by Kezia Bacon

Picnic Lunchbreak is a weekly column co-sponsored by Edible South Shore & South Coast and the North and South Rivers Watershed Association. Its purpose: pairing restaurant takeout options with beautiful outdoor places, to encourage al fresco dining, even in winter!

Many area nature preserves offer picnic tables with gorgeous views. Need a break from your routine this week? Bundle up, place an order, grab your food, and meet a friend for a refreshing dining experience. Not only will it bring some light to the grey days of the pandemic, it will demonstrate your support of local restaurants during this challenging time!

Aside from Plymouth, the Town of Marshfield has more open space than any other community on the South Shore. In addition to the thousands of acres of town-owned beaches, parks, and conservation land, there are large properties overseen by Mass Audubon, The Wildlands Trust, and The Trustees. Abundant options for when you’re in the mood for a walk!

For this week’s Picnic Lunchbreak, we’re stopping at Harbor Park, a sunny spot right next to the Marshfield Town Pier. Located on Joseph Driebeck Way, these 2.3-acres overlook the salt marshes along the Green Harbor River, as well as Green Harbor itself. A picnic pavilion, plus additional tables and benches, offer outstanding water views.

After your meal, explore the Harbor Walk, immediately adjacent — just over a mile of scenic and ADA-accessible sidewalk, connecting various points of interest along the waterfront. You’re likely to see shorebirds in the marshes, and if you continue all the way up to the bridge at the Brant Rock Dike, you might also see osprey in flight. Look inland (upriver) for their nesting platform, which is located within the Wharf Creek Conservation Area. Or detour to the boat launch area at Peter Igo Park for an even closer look.

For lunch, I recommend Mae’s Sandwich Shop, about a mile away, on Route 139 in Ocean Bluff. The philosophy at Mae’s is that “a sandwich is the most important meal of the day.” Skeptical? Just give this little place a try. Mae’s takes sandwiches to another level. One of my friends actually plans her week around the “Dr. Rich” (meatloaf on country white), which is only available Friday through Sunday.

I brought my 14-year old son along for this week’s Picnic Lunchbreak. We’re both big fans of Mae’s high-quality, homemade offerings, so we each got our “usual.” For me, it’s the Salad Sandwich, two huge triangles of focaccia filled with hummus, sprouts, cheddar, thinly sliced tart apple, lettuce, tomato, honey mustard and — my favorite part — fresh dill. Crunchy and bursting with flavor, this sandwich is enormously satisfying, and it’s filling enough to spread across two meals. Abel’s go-to is the Roasted Chicken Salad sandwich. Served on multigrain bread, it features dried cranberries and sliced red onion, along with lettuce and tomato. Being a hungry teenager, Abel generally manages to consume the entire giant thing in one sitting. He also ordered a cold brew, which he described as crisp, refreshing, and very smooth. I was pleased to see it served in a Greenware to-go cup with a compostable straw!

Mae’s offers breakfast sandwiches as well, plus salads, pastries, and a variety of homemade pickles. The entire menu is offered throughout the day, so if you crave a bacon egg & cheese on a brioche bun (aka The Classic Egg Sandwich) at 2pm, you can have it. Or if you’re ready for your Uncle Stevie (roast beef & slow roasted shallots) or your Lazy Susan (turkey & cranberry) at 10 in the morning, it’s yours. I’m also quite fond of the Mae Day (romesco, roasted veggies & feta on focaccia), and I’m told the Rosemary Ham (with herb-mustard butter & arugula) is quite good.

Pre-pandemic, Mae’s offered in-house seating. These days, it’s takeout only, with both phone and online ordering. The menu includes vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Mae’s doesn’t currently offer gluten-free bread, but they will happily deconstruct a sandwich into a bowl, salad-style, as requested.

Mae’s Sandwich Shop
563 Ocean Street, Marshfield (Ocean Bluff)
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-3pm. Closed Monday.

Harbor Park
Joseph Driebeck Way, Marshfield (Brant Rock)
Hours: dawn to dusk

North and South Rivers Watershed Association

Edible South Shore & South Coast