A Family Getaway: Lubec, Maine
My husband's parents recently rang in their fortieth wedding anniversary, and in celebration of this dear occasion, we rented a cottage in the idyllic seaside village of Lubec, Maine. The Easternmost town in the contiguous United States, Lubec is the first in the country to welcome the sunrise. Although the village is tiny (the year round population numbers less than 700) there is plenty to see and do in this quintessential New England community.
With 97 miles of unspoiled coastline, Lubec offers residents and visitors alike the opportunity to rest, recharge and pursue the simple pleasures of coastal life. From exploring secluded inlets by boat to strolling along the salt-sprayed shoreline, there are limitless ways to get outdoors and enjoy Lubec’s clean air, natural beauty and peaceful tranquility. For those seeking a unique adventure, board Captain Ralph's lobster yacht for a ride on the "Old Sow" -- the largest natural whirlpool in the western hemisphere and one of five significant whirlpools worldwide.
Although you won't find any shopping malls or stoplights in this little town, its galleries, gift shops and artisan outposts celebrate local art, cuisine and culture. Pick up Maine-made gourmet chocolates at Bayside Chocolates or stop into Wags and Wool for handcrafted pet supplies. I simply adore Northern Tides, an eclectic boutique offering a carefully-curated collection of home decor linens, original oils, lobster rope baskets, gourmet groceries and more.
Lubec's tranquil setting, coastal location and relative affordability make it the perfect place for a family vacation. We rented an adorable waterfront cottage with my husband's siblings so that our party of eight could cook, sleep and spend time together under one roof. Those seeking traditional lodging may wish to consider the Peacock House, a historic and well-appointed bed and breakfast overlooking the Bay of Fundy or the Inn on the Wharf, a charming establishment located in a 100 year old sardine factory.
As the easternmost town in the United States, Lubec is the first in the country to welcome the sunrise. I adored waking at dawn to ring in the day; however others in our party were slightly less enthusiastic.
Lubec is located at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy, which is known for having the most dramatic tidal shifts in the world. Its twenty-foot tidal range offers a unique opportunity to explore the ocean floor when the tide heads out to sea. Low tide exposes a vast intertidal zone dotted with clusters of wild Maine mussels. We rose just before sunrise and wandered barefoot along the cold, wet sand, plucking shellfish from the seabed as we waited for the dawn.
Maine is known for lobster, and there is nothing more New England than a clambake on the beach. Live lobsters, clams and mussels are covered with seaweed and cooked over hot stones in a pit in the sand. Corn and potatoes are usually added to the mix, and more often than not the meal begins with a cup of creamy clam chowder.
When cooking while traveling, I always incorporate local ingredients and try to pay homage to the area's culinary history and regional cuisine. Yankee clambakes are certainly fun and festive, but given that we were celebrating a very special occasion (a fortieth wedding anniversary!), I wanted to host a more sophisticated affair. Click here for the menu, photos and recipes from my "upscale clambake," an elegant reinterpretation of a beloved New England tradition.