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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Connecticut Lobster Shack Tour: Ratings and Rules

I have been beside myself with excitement to start off this epic journey.  No, no, things are a little different now.  There will be less alpine lakes and summit photos, but there will still be journies of equally epic proportions.  So what am I so darn excited about?  The Connecticut Lobster Shack Tour.  Let me give you some background so we can really understand the importance of this...

I used to work with the State of Connecticut Department of Marine Fisheries Division with the American Lobster project.  Lobstering in New England is so important to the area's history and lets face it, charm, fame, and in some states, its economy. Maine’s lobster fishery is the largest lobster fishery in the country and is more than 80 percent of all of the commercial fishing revenue in the state (Source and more info on Maines Lobster Industry). I was lucky enough to work as a Connecticut State Employee on some of the States biggest commercial lobster boats.  I worked as a part of a sea sampling project, analyzing lobsters pulled up in the traps. This gave me the chance to see the industry from several sides, the fishermen, the state, and obviously the consumer. 

Working on  Sea Sampling Project analyzing lobster (health, size, etc). 
I also worked on a boat in Long Island Sound performing plankton tows for the larval forms of the American Lobster (the picture shows the four stages of juvenile lobsters as "plankton" at the surface before they make their way to the ocean bottom). 

Four stages of juvenile lobsters 1 through 4 from left to right

While Maine and Canada's lobster industry continue to sky-rocket, the lobster industry in Long Island Sound is dwindling.  Warming water, disease, and large-scale die-offs have caused a 70 to 90 percent drop in lobster landings since 1998, according to scientists and state estimates (Source and additional info).  This huge decrease in landings (lobster catch) has caused hundreds of lobstermen to be forced out of business.

Me holding a small lobster pulled from the traps. 
I love New England, its history, and its iconic fishing culture.  And I love that these little lobster shacks all over the coast of Connecticut (and New England for that matter) really keep that charm alive.  When I say lobster shack, I don't mean getting a lobster at the nearest Red Lobster chain.  I mean a little shack at the fishing pier (lack of pretentiousness) where the lobsters come right off the boat, and into a tiny shed.  Where the menu typically has less than 5 items, and one is always a lobster roll.  And let's be honest, that lobster roll better be hot and buttered (Connecticut Style), none of this cold mayo lobster salad nonsense. 

Lobster buoys on displace on Block Island
So to celebrate New England, its history, and my love of lobster, I am taking you all on a lobster shack tour with me.  And we are taking this (mostly) seriously.  So let's talk about judging criteria. 

Pre Lobster Boil Photo Op

Each bullet will be rated on a scale of 0-5:  (0:Poor, 5:Perfect)

1.  The Shack:  Is it small and does it have that coastal charm?  Is it right on the water?  How is the atmosphere?
2.  Ordering system:  Easy? Make sense? Fast?
3.  Booze:  Is it BYOB? Or is there a good local beer selection? 
4.  Dogs:  Is it Dog-Friendly?
5.  Parking:  Is there any parking?

1.   Size:  Is this a tiny sandwich or is it a decent sized lobster roll
2.  Meat:  How much meat is on the roll?  Is it tender or over cooked?
3.  Bun:  Toasted? Soggy?
4.  Butter:  Enough?  Too much?
5.  Price:   Worth the price tag or over priced?

So this is the perfect little frame to judge each stop on the tour.  Each category gets a rating from 0-5, and some details on that particular location.  At the end, the perfect (total) score is 50 out of 50.  

Now that we know how it all works, we can start off Thursday with our first stop;  Lobster Landing in Clinton, Connecticut.

*** These post will continue throughout the summer- not consecutively.  


  1. Yessss!!!! Bring me some, please!

  2. Katie. You've outdone yourself.

    I loved following you through your Utah treks and adventures. But this series will be my favorite thing you do. I. Love. Lobster. Rolls. And I also love Connecticut. I will be following this tour, I am absolutely positive. If you need somebody to drive up and be a guest know who to call. Seriously.



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