When I started this blog, one of the things I wanted to showcase more of were my travel adventures. I have done that a little bit in some of my race recaps, but today’s post will be completely different. I actually got this idea from Elizabeth last fall, but just never did anything with it yet. I don’t know how often I’ll do this new “series” but hopefully by starting with this one, I’ll get more out. Welcome to Travel Tuesday where my first adventure is all about going Lobstering.
When I decided to head up to Maine for the Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon, one of the things I decided to do was go lobstering. I remember Kelsey mentioning that she did this when she was in Maine last year and it just sounded like so much fun. This certainly is not an activity I can go do in Pittsburgh, so why not!
I did some research and found a few companies who take you out for your adventure. You didn’t necessarily need reservations with any company, but I went ahead and made some just in case. The company I went with was Lucky Catch. They seemed to be pretty well known up there and the price seemed great.
For $30 you went out on the boat for 90 minutes, got a lobster (you did pay a little extra) and got to see a beautiful city from a different view. Making reservations was very easily done. I called after hours and had to leave a message but was called back first thing in the morning. They did not take a credit card to hold the reservations either, they just asked to call if you could not make it. You paid cash or check once you checked in just before going out on the water. The morning of, they even called to confirm and helped with directions, etc. Needless to say, Lucky Catch was great! Very glad I went with them.
My lobster adventure was slated for 2:15pm. Honestly, if I did it over again, I’d go on the later one, but more on that in a minute. I wanted to grab a quick bite before heading out, so I decided to grab something at the Portland Lobster Company. If I would have known that is where I would be taking Larry the Lobster later, I probably would have gone somewhere else. However, the location was right at the pier, and not having a lot of time, it worked out well.
Seeing that I love seafood, it was quite alright that I ate it for lunch and eventually for dinner as well. I grabbed a local beer (Sea Dog Sunfish) and some fried shrimp. Well, the food took forever, so I was done with the beer before it even came out. By the time it did come out, I had to get it to go, rush over to check in and them slam the shrimp down.
Once on board, we got a quick safety briefing and a run down of what we would be expected. There were 4 other groups on the boat and then just me. They took departure pictures with each group on board. The first family got up and they handed one of the kids a lobster to hold. Well, the kid got spooked, dropped the lobster and off went the claw. Poor lobster.
One of the reasons I enjoyed the trip so much is that the captain and deckhand also talked about the local history and things we would pass such as certain lighthouses, etc. If I am going to be in an area, I certainly want to hear as much about it as possible. This certainly was a great way to do just that.
Once we got out on the water more, the deckhand put us all to work. We didn’t just sit back and watch the lobsters come up. We put together new bait bags with 6 herrings, cleaned out the pots, measured lobsters and banded any keepers. They were great about making sure everyone had a turn at each thing. For the most part, the adults sit back and let the kids fill the bait bags.
At each stop, we pulled up 2 baskets. We did not make it to the last stop as it was closer to open waters and just too choppy. Within the 4 baskets, we did have a few keepers which was nice. They had a tank with several lobsters in there, so even if we only caught 4-5, they had plenty if everyone on board wanted to take one for dinner.
Since I was by myself, I actually stood up with the captain and chatted with him a fair amount. I enjoyed hearing more about lobstering, how he got into and more about the area. We passed this one island which was a private residential island during the summer months. It consists of 40 families and they even have their own ferry to/from the island. The only person who stays on the island during the winter is the innkeeper. Are they hiring? Can I apply? That just sounds so cool!
He also explained there are a few islands that people do live on year round and kids will ferry into Portland and go to school in the city once they get to middle school. That is just insane to me. Very different life styles for sure! When he asked why I was visiting Portland and I told him for the half on Saturday and then going to Vermont on Sunday to run, I thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head. He was questioning the whole time why someone would do that and how someone could do that.
As we were getting back to land, I realized I wasn’t very hungry and I certainly did want to try and shove down a lobster I didn’t want at the time. As everyone was picking out their lobsters (only about 6 people took one), I asked if I could come back after their next tour and get mine. I don’t think they typically do that, but since they knew I was there for the race and didn’t want to mess up dinner, they were happy to do it for me. I just had to go back around 5:15pm to pick my guy.
So, once we were back on land, I headed down to the race expo to get my bib. Since it really wasn’t an expo, I literally just picked up my bib and decided to hit one of the breweries. I went over to Sebago Brewing Co. for a quick beer before heading back to grab Larry (Yes, of course I named the lobster before I even got him). I hit a few shops along the way. The downtown Portland area is just adorable and I could spend hours there just roaming around. I feel like I didn’t even get to enjoy all of it either.
Once back at the pier, I headed back to the boat to grab my lobster. It was the same captain, so it made it easy to climb aboard and pick mine out. I was very grateful for allowing me to do this since it was now a littler closer to dinner time. As I mentioned earlier, If I would have thought timing through better, I would have just done the later tour anyway. Oh well. It ended up working out.
I reached my hand in the tank and pulled one out. I felt like The Claw as I had no idea what I was really grabbing. You could see them inside, but not that great in terms of the actual size. I was pretty happy with the one I got. Decently sized and nice claws too. I paid $8 for my lobster and then headed right back to the Portland Lobster Company to get him cooked! They have a deal with them that you bring one in, they cook it up and you get an amazing plate of the lobster, cole slaw, ear of corn, baked potato and all the butter you could ask for. It was only $15 for that. So all in all, I got to catch my own lobster, get out on the water for 90 minutes, and got the lobster cooked up for $53. Not too bad for all of that!
There was hardly any wait at the restaurant, so I got another beer, a Sea Dog Wild Blueberry, and cozied up to the bar. Within 15 minutes, my lobster buzzer went off and Larry was done. As I was staring at Larry, I realized I had never eaten a full lobster, only tails before. I figured it was generally like a crab, but I definitely texted my New England girl, Jeanette, and got some lobster advice from her. Larry did not disappoint and I think I got every last morsel of lobster goodness out of him!
This adventure was the best way to kick off the weekend for me and such a great way to experience Portland. I would even do it again if I go back to Portland. If you are in Portland and plan to go on your own lobstering trip, I would highly recommend Lucky Catch. Just tell them the crazy Pittsburgh runner sent you.