Dad decided to take us on a spontaneous trip from York Beach to check out some other areas in southern/central Maine that he thinks he may want to move to as his retirement approached.
About an hour north of Portland is Boothbay Harbor, a cute town that seems to make most of its tourism money from offering boat tours around the Gulf of Maine. If out here for the day I would definitely recommend getting out for a boat ride. There were signs everywhere advertising for them, including one hour tours, lighthouse tours, whale watching, and fishing. Had we had the time, I would have liked to do the whale watching tour. However, we had time only for lunch and a little walking around the immediate downtown area. That, however still showed to be a very entertaining afternoon.
We ate at Kaler’s Crab and Lobster House, which is situated directly on the water. We could watch as boat tours came and left from their docks and look out across the Gulf. At the end of the dock where there is outdoor seating is a lobster tank that I would assume one can see their next meal swimming around. After driving across the bridges on the Gulf, it is quite obvious from all the lobster traps we saw that lobster fishing is big here (kind of a duh statement, this is Maine after all) and it is not hard at all to get your favorite crustaceans fresh and delicious.
Kaler’s was no exception. I had to try the spicy lobster corn chowder since the menu said it was award winning. I was indeed awarded with a party in my mouth; as the partner in crime Richie likes to say, chowder is good when it’s like puke: creamy and chunky. As disgusting of a comparison as it is, this would qualify as good chowder. There were large chunks of lobster and corn (complete with the ever delicious and necessary grill marks) swimming in the creamy broth that had a good amount of spice to it to make my tongue dance. Along with chowder, the four of us shared the cream cheese-based Maine crab dip. If you like crab rangoons I recommend getting this dip. It’s like eating the filling with tortilla chips instead of wontons and we all know the filling is way better than the greasy wrappers they come in when you have Chinese take out. While I would have liked it to have more spices (again, I like my crab/shellfish packed with flavor and spices) I still helped to lick that bowl clean.
To try a little extra, I got the fried combo of oysters and clam strips. I would have liked the whole belly clams to know if they make them correctly so that when you bite into them, they spit in your mouth, but it wasn’t an option on the combo. So I made do with the strips. I wasn’t disappointed as they were still fried crisply but without the grease that no one needs to be tasting. And the oysters were large and juicy, even got a little spit from them to make up for the clams. Also, a small concept, but in my opinion important, they had malt vinegar at the table for anyone to put on their fish (or French fries if you’re like me).
For those who like to be a little on the healthier side, there is also a grill combo option and the salmon and scallops are both white tasty from there. The salmon is cooked a little too much for my liking, but I’m sure if you like it rare you can ask for it to be cooked for less time. On a richer note, the lobster pie is to die for. It was too rich for my dad to finish but still tasted fantastic with its bread crumb top crust and creamy sauce. This was again filled with large chunks of fresh lobster. Don’t miss this one!
After lunch we strolled around the town to see a few shops. We went inside of this very cool one called Enchantments, which sells all sorts of cool trinkets and jewelry and clothing relating to magic and spirituality. I bought a leather diary and fantasized about an extremely expensive dragon mask hanging on my wall with my swords. There were dozens of displays with fairies and religious statues and witches; jewelry with all sorts of zodiacs from different parts of the world; incense burners and bongs and pipes; and a large display of weapons from pocket knives to swords the size of me.
Across the street is an artisan cheese and wine shop called Eventide. If anyone has been in there or does go in, make sure to let me know what kinds of wine and cheese they have so I know what I need to grab when I go back up there for another visit. Mine was cut short as we needed to get back to York, but I highly recommend walking around this cute town and especially taking lots of pictures in front of the water!