My wife and I enjoy traveling and spending time at our camp on a lake in Maine. Sharing the beauty and wonders of Maine is our passion.
The Lobster is the Lobstah
Heading to Maine for vacation? I'm sure that eating lobster is high on your list of "must do's". For that real Maine experience, get your live lobster at a lobster pound.
There are countless "lobster pounds" in Maine. It would be impossible to list or review all of them.
Here are some of the places I head to when I want lobster with a view. A few are classic lobster pounds with great vistas, but aren't easy to find. Some are right near the highway. There is even one you can only reach by boat. You won't be disappointed with any of them. After all, it is all about the lobster.
What is a Lobster Pound? Click on the link to find out more about lobster pounds.
My Favorite Classic Lobster Pounds:
Perry's Lobster Shack
Perry's Lobster Shack, 1076 Newbury Neck Rd, Surry, ME (1-207-667-1955), right next to the Surry Town Beach.
The Lobster Shack is a shack, with a canvas over awning the lobster tanks, and a pier with picnic tables. Perfect! It is not easy to find, but certainly worth the effort. Perry's is a short drive from my camp, but is more fun to motor over on my friend's boat. We tie up at the float and walk up to the pier for lunch.
I prefer the whole lobster with an ear of corn and a side of mussels. My friend prefers a crab roll (crabmeat rather than lobster on a kaiser roll). We enjoy our lunch watching the lobster boats in the harbor, the sailboats on Western Bay, and the mountains of Mount Desert Island in the distance (picture above). As great as the lobster and the views are, Perry's may be better known for their deserts. Save room for ice cream, ice cream sandwiches, or chocolate chip cookies, all homemade.
Thurston's Lobster Pound
Thurston's Lobster Pound, Steamboat Wharf Road, Bernard, ME (1-207-244-7600) on Mount Desert Island overlooking Bass Harbor. The screened double decks look out on a working harbor with lobster boats and the Swan's Island Ferry coming and going during your meal. While Thurston's has a walk up window for ordering, it does have a rather extensive menu that includes chowders, chili, salads, chicken, and burgers. They also offer a selection of beer and wine. Next time you are in Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, take a ride over to the quiet side and enjoy a lobster at Thurston's.
Five Islands Lobster Co.
Five Islands Lobster Co., 1447 Five Islands Road, Georgetown, ME (1-207-371-2990), at the end of Route 127 off of U.S. Route 1, north of Bath. The drive on Rt.127 is part of experience. The scenic ride winds through old mixed forests, skirts coves, crosses waterways, and passes by old homes and small cemeteries as you make your way to road's end.
Because of recent national articles including one in the Wall Street Journal, there can be a traffic jam around the parking lot and lines for ordering. Located on the fishing village islands of Georgetown, the picnic tables of Five Islands claim to overlook "the prettiest harbor in Maine". From their "Lobster" Building they serve the traditional lobster pound fare. From the "Love Nest" grill Five Islands serves fried seafood baskets and onion rings, burgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders, and even, cheese steak sandwiches. Finish up with some of Anabelle's ice cream at the "Ice Cream Building".
All of these great lobster pounds are off the beat path. They will take some effort to find, but you won't be disappointed with the lobster, the views and a real Maine experience. Thurston's serves alcohol, but Perry's and Five Islands are BYOB.
While you can drive to all of these lobster pounds, as most people do, you can also get to them by boat. Thurston's is the only one on a bus route. The Southeast Harbor/Tremont loop of the Island Explorer (the free bus on Mount Desert Island/Acadia National Park), includes Thurston's as its last stop.
Other Great Lobster Pounds
- Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound, 1237 Bar Harbor Road (Route 3), Trenton, ME (1-207-667-2977), just before the bridge. Serving lobster to locals and visitors for over 50 years, it is one of the oldest and most popular lobster pounds. It is easy to find as you head south on Route 3 from Trenton to Bar Harbor. A traditional lobster pound with a classic menu, they still cook your lobsters and clams outdoors in seawater over wood-fired cookers.
- Downeast Lobster Pound, 1192 Bar Harbor Road, Trenton, ME (1-207-667-8589) on the other side of Route 3, not far from Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound. A classic lobster shack with the usual traditional menu plus chicken tenders and hot dogs. No napkins here. Rolls of paper towels are on every picnic table.
- Carrier's Mainely Lobster, 10 Route 46, Bucksport, ME (1-207-469-1011) at the intersection of U.S. Route 1 and Route 46 just north of Bucksport. This place hasn't been around many years, but it is making a name for itself. It has expanded (structure and menu) from live and cooked lobster to include fried seafood baskets, chicken, and much more. It now offers indoor and outdoor seating and a limited selection of alcoholic beverages including craft brews. Near the intersection of two highways, it doesn't offer much of a view.
- Day's Lobster Pound and Take-Out, 1269 U.S. Route 1, Yarmouth, ME (1-207-846-3436) just off I-295, Exit 17 (north of Portland and south of Freeport). Enjoy your lobster overlooking Cousin's River in Yarmouth. In addition to lobster, Day's serves fried seafood baskets and sandwiches and crab or lobster salad. The lobster pound is not open after 5PM (2PM on Sundays) so go for lunch or an early dinner. This is a great place stop after shopping at L.L. Bean or to pick up live or cooked lobster to take back home.
Great Lobster Rolls but Not a Lobster Pound
Located at the corner of Water Street and U.S. Route 1, Wiscasset, ME (1-207-882-6182) it is just up from the Sheepscot River. Red's lays claim to "Maine's #1 Lobster Roll". It has stories and accolades published in Fodor's and USAToday among countless others to prove it.
Red's has a great, simple, classic, lobster roll; a 'ton' of lobster meat (more than that from one single 1 to 1 1/4 pound soft shell lobster) on a hot dog roll. Melted butter and mayo are on the side. They also offer fries, crab cakes, fried shrimp and clam baskets, a blueberry desert, etc. All of the traditional staples of a Maine Lobster Pound.
They do have outdoor seating on a terraced patio with tables covered by umbrellas. The seating overlooks the water, sort of. The Sheepscot River is across the street and off in the distance.
But, Red's Eats is not a lobster pound. It is a take-out shack. Based on the size of the building, there is no way they have a lobster holding tank or lobster cooker on site unless the building has a large underground basement. You cannot get a traditional whole lobster dinner at Red's. Their lobster is cooked and shelled off-site. Not that this is bad. You still get a great lobster roll overflowing with tender lobster meat at Red's.
If you want a great (maybe even the best) classic lobster roll from a seafood take-out shack, Red's is the place for you. You can pick up beer or wine from the store next door and ice cream for desert from any number of shops nearby. Before or after your meal you can stroll around the wonderful stores nearby.
If you are traveling between Portland and Camden on U.S. Route 1, Red's is a great place to stop for a bit to eat.
Seafood Restaurants that Serve Lobster
Union River Lobster Pot, 8 South Street, Ellsworth, ME (1-207-667-5077), just across the Union River Bridge from downtown Ellsworth. Behind Rooster Brothers and overlooking the Union River is this wonderful seafood restaurant offering a full menu and bar service. While seating options include traditional restaurant and covered screened areas, you can still watch them cook your lobster in their outdoor kettles.
The Chart Room Restaurant, 585 Eden Street (Route 3), Bar Harbor, ME (1-207-288-9740) on Hulls Cove just north of the Acadia National Park Visitor's Center and Bar Harbor. In business for over 20 years, this full service restaurant and lounge offers traditional and chef-prepared seafood dishes and more. Try to get a table on their pier (or at least near a window) over looking Hull's Cove, Frenchman Bay, and Schoodic Peninsula in the distance.
Taste of Maine Seafood Restaurant, 161 Main Street (U.S. Route 1), Woolwich, ME (1-207-443-4554), just north of Bath, ME. In business over 30 years, this full service restaurant and lounge not only offers an extensive menu of traditional and chef-prepared seafood and meat dishes, it often has live entertainment to enjoy while dining or relaxing. Dining on the deck offers gorgeous views of Pleasant Cove and Hanson Bay. Easy to find, on U.S. Route 1, don't drive by this one.
The Harbor Gawker Restaurant, 26 E. Main Street, Vinalhaven, ME (1-207-863-9365), about 2/3 of a mile from the ferry terminal. Open for over 35 years and owned by the 4th generation of Mortons, the Harbor Gawker offers traditional seafood favorites plus a selection of sandwiches, wraps, salads, burgers, chicken and even Mexican and Vegitarian options. The best tables are at the back of the restaurant next to the windows overlooking Carvers Pond. You can only get here by boat, an enjoyable 75 minute ferry ride from Rockland.
Union River Lobster Pot and The Chart Room
Taste of Maine and Harbor Gawker Restaurants
Lobster by the Pound
Pelecan Seafood sells soft shell and hard shell lobster, mussles, and clams on U.S. Rt. 1, not far from my camp. They offer it at great prices. They don't cook the seafood, they aren't on the ocean, and they don't have much of a view, but it is still a great place to get lobster if you want to take it home and cook it yourself.
Wood's Seafood in Bucksport, ME can cook the lobster for you, but they don't offer meals or have a place to eat them. They are closer to the little league fields than the ocean, but it is also a great place to get live or cooked lobster to take home.
Most of the lobster pounds mentioned above will sell lobster and other seafood, fresh or cooked, to go. Easy to reach from I-295, I'll often stop at Day's to pick up some cooked lobster to take back home with me to Pennsylvania.
Got the Lobster? Now What?
Once you get that whole Maine lobster, you have to get it out of the shell to enjoy it. Check out the link to the right for a video and step-by-step directions on how to shell a whole Maine lobster.
What is your favorite lobster pound or seafood restaurant in Maine? Have you ever been to any of these? Leave a comment and let me know. I welcome your thoughts and opinions.
- How to Shell a Whole Maine Lobster
You want whole Maine lobster, but when you finally get that delicious crustacean placed in front of you, you suddenly realize, 'What the heck am I supposed to do with that thing?' It is not like it comes with directions, pull tabs, or tear away strip
Locations of My Favorite Lobster Pounds and Seafood Restaurants in Maine
For Everything You Could Ever Want To Know about Maine Lobster:
- Gulf of Maine Research Institute: Lobsters
Learn All About Lobsters: History, boats, life cycle, even how to eat them!
© 2012 Mark Shulkosky
Mark Shulkosky (author) from Pennsylvania on December 13, 2012:
I don't think I have been to Eaton's (we lived or have spent vacations in Maine since 1994). Union River is nice, but it is more like a restaurant. On RT 3 just before MDI, Trenton is the classic, but I like the one on the other side of the street, Downeast, because it is easy to get in and out of on your way home from a day in Acadia. On MDI, I go all the way to Thurston's in Bernard overlooking Bass Harbor. It is a little like a restaurant, but more like a lobster pound than Union River. We have friend in South Blue Hill, past the falls, and we go with him on his boat to Perry's, Fisherman's Friend, or Thurston's. If you ever get to go to a classic lobster pound by boat, it only makes it that more special.
kitkat1141 from Ontario, Canada on December 13, 2012:
Thank you for the detailed directions. I will try to find it next July. Our favorite lobster pound used to be Eaton's on Deer Isle. 3 generations of my family had gone there, until, sadly, they closed about 3 years ago. Now we drive to Stonington to Fisherman's Friend, but it doesn't have the Lobster Shack feel. We also have been to Union River Lobster pot in Elsworth, and the Trenton one. Dreaming of lobster now...
Mark Shulkosky (author) from Pennsylvania on December 12, 2012:
The lobster shack is really easy to find if you know where it is (a Maine type of joke). Turn off Rt. 172 and take Rt. 176 toward Newbury Neck and East Blue Hill. Stay to the left on Newbury Neck Road (and don't follow Rt. 172, Morgan Bay Road to East Blue Hill). After you pass Cross Road, Newbury Neck Road is a dead end road (albeit a long road). Not much further is the Surry Town Beach with the lobster shack just past the beach. Take cash to pay for your meal (the only thing they take). Take your check book if you would like to buy the lobster pound (I believe it is for sale).
Me, I'll be over on Toddy Pond watching the sunset, but I may see you at Perry's for lunch.
If you go, let me know what you think.
kitkat1141 from Ontario, Canada on December 12, 2012:
I go to Blue Hill Maine every summer, and drive past Surry at least 6 times during our stay. I have never heard of Perry's lobster shack, but will definitely test it out next year. Thanks for the tip!
Mark Shulkosky (author) from Pennsylvania on August 01, 2012:
LostinRevery, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I have heard of the Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster and it often shows up in lists of the best lobster pounds. I have not been to it, but it'll be on my list the next time I go to L.L. Bean. Most of the lobster pounds I go to are further north. I also want to try Red's Eats in Wiscasset.
How can you tell the lobster is fresh? You put the rubber bands on. (I have a friend that has some non-commercial traps).
LostInRevery from Maine on August 01, 2012:
Great article! A favorite of mine is Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster in South Freeport, Maine. It is located on the water at the pier. The lobster boats park right in front of it. You can't give fresher lobster than this!