grocery totes loaded into dinghy at dock


Provisioning Opportunities: Portland to Penobscot Bay


Howard Coon

Though more populous than the coastal region from Rockland to Mount Desert, once you leave Portland, convenient harborside provisioning is rare until you get to Rockland. This owes to the geography and nature of coastal living in this region as compared to downeast. In this region, town centers are often located at the head of the narrow peninsulas that stretch into the sea or well up-river (e.g., Bath, Wiscasset, Damariscotta, Thomaston). In comparison, once you get to Penobscot Bay and points further downeast, the harbor is the town center. Still, the straight-line distance from Portland to Rockland is only 60nm, so one only need provisions for 2-3 days to make it from one end to the other. If you are planning to limit your cruising to the Portland to Rockland stretch of coast, then Portland/Falmouth on the southwestern end and Boothbay in the middle of the stretch are the best reprovisioning locations.

Hannaford Supermarket has numerous locations along the coast. There are Hannaford Supermarkets in Portland, South Portland, Falmouth, Yarmouth, Freeport, Brunswick, Boothbay, Damariscotta and Waldoboro. None of these are within walking distance for a significant reprovisioning. Fortunately, Hannaford offers online ordering and delivery through their website. Instacart and DoorDash can also deliver from Hannaford and other grocers and eateries to many locations along the coast as long as you have a location address (such as a marina or public landing) for the delivery. Depending on the proximity of the location address to a supermarket, these orders can take several hours to fulfill, so do plan ahead.

aerial view of Portland, Maine, waterfront
Aerial view of Portland waterfront by SpiritofAmerica, Adobe Stock

As Maine's largest city, Portland offers the greatest variety of provisioning options. There is both a Whole Foods and a Trader Joe's approximately a mile from the Portland side of the harbor. As it happens, the Trader Joe’s shares a parking lot with West Marine, so if you have marine hardware needs, you can kill two birds with one stone. Portland offers a variety of specialty food options near the waterfront as well. Standard Bakery, just across Commercial Street along the waterfront, offers a variety of fresh baked goods that can be pre-ordered online, and is renowned for its cinnamon rolls. If you are in the mood to splurge on something special, Browne Trading Market on Commercial Street offers caviar, fish, smoked seafood, wine, cheese and other gourmet items. Harbor Fish Market on Custom House Wharf is an option for lobster, oysters or other fresh seafood.  Micucci’s on India Street offers Italian specialties. Maine Craft Distilling on Washington Ave, less than a mile from the waterfront, offers locally distilled spirits.

Falmouth, which lies 4 nm NE of Portland harbor, has a Shaw’s Supermarket, a Walmart and an Ace Hardware store about 1.5 miles from the harbor area. The Town Landing Market offers breakfast sandwiches, baked goods, lobster rolls, sandwiches, pizza, beer & wine, and provisions.

The stretch of coast from Portland to Freeport offers fairly reliable taxi, Uber, and Lyft service, so the resources listed for Portland and Falmouth, or outlet shopping in Freeport, are accessible to boaters.

Harpswell – The Dolphin Marina and Restaurant in Potts Cove at the end of Harpswell Neck offers a courtesy car to marina guests. The towns of Brunswick and Bath lie about 10 miles from the marina where provisioning of all sorts is available.

Harbor and Island Variety Stores (each on, or within walking distance of, the waterfront)

Peaks Island: Hannigan’s Island Market has provisions including fresh produce, deli meats & cheeses, homemade sandwiches, pizza, ice cream, beer, wine, and liquor.

Chebeague Island: Doughty’s Island Market has sandwiches and souvenir clothing as well as provisions and general merchandise. The Niblic is a deli with baked goods, wine, beer, and cheeses, as well as clothing, gifts, and ice cream.

South Freeport: South Freeport Village Market is newly revamped and also offers breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Christmas Cove: Southport General Store is a couple miles up the road from Christmas Cove, and offers "breakfast, lunch, pizza and treats" as well as groceries and wine.

Boothbay Harbor: Eventide Specialties specializes in olive oils and vinegars, but they also have a bakery and offer cheese, sandwiches and salads; Pinkham’s Gourmet Market has seafood and meat as well as cheeses, wine, craft beer, fresh produce, large variety of grocery items and sandwiches, crabmeat rolls & lobster rolls; Boothbay Harbor Mart and Country Store has beer, wine, liquor, mixers, dairy and eggs, local cheeses, snacks, and toiletries.

Boothbay Harbor Mart; Google Map capture

South Bristol: Osier’s Wharf is a restaurant/convenience store offering lobster rolls and more.

Friendship: Wallace’s Market and Italian Deli is a grocery store with fresh meat and produce as well as a deli with breakfast and lunch offerings.

Thomaston: Thomaston Grocery is a half-mile walk from Lyman Morse, if you've come all the way up the St. George River.

Port Clyde: Port Clyde General Store is temporarily closed due to a total loss fire in September 2023, but hopes to occupy part of the Monhegan Boat Line building this summer and begin construction on a new market/restaurant building this fall.

Tenants Harbor: Tenant’s Harbor General Store has provisions including Maine lobsters, Maine made beer and wine, liquor, local produce, and Maine-made specialty foods. The deli offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a meat and seafood counter. Grab-and-go meal options are available plus hot coffee roasted in Maine.

The Maine Federation of Farmer’s Markets provides this web tool for finding farmer’s markets. None that we are aware of are convenient to the waterfront unless you can find transportation. Below we list Town, Location, Day, Time

Portland, Deering Oaks Park, Weds & Sat, 0700-1300

Falmouth, Hat Trick Dr, Weds, 1000-1300

Yarmouth, 1 Railroad Sq, Thurs, 1500-1800

Brunswick, 277 Pleasant Hill Rd, Sat, 0830-1230

Brunswick, Brunswick Mall-Maine St, Tues & Fri, 0830-1230

Bath, Waterfront Park, Sat, 0830-1200

Wiscasset, 51 Bath Rd, Fri, 0900-1200

Damariscotta, Round Top Farm, Fri, 0900-1200

Boothbay, Town Common, Thurs, 0900-1200

Port Clyde, Ocean View Grange, Wed, 0900-1300

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