Are Maine lobsters generally cheap in Maine?

It is well known that the king of crabs, the lobster, is listed at the top of the enjoyment scale. The US lobster region is the New England states, specifically Maine. In summer as many lobsters are caught here as we pickle herring. Well, maybe a little exaggerated, but first things first:


Mon, July 29, 2013

Friend Rudiger and I are flying to Boston, Massachusetts. At 12:10 we start in FRA and are in BOS at 1:55 PM, with a 6-hour time difference and almost 8 hours of flight time in between. We're turning back the clocks.

Again in the USA and again this immigration procedure. How i love it! The ESTA is refreshed on time against payment of $ 14. In the entry form, you swear that you do not have any grain products in your luggage and that you do not have AIDS. Welcome to the battleship "USS America"! Iris scan, finger and thumb print. The immigration officer is equipped like a SEK man, he eyes me like a felon. Fearful and aggressive distrust of strangers are hallmarks of deep paranoia. 9/11 and this year's assassination attempt during the marathon have im Land of the free and courageous leave deep marks. "You are welcome" has a different meaning here. God's own country puts every foreigner under general suspicion.

We're in Boston, I suppose most European City of the USA, as they say. It all started here with the United States of America - keyword "Boston Tea Party".

In the early afternoon, after a ride on the underground, called "The T" here, we reach our pre-booked domicile. We pulled a CharlieTicket. This costs $ 18, is valid for 7 days and is worth it for at least 8 trips. This time we chose something unusual as accommodation - that John Jeffries House, not a cop monastery, but a former nurses' home, today a good bed & breakfast accommodation that has already won several awards. The JJH is located directly on the Charles River in the immediate vicinity of the Charles / MGH underground station in the historic Beacon Hill district.

An overnight stay in Boston is comparable in price to New York, so open your wallet wide! You don't get anything for free here. The daily price of $ 150 for our large rooms including continental breakfast is still cheap.

In summer, the temperature on site feels like a sauna thanks to the high humidity. It's no different at home. The particularly hot days, the so-called "dog days", tend to fall at the end of August. Lucky! Today we have 26 ° C.

Let's take a look around Beacon Hill. The district, named after a beacon on the top of the hill, is said to be one of the most desirable and expensive in the city today. On our first steps we were caught by a moderate downpour, but only that lasts for a short time. The narrow streets with gas lights and the brick sidewalks are lined with old row houses - a place steeped in history that we will discover on our tour. We walk down Charles St. to Boston Common (former parade, execution and storage area) and the Boston Public Garden, a park with swan pedal boats on a pond. The Americans like kitsch. Then we'll take a look at the mansions on Beacon St. and the servants' houses on Acorn St. This gives us an impression of the life of some Bostonians around 200 years ago.

Beacon Hills residents include or included influential figures such as US Senator Edward Kennedy, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, actress Uma Thurman ("Kill Bill") Or the bestselling author Michael Crichton ("Jurassic Park“).

The day was long. Then we have a drink in a shop very close to our B&B! The pubs in Boston are adorned with pictures of the Red Sox. It's not a political party, it's the local baseball club.


Tue, July 30, 2013

Bye-bye, Miss American Pie? Not at all! Pies are all dishes in which a mixture of meat, cheese, eggs or fruit is braised or baked under a sheet of dough. And here in the New England states, pies are the be-all and end-all of the kitchen. Pie is Yankee Food, a tradition that the English brought to the country at the time. And pies are already available for breakfast, mostly apple pie.

The JJH has bagels, muffins and donuts as well as coffee for breakfast. This is called a continental breakfast in the USA. Whoever coined this expression probably only knew the breakfast habits in Italy and France, but not the German ones.

Today stands the Freedom Trail on the program, a 4 km long tour, which is marked by a red line along the sidewalks, which leads to sites of the American independence movement.

However, we roll up the trail from behind and there is a reason for that. At the end of the trail, in Charlestown, lies the more than 200 year old USS Constitution, a sailing warship that can be viewed as soon as you have passed a passport control and a metal detector check. From about 11 AM long queues form in front of the ship, which is not exactly inviting in the current heat. We are already there around 10. Entry is free. The Navy ship is the oldest still operable warship in the world.

It's damn hot now and I left my baseball cap at the hotel. Let's look at the 3 decks (Upper deck, cannon deck, crew deck) of the ship. A surprise awaits us on the lower deck in front of the galley: The Smutje has 5 stars. Who would have thought? Again disembark on the red line Ri. North end. The USS Constitution is on the other side of the Charles River. In addition to the large bridge for cars and trains, narrow movable pedestrian pontoons connect the two banks. Despite prohibition signs, these are also used by tourist packs on Segways, so that pedestrians only have to escape to the side.

On the Freedom Trail we pass a historically significant cemetery and reach the Old North Church. Here we treat ourselves to an iced coffee as a refreshment in a small café. We continue to the Paul Revere House. Its owner became a folk hero through a ride with which he warned the revolutionaries Samuel Adams and John Hancock of the threat of arrest by the British.

After so much history, let's turn to something culinary. And what is better suited for this than that Quincy Marketwhich served as a wholesale market for the city until the 1960s. Today it's a food court where you can eat everyone discover imaginable dishes and cuisines in the world. Everything "to go", so on the claw. In the large dome hall in the middle there are a few benches and tables where you can take your meal - provided you can find a free space.

There is also a branch of the Boston Chowda Companywhose clam chowder tastes sensational. We will not miss that. "Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl" - is a creamy soup made from clams, bacon, salted meat, potatoes and vegetables. It is bound with cream and served in a hollowed-out ball of bread.

We continue on the Freedom Trail to Boston Common and from there take the "T" to Prudential. The glass-enclosed observation deck, known as the "Skywalk" on the 52nd floor of the, offers the best views of Boston Prudential Towers on Boylston Street. The view over Boston costs $ 14 p.p. The top platform of something higher Hancock Towers has been closed since 9/11. Before leaving the Prudential Center, it is worth taking a look at the Cheese Cake Factory on the ground floor.

Enough slipping around, the "T" brings us to the harbor. There we let ourselves in The Landing at Long Wharf down, kind of a beer garden on the pier north behind the aquarium. However, instead of wheat beer, people tend to drink cocktails and long drinks here. A special feature: There are cocktails made from fish bowls - a kind of punch glass for several people with straws. Arenal sends his regards - well got it! We try a margarita with jalapeño tequila. Tastes like refined with a good dash of Tabasco. Nomen est omen!

We reserved a table for 8 PM at Union Oyster House on Union Street. It's the oldest restaurant in Boston - open every day since 1826. J.F.K. like to dine, then it should be fine with us too.

We choose that Hot Oyster House Sampler (Baked mussels and shrimp) as a starter and as a main course Haddock or. Swordfish (Cod, swordfish). It couldn't be fresher, a real treat! There is also a drinkable one Samuel Adams Brick RedBeer.

American Bluepoints are oysters from the region, cockles are called cherrystones and littlenecks. The shellfish are available raw, undercooked or cooked - depending on your taste. Mussels are only available cooked.

There are several typical Irish pubs in Boston, e.g. the Black Rose or the Kinsale, both near Quincy Market and thus around the corner from the restaurant you visit. Here the Guinness flows freely with live music. It is a good idea to end the evening with a stout. Greetings from Dublin.

Wed, July 31, 2013

This day belongs to the sea. The pre-booked whale watching tour offered by Boston Harbor Cruises starts at 10 AM becomes. With a large motorized catamaran we drive out to Stellwagen Bank, a nature reserve lake area that is obviously a popular feeding area for whales and dolphins. Top priority: apply sunscreen and cover your head. But that applies to all boat excursions.

Naturalists from the New England Aquarium accompany the ships and provide expert explanations. But the slang is almost completely incomprehensible. So we have to watch ourselves to distinguish humpback whales (hunchback), fin whales (fin), minke whales (minke) and pilot whales (pilot), which will appear soon. They are mostly minke! The 3-hour tour with lots of wildlife viewing is still worth it.

My neighbor goes to sea for work. He says the whales off New England are a real problem for merchant shipping. You have to constantly avoid the herds, which costs time. It's always like that: Wat den een sien Uul, is den anner sien Nachtigaal.

Go to lunch after the tour Legal Sea Foods, a chain restaurant with good and inexpensive fresh fish and mussel dishes. We joke with the waiter about the beer consumption. He says he is a member of the National Drinkers Team himself ...

So strengthened, we will now visit the New England Aquarium. In advance we got a so-called combo ticket for whale watching and aquarium for $ 57.95. You save at least $ 7. For families, 120-150 EUR are gone in no time despite the discounts granted! We are familiar with this from the well-known theme parks. Many have to stay outside.

The aquarium is one of the most popular attractions in Boston. The large aquarium with a capacity of 900,000 liters is particularly worth seeing. Mantas, rays, sharks, giant tortoises and many hundreds of other fish can be admired in it. An accessible ramp winds in a spiral around the large cylindrical pool. There are further, thematically sorted aquariums on each level.

The open-air enclosures for penguins and sea lions, harbor seals, fur seals and seals are less nice to look at. The inevitable IMAX cinema rounds off the offer. The New England Aquarium not only exhibits the living things, it is also committed to the preservation of the habitats of the sea creatures.

With the current Temperatures, it is important to ensure that you are drinking enough fluids. So first a drink. We find out: Beer and cocktails are also drunk in the outdoor areas of the bars, at least at the port, the beer even straight from the bottle - even the ladies. "Drinking in public" does not seem to be forbidden here. The light beers common in the USA are particularly popular. The office workers like to have an after work drink.

Tonight we dine in the Little Lamb, a Mongolian hotpot restaurant (very friendly and helpful service!) on Cambridge Street. The shop is mainly frequented by Asians, which experience has shown to be a good sign for a regional kitchen. At first we mistake the hostel for a Chinese restaurant, but are quickly taught better. A hotpot with hot broth is placed on the heatable hotplate in the middle of the table. Then you put the ordered ingredients: meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, mushrooms, pasta ... Depending on the cooking time, the cooked ingredients are removed again and enjoyed in various sauces and dips after being dunked beforehand. Those who know Asian cuisine naturally use chopsticks.

The Bee Gees sang "And the lights all went out in Massachusetts", but of course the city also has a nightlife. We stop by a pub and find out once again that the Americans cannot brew a decent beer. Rüdiger thinks that a delegation from Sam Adams (largest brewery in Boston) once took part in a seminar at Weihenstephan - but probably not paying attention. It will have been like that!


Thursday, August 1, 2013

After breakfast we take the subway to the airport and pick up the pre-booked rental car from National, a brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee. To do this, we book a Garmin navigation system, but discover on the way that the jeep also has an on-board navigation system. That annoys us, but it should turn out that the booking of the Garmin was correct, because the Jeep sat nav keeps failing.

Today's stopover is one of the last "Covered Bridges" on the border between New Hampshire and Maine. But before that, the journey goes through endless forests and along many small lakes that are here Pond, that is, called a pond.

We're driving inland from Portland towards the White Mountains. The Hemlock Bridge is located near the settlement of Fryeburg on the Kezar Pond. It is one of nine remaining wooden covered bridges in Maine. One of these covered bridges is in the beautiful romance "The Bridges on the River" with Clint Seen Eastwood and Meryl Streep. This type of bridge was built because it withstood the changing weather twice as long as normal bridges. Finding the hemlock requires good orientation skills, as there are no signs. In addition, only a small gravel road leads there. It is advisable to note down the coordinates of the destination beforehand and enter them into the navigation system.

Maine is the self-proclaimed Pine Tree State, but contrary to the advice in relevant travel guides, we do not smell the typical pine scent. I mean that Maine prefers to call itself a "lobster and blueberry state" should denote. Everywhere on the streets, locals sell their self-picked blueberries. And lobsters are also offered everywhere, live or already prepared.

On Maine's coast people love lobster meat processed as a lobster roll. This is a kind of hot dog with lobster and is just as common as a snack there as it is for us with currywurst or kebab. You can get the rolls in every little booth called "Lobster Shacks". If you are guided by the stalls with the longest queues in front of them, you can't go wrong.

We have rooms at the Comfort Suites- Motel in Freeport pre-booked, a good idea, because now there is almost nothing left to get here - "no vacancy" everywhere ... The lady at the reception lets us fill out the check-in forms, bored. Pool and breakfast times down. Bye bye service culture, hello service desert! Freeport is an artificially grown village mile with outlet stores of (almost) all relevant fashion brands and of course the largest L.L. Bean, the top US supplier for all outdoor activities. At the checkout, the purchaser's US postcode is asked for for statistical purposes: "ZIP Code?" "I really don't know!" When this answer is given, the cashier looks at me as if she had asked my age and I didn't know.

"Dine In or Take Out" is the question about dinner. in the Corsican restaurant let's have a traditional clam chowder served with a lobster roll, chips and pickles, all together for $ 18. The chowder here is more of a ragout and less of a soup, but okay so far. The restaurant is listed at the top of Tripadvisor.

Fri., August 2, 2013

In the early morning it rains heavily on the entire east coast. The first hurricanes are expected next week. It's unbelievable how quickly the weather has changed. In Germany the temperature rises to 40 ° C on the same day, here it ends at 22 ° C.

"Maine - The Way Life should be" reads a roadside sign. It goes north. The The coastal state of Maine is a popular vacation spot for wealthy families from Boston and New York. We decide to first drive to Pemaquid Point on the Pemaquid Peninsula. A small lighthouse shrouded in mist and fog and a lobster fishing museum await us there. It is a wooden house with 4 small rooms, which has been packed full of all fishing knick-knacks.The old museum guard can hardly be understood with his dialect. We learn from him that rare color anomalies can sometimes occur among the lobsters. He shows us photos of blue and yellow lobsters. The old man is happy that visitors from Germany have come to his museum for the second time today and asks us to make an entry in his guest book. The guard of the lighthouse also shows great interest in us.

When in Maine the Coastal Highway No. 1 drives along, it is by no means along the water, but almost always through pine forests and through the middle of small settlements. With the street name, expectations are stoked that are not met. Route No. 1 in California, on the other hand, is a real coastal highway.

This is our domicile for the next 3 nights B&B Glen Cove Inn & Suites, Rockland, (very neat and highly recommended!) At the entrance to Penobscot Bay. Here has that 66th Maine Lobster Festival already started the day before yesterday. Locals are said to compare Rockland and its neighboring town Camden because of their supposedly different air quality as follows: "Camden by the sea, Rockland by the ass!" I can not confirm that.

We reserved 2 rooms months in advance, because now it is absolute high season and everything is fully booked. The festival falls during the school holidays in the USA and most of the lobsters (Homarus americanus) in Maine are mainly in the warm season. That’s the way nature wants it, and that’s how the US Department of Education obviously likes it too.

So let's throw ourselves into the crowd. They have set up a small tent town with fairground shops in the Rockland harbor area. The Maine Lobster Festival can definitely be described as a second-class provincial fair with the culinary hook "Lobster".

For the 600 g lobster, which is cooked in hot water and ready-to-serve within 15 minutes in hot water, which comes on the table with corn on the cob, melted butter and coleslaw, only $ 14 is due, i.e. about 10 €. To get full, an adult eats 2-3 lobsters. The protein-rich crustacean is extremely cheap here compared to Europe. And that's because of the ongoing lobster glut on the US east coast. Live lobsters retail for $ 4 a pound. Last year, around 120,000 pounds of lobster fell in Maine alone, leading to ever-falling prices. So far it is not known what is causing the enormous growth in the population, many attribute it to climate change. The crustacean fishermen, the Lobstermen, are not amused because of the falling prices. Most of the lobster catch is exported to Canada, from where it is frozen all over the world. The question remains why this is not practiced directly in Maine.

"That's terrible" to be some say about killing the caught lobsters in boiling water. But the lobsters are dead within a few seconds. In addition, they do not have a brain and only have a very poorly developed nervous system. According to experts, the animals therefore have no pain sensation. Incidentally, lobsters belong to the arthropod family - as do spiders, insects and crabs.

The American writer David Foster Wallace visited the Lobster Festival ten years ago on behalf of the gourmet magazine gourmet to write a sumptuous report. Instead, Wallace recorded his outrage about the lobster kills during the festival in the essay "The Example of the Lobster" and expanded it to a consideration of humanistic principles.

For us it is something very special, because such amounts of lobster are not available in Europe - a little land of milk and honey for gourmets.

How to eat a lobster? Every lobster novice who wants to eat the lobster whole asks himself this question. It's actually very easy! First you twist the two scissors and the 8 legs away from your body, then you grab the body with your left hand and twist your tail with your right. The meat can now be released. A lobster fork is used to peel the meat out of scissors and legs. That's it!

You dip the released meat in liquid butter and ... enjoy it - with corn, a corn on the cob, and the inevitable Cole slaw, White cabbage salad.

During the festival, in addition to various lobster preparations, the culinary seafood menu also includes clams, mussels, crabs, shrimp, cod, haddock and calamari.

"The Maine Thing is feeding the foodie with a taste of the unexpected" advertises Catering Association. Okay, I'm getting exactly what I'm expecting here ...

In the evening they are Spin Doctors the top act on the main stage. The US rock band became very well known in 1993 with the hits "Two Princes" and "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong". The aged rock heroes wait an hour in front of them and then set off fireworks when it starts to rain again - in front of an increasingly fleeing audience. Too bad!

Sat., August 3, 2013

First of all rain this morning. We want to join the Acadia N .P. and hope for an improvement in the weather.

The Acadia National Park on the coast is known for its rugged rocky coastline and a rugged landscape with mountains and lakes. It is the only national park in New England and it is one of the ten most visited parks in the United States. All hell breaks loose, especially on the weekends during the school holidays. Fortunately, this is not the time of our visit ...

The N.P. lies on an island that is connected to the mainland by a bridge. By car you usually drive on Loop Road to the viewpoints, for which a fee of $ 20 is due. So we pay our obolus and follow the hundreds of vehicles that drove on the circuit before us and now populate the large parking lots. It is mostly couples and families who have chosen the parking spaces as the starting point for a hike. Americans are nature lovers. What I don't like: Here a nature reserve is being sacrificed to mass tourism. The individual "viewing points" are not spectacular - with one exception: The Cadillac Mountain is the highest mountain on the American east coast at 466 m. Those who experience the sunrise on their "summit" can boast of being the first American to see the sun rise during the day.

We don't see the sun until late noon - after the rain has stopped. In any case, it will be a sunny return trip to Rockland.

For a change, we're going to treat ourselves to a steak for dinner tonight. That's what we're looking for Peter Ott's Steakhouse in Camden - a great choice. The filet mignon is excellent and so is the farmer's sauce with the salad.

I order a wheat beer with it. Or so it says on the menu. When I order, the waitress looks like I speak Swahili. She calls it hepperweiisn. Okay, just like that.

Sun., August 4, 2013

Today the Lobster Crate Race takes place. Start time is 2 PM, so we can take up the morning for something else. We choose for a visit to the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, a worthwhile choice. In the museum buildings, exhibits from the past and the present are shown, which give an impression of US seafaring.

They got big here in Bath back then More beautiful built that had up to 6 main masts. The sails consisted exclusively of sling sails, which only a small crew was required to operate from the deck.

The largest wooden schooner ran here in 1909 Wyoming from the stack. It was the longest wooden ship in the world ever built and was used to transport coal. In the outdoor area of ​​the museum you can marvel at a steel structure that reproduces the outlines and masts of the Wyoming 1: 1. Very impressive!

It was not until the beginning of the 19th century that the affluent clientele of the big cities became interested in lobster. First the live lobsters were brought with them Smacks, Flat-bottomed sailors with a seawater basin in the hold, to the customers. That changed when the Burnham & Morrill canning factory began canning cooked lobster meat and shipping it across the country. From now on, the animals were hunted with an extremely productive trapping technique, known as lobster traps crates. This time can also be guessed at in the museum in Bath from the exhibition.

Just in time for the beginning of the Lobster Crate Race we're back in Rockland. The one chosen at the beginning of the festival Sea Goddess gives the go-ahead. In this race you have to cross a 50 wooden lobster crates connected with ropes in the harbor basin without falling into the water. An extremely A fickle affair that can ideally be mastered by well-trained 12 to 15-year-old boys (lightweight class). You have the ideal physical conditions (weight, height, strength, angle ...) for this challenge. All others - young children or adults - fail.

If an applicant manages to conquer the route, he has to walk back and start again. The number of boxes crossed that a participant manages until he falls into the water or gives up are counted. Most applicants don't even make the first 50 boxes. It is all the more astonishing that the record is 6,000 boxes, set in 2012 by 12-year-old Connor McGonagle, who loses to his friend Duncan this year. However, he keeps his record.

The festival ends in the early evening, which is only possible thanks to the selfless commitment of 1,200 volunteers. Last chance to eat lobster! So let's treat ourselves to this great pleasure again. At 6 PM the gates will close.

Lobster was once a "poor man's food" that was also fed to the pigs. Convicts were still being held in America during the colonial days Fished off with the sea animals, the rest went into the fields as fertilizer or as bait on the line.

As times have changed, today the meat of the lobster is considered a very special culinary delicacy - just behind real caviar. Lobster meat is also fat-free, low in calories and low in cholesterol. This is of course counteracted by the liquid butter served with it! But it tastes soooo good - nutty, sweet and aromatic.

Our specialist retailers now offer high pressure lobsters. Caught in the main season, the lobster is killed in a flash by overpressure and immediately frozen in its raw state - completely natural and without additives. Thawed, it is in a fresher condition than the lobster transported alive. Its flesh can be easily removed from the shell.


Mon., August 5, 2013

It's going back to Boston.

We have booked a night flight so that the whole day is still available to us. At least we think so. But one underestimates the travel times for longer distances. For 300 km on US roads and inner-city roads, we need 5 hours of driving time. German empirical values ​​are hardly suitable for use on American roads.

Salem is a stopover on our return journey. The place became famous through a historical event that did not exactly cover it with fame. There was a witch hunt here in the late 17th century, in which 19 women were sentenced to death by hanging in the subsequent witch trials. A play by Arthur Miller under the title The witches of Salem (also known by the title Witch hunt) deals with these processes.

Of course, people like to take up the gruesome historical event in Salem for commercial exploitation, from the Salem Witch Museum to the Witch Dungeon Museum to souvenirs with witch appeal and a witch burger ...

The Lufthansa Airbus takes you back to Düsseldorf via Munich. The time was from west to east, in which the clock is put forward 6 hours on our route, is more difficult for the body to master than the other way round, which is why I am happy to have the rest of the week vacation.

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Finally, my travel literature recommendations: (a click on the title leads to the direct order at amazon.de)

The volume “Top 10 Boston"from the well-known Dorling Kindersley series. The inserted waterproof extra map contains city maps and the subway map - perfect for the day on the town and can be folded up once in every shirt pocket.

For further exploration of the New England states of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, we particularly liked the DuMont travel paperback "Boston & New England: with online updates for free downloadIt contains many useful tips and well-written essays on relevant topics.

For the interested seafood fan and lobster lover, I recommend the (unfortunately not currently available) illustrated book "Hummer" from Mosaik Verlag. Of course, it's all about Maine Lobster. Maybe also look at the relevant used book exchanges on the web ... It's worth it.

And for those who want to deal with killing and eating lobsters in terms of existential philosophy, the 64-page essay "At the example of the lobster" by David Foster Wallace is the right reading.

For those who like to form their own opinion and take notes, there is nothing more practical than a Moleskine notebook. I prefer the pocket format with a soft cover.

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