May 2018 — Spring has finally reached Maine after what seemed like an exceptionally long winter. For locals and summer residents, this is finally the month to go down to the sea in ships. National Maritime Day is May 22 and few states have a maritime heritage as colorful, rich and ongoing as Maine’s. It’s a good time to get nautical inspiration from the Maritime issue of The Maine Quarterly. It may also be an opportune time to plot out summer visits to the best coastal lobster shacks in the state. Lobsters may still reign supreme, but there’s a new oyster festival this year, a sign of the growth of oyster farming in Maine. In June, a 112-year-old schooner will be launched – for the third time – thanks to the folks at the Maine Maritime Museum. And Maine’s most beloved four-legged creature gets it due at the Skowhegan Moose Festival. For writers, editors and bloggers looking for short-lead news, you’ll find immediate details under Happening Now. Those in search of longer lead news can scroll down to the Looking Ahead section.
The Maine Quarterly
The maritime world of Maine is the subject of The Maine Quarterly, a dynamic interactive storytelling site. In this issue, it touches upon Portland’s fresh catch, the Maine Maritime Museum, Maine’s windjammer fleet, sea captain’s homes, the high tides of Eastport and of course, lobstering. It’s an engaging and immersive sight and sound trip to the Maine coast and should inspire anyone to plan a trip to the Maine coast this summer. Take it one step further by listening to the podcast Experience Maritime Maine.
Lobster Rolls are King
Fans of lobster rolls can plan their summer travels around events such as the Maine Lobster Festival, held in Rockland from August 1-5, 2018, with amateur and professional cooking competitions, a lobster crate race and more lobster rolls than you can eat. Or, maybe attend the Down East Lobster Roll Festival on July 7th at Thompson’s Point in Portland, when Down East magazine will select the “World’s Best Lobster Roll.” For the rest of us, it’s time to dream about a classic lobster shack with a view of a harbor and working lobster boats. Four of the best include Five Islands in Georgetown, which has a view of five pine-clad islands and a classic Maine harbor view of sailboats, lobster boats and gulls. Then there’s The Lobster Shack at Two Lights, Cape Elizabeth, with an idyllic setting on the rocky Maine coast. Diners sit on picnic tables on the rocks, framed by the white tower of Two Lights lighthouse and extraordinary surf and views out to sea. Thurston’s Lobster Pound, in Bernard, is perfect for travelers who are bound for Acadia National Park. This lobster shack on a wharf on Mount Desert Island overlooks the lobster fishing fleet in Bass Harbor. Finally, Estes Lobster House in Harpswell Neck, surrounded by Harpswell Sound and Potts Harbor, has outdoor seating and a fire pit, with torches in the evening and spectacular views of sunset.
Skowhegan Moose Festival
Maine’s favorite four-legged animal finally gets a festival of its own this summer, with the inauguration of the Skowhegan Moose Festival from June 8 to 10, 2018. On Saturday, June 9, the 2018 Moose Permit Lottery will come to the historic Skowhegan Fairgrounds in Skowhegan, Maine, which seem fitting tribute considering that it’s the Fair’s 200th anniversary. Main Street Skowhegan is coordinating the weekend-long Skowhegan Moose Festival with exhibits, demonstrations, a moose-calling competition, Axe Women Loggers of Maine shows, monster truck rides, kids’ activities, local food, live music, and more. It will culminate with a Saturday night concert featuring country stars Phil Vassar and Bryan White. Go to Skowhegan Moose Festival for ticket information.
Damariscotta Oyster Celebration
Oysters are being cultivated all along the Maine coast and the Damariscotta Oyster Celebration is a way to feed yourself and your curiosity about the bivalves this summer. Taking place in Boothbay Harbor, Boothbay, Damariscotta, Bristol, South Bristol, Edgecomb and Newcastle in midcoast Maine, the first annual Damariscotta Oyster Celebration runs from June 14 to 16, 2018. The three-day celebration kicks off on Thursday, June 14, with chefs from North America competing in the International Oyster Chef of the Year competition at the Boothbay Harbor Oceanside Golf Resort. On Friday, June 15, Tour de Source is a behind-the-scenes look at the Damariscotta oyster community, where you can meet the oyster farmers and tour and taste your way around the bounty of the Damariscotta River. Friday night brings together top chefs from the Damariscotta region to showcase the local food and flavors at Taste Maine’s Future at Round Top Farm. On Saturday, the celebration culminates with oyster shuckers from top restaurants in the United States and Canada going head-to-head in a timed competition for the Can-Am Shuck Star. Go to Damariscotta Oyster Celebration for ticket information.
The Mary E is Relaunched
This spring, following a nearly year-long restoration at the Maine Maritime Museum, the 1906 schooner Mary E will be launched into the Kennebec River for the third time in her legendary career. The two-masted clipper schooner is the oldest Bath-built vessel still sailing and the oldest surviving Maine-built fishing schooner. The public is invited to the museum for a celebration and recommissioning ceremony on Saturday, June 9, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This will be the first opportunity for the public to board Mary E. There will be docents providing dockside tours and sharing stories from the ship’s remarkable history. The event will also feature live music, demonstrations, kids’ activities and more. The museum will offer reduced admission: $6 for adults, kids 12 and under are free. Following her launching, Maine Maritime Museum will serve as Mary E’s permanent home. She will, however, sail to select events around the state, including the Boothbay Windjammer Festival and Portland Schoonerfest, serving as an ambassador of Maine’s maritime heritage. For details, visit the Maine Maritime Museum.