Monday, April 28, 2014

Hikes in Harpswell: Mitchell Field -- And First Lobster Roll of the Year!

If you drive south from Brunswick on Rt 123, and just keep going, eventually you'll get to a part of Maine where your GPS will simply show you driving over green grass, because apparently Harpswell Neck is one of the places where modern maps just don't include.  This little finger of land pushes far out into Casco Bay.  To the east is Merriconeag Sound, to the west is Middle Bay, and between them, Harpswell Neck balances on a narrow ridge of land.

Near the end of the Neck is Mitchell Field.  Until recently, Brunswick was home to a Naval Air Station.  Locals remember fondly the drone of propellers from the squadron of sub-hunters that was stationed there.  The station was an important base during WWII and in the cold war; and all those planes needed a lot of fuel.  Until 1992, fuel came in by sea, at Mitchell Field.  If you look at a chart of Middle Bay, there is a two-way shipping lane entering from the Gulf of Maine; incoming on the east of Whaleboat Island; outbound on the west.

Two way shipping lanes for Mitchell Field.
Now the land belongs to the town of Harpswell, and it's open to the public.  Although you won't find wilderness here, you will find sweeping views of Middle Bay and the Goslings; the Community Garden, picnic tables, a bandstand, and a lovely small beach.  Of course this is accompanied by some creepy old buildings, a pier that's starting to deteriorate, and too much pavement.  But this spot is worth a stop nonetheless, with a loop of about 1.5 miles to keep you fit.  It's dog-friendly too!

A great little beach.  No lifeguards.

Creepy old buildings.

Not so scenic.

Lots of pavement -- but great for bikes I guess!
Last week I headed out to Mitchell Field, and if I'm going that far, why not keep heading south to one of my favorites -- Dolphin Marina?

Potts Harbor.  Pretty quiet in this reluctant spring.

View to the east.

View to the west (and Sarah, always smiling!)
Dolphin Marina is a local favorite, but it's no secret that they have the best fish chowder (accompanied by a blueberry muffin, of course) in the state.  Until a few years ago, this was a tiny place with a line.  Now, it's a big place (in high season, there's still a line).  When the restaurant expanded, it was built as green as possible; land was put into conservation; and the marina is certified as a Green Marina. 

A Maine favorite -- Dolphin Marina fish chowder with a blueberry muffin.  You.Must.Eat.This.

Yummy roll.  Cold with a warm buttered bun; no fooling around.  $19.95.

My neighbor's meal -- split lobster tails.
 Dolphin Marina perches on the end of Pott's Point, and it's a real working marina as well as a restaurant.  A meal there always promises a great view, and a walk around the grounds puts you at the ocean's edge.  Terrific food; terrific views; good people running the place.  Really, does it get better?

The friendly bar.  Usually we just sit here.

Dolphin Marina is summer.  What else says Maine?

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