Where to Find Maine’s Lobster Trap Trees

Want to be awestruck this holiday season? Here’s where to go.

Rockland's lobster trap tree
Rockland’s 38-foot lobster trap tree. Photographed by Susan Cole Kelly
From our December 2016 issue

Mainers have developed quite a knack for building huge Yuletide trees — out of lobster traps, of course. Fishing towns from Kittery to Cutler were humbled when Gloucester, Massachusetts, pioneered the form back in 2001 (why didn’t we think of that?), but what we lacked in originality, we’ve since made up for in zeal. Rockland promptly raised its inaugural lobster trap tree in 2003, using red-and-green traps donated by a local trap maker and wrapping the whole thing in some 500 feet of garland. Other coastal villages followed suit, none more enthusiastically than Beals and Jonesport. Determined to outdo Rockland (which had attracted a Discovery Network Extreme Christmas Trees film crew with its 38-foot monument to cheer), residents of those Down East communities teamed up in 2011 to build a 60-footer, using an astounding 1,364 traps. Want to be awestruck this year? Here’s where to go.

Cape Porpoise's trap tree
Cape Porpoise’s trap tree also gets decorated for Valentine’s Day. Photographed by Benjamin Williamson

★ Perio Point, Beals

It’s a point of pride that Beals and Jonesport construct their behemoth only with used traps donated by local lobstermen — not flashy new ones like in Rockland.

★ Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound, Trenton

You can’t grab a lobster roll in the offseason (the restaurant’s closed), but you can stop on your way to MDI to visit this iconoclast (insofar as it eschews lobster traps for lobster crates — gasp!).

★ Fox’s Lobster House, York

A two-for-one: visiting Fox’s trap tree also affords great views of the Nubble Light, which is simultaneously illuminated for the holidays.

★ Mildred Merrill Park, Rockland

Rocklanders are quick to note that their tree (pictured) might not be the tallest, but unlike Beals’, it’s entirely freestanding, without cables to anchor it.

★ Cape Porpoise Square, Kennebunkport

Charm capital that it is, Kennebunkport imparts a vintage feel by using classic wooden lobster pots — none of these newfangled wire ones.


December 2016