Of course, the Hamptons like to think that they have the worst summer highway gridlock in America, but I can assure you that the Maine Coast, with its charming little one-street villages, built for the traffic of another era, gives the glitzy Long Island resorts some ozone burning competition, with insanely large SUV’s spewing fumes while moving at 15mph. A car in a line that dares attempt a left turn can back up fifty cars behind it.

In the summer, no sane resident of Maine goes near Route 1 in the mid-coast region with special attention given to avoiding the otherwise charming stretch through downtown Wiscasset, the traffic clogger to beat all others along Maine’s 3, 478 miles of coastline.  We locals  know the scenic shortcuts  but don’t think we’re going to tell any of you Flatlanders where they are.  One of the chief causes of these backups of giant out of state SUVs  is the legendary lobster roll palace, ‘Red’s Eats’ at the edge of town.   Lines of 50-100 can be found at almost any hour of day, waiting for the famous road food.

7:52 PM, Red’s Eats, as tourists never see it.  No line, no waiting.  And the most cheerful staff imaginable.

On the Friday evening before Labor Day, with the peak tourist season gone, and the crowds lessened, I decided to brave the highway home from Bath, rather than up to Augusta on the interstate or a trip through the winding backroads at twilight, and here, at 7:30, is the scene of calm that I found, unthinkable just a week before.

The Menu.  As the summer began, so it ended, with a crab roll

8:20 PM….the outside deck of Red’s, looking to a traffic free Main Street, for the first time in nearly 3 months.  The peace was broken only by the unruly children of clueless parents at the next table.
 8:22 PM.   The pace quickens as the after dinner crowd arrives for ice cream cones
10:15 PM, the Dilettante is home, having made it safely through both Camden and Wiscasset, the two hell holes of summer traffic congestion.  For the New York Time’s take on Wiscasset’s summer traffic congestion and more pictures, Click Here

For all those who have inquired, I am happy to quote Mark Twain—the reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.   Another eating post to follow, and then we’re back to houses and gardens…so many unfinished posts, so little time.