I am not from here. I've only lived in Maine a short while, but there are more than a few things I've come to learn and love during my brief tenure as a citizen of this great state. I'd like to think my arrival happened organically, because it was supposed to. It started a long time ago, like there was a little bird present at my birth whose flight I followed from Florida to Connecticut, eventually leading me to this northernmost and easternmost coast. I feel content but not complacent here; I suspect I am finally home.
When you've been elsewhere for a while and return to Maine you can expect to be received as a prodigal son or daughter. Once you are loved here you will always be welcomed back with joyful resignation, a collective character trait that turns out to be the most sincere form of family. The Mainers I know are plain spoken and sober, with a dry wit and deep connection to this place they don't call Vacationland.
On my first Fourth of July back in the U.S., after half a decade living abroad, I was invited to a lobster feed in a backyard near Damariscotta - a sleepy, pretty village of the Mid-Coast. In the tall grass under apple trees, a makeshift table was constructed from card tables and covered with brown butcher paper. For each guest a yellow bait bag was stuffed with steamed clams that undulate from their springy black necks as you let them linger in liquid butter. There were sweet mussels with light sienna morsels inside shells, tumbled smooth by icy waters. These unadorned offerings are truly the fruits of the sea.
Then our friends presented the group with a host of bright red lobsters, without fanfare or plastic bibs. You weren't expected to be precious about cracking into your personal crustacean with two hands, though there is etiquette and order. We were each encouraged to have three, at least. "They're small" our hosts proffered, "keep eating," they said. And they meant it.
As a guest you will be treated to the best. The Maine thing, I guess, is getting what's good, and knowing when you're onto something real. Amazing seafood all year round, strawberries for a few fleeting weeks in June, and potatoes all winter, dug up from the earth. What is here is freely shared, and generosity is always abundant.
Maine's MidCoast towns are known for their miles of coastline, historic lighthouses and year-round events and activities. From exciting downtown areas, to outdoor recreation opportunities, the MidCoast has it all. Enjoy a one of a kind vacation on Maine's coast.
Damariscotta, Maine: Located on the Damariscotta River, this town is 12 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. The area is populated with lakes and tidal rivers along 100 miles of shoreline. The geography produces Nature Preserves worth exploring as it is a true representation of a northeastern coastal town. Known for an abundance of oysters, Damariscotta is not short on seafood. The surrounding locale is overflowing with activities to help you work up an appetite. After experiencing boating excursions, kayaking, fishing, hiking, golfing and shopping, you'll be ready to be spoiled with some of Maine's amazing, original food.
Damariscotta Lake: This family-friendly lake offers tons of water activities. Boat rentals are available, and the clear waters make it a great place to fish and swim.
Pemaquid Beach Park: Find relaxation on the fine white sand along the spectacular Maine coast at Pemaquid Beach. Known as the cleanest beach in the state it's easily accessible and definitely a site you don't want to miss.
Pemaquid Point Lighthouse: This is probably the lighthouse you saw pictures of while reading about Maine. Built in 1825, its white flashing light has been a constant on the coast. And with weekly rentals available, you can stay at the keeper's house and enjoy an authentic Maine lighthouse experience at this oceanfront property. For more information visit: mainecoastcottages.com.
Jillian's Top 5 Seafood Restaurants in MidCoast Maine:
Cook's Lobster House: Located on Bailey Island. Jillian always brings visitors here for a craft beer and scrumptious lobster dip.
Morse's: A Mid-Century Drive-In in Brunswick. Where the locals go for fried haddock and whole belly clams rich in flavor, but cheap in price.
Holbrook's Snack Bar in Cundys Harbor: On the wharf, fresh really is right out of the water!
Patty's Seafood: Can be found in Edgecomb near famous Red's Eats, a take-out shack where the line usually stretches down the street! Jillian describes Patty's as a "picturesque picnic spot, with great food and New England character."
Cod End in Tenant's Harbor: Has "sublime views of the tall pines and the water where they get their daily catch." After indulging in the freshest seafood at Cod End, take a walk through the market or on the dock, which is open mid-June through early September.