Travelin’ Maine(rs)

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

Federal Jack's and other favorite brewpubs

City or Town: 
Bangor
Topsham
Hallowell
Kennebunk
Waterville
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 It all started here, at Federal Jack’s in Kennebunk.

George

                Shipyard Brewery’s Export Ale is one of my favorite brews, and it was brewed first at Federal Jack’s in Kennebunk in 1992. That history drew us to Federal Jack’s Restaurant and Brew Pub for dinner in April of 2013 and Linda and I loved it so much we returned the very next day for lunch.

                So it wasn’t a hard sell when I suggested that we host some of our kids and grandkids here during our August visit to Ram’s Head Farm in nearby York. Joining us for lunch at Jack’s were son Josh, daughter-in-law Kelly, and new granddaughter Ada, along with daughter Rebekah and grandsons Addison and Vishal.

Great wine, great beer, great food: Special dinners at Winterport Winery have it all!

City or Town: 
Winterport
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 George

                It was a very special night for the owners, staff, friends, and customers of the Winterport Winery and Penobscot Bay Brewery. We didn’t know that, when we confirmed for one of their popular monthly wine and beer dinners, but we were very happy to participate in the celebration.

                Owners Michael and Joan Anderson had just received the 2014 Maine Food Producer of the Year award from the Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association, the first winery and brewery to win that prestigious recognition. And they were, along with the entire staff – very excited.

The Salt Water Farm Cafe is a lively, beautiful place with very creative food

City or Town: 
Rockport
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 Linda    

                The view from the Salt Water Farm Cafe looks quite different in the summer. The outside deck is bustling and boats are in the harbor, quite a different picture than when we visited back in January during a snow storm for Sunday Brunch.

        But inside, the restaurant it is still a cozy spot to enjoy amazing food. I love that they focus on serving local food that is very fresh. That point was well made this time when I quickly noticed three types of wild mushrooms featured on the menu. We too search for, and indulge in, chanterelles and black trumpet mushrooms during the summer. My preparations of these pale in comparison to theirs for sure. George has been asking me to replicate his incredible appetizer of black trumpet gravy over biscuits at home. Oh, that I could!

A Favorite Destination: Bar Harbor's BlueNose Inn and Looking Glass Restaurant

City or Town: 
Bar Harbor
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Bar Harbor’s BlueNose Inn' Looking Glass Restaurant has added vegan dishes to its already amazing menu.

George

                We had the best view in the state for a morning cup of coffee, enjoyed on the deck of our fourth floor suite at Bar Harbor’s BlueNose Inn, high on a hill above the town overlooking the open ocean. Of course the BlueNose also offers the best view in the state for breakfast and dinner at its hilltop restaurant, the Looking Glass.

                But this story begins about 9 pm on Friday night, sitting in the lounge where Bill Trowell’s extraordinary piano playing has entertained the BlueNose’s guests for 18 years. Bill is amazing and we make sure to spend some time enjoying his music whenever we’re in Bar Harbor.

Rockland’s LimeRock Inn – Affordable Luxury and Comfortable Elegance

City or Town: 
Rockland
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There are two reasons the LimeRock Inn has been the choice of DownEast magazine’s readers for Best B&B two years in a row: Frank and PJ.

George

                At opposite ends of the dining room sat unacquainted couples from London, England, when Frank came out of the kitchen where he was preparing our breakfast, to introduce them to each other. Before long, the couples were seated together, engaged in eager conversation - not unlike the conversation Linda and I were enjoying with a couple from Rhode Island who we first met hanging out in the kitchen the day before.

Thomaston's Slipway Restaurant known for its seafood and riverfront location

City or Town: 
Thomaston
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 The Slipway Restaurant in Thomaston is THE place where locals and visitors go for seafood, but we discovered lots of other menu choices there for those who don’t like to dine in the sea. Joining us for dinner here were our daughter Rebekah with her in-laws, Noreen and Randy, along with our youngest grandson Vishal.

                Chef/owner Scott Yakovenko, who grew up in this area and once had a very popular restaurant in Port Clyde, has a stellar reputation for seafood, so I chose the Grilled scallops ($9.50) appetizer with arugula, spinach, lemon, and EVOO, which Rebekah explained was extra virgin olive oil. Boy, I am learning a lot with these travel columns!

Ram’s Head Farm is a stunning historic Maine gem – and you can stay there!

City or Town: 
York
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 George

            At Ram’s Head Farm, guests are living in history. My morning coffee was taken in a Senator Bill Cohen blue cup, not long after emerging from the President Richard Nixon bathroom. I am awed by this opportunity to stay in Marion Fuller Brown’s home, the woman who was a Republican icon and hero to me when I was a young Republican.

            Marion served in the Maine House of Representatives from 1966 to 1972 and was the prime sponsor of legislation that banned billboards in our state, of Maine’s returnable bottle law – one of the first in the nation – and of Maine’s Clean Water and Clean Air Act. Over 40 years ago, she was a conservation and political powerhouse.

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