This is a post about being on vacation. It’s also post about “going home”. The Boothbay region (and its restaurants) have been a part of my life since I was about 2. Some of these places have been favorites all my life, some of them are more recent additions. But last week, when Brian and I headed north to see my parents and enjoy the Maine coast, we ate as much as we could, taking a vacation from our usual eating habits and going home to the way I used to eat. We’re only going to Maine once this summer, which means we had at least a summer’s worth of tourist-y eating to make up for in a week. Don’t judge.
For those unfamiliar, Boothbay is a small town on the Maine coast. I lived there until last summer when I got married and moved to the Berkshires. I love the Berkshires, but its no Boothbay. Boothbay is extremely quiet during the winter, but its popularity with tourists means the population explodes in the summer and all sorts of delicious restaurants open.
The places below are some of my favorites in and around Boothbay. It’s not a perfect list, I don’t think there’s a local eatery I dislike. These are the places I had to go to, my family’s favorites and where I used to send tourists when I worked retail in the Harbor. This is my list, but I’m sure anyone else who has been there would have their own. Establishments with websites are linked in green.
East Boothbay General Store – East Boothbay
There’s not too much in “downtown” East Boothbay. But that doesn’t matter, because all you need is the EBGS. We only managed to get there for (really awesome) soft serve ice cream this trip, but they have much more than ice cream. It’s my pick for best pizza in the region and they feature great flavors like Blueberry and Gorgonzola, Asian, and Prosciutto Mozzarella. The General Store also provides a variety of sandwiches, salads and breakfast pastries. Oh, and its a general store, with a great selection of staples (milk, bread, eggs) and treats (fancy cheeses and crackers, wine, candy).
McSeagulls – Boothbay Harbor
I haven’t eaten at every restaurant in the harbor, but I’m pretty sure that McSeagulls has the biggest menu, coming in at 12 pages (download it if you don’t believe me!). If you want something, they probably serve it. They have some creative seafood dishes, if you’re tired of basic lobster or fried fish, including “Haddock McSeagulls” (pictured). My Haddock McSeagulls was coconut and almond encrusted haddock, topped with shrimp. Amazing. McSeagulls also gets extra points because they did our rehearsal dinner, but that’s another story.
Dunton’s Doghouse – Boothbay Harbor
I suspect that the above picture pretty much explains what Dunton’s is. It’s a stand on the side of the road that serves greasy food. Delicious greasy food. The default date spot for my first boyfriend and I (and no, our breakup didn’t have anything to do with the fact that this was considered a “date”), every person (especially men) I’ve taken since then has loved it. I put off taking Brian for a long time, thinking it wasn’t refined enough (clearly, I did not know him well then) but even he fell in love. They have a surprisingly large menu for a place like this, including hot dogs, burgers, chicken sandwiches, sausage, fried fish and french fries (which I highly recommend).
Bet’s Fish Fry – Boothbay
If you’re in the mood for fried food from a stand and Dunton’s doesn’t do it for you, or you don’t feel like looking for a parking space in the Harbor, or you really like really big fish sandwiches, you should go to Bet’s Fish Fry. At Bet’s you can have fish and chips, a fish sandwich, or just the fried fish (“fish in a dish”). That’s the menu, though there are half portions available of everything. Why half portions? Because this is what the sandwich looks like. Yes, that’s three fried fish filets. And Brian and I both put away 3/4 of a sandwich and a bunch of fries.
Beth’s Farm Market – Warren
If you manage to get inland a bit, and you need to cleanse from all that fried food, find Beth’s. Located sort of nowhere, there are tons of signs on Route 1 to help you find it. They grow all the produce they sell, as well as pies, donuts, jams, milk and cheese. Farm stands just make me happy (though Beth’s is more of a store than a stand); I stop there anytime I’ve headed north on Route 1.
Stay tuned for Part 2: Snacks, Desserts and Honorable Mentions