Thanksgiving in Boothbay

When I learned that I would be back in the U.S. for Thanksgiving this year, I immediately suggested that we spend the holiday in Maine.  My family was easily convinced.  I do miss the excitement of the summer months—the kayaking, the boat trips, the outdoor dining.  But there is something wonderful about Boothbay in the quieter months when you can walk into a restaurant without a reservation, when shopkeepers have time to chat with every customer who walks in the door (and when they also offer fantastic pre- and post-Christmas sales) and when you can cuddle up in front of Portside’s fireplace and watch the tide come in and out.  And what better way to put the kitchen at Back Bay Cottage to the ultimate test than a real New England Thanksgiving dinner?

Cozy Harbor, Southport

We hit some snow on the way to Boothbay, but the slow going offered a good excuse to “refuel” at the historic Brunswick Diner (also known as the Miss Brunswick Diner) on Route 1 in Brunswick, immediately before Route 1 turns left to head to Bath.

View of Damariscove from Ocean Point

We had ordered our Thanksgiving turkey in advance from Oak Street Provisions, which purchases farm-fresh, non-frozen turkeys and is also a great stop for wine and microbrew beer.  The rest of our Thanksgiving ingredients we found at Hannaford’s supermarket (27 Townsend Ave).

Sunset at Ocean Point

Following one guest’s suggestion, I purchased a few additional serving bowls and platters for Portside, which certainly came in handy for our Thanksgiving feast.  The only items we did not have that might have been helpful in our preparations were a ladle (for our hot apple cider in the crock pot) and a potato masher.  But a trip to Renys in Damariscotta the next day easily solved those issues for future kitchen-gadget loving guests!  Renys is just the place to pick up a few stocking stuffers, new snow boots or snowshoes, stock up on cold medicine ($1.39 per box!) or find just about any other odds and ends imaginable.

Sunset at Ocean Point & Sunset at Boothbay Harbor

Not all of Boothbay’s restaurants stay open through the winter, but I still can count at least eight restaurants open year-round that are within a 10 minute walk of Back Bay Cottage.  We had our first dinner at one of our must-visits, McSeagull’s.  I had their hot lobster roll and a blueberry beer—I can’t seem to order anything else!  Despite an overwhelming quantity of Thanksgiving leftovers, we also managed to eat at China by the Sea, Ebb Tide (43 Commercial St.) and Mama D’s (50 Union St.) while in town.

Sunset at Ocean Point

Even Boothbay off season is not immune from Black Friday (low-key) excitement.  We managed to hit all the old favorites (Sherman’s, the Smiling Cow and Gimbel’s, the Mung Bean, the Village Store to name a few) and I rediscovered The Palabra Shop and its 10 rooms of Maine gifts and antiques.  And as always, I had to make a couple of trips to the always helpful, always friendly Grovers’ Hardware around the corner!

Hendrick's Head Lighthouse, Southport

You never know what New England weather will bring.  Despite the snow on our drive up, temperatures rose to nearly 60°F on Friday and Saturday, which even allowed for some sun-basking on the deck!  In addition to unseasonable temperatures, we were also lucky to witness right from the living room exceptionally high high tides and exceptionally low low tides.  Being right on the water gives you a new awareness for the cycles of the tides.  The scenery is constantly changing, even if you never get off the couch!

Sunset at Ocean Point

I’m not sure if the stars aligned but certainly the clouds did to bring us some of the most amazing sunsets on Thursday and Friday that I have ever seen.  Thursday we caught sunset from our favorite sunset-viewing spot at Ocean Point in East Boothbay, just past the Wilson Chapel as you travel west along Shore Road.  And Friday we saw a fiery orange sky right from downtown Boothbay Harbor, heading towards Signal Point.

Sunset at Boothbay Harbor

Before we left (OK, I admit it was immediately after our Thanksgiving pumpkin pie) I set up a small Christmas tree in the dining room to jump-start the holiday spirit.  It’s a simple tree with white lights and pine cones and at the top sits a Maine “angel” (recently immigrated from Norway).

Back Bay Cottage Ready for Christmas

I am looking forward to getting back to Maine at Christmastime!

To view or purchase these photos and additional photos of the Boothbay region, please visit the Boothbay Harbor, Maine gallery of my photo website.

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