Words by Eric Twardzik.
As far as we see it, there are just two ways to reach the pinnacle of an all-American summer. One is to bite into a lobster roll in sight of a lighthouse on the New England coast, the other is to personally conduct the Boston Pops on July 4th while grilling a dozen hot dogs.
But since we missed the fourth (and the likelihood of you conducting a nationally renowned orchestra was pretty low anyway) – and because we have a soft spot for lighthouses – here are six New England locales where you can eat lobster with a side of lighthouse scenery.
The Spot: The Seagull, a seven-decades-and-going-strong Downeast establishment that offers views of the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse and artist-favorite Monhegan Island from its dining room. Come early for the blueberry pancakes, and return in the evening for lobster dinner and a BYOB policy.
The Lighthouse: Pemaquid Point, first commissioned in 1827, (and rebuilt in 1835 when the original began to crumble) and its attached keeper’s house. You may recognize both from the 2003 Maine state quarter.
Cape Elizabeth, Maine
The Place: Bite Into Maine, a mobile lobster roll dispensary that conveniently parks one of its trucks within Fort Williams Park, home to the Portland Head Light.
The Lighthouse: A postcard-worthy tower first built in 1790 via a John Hancock-signed contract. The keeper’s quarters, which housed a family as late as 1989, is now a museum.
The Place: The Ramp Bar & Grill, a sports bar attached to the upscale Pier 77 restaurant that features lobster spring rolls, lobster ravioli and unobstructed views of the Goat Island Lighthouse across Cape Porpoise Harbor.
The Lighthouse: An active lighthouse constructed in 1833 and recently restored to its 1950s prime. The keepers still live in the attached house, and offer tours—provided you’ve got a boat to reach the island.
The Place: Fox’s Lobster, a seafood shack dating to 1936 where the wild Maine blueberry pies come down from a family recipe and are freshly baked by the owner each morning.
The Lighthouse: The Cape Neddick (or Nubble) Lighthouse, first built on tiny, rocky island called the “Nubble” in 1879. A photo of it was loaded onto NASA’s Voyager II satellite in 1977 to show potential aliens how cool our lighthouses are.
New Shoreham, Rhode Island
The Place: Southeast Light Delights, a food truck at the entrance of Block Island’s Southeast Light that serves lobster rolls, grilled cheese – and new for this season – soft serve ice cream.
The Lighthouse: An 1874 Gothic Revival stunner considered to be an architectural gem among American lighthouses.
Cape Elizabeth, Maine
The Place: The Lobster Shack at Two Lights, a cliff-side eatery whose adjacent status to the Cape Elizabeth Light is nearly overshadowed by its proximity to crashing waves. The lobster roll is king, but don’t neglect the fried clams.
The Lighthouse: Cape Elizabeth Light, a still-in-service lighthouse erected in 1872 and immortalized by Edward Hopper’s brushstrokes.