Maine is full of beautiful coastline and off shore islands that flourish in the summer months, earning the New England state the name 'vacationland'. Just a half hour outside of busy Portland, lies the quiet and subdued coastal town of Prouts Neck. With fewer than 200 homes in total, this seasonal community is a quiet escape for families from all over the country, many of whom have been summering there for generations.
In Prouts Neck, homes rarely come up for sale, and are rather passed down through generations, or quietly sold off-market to friends or the family members of neighbors. It has even been reported that the majestic local hotel, the Black Point Inn, was purchased by a group of residents who set an agreement to let only a certain number of rooms at any given time.
Luckily, our editor in chief was invited by family friends who own a cliff top home in this beautiful town. From local lobster shacks to farmers markets, light houses, sailing lessons and everything in between, we've got the insiders scoop on the best kept secret in Maine.
Where to Stay
If you want to stay in Prouts Neck, the clear winner is the Black Point Inn. However, getting a room can be tricky. The stunning coastal views that are boasted right in front of the luxury boutique hotel attract many a bride and groom. This means that there is a wedding at the inn nearly every weekend in the spring and summer. If you plan to stay in Prouts Neck and want a room at the Black Point Inn, book early!
The hotel itself is nearly 140 years old and is stunningly beautiful. Complete with a wrap around balcony for drinks and dining, a great restaurant, and a pool (in Maine? Oh yes indeedy), the Black Point Inn is five star living in style. It is also located right next to an amphitheater where they do summer entertainment, and best of all, has a row of large lawn chairs to sip cocktails and watch the lovely summer sunsets.
If you don't get lucky with a room at the Black Point Inn, you can try to get a room in one of the nearby towns like Scarborough, or Cape Elizabeth.
What to Do & Where to Eat
Almost everything in Prouts Neck beckons you to the out doors. While this community may be very small, it has a local yacht club, beach club, and country club, all offering a range of activities from tennis to golf, sailing, beach lounging, and even night time activities like square dancing lessons and group singalongs.
On our first day in Maine, we decided to stop by Flaherty's Market to stock up on plenty of at home items for the house, such as coffee, fresh locally made jams, pies, cheese and locally grown vegetables. If you have a chance to stop by this market, make sure to pick up their blueberry jam. Maine is famous for its wealth of wild blueberries, and they make jam in many varieties, some traditional, and some interesting! We also discovered an amazing cheddar and horseradish creamy blend of cheese that apparently, you won't find anywhere else. If you visit this area in Maine, be sure to ask about it.
Lastly, we also stopped by the farmhouse of a local family in the lobster business to buy fresh caught lobster right our of their garage, then made our way home for our first night in with a family style Maine lobster dinner.
Even in the summer time, the temperature can drastically change from morning to night in Maine. While it was hot and sunny during the day, by the time we returned home with dinner, the fog began to roll in. The mystic scenery is beautiful at twilight, and we decided to build a fire and enjoy the scenery for a bit before we set to the task of prepping our feast. For dinner, we steamed our lobsters, made drawn butter (of course!), corn on the cob, and a salad to top it all off.
Every so often in Maine, the fog will linger and you'll have a long, cool, and some times rainy day. After breakfast, the rain subdued enough to venture out the front of the house along the clifftop walk. Carved out along the neck off the wild Atlantic is a lush trail that quickly goes from green bushes of blueberries and flowers to a rocky ocean-side terrain. The beaches were full of pebbles to collect and put in jars, and we had a great time taking fun photos, looking out for lighthouses, lobsterers and fisherman.
After a few miles of clifftop walking, we were starving for lunch! In the nearby town of Scarborough we found an adorable seafood shack on the side of the road called Scarborough Lobster. As you can see, they proudly ranked top lobster roll in town. We had to give one a try! It was delicious, and the perfect treat to stave us off just enough for the home made chowder we had planned for that night.
A few other local restaurants that came highly recommend included the Two Lights Lobster Shack, Rising Tide, Salty Bay Seafood Take-Out, Pine Point Grill, and Ken's Place. We also strongly recommend stopping by the Holy Donut, a local favorite! The are made out of potatoes, so its a real unique treat to try out. Reportedly, the location in Portland has a lone down the street all day long!
It was bright and sunny the following morning, so we decided to take bikes out after breakfast. Prouts Neck is easily bike-able, just about everything is a 5-10 minute bike ride away. We saw plenty of people biking with children, in groups to play tennis, and even some who carried their golf bags on their back as they biked home from the local country club.
Stopping into the local beach club, we made sure to pick up more lobster for lunch and enjoyed it seaside at the cafe on the beach. Afterwards, we took a stroll long the beach to collect more stones and scout lobster boats. We were told the go out first thing in the morning, around midday, and once again just before the legal lobstering day ends at 4pm. There were ons of lobster boats, both big and small, buzzing around just off the coast, and it was fun to watch them at work.
We had a treat in store that afternoon. The kind family who sold us lobsters on our first night invited us to go out on a lobster run with them! They picked us up at the Prouts Neck Yacht Club and we made a wide circle around two barrier islands off the coast. The captain and crew made several stops to pull up traps and stow lobsters. They explained how the traps work, the legal hours to bait and pick up lobsters, which ones you should tag and put back in the water, and much more. They even let us help, and we bought some of the lobster we caught to cook fresh for dinner that night.
The following day we decided to check out Two Lights State Park, a nearby coastal park and observatory that first opened in 1961. Encompassing 41-acres of rocky headlands, the park stands high above the rocky coast and rolling surf providing views of nearby Casco Bay and the open Atlantic. Local fisherman had been reporting whales in the region, and we were lucky enough to spot a few not far off the coast from the park.
Two Lights is a must-do if you're in the region. Besides the breathtaking views and potential to see wildlife, the park is also famous for the twin lighthouses located nearby, for which it got its namesake. Built in 1828, the two were the very first twin lighthouses on the coast of Maine. The eastern light is still active and cane be seen from 17 miles away while at sea. The western light was built in 1924, but is not currently active and is instead a private home.
We couldn't leave Maine without a bit of sailing, so arranged for a boat and captain for our last day in Prouts Neck from the local yacht club. We all took turns steering the boat, and went from coast to coast in our two hour journey, searching for wildlife, and taking photos of the coastline from the Atlantic. It was a great way to spend the afternoon and highly recommend giving it a try if you're in the area.
Though this small and quiet community can be difficult to gain access to, we highly recommend giving it a try. Its peaceful tranquility provides the perfect atmosphere to 'switch off', enjoy the outdoors, and some much needed rest and relaxation. If you manage to book a stay in Prouts Neck, we promise you will leave feeling more wholesome and happy than you've been in a long time.