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.
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).
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.
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.
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, 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!