Maine has very few stay-and-play resorts that feature a marquee hotel and championship golf course. With the recent addition of luxury waterfront accommodations (where the Rocktide Inn used to be), the rooms with the views, Boothbay Harbor’s hottest new restaurant (Coastal Prime) and Maine’s most underrated golf course combine to provide plenty of hard-earned star power.
Boothbay Harbor Country Club opened as a nine-hole course in 1921 and expanded to 18 in 1999. New ownership found a diamond in that coastal rough, bought it and aggressively polished it off to produce the beautiful gem I discovered. Paul Coulombe, a passionate and energetic local businessman, purchased the club in 2013 and immediately poured his heart and wallet into a magnificent new clubhouse and massive Bruce Hepner renovation of the already fun-omenal and challenging golf course. (Hepner assisted Tom Doak on Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand and Streamsong Blue in Florida.) Spending 15 minutes with owner Coulombe is more than enough time to be convinced that he won’t stop there; he won’t stop until BHCC is regarded as one of Maine’s best.
So I guess that means he can stop now. Boothbay Harbor Country Club is definitely one of Maine’s very best golf experiences. With topography as diverse as the nearby and nationally lauded Belgrade Lakes, fantastic playing conditions and a handful of unforgettable golf holes, I can’t imagine anyone who has played all over Maine would leave BHCC outside their personal top three. (And anyone who does, probably hasn’t played here since the renovations.)
My son and I played our round with the Maine Golf Trail’s Peter Webber (and his son John) on a beautiful early July afternoon. We played our way up mountains and through valleys, over bridges and streams and alongside ponds and rugged rock walls — occasionally even taking ridiculous shots from the top of some of those dramatic walls. The constant refrain from my local playing partner (who couldn’t possibly advocate harder for this course) was, “Pretty sure that’s not how this hole is supposed to be played.” And yet I enjoyed the experience greatly and only lamented that I didn’t have time to play the course again.
This place is unbelievable, especially with the new clubhouse and five-star restaurant. The golf course has five signature-worthy holes on the front, a ridiculously constructed back tee box on #14, and four more such holes on the closing nine. Boothbay Harbor Country Club is loaded with awesome options and a course our boys loved from the forward tees as much as we did from the back. I can’t say Peter and I were intelligent to play from where we did, but that just leaves the door (and score) that much wider open for next time.
Bottom line: If you haven’t yet played golf in Maine, and haven’t yet played Boothbay Harbor, those are two oversights you quickly ought to fix. I mean, from here you’re just a quick boat ride across the Bay of Fundy to Nova Scotia, and I hear they have some pretty golf out there, too.
Long before food trucks redefined America’s dining scene, this little trailer-sized eatery opened in Boothbay in 1938 (then moved to Wiscasset in 1954). Thousands of reviews and millions of customers later, Red’s Eats still boasts what many deem Maine’s best lobster roll (with up to a pound of meat per roll). I can’t tell you if it’s worth a (peak season) two-hour wait (though many insist it is) but it’s definitely as good (and fresh) of seafood as you’ll get in any sit-down Maine restaurant. This is one of those dining experiences that locals swear is a “must do”—a foodie feast whose legacy only grows with each passing summer. The owners often extend their posted hours past closing to accommodate their fan base. And half of each visible line could easily consist of customers there to correct an oversight from their original order—picking up a fresh (and incredible) Whoopie Pie.