Southport, Maine

Photo: Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse
Photo: Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse

What would it take for you to give up watching fireworks on Independence Day? How about an ocean view? Maybe a lobster bake? Or perhaps your own private lighthouse? That should do it. Forget the parade, the barbecue, and the endless loop of patriotic songs. This year, you’re going to Maine.

Your destination is the Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse off the midcoast of Maine. The lighthouse was built in 1892 to safely guide sailors and fishermen home. The light and the fog signal were automated in the 1970s, and the building was no longer maintained. Until a few years ago, when the lighthouse was painstakingly restored. Its two-bedroom inn recently opened.

To reach the inn, follow Route 1 north to Wiscasset and Route 27 south to Boothbay. Detour to the DownEast Ice Cream Shop for a raspberry temptation cone. Pick up last-minute supplies at the Southport General Store. Then board the Navy motor whaleboat in Southport’s Cape Harbor for a 20-minute trip around the Ark and Cape Island. The Cuckolds, two granite islands, are one-third of a mile offshore.

Photo: Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse
Photo: Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse

The whitewashed inn has 360-degree water views. Seagulls circle above a small boat that’s stopped to check its lobster pots. Waves spray against the rocks along the shore. An American flag flaps in the wind. You can taste the salt in the air.

Inside, the bright kitchen has a wood-burning fireplace—even summer mornings can be chilly this far north—and a weathered barn door at the entrance of the walk-in pantry. The parlor has whitewashed oak floors, old games, and huge windows. The view is even better from the comfortable white-and-blue bedrooms upstairs.

When the sun starts to set, the lobsters start cooking. Steamers, sweet corn, and lots of melted butter accompany the two-pound, bright red lobsters. A mountain of napkins and oversized bibs sit off to the side. The chilled rosé wine is sweating. Lightning bugs dance through the dark shadows. And a warm blueberry pie, with softening vanilla ice cream, is ready for dessert.

It isn’t until the morning, as you’re drinking coffee, eating a freshly baked muffin, and watching the fog roll out to sea that you realize you never even thought about last night’s fireworks. You could have caught the boat back to Southport, driven to Boothbay, and watched them shoot up from McFarland Island. But you were too busy with your own celebration.

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