June 26, 2011

Boating: Waterside restaurants dot the charts of hungry boaters

By GAIL RICE

While the old saying, "Half the fun is getting there" rings true for boaters, the destination can be just as important, especially if you are hungry and didn't pack lunch. The good news is that there is no shortage of eating establishments accessible by boat around Casco Bay.

click image to enlarge

Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster on South Freeport’s waterfront is among several dining spots around Casco Bay where boaters can tie up.

Staff file photo

Even better, they offer enough variety to satisfy just about any preference.

Got a hankering for fish chowder, a blueberry muffin and homemade pie? Then look no further than the Dolphin Restaurant and Marina on the shores of Potts Harbor in South Harpswell (www.dolphinmarinaandrestaurant.com). The Dolphin also offers lobster dinners, local seafood, and for the meat lovers, hand-cut steaks.

Both the dock and marina have undergone extensive expansion and renovation. You can tie up at the dock, or the friendly marina staff can show you to a mooring and give you a ride in. Best of all, the new restaurant offers fantastic views from every table.

For lovers of fried food and lobster, there is the Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster on the water in South Freeport (www.harraseeketlunchandlobster.com).

The enticing aroma of fried clams wafting over the harbor has drawn us in on more than one occasion. Along with the fried clams and seafood baskets, there are lobster rolls, lobster dinners and traditional grill items for the landlubbers.

Tie up at the Freeport Town Dock, place your order at the window and take in the scenery while you wait. Everything here is cooked to order, so don't expect "fast food." You can bring your own beer or wine to enjoy with your meal.

The Harraseeket's casual atmosphere seems to foster intermingling between locals and tourists. My husband and I enjoy talking with some of the visitors and learning a little about where they're from, what brought them here and where they're going next.

Farther up the coast is Cook's Lobster House (www.cookslobster.com) at the northern tip of Bailey Island in Harpswell, just beyond the cribstone bridge. The place is expansive, the menu extensive and there's a wharf where you can tie up your boat.

At Sebasco Harbor Resort up the New Meadows River (www.sebasco.com), the Ledges offers casual dining with a view, while the Pilot House is a bit more formal, if you consider golf shirts and khakis to be formal.

With limited dock space, you are likely to be put on a mooring and given a launch ride in.

Portland Harbor has a plethora of choices for docking and dining.

A mainstay on the Portland waterfront is Dimillo's Floating Restaurant (www.dimillos.com/restaurant/).

With Dimillo's Marina right there, the staff can probably find room for you to tie up while you have lunch. DiMillo's offers a broad range of seafood and Italian choices, along with gluten-free options and a kids' menu.

Across the river in South Portland, Joe's Boathouse (www.joesboathouse.com) at the southern entrance to Portland Harbor offers moderately priced brunch, lunch and dinner choices. Check with Spring Point Marina for short-term docking availability.

Around the corner and just inside the harbor mouth is the Saltwater Grille (www.saltwatergrille.com). Tie up at its dock and come as you are -- you'll see businesspeople, families with kids and locals. There is a kids' menu, and for the night owls, a bar menu with items served until closing.

For those in the mood for more of a splurge, there are options, too.

Diamond's Edge Restaurant and Marina on Great Diamond Island (www.diamondsedge.com) is a popular lunch spot among the Casco Bay boating crowd.

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