^^ Downstairs below the main seating area(s) and across a metal bridge were the two best seats in the house! ^^
If I were to picture what Maine would look like in my head prior to visiting, this would be it: a quiet fishing harbor with lots of boats, brightly colored lobster crates stacked high against weathered shingled buildings, buoys skimming the tops of the waters, fishing boats coming and going, a sweet old golden retriever with a little bandanna around his neck greeting the fishermen at the pier, beautiful summer houses nestled in the tree-lined cliffs, clear blue skies and infinite stretches of water.
We drove around not knowing much about this part of the island except that pretty much every place we passed that held promise of food seemed to be closed on a Sunday. After following a few homemade signs we somehow found ourselves in the little town of Bernard where we happily discovered Thurston’s Lobster Pound.
It was still early in the evening – 5 pm or so — yet already parking was becoming difficult and a line had formed out the front of the door. We stood in line behind a rather frazzled family that seemed confused that a lobster pound sold seafood. “Do you know how this works?” the mother asked me after staring at the very simple menu posted on the side of the building. I shrugged, “I assume you place your order with the lady at the cash register at the front of the line?” She looked at me long and hard, as if I were speaking another language, then after staring at the menu for another 20 minutes informed her teenage kids that they had grilled cheese sandwiches. When it came time for them to order, not only did they take another 25 minutes to further decide what they wanted to eat, but not one of the family members ordered lobster, or for that matter, seafood.
Obviously we did not have this problem — we promptly ordered a 2lb lobster (sorry lobster!) and a lobster roll to share and then found some seats on the deck with a beautiful view of the harbor. Everything around us seemed too suspiciously perfect — like a movie set or a scene on the front of a puzzle box — and I couldn’t quite tell if this was all part of some tourist experience or if this was the real deal. I didn’t question it too hard though because either way, there couldn’t have been a better place to unwind with good food, a few drinks, and my lobster-loving hubs.
Thurston’s Lobster Pound/ $-$$ // While technically not “in” Acadia National Park, Thurston’s is close enough to park boundaries that it’s worth a stop — it’s much cheaper than the lobster pounds in Bar Harbor, and in my opinion, much better tasting. The atmosphere is casual and relaxed and service is much quicker — pick your lobster size and order at the cash register. The menu, as the name suggests, is mostly seafood, but if that’s not your thing then the bar, the view, and the homemade blueberry pie are all worthy of a visit. Parking can be challenging during peak hours/on weekends so come early so that you can get a good table. Even on a sunny summer day it was a bit chilly on the deck so wear warm layers if you plan on eating outside.