A reader asked: “I want to visit Maine and stay at a motel/hotel cottage/guest house where I can have a view of the harbour and watch the lobster being unloaded. Any ideas?”
I sure do. Here are five accommodations that provide a view over working lobster wharves.
• Tidewater Motel, Vinalhaven Island
Really, you can’t get much closer to the action than a room at the Tidewater Motel. It hangs over Carvers Harbor, one of Maine’s busiest traditional fishing harbors. Getting there is easy, take the ferry from Rockland. I’d advise against bringing a car. The ferry terminal is an easy walk to the motel, and if you need help with luggage, you can arrange for a pick up. (See more on Vinalhaven here).
• Inn on the Harbor, Stonington
Much like the Tidewater, the The Inn on the Harbor hangs over a working harbor, with big windows framing the view and huge decks for watching the boats come and go (see from my review). It’s smack downtown: walk to restaurants, shops, and even the mail boat ferrying passengers to Isle au Haut. Avoid the streetside rooms, and aim for one with big windows and a deck.
• Elsa’s, Prospect Harbor
Elsa’s Inn, a bed-and-breakfast operated by the Alley family, overlooks lobster boat-filled Prospect Harbor, two working wharves, and is just under a tip of the sou’wester from the giant lobsterman just up the road. You might even be able to arrange a lobster feast on the premises. (See my review on Elsa’s, here).
• Moose-a-bec Manor and Harbor House, Jonesport
Moose-a-bec Manor edges Jonesport Harbor, which not only claims to be the lobster boat capital of the world, but also brags of building the biggest lobster trap Christmas tree last year. The manor comprises two, two-bedroom apartments with big windows framing all the harbor action (which included, the last time I stayed there, harvesting seaweed). Also in Jonesport is Harbor House, a lovely bed-and-breakfast, with two rooms, both with fabulous harbor views. Really, you can’t go wrong with either accommodation; simply your preference, B&B or self-catering.
• Inn at the Wharf, Lubec
I thought for sure I’d reviewed this previously, but I found I wrote it, but never published it (hitting self on head). Here it is:
If The Inn at the Wharf were any closer to the shoreline, I could cast a fishing line out my window. Instead, I gaze at lobstermen hauling traps and fishermen unloading their catch, listen to boats chugging along, watch some of the nation’s biggest tides and earliest sunrises, and breathe brine-scented air. It’s not just the location on the eastern shore of the nation’s eastern-most town that makes this lodging special, but also the story behind it.
In the mid-1900s, this town was home to 23 sardine factories. When the final whistle blew in 2001 at Lubec Sardine Co. Factory B, the last one operating, it signaled the end of an era. Five years later, Victor and Judy Trafford spied the oceanfront property with its new wharf and to-die-for views over Passamaquoddy Bay and purchased it.
While debating what to do with the derelict factory, the Traffords began buying lobsters and crabs, and later eels and periwinkles, from local fishermen and using the basement-level holding tanks for sorting and storing, before sending the catch to market. Next they renovated the factory’s upper level into modern guest accommodations, including suites and two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments. After opening in 2009, they started operating the To-and-Fro water taxi to Eastport, renting bicycles and kayaks, and offering whale-watching tours. This summer, they opened a restaurant in the factory’s former boiler room.