Just in time for autumn road trips in New England, a newly expanded, coastal Maine Oyster Trail has debuted, connecting 75 businesses devoted to the slurpable bivalve.
Using the interactive trip planner at the trail's website, you can find oyster farm tours, raw bars (Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland is pictured above), boating excursions, and opportunities to buy directly from oyster cultivators in four maritime areas: Maine Beaches, Greater Portland/Casco Bay, the Mid-Coast, and Downeast/Acadia.
Search by region or by preferred mollusk-related activity and create a map and itinerary that will be emailed to you along with pertinent details about each of the destinations on your list, including driving instructions, hours of operation, and contact info so that you can reserve tables, book tours, and stake out the shuck trucks on your customized route. (Booking each experience is up to you.)
Register for a Maine Oyster Passport online to check in digitally at businesses along the trail in order to track your progress and rack up points that can be redeemed for branded merch such as hats, tote bags, and a "top secret" grand prize.
Though some of the state's oyster species are present year-round, the Maine Sea Grant program at the University of Maine reports that many devotees find oysters "taste best in fall as they store fat and sugar in preparation for overwintering."
To get started on planning your own oystery getaway in the state, visit MaineOysterTrail.com.
And for everything else you need to know about plotting a memorable trip to the region, check out Frommer's Maine Coast, available in paperback and e-book editions.