Trip report [Round Pond, Maine]

I decided to report back in real-ish time so that I’m more apt to report in a more timely manner.

Tuesday: First stop, lunch at Maine Beer Company in Freeport. One of our favorite places anywhere. This was our first time visiting the beautiful new-ish main building (opened last March). It was very easy getting an outdoor patio reservation and COVID precautions are taken very seriously, from the host to bartender and server. When eating-in, you order at the bar and someone brings the food out to you. We got the delicious Roasted Corn & Poblano with salsa roja, sweet corn, poblano peppers, queso fresco, lime crema, cilantro, and jalapenos (though it was a bit too salty for me) and cheese for Spring Onion. Good pizza, fresh delicious beer, great staff, and beautiful space. What more does one need?

We stopped in Wiscasset so I could visit a favorite shop (Rock, Paper, Scissors) and Treats, which is sadly only doing curbside shopping. Picked up a bottle of red and some absolutely decadent fudgey walnut brownies. But I was glad to see them both open.

Dinner at Round Pond lobster pound. Only lobster in the rough on offer. A ridiculous bargain at $30 for a twin lobster dinner (which also came with 1 lb steamed clams and COTC). Sweet and delicious, especially after dredging through drawn butter. I over-ordered (2 lbs clams and COTC). We brought home probably ~1.5 lbs clams. Awesome setting, laid-back folks behind the counter. BYOB. Open 12 pm - 7 pm. Forget which days they are closed.
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Wed: Stopped by Dot’s Bakery this morning, only to find she was closed but her hubby Edgar let us into their home cum bakery/restaurant. She is a hoot - the type of person who will give you her life story in 5 minutes. She was waiting for her stove to get serviced and had some other things going on but sold us a loaf of anadama bread. Very crumby when toasted and with a slather of cream cheese and scallion or PB&J, it went down like air. We placed an order for a salmon pot pie and blueberry pie for tomorrow’s dinner. Open Wed-Sun. I’ll check the hours again, but I think 8 am - 5 pm.

Lunch was at Muscongus Bay Lobster, my new favorite place. Right next door to Round Pond Lobster, they have a more extensive menu. Blackened haddock tacos were quite umami-y and topped with pickled veggies. But it’s the lobster roll on homemade wheat roll (white is also available) that is going to bring us back for more. Never before have we encountered homemade rolls - it needed a touch of salt but otherwise, they gave new meaning to lobster “rolls” for us. Overflowing with barely dressed sweet lobster. Good, not too creamy potato salad with a touch of mustard. SO keeps turning his nose up at lobster and clams so Mac n cheese for him. We’ll keep working on him. Cool, friendly staff behind the counter, and they compost. If you bring your own utensils, you’ll earn brownie points. BYOB. Open everyday except Tuesday, 11 am- 8 pm
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We stopped into the truly awesome Granite Hall Store for shopping and penny candy. Too full for ice cream, but we’ll stop by at least a few more times this week. Plus, gotta check out Round Pond Coffeeshop.

A fantastic stop at Todd Wildlife Santuary to walk off lunch. The trail down to the ocean is as gorgeous as the ocean that welcomes you at the end of a very easy walk. SO concurred.

King Ro market is simple but they had what I needed for dinner (we haven’t made it over to CE Reilly Market yet). I repurposed the leftover clams into a spaghetti and clams dish. Loads of garlic, chili flake, butter, white wine, chickpeas, and a can of tomato. And we called it a day.
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More to come tomorrow.

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Can’t wait for the next chapter - everything looks wonderful!

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Places we still need to get to: Broad Arrow Farm, Oxbow Brewing, Glidden Point oysters, Monhegan Brewing (we’re taking an excursion out to Monhegan Island on Friday).

Problem is, this is yet another working vacation for me so it’s going to be a challenge to fit this all in. But we’ll do our best.

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Wonderful report, thank you and keep them coming!
Maybe you could tell work the internet is down?

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My mouth is watering! I’ve never been to Maine but now I want to get up there! That shot with the lobster and the clams is perfection. Enjoy!

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Fabulous real-time reporting, love the details and the photos! I’m jealous you got to meet Dot. Agree you should tell work the internet went down.

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that is an INSANELY good deal!

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Monhegan Island is so nice and beautiful, we loved our time there.

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I spoke with someone who went earlier this summer and she told me they take really stringent Covid precautions on the boat and island because there are no hospitals out there. Makes sense.

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Installment #2

Thurs: Another banner day, food- and otherwise. After a morning of fishing for the guys while I worked, we tooled around a bit by car, gawking at all the beautiful nooks and crannies, finally ending up at Pemaquid Lighthouse, which we haven’t visited in some time (definitely pre-SO). Lunch was spontaneous at a nearby place, the Contented Sole in New Harbor. They only take reservations for their lovely outdoor dining dock which overlooks the harbor but they graciously sat us. We enjoyed our meal so much that we made reservations for Saturday lunch. We started with crispy Brussels with lime, fish sauce, and cilantro, which was a promising start. Tuna poke over brown rice for me (I’m craving Asian food), which I’m usually hesitant to get due to trendiness, but it was well put together. Lots of flavor pops from sesame, nicely-dressed seaweed salad, nothing heavy-handed, tons of cubed fresh tuna. B’s fish and chips had whisper-light batter, both well-fried. SO’s hot dog looked really good with a perfectly griddled bun and the fact that he chomped it down speaks volumes. Rising Tide Chebeague Island IPA went down easily. Home with tons of leftovers. Pemaquid Seafood, where we ate last time, is right across the harbor.


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Stopped by Pemaquid Beach to check it out (we’ve never been) and we had to drag SO away. We’ll be back on Saturday. We checked out Broad Arrow Farm. I told B I was going to restrain myself and still left $70 lighter (and with a fridge full of leftovers). I wanted 1 of everything.


Final stop on the way home was to pick up our pies (salmon pot pie and blueberry) that we had ordered yesterday. Dot told us the pies freeze beautifully, even when cut (she said the salmon was pretty dense and that she put about a pound of salmon in there after I told her SO loves salmon when I ordered). Salmon pot pie comes with a creamy white sauce.

Dinner will be cobbled together leftovers, obviously. Tomorrow, back to Monhegan Island (our first time back since 2012-ish)

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yes, but without internet, how can she tell them?

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My god, that’s some food porn!

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Installment #3

Excursion out to Monhegan Island, which B and I first visited ~8 years ago. Perfect day for it. Took the ferry from New Harbor (fantastic captain who pointed out sea life there and back, even stopping for some gratuitous seal-gawking for us landlubbers). Hasn’t changed from what we remember, same shops, no car traffic except for the trucks and golf carts used for heavy transport/luggage/not fully able humans. We ambled through town then headed to Cathedral Woods where SO couldn’t get enough of the fairy houses, which we were told by a couple of locals that they were more extensive than ever. Even the fairies have nothing to do during a pandemic, so they build! SO was thrilled, pointing out every one he could find. We had to wrap up visit for a hang at Monhegan Brewery. They have used lobster traps as walls for their aptly named outdoor “Trap Room.” So awesome and clever. I grabbed lobster rolls (good, but small) and grilled cheese for SO at the Fish House, snagged a table at the brewery and proceeded to drink much beer (our favorite was the DIPA). Unfortunately, they only offer cans of the Red Ale, not our favorite style (or growlers of everything else, which would not be practical for us). The beermaker visited every table, giving out free stickers and thanking everyone for coming. Nice touch. As @GretchenS’s friend stated, everyone was VERY cautious on the island. The captain gave a sincere thanks to all the passengers for not being asked to wear their masks while on board. I got a lump in my throat when he poignantly yet simply stated that that gesture showed a shared concern and respect for your fellow human beings.

It would not be the last lump in my throat of the day. I stopped into Black Duck Emporium, the big gift shop on the island, which sadly had reduced inventory due to COVID. I bought a couple of Shep Fairey cards which I sent to both the partner and daughter of our dear friend who you may remember, died of cancer this past June. Whenever B and I are in a beautiful place, we think of her and toast her. SO happily put them in the Monhegan Island mailbox outside the tiny PO. We checked out the breathtaking vista from the lighthouse. And before we knew it, it was 3 pm and time to head back to the ferry and the mainland. SO would gladly come back to visit Cathedral Woods again.

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Dinner was back at Muscongas Bay. Second lobster roll of the day for me (on wheat roll again) and a single soft-shell for B which comes with 1 lb steamed mussels (plump and meaty) and not very good COTC. Still a good deal at $21 but B preferred Round Pond Lobster for lobster in the rough. Both places were full on a perfect Friday evening. Dessert of blueberry pie at home.

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What a wonderful day you all had, loved reading about it!

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I hadn’t realized how much I miss Maine! Thanks much for the coattail ride.

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Installment #4

Second to last day. A lovely late morning/early afternoon spent at Pemaquid Beach, an awesome low-key place. We had a 1:30 pm reservation at the Contented Sole. Another good meal of local fish tacos, salmon, and kale salad with salmon (the guys both wanted salmon). Oh, and decadent dirty fries, cooked in duck fat and topped with Parmesan and tiny bit of pickled onions. The Pemaquid museum is closed but we visited with the “Piligrim” (SO’s term) at the replica house and Fort William Henry, which afforded great views of the ocean.

Well, we kinda fizzled out for our last day in Maine. We started out with a glorious morning hike at La Verna Nature Preserve. Based on logistics (we wanted to check out Odd Alewives Brewery but it was 30 min north of us or Shuck Station which was crowded) so my preference was to go to Newcastle Publick House, a place we’d been to before and enjoyed before. But B saw the waterfront joint (Schooner Landing, behind River House) and requested one last waterfront restaurant. So, it was ok - he liked his fried haddock tacos, and my haddock chowder and Thai-like mussels were surprisingly good, but in the end, as more folks started showing up, it was apparent that it was more of a drinking establishment than an eating one.

Onward to beautiful Oxbox Brewery. We didn’t love the beers but we loved the peaceful environment. I commiserated with the nice bartenders about the plastic cups. Only popcorn so BYOF if you are feeling peckish.


We are back home in Arlington. And as we always do after a great trip, we are already scheming for the next trip. And while looking up at the Milky Way on our last night, we all had an overwhelming feeling that everything IS going to be alright.

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You had a great trip! Thanks for sharing, you have given me new places for my list.

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Your trip inspires! We’re trying for a socially distanced getaway soon, by car and with the dog along for the ride. Fingers and paws crossed.

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Thanks for the lovely report - transporting, in a word :+1::wink:

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Thanks so much for your, as usual, generous and evocative post, digga. It gave me a vicarious pleasure, since we had planned to head to the Camden area to visit family, and then head to the Bar Harbor area for a couple of nights. They were going to take us to the Pickled Wrinkle (they know the owners) and just enjoy the area. We canceled because they have risk factors, as do we due to our ages. Next year! Anyway, thanks again for such a wonderful report, and especially for any gratuitous pictures of SO. :slightly_smiling_face:

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold