The only thing better than paddling between empty islands for a few days? Doing so on a diet of fresh lobster. Isle Au Haut, a 10.6-square-mile spit of land just off the harbor town of Stonington—and 20 miles southwest of bigger, more exposed (and trafficked) Mount Desert Island—is the perfect base camp for a multi-day island hop among the mostly uninhabited Deer Isle Archipelago. Rent a sea kayak, paddles, a spray skirt, and a chart from Old Quarry Ocean Adventures in Stonington ($58 per day), and stow a big pot in your boat along with your gear bag and stove. Pick up a camping permit online ($25), then paddle six miles to Isle Au Haut, where you can crash in a lean-to at Duck Harbor Campground. Tip: the village (pop. 75) has a great chocolate shop, the Black Dinah. Don’t try to circumnavigate Isle Au Haut—the southeast point is exposed, with few safe landings between cliffs. Instead, the next day, head to one of the many nearby sheltered but uninhabited islands, such as Russ, Wheat, or Little Sheep. En route, flag down a lobster boat. There will be plenty: Stonington is the busiest lobster harbor in the country. Expect to pay about $5 per pound; then steam, rather than boil, your haul—it’s more fuel efficient and preserves the flavor better. Recipe: bring one inch of seawater to a boil, drop live lobster in, and keep the lid closed for 15 minutes. Serves two, and goes great with a cheap white wine or PBR.
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