Travelin’ Maine(rs)

A regular travel blog, written by George and Linda Smith, focused entirely on instate travel.

A mighty fine restaurant in Waterville

City or Town: 
Waterville
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                 The only bad thing about writing a weekly travel column is that we seldom get to enjoy a return visit to our favorite places. It’s been 3 years since we last wrote about 18 Below in Waterville, but thankfully, it is just as good as we remembered.

                Owner/Chef Travis Lajoy’s Mom, Donna, the very personable greeter, is still up front, and Steve Comfort is still the primary server. He’s an amazing guy, who even remembered what we’d eaten here three years ago! We started this dining adventure with a bottle of a Spanish Tempranillo ($22).

Let’s do lunch – and enjoy a great musical!

City or Town: 
Winthrop
Kennebunkport
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 George

                From Federal Jack’s in Kennebunk to Cafe@130 Main in Winthrop, we’ve enjoyed some great lunches lately. And we were also entertained by a terrific musical during our first visit of the summer to the Maine Summer Music Theater in Brunswick.

                Federal Jack’s is the birthplace of my favorite Shipyard beers, and its second-story restaurant offers great views of the Kennebunk River. Picture this: we’re sitting outside on the deck in the sunshine, the river flowing by below us, a cold beer in front of us, awaiting a great lunch. Heavenly!

Nonantum Resort is a WOW! kind of place

City or Town: 
Kennebunkport
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 George

                I must have said Wow a couple of dozen times at the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport. The first Wow came as the resort, built in 1884, came into view. It’s big and beautiful and right on the water. My second Wow came when we saw the beautiful fairy garden at the Resort’s entrance. Entering the main building to check in, we noted a staff meeting of a couple hundred or more people in the dining room. Wow again! And then we entered our stunning third floor room. Wow again! And the Wows just kept on coming.

History meets hospitality at Maine sporting camps

City or Town: 
Ashland
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                 History meets hospitality at Maine sporting camps, and no more so than at Bradford Camps on Munsungun Lake in the north woods. Guests from all over the northeastern United States once traveled five days to get to the camps, beginning on a train, transferring to a buckboard, and for the final two days, paddling canoes up river. Today many guests fly there in a float plane, or travel up to Ashland and take a leisurely drive through the north woods to the lakeside camps - paradise.

                As we drove into the yard, we stepped out of the vehicle and back in time. Log cabins dot the shoreline, made from logs that were floated across the lake more 100 years ago. In all that time, the camps have had only five owners. Igor and Karen Sikorsky knew immediately, after searching the state for years, that these were the camps for them, and they’ve been providing the age-old sporting camp experience for 20 years.

Summer Get-a-ways

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 George

                Linda is working full time in her hoop house, raised beds, and other gardens, so I agreed to write a column about some of our favorite summer get-a-ways. Let’s begin on the coast, which for us means way down east. And we’ll focus on small inns and B&Bs in beautiful places.

                Deer Isle is a real gem. The Pilgrim’s Inn offers great rooms and some apartments and includes a wonderful restaurant. Nearby in Stonington, we enjoyed perhaps the best meal of our five years of travel writing – the tasting menu at Stonington’s Aragosta restaurant. We enjoyed both the visit to the Inn, in 2014, and the dinner at Aragosta, in 2015, with our friends Rusty and Sue Atwood, who recommended both places.

Now we know why folks love Ogunquit.

City or Town: 
Ogunquit
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 Linda

                Our beach escape began with a picnic at Laudholm Farm in Wells, a federal reserve with 7 miles of trails, one of which takes you to a lovely beach. Then it was on to The Meadowmere resort in Ogunquit, a town that wins many awards as a tourist destination.

                The Inn offers many amenities which keep people coming back year after year. At the outside hot tub, we met three related couples from various states who have gathered here twice each year for more than twenty years. They raved about the inn and Jonathon’s restaurant next door – making us very glad we had a reservation for dinner there that night.

Texas is awesome!

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 George

                Glacier National Park, in far northern Montana, was our favorite national park for decades, until we first visited Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas in 2012. This high mountain desert is stunningly beautiful and loaded with birds we Mainers never see. This year was our third visit here in five years.

                On our second visit, we discovered Cynta de Narvaez’s three wonderful rental houses, varying in size, in Terlingua, and settled into her smallest house, a one room everything-you-need-is-in-it place, and also everything-you-need-is-outside-it too, including a sink, shower, tables and chairs, and even a bed. Yes, these folks live life outside! The large house can take 10 or more people if you are traveling with a group. And the view of the mountains from Cynta’s houses is – well, amazing doesn’t even begin to describe it.

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