Scantily Clad Lobsters

And Other Bar Harbor Valentine Stories

BAR HARBOR—Whenever you google “Bar Harbor,” in historical records, you’re bound to get some random and occasionally hilarious hits.

This is especially true if you add the word “love” to the search terms.

In 1967 Jonas Crane wrote for the Bangor Daily News about the love life of lobsters in the deep ocean.

“Female lobsters are especially upset since they are scantily clad when they go courting,” he writes. “The courtship usually starts shortly after the female has shed her shell and is adorned with a bright new dress.”

It doesn’t sound that scandalous. However, he writes, “This covering is almost as thin as tissue paper at the start. Dressed in this manner, any lady would be embarrassed by the x-ray eyes of a computer watching her every move.”

via Bangor Daily News

The article is about scientists trying to understand lobster mating. And also about Crane trying to understand both the scientists and the lobsters.

“When the female finds a mate that suits her fancy, she starts her love-making by striking him sharply with her whip-like antennae,” he writes of a practice that would get most humans in most situations arrested. Apparently, the whipping and courtship continues from both sexes.


via New England Historical Society

Lobsters are not the only love stories that happen in the sea or on the land in Bar Harbor or to the people of Bar Harbor. Countless Bar Harbor people fall in love in town all the time and countless people who vacation here or summer here do too.

Some of those stories even make the papers.

Cobina Wright (senior and junior) were a mother and daughter who had roles in mostly minor films. The mom was in The Razor’s Edge, and she was notorious for climbing up the social ladder, marrying rich man after rich man, and throwing a really good party. Those parties might have been why she kept running out of money. And also why she ran out of wealthy marriageable men in Bar Harbor. To be fair though, The Great Depression took a lot of the money out of the men.

One of her ex-husbands married his Bar Harbor manicurist. She did not approve. And running out of money, she ended up in New York singing in a cabaret. She decided it was time to marry off her daughter to someone amazing. Cobina junior’s father said that the grooming of their daughter’s film career and then marriage prospects was “prostitution.”

The women went to Venice and according to Corbina junior’s obituary, “She later recalled that, on seeing the handsome young prince, her mother had ‘shoved’ her into his arms.”

And her daughter, 17, fell in love with a naval officer who was that age too. They were constantly together, kissing in the gondolas, strolling down the street hand in hand. He was warned not to fall in love when he was in Venice, but the handsome, young man ignored that warning. When Corbina and her mother went to London, he followed, and proposed.

Cobina thought she was too young to get married and her mom was being too pushy. She dumped him. He eventually recovered and became Prince Philip, marrying Elizabeth who became the queen of England. Cobina eventually married Palmer Beaudette who was the scion of a wealthy automobile family.


Lobsters and real-life humans don’t hold the market on love in Bar Harbor. Back in 1888 there was a rash of summer socialites who were writing love stories set in the town. So many that the Chicago Tribune wrote about it.

“PHILADELPHIA, Pa., July 26 — [Special Correspondence.] — There will be a dozen love stories, with the mountains and fogs of Bar Harbor as a background, written by fashionable Philadelphia girls this summer and published in the autumn.

“All the Philadelphia colony of the Rocky Isle is chatting of the course of one charming girl with a fortune in her face and another in her guardian’s hands. She was the life of a Bar Harbor set last year, but disappeared almost as completely as a nun this summer…. What was the mystery and why?

“Last Monday the girl cleared up the fog of her own accord.

“She came sailing into Rodick’s as radiant as the sun. Her brown eyes were sparkling with their true light; a glad smile played round her lips, the old color was in her cheeks….

“And then it came out that, having contracted the literary fever in its most intense form. she had rented a cottage in a wild and retired part of the mountain. She installed a housekeeper and another servant in the place, and there, locked up in her own particular den, she worked away at her novel day after day and hour after hour, going back to her guardian’s house only to sleep. A novel to which so much energy and soul have been given ought to be a good one. But will it be? We shall see this autumn, probably.”

Let’s hope they did.


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