Ahhhh, Maine in July.Our good friends Matt and Betsi chose Bar Harbor for their wedding ceremony, a place dear to their hearts from the early days of their relationship when they both worked at a music camp nearby. We were thrilled to be included and looked forward to visiting Maine during the best time of year. And I, of course, had for months impatiently anticipated my first bite of sweet Maine lobster.
On the way in to Bar Harbor, just before crossing the bridge to Mount Desert Island, we made a pit stop at the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound. As soon as you enter the lobster pound, you’re greeted by a friendly chap who ceremoniously opens a cooler to reveal a host of squirming lobsters. He rummages through them, helping you choose the perfect crustacean. I chose a feisty 1.75 pounder with massive claws.Once we selected our lunch (my friend Mike got an almost 3-pounder!), we headed outside to wait at a picnic table while the lobsters were boiled in salty sea water in one of the cauldrons in the parking lot.Mike took a short trip down the street to pick up a six pack of locally brewed Bar Harbor Summer Ale, a clean, light, summery beer.And we waited patiently in a beautiful setting for our number to be called.The other day I was looking back through photos of summers spent in Boston over the years. Shots of me holding a lobster, with a big goofy grin on my face, pop up at least once a season. They’re so darn festive, bright red celebrations of short-lived summers on the coast. Eating at a Maine lobster pound is a quintessentially New England summer activity. It’s made for lazy, casual days, when you don’t mind getting lobster juice and shell shards in your hair and under your fingernails. Lobster-eating is a social activity par excellence. Who’s ever eaten a lobster by himself? You trade tips with your eating companions to see who knows the best way to extract every last piece of juicy meat from every possible corner of the red beast…
Phil’s lobster chowder was the first to come out. It had lots of big chunks of lobster, but Phil wished it had been a bit creamier, with even more lobster. Once he finished the meat, there was a lot of thin broth left over.After a short 10 or 15 minute wait, the big dogs arrived.Mike was an expert at plucking out whole pieces of intact claw and tail, or as he so eloquently called it, “crushing leviathans.” Here’s a good guide to eating Maine lobsters. Ours came with sides of corn on the cob, coleslaw, and potato salad. Perfect.That evening, we attended the rehearsal dinner at a hotel with a restaurant offering sweeping water-filled views of a graceful cove. Dessert that night was one of my favorites, Maine wild blueberry pie. We were in Maine during prime blueberry season, and these tiny jewels were sweet and irresistible. Maine’s wild blueberries are smaller and more concentrated in flavor than those grown elsewhere, and they make an incomparable pie.Next morning (or, I guess, afternoon), we popped over to Geddy’s on Main Street for lunch to fuel up for the busy day ahead. Our bed and breakfast had given us each a $10 gift certificate to dine here. I chose a platter of fried Maine shrimp. Local shrimp are, like their blueberry brethren, tinier here.Mike’s lobsta roll had 1/4 pound of chunky lobster meat very lightly dressed in mayonnaise. I prefer my lobsta rolls on a toasty, buttery New England hot dog bun, but couldn’t deny the freshness of the lobster served at Geddy’s.Regardless of whether he’s in Maine, Florida, or Timbuktu, Phil always orders a blackened Mahi Mahi sandwich if it’s to be found on the menu. He liked this one, and I thought the cucumber wasabi sauce was creative.My coloring skillz were also extremely creative.After filling our bellies, we enjoyed a drive through Acadia National Park before the wedding ceremony. Coming from a sweltering summer in Florida, the chilly ocean breeze at the top of Cadillac Mountain made us very happy.
And, well, the ceremony was just the loveliest I’d seen, with a picturesque harbor backdrop and the bluest of skies.
Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound
Route 3, just before the bridge onto Mt. Desert Island
1237 Bar Harbor Road, Trenton, Maine
19 Main Street, Bar Harbor, ME