On Saturday June 13, we left the mountains of New Hampshire, headed for the coast of Maine and the land of “lobstah”. Our destination was the Sea-Vu West RV Resort in Wells, Maine. As we drove into the entrance, we both commented that this place was a lot nicer than we expected. After checking into the office, we made our way to site #4. We enjoyed our stay here although we had issues with satellite reception and our cellular signal through Verizon. See our photos and detailed review (Coming soon).
After settling in, we decided to take a quick ride. That was a mistake! Being a weekend, traffic was horrendous. It didn’t take long for us to end our exploring and head back to the campsite where we spent a quiet night.
We were only here for two nights so the next morning we were off and running, exploring the area.
A Marshland Walk
After so much gourmet eating at my brother’s place, we really, really, really needed a little exercise. Located a short distance from the resort was the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge dedicated to the protection of valuable salt marshes and estuaries for migratory birds. According to Wikipedia, the refuge “is made up of several parcels of land along 50 miles (80 km) of Maine’s southern coast. Created in 1966, the refuge is named for environmentalist and author Rachel Carson who was born in May 27, 1907. Often referred to as the “nun of nature”, she was an American marine biologist and conservationist who is credited with advancing the global environmental movement.” Most of us remember being taught about two of her most famous books, The Sea Around Us which is a study of the processes that formed the earth, the moon, and the oceans and Silent Spring which linked the unrestrained use of post-World War II chemical pesticides with fearsome, biological consequences. She died of breast cancer on April 14, 1964.
Within the refuge is the Carson Trail which is a one-mile loop meandering through pine woods with views of tidal salt marshes. Certainly didn’t expect to make my 10,000 steps with a one mile walk but that was okay, the day was young yet. Along the very well maintained trail were numerous lookouts each numbered. A free guide we picked up at the beginning of the trail described what we were looking at. Lovely walk on a very pretty, bright sunny day.
Didn’t have the time on this visit, but the Wells Reserve at Laudholm has seven miles of trails that have spectacular views and access to woodlands, fields, wetlands, beach and dunes. Another trail that we learned about just before we left (thanks, Jim & Ann) was Marginal Way in Ogunquit. Good excuses for a return visit in the future!
Well, despite being so full the past few days resulting in empty vows to never eat again, somehow the hunger twangs started pulsating again as we edged closer to Kennebunkport. Chants of “lobstah, lobstah, lobstah” accompanied by visions of a Maine lobstah roll were flashing in my head!
Kind of funny because we certainly have plenty of lobster in RI and MA but seldom go out of our way to have any. But here we were in Maine, how could we not indulge? So many restaurants in the area advertised the delectable treats but we had heard and read about the infamous, award winning “Clam Shack” so we decided to give that a try. Not a fine dining establishment, that’s for sure, literally a “shack” next to the bridge over the Kennebunk River.
No place to park nearby so we had to deal with the traffic and drive around a bit, finally locating a spot on one of the side streets which turned out to be a mere 10 minute walk from the Shack. Even though it was a little after 1:00 p.m. when we arrived, there was a queue, but luckily it wasn’t that long and moved quickly.
That gave us enough time to debate whether we wanted to two lobstah rolls or one roll that we would split and a 1/2 pint of fried clams to share. Two lobstah rolls won out (they were cheaper than the clams) with a 1/2 pint side of fries! The rolls were $17.95 which even for a prime tourist spot seemed a little pricey to us and the fries were $2.99. Want it with mayo, butter or a combo we were asked at the window? Just butter please!
Place your order and pay for it at one window, get a number, wait on the sidewalk, and pick it up at the next window when your number is called. Not fancy but easy peasy! A nearby wooden bench with a lobster crate for a table, a picnic table, a seat on the narrow boardwalk on the river or a table inside the Seafood Market located next to the Clam Shack were the choices for seating. In the Market, they sell Maine shrimp, live or steamed lobsters, fresh haddock, salmon and steamers, and their “Presidential” (aka Bush) quality swordfish as well as beer and wine. Interested in buying a lobster kit? Buy it from their online market!
Once we had our food, seats weren’t available on the boardwalk so we opted to sit at a picnic table. Delish! A lady already sitting at the table was raving about the fried clams, saying that she comes there quite often but has never had the lobstah roll. Hmmm maybe we should have tried the clams. Yes, the lobstah rolls were yummy but later as our journey progressed we’ll tell you about another that we thought (in our humble opinion) were even better (and much cheaper) than these! Hard to believe but it’s true!
Walking Around Town
After lunch, we walked around town, checking out the sights stopping briefly on the bridge to view the “Locks of Love”. Similar to many bridges across the globe, couples have declared their love by writing their names on padlocks, locking them on the bridge and tossing the keys into the ocean. Sounds very romantic, doesn’t it? Well, maybe it is in theory but in reality not so much!
According to this article in the NY Times, at the Pont des Artes, a pedestrian bridge over the Seine in Paris, the city of love, so many couples did this that eventually over 45 tons of padlocks covered the bridge’s iron grill work. Of course all that weight resulted in considerable damage to the bridge, causing parts of it to collapse, threatening not only the safety of both the pedestrians on the bridge but also boaters traveling under the bridge. Do you think anyone is ever going to remove the 700,000 keys that now line the bottom of the Seine? Probably not. Talk about pollution! Similar situations are occurring on other bridges in other parts of the world. Thus far, in Kennebunkport it is only a very small display of locks, sure hope it stays that way!
As we browsed the numerous shops, one in particular caught my attention – Maine-ly Drizzle. Some people (like my hubby) love chocolate and sweets but not moi – I love olive oils, vinegars, cheese and anything crunchy and salty. In fact, I confess that many years ago I even belonged to an Olive Oil of the Month club.
Even if he wanted to protest (which he didn’t), poor hubby wasn’t given a choice, yours truly was on a mission hurrying towards that shop as fast as my
little legs could carry me. Of course, hubby can’t really complain, after all I am one of those rare female members of the exclusive “I hate to shop” club – parading in and out of gift shops or any other store for that matter is my least favorite thing to do. Isn’t he lucky!
But the “I hate to shop” mantra didn’t apply here. Located on the 2nd floor, as we entered the storefront with at least four rows of gleaming stainless steel fustis (that’s a new word I learned today) atop dark wood cabinets with glass doors, all filled with bottles, greeted us. Each fusti was filled with a variety of plain or flavor infused olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars but there were a lot (according to their website, there are at least 50)!
Plain or infused olive oils from all over the world with flavors such as Tuscan Herb, Chipotle, Espresso, Garlic, Tuscan, and Mushroom. And balsamic vinegars such as Espresso, Blood Orange, Tangerine, Persian Lime, Blueberry, Ginger, and Vanilla to name a few. Oh, joy! Seventh heaven! Not only did we get to try a lot of them individually using the tiny cups next to each one but the extremely helpful owner, Nick, actually mixed several oils and vinegars together for us so we could sample what might be a potentially delicious salad dressing. Persian Lime Olive Oil and Cranberry Pear Vinaigrette on your salad anyone?
What makes it really easy is that the prices are the same for both the olive oils and vinegars regardless of the flavor or age – a 2 oz bottle $5.00, a 6.7 oz bottle $12.95, a 12.7 oz bottle $17.95 and a 25.4 bottle $32.95. The Truffle Oil is a little more expensive at $11.50 (2 oz), $35.00 (6.7 oz) and $50.50 (12.7 oz).
In addition, they carry a large variety of all natural pasta, sauces, all natural gluten and dairy free chocolates, herbs, sea salts, local creamery cheeses, Maine made jams and jellies, crackers and wine! Wowsa! Needless to say, our credit card saw the light of day in that shop!
Dinner with Good Friends
Our busy, very enjoyable day in Kennebunkport ended with a scenic drive along State Route 9 to Dover, NH to visit with our good friends, Jim and Ann, our former neighbors in Bretton Woods where we owned a condo from 1996 thru 2006. In 2013, they sold their Bretton Woods condo too and built a new home in Dover. We have visited them several times at their winter home in Vero Beach in Florida, but we had not had an opportunity to see them at their New Hampshire abode. As expected, it was absolutely beautiful (darn, we didn’t take any pictures)! Thanks Jim and Ann for inviting us into your home, for the delicious supper and for being the perfect host and hostess! Always such fun seeing your both! Hope to see you later in the year!
On Monday morning, the day of our departure, we went to the Maine Diner for breakfast. Rob had his usual corned beef hash and I had my usual two eggs with bacon and home fries. Very good breakfast!
After that it was time to hit the road for our next stop. Stay tuned!
And here’s a lot more photos…