Although Carole and I have been fortunate to have crisscrossed the country a few times in our 24 years of traveling together, we have never been able to check off the Pine Tree State from our travel wish-list. We shouldn’t have waited so long. The scenery and wilderness was as beautiful as any we’ve seen AND we were able to check off another “Southport” from our list as well.
This Town of Southport encompasses a 6 sq. mi. island that juts out into the Atlantic from a rocky coast of coves and inlets. It’s usually up to ten degrees cooler here than on the mainland and this holiday was a refreshing respite from the Midwest, oven-like heat of late June. The island is connected by a small swing-bridge to the community of Boothbay Harbor and if you love lighthouses, this is the Southport is for you! The island boasts views of four of them from its seven-mile continuous perimeter drive.
A continuously thriving fishing and ship-building village, the Town first incorporated as Townshend in 1842 then changed its name to Southport in 1850. It has long maintained its local population of about 700 locals who regale those who join them to enjoy and preserve the large unspoiled and thickly wooded island. Meander past pointed firs and birches and then peer through the cattails beyond the old “salt pond” for a glimpse of the icy Sheepscot River.
We stayed in Boothbay Harbor at one of the many attractive B&B’s although there are plenty of other Inn’s, campgrounds and small resorts in the area to suit most any preference. If you’re not one for shopping or antiquing, bicycling or hiking is enjoyed by many. And if you haven’t tried a sailing excursion, Southport is a good place to try out your sea legs. During an afternoon lunch, we watched 20 or so life-jacketed youngsters learning to sail at the Southport Yacht Club in Cozy Cove. How quaint is that!
I finally learned what the real deal is about Maine lobster and clam bakes – well, at least one version of it. You really can’t drive more than a few miles without seeing a roadside stand (think Indiana sweet corn) offering seafood and shellfish. These local eateries are typically small mom & pop diners that harvest the sea and serve up their daily catch to the sightseeing travelers. A cold beer or local glass of wine at an outside picnic tables with bibbed napkins rounded out the tasty experience. We didn’t plan a “foodie” vacation but the fresh seafood was a real highlight. Did I mention that the weather was perfect?
To learn more about our travels to Southport; England, North Carolina, Connecticut, New York or Florida, stay tuned to SouthportMatters.org.