There’s a reason Maine’s lobster scene continues to boom, and that’s because sustainable practices were put into place centuries ago to protect the precious resource so that it could always flourish. We won’t pretend that the rules are rocket science, because they make sense. Typically fishermen are generational and have deep appreciation and respect for the craft, and they’re more than excited to honor the laws of the lobster, and ocean. Lobster is a culture in Maine and displays the love people have for the environment in general. Let’s go a bit deeper, to discover ways to further get to know the industry.
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Keep Things Clean
The last thing one probably wants to do on vacation is pick up trash. Maine has some of the most pristine waters in the United States, and as tourists, we can help keep it that way. One piece of plastic picked up on the beach and properly recycled is one step toward preventing artificial materials from polluting the waters lobster call home. So while enjoying Maine’s dramatic coast, a little good can be done. At the very, very least, we can make sure our own trash ends up in the correct bins for recycling.
When in Maine, always make sure your lobster is local. It would actually be more challenging to find crustaceans that aren’t caught off the nearby coast. But since all licensed fishermen follow rigorous rules to keep the lobster population healthy basically forever, you can know a good steamed plate of this beloved seafood is one of the more sustainable choices of any food from the ocean.
Speaking of local eats, let’s talk about places that kill it when it comes to lobster food prep. Who doesn’t love Reds in Wiscasset? Be ready to wait if you hit it at lunch or late afternoon, but know it’s so worth it. The lobster roll is the real deal, and could arguably be even better on top of that buttery gluten-free bread. But the simplistic, camp-like nature of Mount Desert’s C-rays is nearly unbeatable. Steamed fresh and served with corn and clams, this is the place for a classic Maine dinner.
Board a Lobster Boat
There isn’t a better, more immersive way to learn about the ethical practices of lobster than by boarding a boat yourself. From Boothbay Harbor to Portland, cruises are offered all along the coast. Not only will the fishermen pull up traps, but they’ll also enlist the help of passengers. Observe your catch, help measure to see if it meets the standards to keep, and help mark pregnant females so they’ll never be harvested, and will live the rest of their days populating the waters with more lobster. Boat trips are often narrated by the captain, who will detail significant sites like lighthouses and historic landmarks as the boat passes.
Enjoy a Lobster Bake
A lobster bake simplistically set up on a beach of an island or some nature surrounded space—it’s perfectly traditional to the Maine lobster culture. Board a historically registered schooner, or ride out with other Portland-based companies to enjoy a bake on Casco Bay. It’s a simple way to appreciate lobster.
Go Off the Beaten Path
Maine is full of hidden gem vacation destinations. Venture away from the bustle and spend a few days on a Maine island, such as Deer Isle. A few quaint restaurants serve up the real deal, and the serenity is refreshing. Pilgrim’s Inn is a Select Registry historic inn with beams that are older than America. A sustainable touch is added to everything, from local ingredients being used in homemade ice cream and noteworthy breakfasts, to some things coming directly from the onsite garden to your plate. It’s a pleasant place to lay your head, that’s reflective of the overall sustainable nature of Maine.
Attend the Maine Lobster Festival
The Maine Lobster Festival typically takes place in Rockland during the late summer and offers the holy grail of local lobster eating. All year, the festival site promotes ways to protect the precious, tight-knit lobster industry of Maine, and this is a time to celebrate the hard work of all involved in anything lobster related. Come indulge in steamers, rolls, risotto, and lobster loaded Mac and cheese. Oh yeah, the blueberry pancakes are out of this world too, as expected.
*The Festival is canceled for 2020, but will resume August 4th-8th, 2021.
See Frenchman Bay
Bar Harbor is a definite spot most folks go—Acadia is at its doorstep, cute shops and cafes line the streets, and Frenchman Bay is dotted with the most adorable little lobster boats, that can be seen when walking toward the water. Sometimes a misty haze hangs overhead, and the boats just peacefully float awaiting the next catch.