Aug 06, 2020 Portland, Maine: Lobster Cruise and Beach Strolls
Maine is best known for lobster, lighthouses, and an amazing coastline.
We started our Portland, Maine adventure on a lobster cruise by Lucky Catch Cruises. Lucky Catch Cruises is a 90 minute cruise on Casco Bay where they teach you the trade of a lobsterman and how lobstering is sustainable in Maine. Not even fifteen minutes into the curise, Sam was reeling in the first lobster trap of the day, which was 44 feet below the surface of the water. The captain taught us important information that all lobstermen must know such as the difference between male and female lobsters, and if female egg bearing lobster, one should create a "V" notch on her tail to make known to other fishermen that she must be thrown back so that she can continue to breed. If you book with Lucky Catch Cruises, the boat called St. Croix has a demonstration license, so if any lobsters are caught they have to catch and release them back into the ocean. Sites that we were able to view during this cruise included Fort Gorges and Portland Head Lighthouse. It gave us an intriguing perspective on the lighthouse because we could hear the foghorn and see the light working from sea. At the end of the cruise, Lucky Catch sells it's passengers lobster for wholesale price from a tank onboard for an additional price. We ended up buying 4 for $22. They give you the option to take the lobster to Portland Lobster Company Restaurant who will then cook the lobster for you for an extra $12 per lobster incluidng a small side.
After the cruise we made our way to the streets of downtown Portland. After learning about lobsters all morning, we were ready to grab bite for ourselves. We stopped at J’s Oysters which had great outdoor dining overlooking the marina. We started off with the oyster sampler, which was followed by a lobster roll for me and crab roll for Sam. I cannot stop obsessing over how tasty lobster rolls are. It’s literally a hot dog bun or Texas toast topped with lobster that had been tossed in light mayo. Sometimes, lobster rolls do come with lettuce or hot butter.
After lunch, we made our way to see what all downtown has to offer. Unfortnately, we visited Portland during COVID-19, but for the most part, it seemed like everything was open. There were just small lines to get in stores with lower capacity. One of the funny signs that we saw said, "keep a moose apart (6 feet)".
Below are some of the stores that I loved:
Shipwreck & Cargo: A nautical themed souvenir and gift shop. Seriously, thought it was an antique store at first glance. Anything Maine was located in this store. From t-shirts, to lobster themed kitchenware, to you name it. I thought it was a fun themed store and great way to get a gift for all of the family.
LongFellow Books: Loved the selection of books. I am trying to pick up a recipe book in each state I visit.
LeRoux: I always love going to kitchenware stores. I loved this store not only because it had a huge selection of kitchenware, but also it had local spices, maple syrup, and even alcoholic beverages made in Maine. Portland has the most breweries per capita in the United States. The store also looked as though it held demonstration cooking, however because of COVID-19, the demonstations were not occuring. The store has multiple locations throughout the New England states.
We then made our way to Willard’s beach for a relaxing afternoon. It was a local beach, which was perfect for us because it was not overcrowded and it was secluded. Parking was free. The beach has a snack bar, restrooms, and a playground for the kiddos. We liked the fact that it overlooked the sailboats and had a lighthouse in the distance.
Tips: Parking downtown Portland was $7 an hour at certain lots, yikes. There is a ton of metered parking around, but Sundays/holidays are free. The wharf, where the boat dock, is right across the street from downtown Portland. Everything is in walking distance so there is no need to move your vehicle.