The Lobster Roll and Presidential Adventure, Maine

Red's lobster shack, Wiscasset, Maine. Click to enlarge.

Red’s lobster shack, Wiscasset, Maine. Click to enlarge.

I saved an article from the Wall Street Journal detailing the best places in Maine to eat the state’s trademark lobster rolls.  The concept is similar to a hamburger, but with lobster.  I set out to eat as many as I could over two days.  I first went to Red’s in Wiscasset.  I waited for an hour in a long line to place my order and another 10 minutes for the food.  This was the largest and best lobster roll I received anywhere.

The last place I visited was an upscale restaurant called Pier 77.  It’s in an out-of-the-way location between Kennebunkport and Cape Porpoise.  Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush (the elder one) lives just outside of town on his own little peninsula.  I parked on the beach ¼ mile away and walked to the compound.  Parking and sidewalk areas directly across the road allow tourists a full frontal view of the home, grounds, and staff buildings.  The whole complex is perhaps 150 yards long and most of it juts into the ocean.  A stout-looking gate controls access.

I crossed to Bush’s side of the street and walked up his driveway to the guard house.  A muscular Secret Service agent greeted me.  “May I help you?” he asked.  “Could I say ‘hi’ to the president?” I replied.  He patiently explained that Bush saw people by appointment only, and his staff fielded all meeting requests.  He suggested that I request an appointment, but I explained that I was just passing through town and would be gone by the end of the day.  “I didn’t expect to get in, but if I’m here I have to try,” I said.  I laughed when the agent said, “They don’t take walk-ins.”

I was a high school freshman when Bush Sr. was elected president.  I remember the competent presence he brought to the office.  No scandals, he just did the job.