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This Independence Day has us thinking about iconic favourites: baseball, apple pie and… lobster rolls. We still love you, faithful ballpark and street-cart hot dogs (promise), but there’s no better excuse for an East Coast escape than the search for this now all-American classic sandwich.

Kennbunkport, Maine / Mr & Mrs SmithFrom left: Clam Shack lobster roll, patrons queue up at the Clam Shack, Photos: Daryl Getman; The Captain Fairfield Inn; Kennebunkport beach

KENNEBUNKPORT, MAINE

The cool, clean waters just off of Maine’s rocky coast make an ideal home for the delectable crustacean – no wonder the snappy lobster features prominently on the state’s license plate. You’ll find picturesque villages up and down the craggy coastline, but Kennbunkport is a must for a stay in a historic inn. First stop: The Clam Shack (2 Western Avenue, +1 207 967 3321), a seasonal staple since 1968. When this simple take-out stand is open for business it signals the official start of summer. Pick up an order of fried clams, scallops and a straightforward lobster roll (fresh lobster meat, mayonnaise, melted butter on a round white roll).

PORTLAND, MAINE

Maine’s big city has a historic harbourfront, independent shops and a burgeoning dining scene. One spot leading the charge is the Eventide Oyster Co (86 Middle Street, +1 207 774 8538).  The bright, if spare, room allows the delightful dishes – a fine-tuned lobster roll (with brown butter vinaigrette on a Chinese bun), kimchi seafood stew and yes, fresh oysters from both coasts  – to shine. If spending the night (this city is small, but don’t rush through it) we know just the friendly mansion-turned-inn where you can check in.

Boston, MA / Mr & Mrs Smith From left: B & G Oysters lobster roll, this way for seafood, Photos: Susie Cushner; XV Beacon hotel 

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

New England’s largest city is loaded with history (tour the Freedom Trail, stroll the Charles River esplanade and catch a baseball game at Fenway Park) and a worthwhile weekend escape. The stylish South End with its cobbled tree-lined streets and traditional brick townhouses is the place to shop, drink and dine on what else: seafood. B&G Oysters (550 Tremont Street, +1 617 423 0550) serves up seasonal fare such as line-caught swordfish, house-made crab tagliatelli and one very upscale market price lobster roll with Maine lobster meat and bread and butter pickles.

Nantucket, MA/ Mr & Mrs SmithFrom left: Proprietors Bar & Table; 76 Main hotel; Chapman House hotel; Veranda House hotel 

NANTUCKET, MASSACHUSETTS

This former whaling colony off the coast of Cape Cod is the quintessential summertime island retreat. Bunk in a Federal-style former home or cozy cedar-shingled inn in this movie-set perfect harbourside town. Work up an appetite sailing, biking around the island or just catching some rays on any number of the island’s pristine beaches. Then, make a reservation at the Proprietors Bar & Table (9 India Street, +1 508 228 7477) for shared plates: tuna crudo, grass fed steak and a meaty lobster roll with a kick thanks to the chef’s special Asian-spice blend.

Newport, RI / Mr & Mrs SmithFrom left: Castle Hill Inn cottages, lobster roll with onion strings; Vanderbilt Grace hotel 

NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND

‘Summer’ was once a verb in the vernacular of  wealthy titans of Industrial-era industries who spent the warmer months in massive waterfront cottages (um, mansions), and Newport was one of the original summering colonies. The stately mansion stays  are still a draw today for weekending visitors, and the Castle Hill Inn is one of its finest summer-cottage-of-yore examples. Not only can you reserve a private cabin on the beach or sleep in a turret suite, but the inn is known for serving one of the fanciest lobster rolls (with tarragon-crème fraîche, onion strings and coleslaw) in town. Snag an Adirondack chair on the wide lawn, settle in with a good book and taste what summer is all about.

Let freedom ring and bon appetit!

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