Owning a boat leaves you free to explore three-quarters of the Earth’s surface, but we all need to tie up periodically for food and grog. Restaurants all along the New England seacoast and on inland lakes offer dock space for seafarers to tie up and walk in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Or maybe just a simple cocktail and a dreamy afternoon watching the gulls and the boat traffic. Here are some of our favorites:
Summer Shanty at Bass River Marina, 140 Main Street, West Dennis, MA — This Cape Cod eatery offers free dockage if there is space permitting (call the restaurant or hail them on VHF 71 if the slips immediately in front are taken). The restaurant is located north of the Route 28 fixed bridge, which has a clearance of 15 feet at MHW.
Why would you want to eat indoors? Nevertheless, there is indoor and outdoor seating on the patio and the covered porch overlooking the docks on the Bass River. Not restful enough? Then grab a cocktail and sink into one of the Adirondack chairs on the front lawn; lots of friendly people hang out here, enjoying casual fun and reggae music in the background. Live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights. Enjoy the well-prepared lobster rolls, fish and chips, burgers, tuna salad sandwiches, and stuffies. The salads are big, too.
Town Docks, 289 Daniel Webster Hwy., Meredith, NH — This lively restaurant and bar on Lake Winnipesaukee has room for one or two small boats along its own dock, but – even better — short-term dock space is available at the Town Docks, a very short Walk from the restaurant. You can also anchor just offshore.
The restaurant, part of the Common Man restaurant group, has indoor seating, but most people hang out near the water, eat at the picnic tables, and enjoy the sandy outdoor Tiki Bar. The menu is classic summer favorites: lobster dinners, salads, fried seafood plates, burgers, and more. Also: home-made ice cream, in many, many flavors.
Young’s Lobster Pound, 2 Fairview Street, Belfast, Maine — In Penobscot Bay, at the northern end of Belfast Harbor, Young’s Lobster Pound has a floating dock where boaters can tie up right next to lobster boats offloading the day’s catch. This is a place for lobster in the rough. This local institution, run by four generations of the same family, is a big, bustling place of lobster tanks and friendly service. Seating is indoors or at picnic tables outdoors. Enjoy the seafood favorites: lobster, steamers, mussels, chowder, swordfish, crab rolls, scallops, oysters, shrimp cocktail. BYOB. Take-out orders available.
Stonebridge Bar and Grill, 5 East Blvd., Onset Beach, MA — Located on a small neck of waterway linking Broad Cove and Onset Bay, this is a sheltered area at the end of Buzzard’s Bay with lots of intriguing coves and land-based attractions to explore (like Mass Audubon’s Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary). In the immediate area, anchorage or dock space is available at a federal anchorage (5-15 feet depth) between Wickets and Onset Islands; at the Town of Wareham/Onset town pier; at Brewer Onset Bay Marina on Onset Bay; and at Stonebridge Marina on Broad Cove, a short walk from the village center (primarily for powerboats 35 feet and shorter, although it also maintains four deep-water moorings.)
Stonebridge Bar and Grill , right at Stonebridge Marina, welcomes boaters with small boats (26 feet and shorter) to dock at the marina for free while they dine overlooking the water and boat traffic. The Bar and Grill in seafood, grilled steaks and Italian dishes. You will find any seafood you could desire, along with many interesting salads. There is a nautically themed dining room and a deck, where casual is always in style.
Archer’s On The Pier, 58 Ocean Street, Rockland, Maine — Boaters can tie up at Yachting Solutions marina, at the end of Rockland pier, for $20. Even better might be the Rockland public landing, where you may dock for free for up to 120 minutes. The public landing is just a short walk from Archer’s.
In the former building of a waterfront bar, with glorious views of the harbor and the ferries moving to and from Vinalhaven, Archer’s is in a dream setting. Owner Lynn Archer’s lobster reuben sandwich and lobster club are packed with lobster meat, but the king of the menu is the fish tacos, with haddock and spicy rice. Other dinner favorites are ribeye and prime rib, served on Wednesday nights. Arrive early!
East Side Restaurant and Pub, 47 Landing Street, Newport, VT — Located on the shore of Lake Memphremagog in northern Vermont, close to the Canadian border, the East Side Restaurant offers wonderful sunset views from its west-facing deck, overlooking a sweet little marina. Dock space is immediately adjacent to the restaurant; just motor on in. Enjoy America comfort foods like homemade buttermilk biscuits with chicken, gravy, real mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. Enjoy many seafood dishes, salads with substance, an interesting grilled flatbread with roasted garlic, baby spinach, Italian sausage, smokehouse bacon, Grafton cheddar and red onion drizzled with maple syrup. This is near Canada, so poutine also is on the menu. Large selection of specialty cocktails.
Diamond’s Edge Restaurant, Casco Bay, Maine — Great Diamond Island, just two miles from Portland Harbor, is home to the luxury setting of Diamond’s Edge Restaurant and Marina. Dockage and moorings are available at the Diamond Cove Marina on a first-come, first-served basis. Hail them on VHF Channel 9 or call 207-766-5694 or visit the marina website.
Luxurious Diamond’s Edge restaurant is in a warehouse that was once part of Fort McKinley, itself an artifact of the Spanish-American War. Seating for your meal could be indoors, a table on the porch, or a nook in a shade-covered grove. Enjoy drinks or light bites at the breezy indoor bar. The food is fresh and expertly prepared. Enjoy Maine lobsters direct off the local lobster boats, filet mignon, and vegetarian choices including Bucatini pasta.
Hours: Late June 22 to early September, lunch is 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; dinner is 5-9 p.m. Open late May to late June and through September only Wednesday-Sunday, for dinner. Lunch menu. Dinner menu. Phone: 207-766-5850. Map.
Belle’s Café, 1 Washington Street, Newport, RI — Newport harbor seems always crowded with huge boats and yachts, and many visiting boaters might find the tight space daunting. Fortunately, visiting boats are welcome at the Newport Shipyard.
Find a delicious and not-too-expensive breakfast or lunch in Newport Shipyard at Belle’s Café. Pull up next to the restaurant and dive in to burritos, egg dishes, pancakes, sandwiches, lobster rolls, salads, and drinks. Kid’s meals are on the menu. Eat indoors our outside, under the covered tables with views of gorgeous boats. Prices range from $7 to $20. For more information on Newport watch our NEBO TV Episode: Newport
Finz Seafood & Grill, 86 Wharf Street on Pickering Wharf, Salem, MA — Finz Seafood & Grill is on Pickering Wharf, in the heart of the Salem waterfront. If you are boating in, enter the channel behind Derby Wharf to Pickering Wharf Marina. Head down-channel toward South River and look for space along the floating docks. Hail Pickering Wharf Marina (VHF 9; 978-744-2727) to see about tie-up space. The marina can offer hourly dockage. You can also get a mooring in the harbor and catch a ride to the dock via the Salem Water Taxi (978-745-6070).
The dining at Finz is targeted squarely on seafood, although it also serves some delicious meat, chicken and vegetarian dishes. Finz has an extensive wine list.The atmosphere is upscale but not too fancy. Large windows give gorgeous views of the water. Outside tables are also available, too, or you can dine at the bar.
Capt. Scott’s Lobster Dock, 80 Hamilton Street, New London, CT — The family-owned Capt. Scott’s Lobster Dock, located inside Shaw Cove just south of the New London Custom House Pier, serves great seafood meal and ice cream. To get into Shaw’s Cove by boat you must hail the railroad bridge tender; you generally don’t have to wait long for service. There is usually a slip open at the restaurant. Helpful clock signs tell when the owner of the slip plans to return.
Order from a window and head out to the picnic tables. You are in for very tasty fried seafood and lobster, along with clams, chowder, and other favorites from the sea. Also, grilled chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, and 30 flavors of Giffords ice cream.