By Marti Mayne
The Historic Inns of Rockland have agreed with the rest of Rockland for years. Our little corner of Maine is truly the Lobster Capital of the Universe. You may pass other roadside lobster shacks along Route with long lines, but we suggest you simply keep going. If you’re seeking the real Maine experience drive right by and continue to Rockland. If you make your trip in June, start with the Historic Inns of Rockland’s Lobsters, Lighthouses and Luxury package and you’ll get a true insider’s view of everything lobster you could ever want, complete with a ride on a lobster boat, lighthouses, lobster dinners, lobster tours and luxury too. Offered every June, they’ll even throw in another “L” – lobsters, lighthouses, luxury and lupines!
If you can’t make it in June, come stay at Historic Inns of Rockland any other time in the summer or fall and lobsters, luxury and lighthouses can still be a focus for your trip. And if you want a truly magical Maine location head to McLoon’s Lobster Shack in South Thomaston. Open from Memorial Day to Columbus Day, from 11am to 7pm, you’ll be very happy you made this part of your summer or fall trip!
The setting at McLoon’s is as “Maine” as it gets. Stand on the wharf and you’ll see tall pine covered islands, hear the sound of seagulls and the beauty of colorful lobster boats bobbing in the harbor and smell the salt air along with lobsters boiling and burgers cooking. Add a few lupines to the scene and you’ve got a picture postcard scene capturing all that makes Maine grand.
The focus at McLoon’s Lobster Shack is on as fresh and local as it gets. Ask for a lobster dinner, and you may be escorted you to the side of the wharf where a member of the staff will pull up a plastic bucket filled with live lobsters caught that day or the day before and ask you to pick your dinner, if you wish. From sea to stove, it doesn’t get much fresher than that! Next, you get the option to pick your own fresh-grown herbs from the container garden next to the order window and add as much or as little of freshly grown herbs as you wish!
There’s nothing you won’t love at McLoon’s. The lobster rolls are plentiful and delicious, served on perfectly toasted buttered buns and overflowing with lobster. The lobster stew has a hint of tarragon, which gives it a signature taste. Be sure to try the roasted Littleneck clams, they are smoky and delicious. If you like crab, the crab rolls and crab cakes are made from fresh Maine crab and they are just perfect. For non-lobster lovers, there’s homemade corn chowder and burgers and hot dogs cooked on the outside grill next to the lobster shack. In fact, everything at McLoon’s is homemade. The locally made pies and brownie sundaes are the perfect ending to your lobster dinner here.
You’ll sit at picnic tables taking in the view, almost wishing that the food will take longer to cook so you can simply stare at the scene. Bring your own spirits, and take in a sunset as the sky grows the color of the lobster – how convenient – color coordinated! Adults and kids alike love the colorful chairs offered for a bird’s eye view of the wharf, which come in adult and kiddie-size. Come during June’s Lobster, Lighthouses and Luxury package, and you’ll get an up-close-and-personal tour of the lobster wharf and a full explanation of the lobstering industry, complete with a very “fragrant” tour of the bait shack from Bob Woodbury.
We save the best for first and last. The ride to and from McLoon’s from Rockland is the icing on the lobster roll! The scenic route is dotted with lupine fields (in June), plenty of glimpses of Penobscot Bay and the islands beyond, and antique New England Capes and cottages. It’s definitely Maine the way life should be. Be sure to have the camera handy, this is as much a great part of the trip as the meal itself.
At the end of the day, return to any of the three Historic Inns of Rockland. Your friendly innkeepers will be anxious to hear how your meal at McLoon’s went, and will concur that it’s one of Maine’s true gems. Any spring, summer or fall stay at the three Historic Inns of Rockland is simply not complete without a trip to McLoon’s Lobster Shack. Your innkeepers are happy to give you directions.
When You Go
McLoon’s Lobster Shack: Open seasonally 11am-7pm – Memorial Day – Columbus Day, 327 Island Road
Spruce Head Island, Maine, (207) 593-1382, www.Mcloonslobster.com . Click here for a full menu: http://www.mcloonslobster.com/#menu.
Historic Inns of Rockland: Three luxury inns, all within walking distance of Rockland’s downtown scene and Harbor. Granite Inn, LimeRock Inn, Berry Manor Inn, www.HistoricInnsofRockland.com, 207-596-6611.