Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor are quintessentially Maine to their core! These coastal gems have some of the richest histories in the state and are blessed with an abundance of nature’s bounty. Of course, one particular crustacean reigns above all; lobster. There is a reason that no matter where you go or how you cook it, lobsters will always be associated with the state of Maine. About half of the catch of cold-water lobsters in North America is hauled here, as Maine’s rocky coastline provides an ideal habitat for lobster to flourish. Mainers have been trapping lobster since the 1700s, and the patience and fortitude it requires has become woven into the state’s fabric for as long as anyone can remember.
Patience, as they say, is the key to trapping lobsters, especially sometimes under brutal weather conditions. Lobster-men and women are allowed up to 800 traps in the water at any time, in an effort to regulate the over-fishing of lobster. This is in addition to a series of other stipulations that help to maintain a healthy population in the state’s water including, sizing limitations (lobster must be released if they do not fall within of 3 ¼” and 5” in length), fertility (egg-bearing females are returned to the water), as well as the state limiting the amount of commercial licenses available.
The basics of lobstering have remained largely unchanged since the 1800s, asides from some technological improvements. The process is relatively simple, but certainly not easy! Individual fishers place baited traps on the sea floor, which are then hauled out one-by-one, re-baited, and replaced, which can lead to some seriously long days on the water. Getting to experience your first lobster bake makes it all worth it. Cooked in a rock pit on the beach, here is one of our favorite recipes for an authentic Maine lobster bake!
MAINE LOBSTER BAKE RECIPE
FIRST LAYER OF ROCKWEED
1 whole 6-pound fish (striped bass, salmon, or bluefish, etc.), gutted and scaled
12 large red Bliss or medium Maine potatoes
6 medium sweet potatoes
2 pounds large white boiling onions or small Spanish onions
4 jumbo sea clams (optional; used for flavoring, not eating)
SECOND LAYER OF ROCKWEED
6 to 8 pounds soft-shell clams (steamers)
6 to 8 pounds mussels
4 pounds periwinkles
3 pounds linguica, chorizo or another sausage
THIRD LAYER OF ROCKWEED
12 live 1-pound chicken lobsters
16 ears sweet corn
12 extra-large eggs
LAST LAYER OF ROCKWEED
2 pounds unsalted butter
Lobster are not the only sea creatures dwelling off of the coast of Acadia National Park, as the area boasts an abundance of marine wildlife. Playful harbor seals are a common sight here, and are often spotted basking in the sun on the jagged rocks that jut out of the sea. Seals are not the only marine mammals that thrive in these cold waters. Whales are also prevalent, including the white-striped finbacks, acrobatic humpbacks, and smaller minke.
scholar and conservationist George Bucknam Dorr, devoted his entire life and fortune to maintaining this natural wonder, spearheading Acadia National Park’s initial preservation. After over fifteen years of acquiring the land, it was officially designated as a National Park in 1919.
Today the park protects more than 47,000 acres and has remained as one of the most naturally beautiful places to visit on the east coast. We travel here July through September, in an effort to enjoy both the stunning scenery of the park and immerse ourselves in the rustic Maine culture (and some lobster)!