We pulled out of the parking lot at the LowerFalls stop and proceeded west. We had about another 10 minutes until we came to the end of the Kanc and after that the end of New Hampshire. It was a little hard to believe all of the ground we had covered, and the things we had seen. But, now we were firmly on the downhill side of our day. It was about 4:30 PM. Had we been on schedule we would be stopping in North Conway for shopping, but as we had used up that time, we would be heading straight to our last stop of the day, Portland, Maine.
On my own personal bucket list (which I have had for 9 years now) I have as #67, “Eat a Maine Lobster, in Maine”. So it was obvious that this would be the trip to make it happen. It was a two hour drive from Conway to Portland, but it didn’t seem that long. Every little town was as picturesque as the last. The only thing marring the finish, both visually and audibly were the constant yard signs and campaign ads for the upcoming election. The McCain signs were every where in Maine. I immediately wondered if this was an indication of his support. But, I came to the conclusion that it was a contra indicator. All of the McCain people were going above and beyond to show their support. While the Obama people were (not quietly) confident and didn’t both a lot with signs.
Anyway, the two hour trip went pretty quick and we found our hotel for the night, The La Quinta Inn on Park Ave, pretty easy. It was a bit of a chore to get to it, after finding it, due to the one way streets, but we found the right approach on our second try. The plan was to check in and dump most of our luggage at the hotel and then head to docks for a lobster.
When I set this goal of enjoying a Maine lobster, you kind of need some background to understand. First, I am not a big seafood guy. I just never like the taste of fish. The company I work for at one time serviced Red Lobster, so I made a point of at least eating there to give it a try. I had a lobster tail. My response was “Ahhhh, nothing special. But, then I got to thinking. I live in Colorado. We a few thousand miles from the nearest lobster waters and the closest indigenous seafood we have are Rocky Mountain Oysters. So I naturally figured that having a frozen lobster tail from a chain restaurant was not giving the crustacean a fair shake. Hence, the goal, Eat a Maine Lobster, in Maine. Factor in that I chose to eat at DiMillo’s, a converted ferry boat, that’s sitting in the water, in PortlandHarbor. I figured I couldn’t get a lobster much fresher. If I didn’t like this lobster, it was hen official. I’m not a lobster lover.
We had called ahead to add our name to the waiting list, but we didn’t have to wait more than 5 minutes before we were seated. I would like to say that Margo and I took lots of pictures, documenting the décor, and outside of the restaurant, the wait staff, and the food. But, we had had a full day and taking pictures didn’t enter into our minds. We will have to do better on subsequent trips. Anyway, we got seated, got our drinks, and soon ordered. I got a small lobster, 1 ½ lbs. I didn’t want to over do it, even if I liked it. My Dad was allergic to shrimp. I had previously eaten both shrimp and lobster, and never suffered any ill effects. But, my stomach was still unsure about all of this. There is even something about the smell of seafood that seems to set me off. Margo got a steak.
The waitress came back in short order with our meals. Now I had found instructions on how to eat a lobster. My only other experience had been with a tail, and that wasn’t very difficult to figure out. Now, I just looked at it and thought, “Where do I start?” I had casually, but with fore thought, mentioned to my waitress that this was my first lobster. So the blank look on my face gave her a hint, and she asked if I needed help. Yes, I do. So she did some of the work, and told me what parts were edible (most anything you can dig out), and what to avoid. (Most anything that didn’t look white). So after a quick minute culinary tour, I was ready to start.
Margo was enjoying the whole spectacle of things. I could not tell if she was rooting for a huge smile on my face, or projectile vomiting. But, after the first couple of bites she had her answer. “Ahhhh, Nothing special” The verdict was in. I just don’t care for Lobster. But, I had ordered it and it wasn’t bad so I finished most of the meat, dunking each piece in the butter sauce provided. The only thing left was to discover if my stomach would reject this unfamiliar meal.
We paid (I left a nice tip) and continued with our original plan for the evening. We walked across the street and headed in the OldPort district to see if anything was open. We soon had our answer. Not much. The bars were open, but it was after , by now and all of the shops were closed. I had planned to have a beer at Gritty McDuffs, a bar I had seen featured on TV. But, after we walked in, I just didn’t feel like it. I was tired, and I was still worried about my stomach. I wasn’t acting up, but it didn’t really feel settled either. I decided to be safe rather than sorry. So we turned around and left.
That was the end of our night in Portland and the end of a very long day. I never did get sick, and the uneasy feeling had passed soon after we got to our hotel. So while, I maybe a seafood wuss, at least my stomach isn’t. Tomorrow we would head south, to Massachusetts, and a visit to see the capital of Halloween.