If you crave something far simpler than Rockland’s big Lobster Festival wingding, with music, parades, vendors, entertainment and crowds, plan ahead to attend the annual Frenchboro Lobster Festival.
Frenchoboro, located in Blue Hill Bay, is the real deal when it comes to authentic fishing communities. It supports a year-round population of about 70, including more than 20 of elementary-school age or younger.
Wear your hiking shoes, pack water and light snacks, and come for the day via a special run of the Maine State Ferry from Bass Harbor (passengers only). Bass Harbor is on the quiet side of Mount Desert Island, near Southwest Harbor. The ferry departs Bass Harbor at 9 a.m. and departs Frenchboro, located in Blue Hill Bay, at 3:30 p.m. That leaves plenty of time to hike the island’s trails, visit its musuem, and of course, chow down at the lobster picnic, served between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., rain or shine.
Besides lobster, there will be chicken salad, hot dogs, cole slaw, homemade pies (oh yeah!), potato chips and soft drinks. Tickets are $20, ferry ride is $5 (2011 pricing, that may have increased); proceeds benefit the Outer Long Island Congregational Church. If you have your own boat, you can anchor or moor it in Lunt Harbor.
Don’t miss this opp to sample the freshest lobster you’ll ever taste served with a dose of authentic Maine. And if you can’t make it, the next best thing is lunch cruise to Frenchboro, aboard the R.L. Gott, with Kim Strauss of Island Cruises.
By the way, if you want to do a little background reading about Frenchboro before visiting, pick up a copy of Hauling by Hand: The Life & Times of a Maine Island, by eighth-generation islander Dean Lunt.