Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

More of “Downeast” Maine in Eastport

Eastport is the easternmost “town” in the United States and they are proud of their claim-to-fame. You can find a host of tourist items with the superlative whether it be the common t-shirt, a shot glass, or the more appropriate Maine souvenir – a lobster buoy.

But we didn't come to Eastport to say we stood in the easternmost town in the U.S. Nope, we came to see the country's largest lobster pound. A friend of ours, Bruce, had previously visited the Lighthouse Seafood and Bait company and told us we must go see the operation. So off we went to meet Basil Pottle, the co-owner with his entrepreneur son, builder, operator, and lobsterman who got the idea to build an Olympic swimming pool size lobster pound after visiting a similar operation in Nova Scotia.

The facility is relatively simple with two tanks (twelve and six feet deep) that are capable of holding approximately 160,000 pounds of lobster. Seawater is pumped in, filtered, and chilled to a near freezing 37º F which keeps the lobsters in a semi-dormant state. In this state, the lobsters can be held for up to six months without needing to eat (maybe that is a diet I should try). That way, the supply of lobster is always available when wholesale orders from around the world come in. Basil explained that the lobsters are placed in crates, or “condos” which keeps them protected from other lobsters or from being crushed. A dozen or so condos are racked together and then lowered into the pool with a forklift. Amazing!

Basil showing us the "condos"
and explaining how the slats are
adjusted based on the lobsters' size.
The crates (with lobsters) in the frigid water.

The intricate filtration, chilling, and pumping system.
Thanks to Basil, Lawrence and Justin who spent time educating us about lobsters.
We must have spent two hours getting a full tour of the facility and talking lobster with Basil and his employees. Who knew there was so much to learn about lobster? But being surrounded visually and audibly by lobster was making us hungry. Anyway, it was time to go downtown and see what Eastport was all about. One of the prominent downtown features is the status of a fisherman clad in foul weather gear sternly holding a fish. The statue has no real significance, instead it was erected as a prop for a Fox television mini-series. But hey, doesn't it look cool?



The downtown is larger than Lubec, but so cute and charming. Restaurants, art galleries, boutiques, and home furnishing stores line the streets and bring tourists to this little coastal town. I could not help from bounding into the candy store to score some salt water taffy and candy cigarettes. For a little culture, we visited the Tide Institute and Museum of Art to peruse their exhibits and admire the magnificent historic building where it is housed. The fog and rain showed their ugly heads all day but we decided they just added a majestic charm as the distinctive sound of fog horns blew from deep within the fog.  And as we sat at lunch and ate lobster rolls by the ocean, can you ask for a better experience?



We left downtown with one more stop on our list – Raye's Mustard Mill. Raye's is the only stone-ground mustard mill in North America and has been in continuous operation for over a century. The general store has two dozen or so original creations for you to try. But if you specifically ask for a “tour of the mill” you will be led into the back where the mustard is actually made. It's here you learn the working of stone grinding mustard through an informative explanation and video of the process.

Sorry, pictures in the mill and museum were not allowed.
Needless to say, I was full of mustard when we left.
With a new jar of mustard in hand we were headed home to make a pork loin with mustard cream sauce. Great end to a great day in another great Maine town.


5 comments:

  1. That lobster facility sure is interesting. Too bad about no pictures in the mustard mill. I would have enjoyed that too.

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  2. Going 6 months without food is not a life I'd want to live! I'm kinda of the Food is Love persuasion...gotta love tours of food making facilities!

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  3. I foresee a lobster tank being installed in your motorhome, to feed your addiction at a moments notice! ;c)

    Wonder what lobster tastes like with mustard?

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  4. Thanks for the tour! Candy cigarettes????

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  5. I'm hoping they build a lobster condo near me.....

    Great pics - as always, thanks for sharing!

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