“We’ve seen the trifecta,” the captain announced as the ferry circumnavigated Georgetown Island. After we’d set sail on the lighthouse cruise from the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, our vessel had passed five camouflaged seals lazing upon a rock outcropping, a pair of juvenile bald eagles not yet capped with white, and an osprey springing from its nest to hunt. Besides the trifecta, we marveled at seven postcard-worthy lighthouses.
Coastal Maine swarms with tourists over the summer. But the islands and peninsulas between Portland and Bar Harbor are quieter. After our ferry docked and the sun set, we drove our car onto Georgetown Island through a darkness that would unsettle Stephen King. The main road was lit by the moon, but the secondary roads twisted and descended so severely, and in such darkness, that driving over 5 miles per hour felt perilous.
Dawn, however, revealed sailboat masts lolling on the glassy waters, buoys nodding in agreement, and the obligatory plastic lobster crate waiting for the lobsterman on the dock for the rental house.
Driving Georgetown in the daylight was more comfortable. We passed honor farm stands, where produce sat abandoned and money jars stood undisturbed, and bulwarks of lobster traps hiding buoys and boat parts that littered fishermen’s yards.
At the island’s center, we stopped at the Georgetown General Store. While the bulletin board delivered essential news, the Saturday gathering of old men on the front porch offered a more lively exchange of island rumors and gossip. The store sells T-shirts and household cleaners and lobster rolls, but we got the latter at the southern tip, where the Five Islands Lobster Co. sees Georgetown’s only line.
While lobstermen transfer their haul to the dockhands, customers line up for incredibly fresh and delicious lobster rolls and steamers. (Skip the chowder.) Some wash down lunch with craft beers purchased at the nearby Five Islands General Store. Others save room for a cone at the neighboring ice cream stand. All enjoy the views of the five lovely islands out in the bay.
After lobsters, we explored Reid State Park, where a pair of rare sand beaches on this rocky coast and a peaceful lagoon appealed to beach-goers, surfers and erectors of precarious driftwood forts.
While Five Islands Lobster serves some of the freshest lobster in Maine — and therefore the world — and it was easy to justify round two for dinner, we opted for the quaint Five Islands Farm instead. Sumptuous meats, superior beers and cheese from grass-fed goats were our picnic along the water’s edge, where the boats surrounding Georgetown Island settled into peaceful darkness.