Monday, October 27, 2014

Just One More Moment of Summer (Holbrooks)

It's been pretty warm in Maine, even during most of October.  Still shorts weather, still sitting on the porch eating dinner weather, still walking on the beach weather.  It's spectacular -- crystal clear air, warm sunshine, and not too many tourists.  But there are hints of what's to come.  The leaves start to turn; just a little at first.  The days grow shorter, with sunset arriving earlier and earlier.  And eventually, there's a hint of frost on the leaves in the early morning.  Summer ends, fall begins, and Mainers start to think about finding the snow shovels, maybe buying a new pair of boots, and breaking out the skis and snow shoes.

An ocean lover knows winter isn't a kind season for exploring beaches and tidepools.  I still have plenty of collecting to do for this semester's marine bio class, but I know soon it'll get too cold to reach a hand into the Gulf of Maine with anything but a grimace, and eventually the trails down to the water will ice over.  So I have to make the most of every moment in the fall -- hit one more beach; drive to one more lighthouse; lie on more dock and gaze over the edge to see who's living on the piers. 

One of the things I feel driven to do in fall is stuff all the lobster rolls I can into my face sample just a few more lobster rolls before the seasonal shacks close down.  Many of the best spots for seafood in Maine are only open in the warm months, so it's important to get your fill of rolls before these shacks close for the season.  One of my favorites is pretty close to home, and luckily, it's right on the way to some of my best collecting spots.  Why not kill two birds with one stone, and stop for a lobster roll on the way to my field work?

HOLBROOKS:  I love Holbrooks.  Tucked up at the end of Cundy's Harbor, you can't get more Maine than this.  Lobster boats?  Check.  Beaten up working pickups?  Check.  Old Maine homes built too close to a twisty-turny road?  Check.  Spectacular sunsets, and foggy days, and the smell of bait?  Check.

We're lucky we still have Holbrooks.  Like so much of Maine's working waterfront, it was threatened by private development back in 2005.  What had for years been a spot devoted to commercial fishing was up for sale, and everybody feared it would turn into a private home, or worse yet -- condos.  So a group of local residents formed the Holbrook Community Foundation; raised money, bought the place, and today is devoted to keeping the coast clear for local fishermen and tourists.  Their snack bar, located on the wharf, is found at one of the prettiest spots in the country, and lobster has never tasted so good.

GETTING THERE:  From US1 in Brunswick, take Rt 24 south and go 5 1/2 miles south.  Turn left onto Cundy's Harbor Road, and go 4 1/2 miles; Holbrooks will be on the left.  BYOB, or better yet, support the local economy by getting a bottle of wine at the General Store just in front of the snack bar.

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