Waldoboro is a town in Lincoln County, Maine. In 1773, the township was incorporated as Waldoborough, named for General Samuel Waldo.
Early industries included an iron foundry, a grain mill, sawmills and planing mills, furniture and molding mills, a door, sash and blind factory, and a carriage factory, also marble and granite yards and a pottery. But, once again, ship building was the prime business and eight large vessels built in 1880. In 1888, Waldoboro was the launching port for the first five masted schooner, the Governor Ames. It was the county seat until 1880 when that designation shifted to Wiscasset
History aside, Waldoboro’s most famous claim is that for over 80 years it has been home to Moody's Diner on US Route 1 – always operating as a family business. Moody’s Diner website attributes its longevity to: good food; reasonable prices; and quick, pleasant service.
“Locals aren't expected to go elsewhere during tourist season and tourists aren't gouged for their vacation cash - it's never going to be that kind of place.”
In 1927, Percy B. Moody (P.B.) built three small, simple cabins on the present Rte 1A with no heat or running water and renting for $1 a night. By the end of the first summer, over 600 travelers had rented cabins. Additional cabins were built, bringing the total to 18. A restaurant followed in the summer of 1930, serving only breakfast and dinner. Then in 1931, a lunch wagon was added to serve hot dogs and hamburgers during the day.
When the state moved Route 1, P.B. Moody bought land and built a road connecting the cabins to the new route. The small lunch wagon moved too and a screened porch was added – the start of what became Moody’s Diner. When travelers stopped for a 5 cent cup of coffee or 10 cent sandwich, they were told about the $1/night cabins at the top of the hill. Bertha Moody, managed the cabin business, and was the pastry chef too. The Moodys were parents of nine children and all worked in the family business. Presently, 31 family members of the family, including great grandchildren, still work in the business.
Sample 1930s menu – times (and prices) have changed !
Over the years, the diner was enlarged and renovated with the final changes 2004; the diner now seats 108. In summer months, the bakery supplies 50-60 pies, 10 dozen muffins, 8 dozen donuts, and 40 dozen biscuits daily.
Moody’s Cabins, now Moody’s Motel, remains a quarter mile drive off Rte 1 with 23 units, open mid-May to mid-October. Accommodations have been upgraded since the 1930s days. Units include a screened porch, shower and toilet, automatic heat, TV, and this year – wireless internet. The nightly rate is now $54-$64.
Daughter Nancy Moody Genthner is the author of What’s Cooking at Moody’s Diner – 75 Years of Recipes and Reminiscences which contains favorite recipes, photographs and anecdotes related to the diner. It’s now in its second edition with 59 new recipes and more photographs and anecdotes.
A trip to Maine is not complete without a stop at Moody’s, where its just like coming home.