follow Carey’s adventures in his Maineiac Outdoors blog at: