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Off the Beaten Path in Maine


elrap
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I just wanted to put in a quick word (in time for what little is left of the season) about some places sampled during a recent trip to Monhegan Island. No time to go into long descriptions but if readers want more info I'll be glad to supply some details as/if the thread grows.

Monhegan is a roadless, intensely informal place where you walk around all day on trails along the highest cliffs on the Atlantic coast. The one somewhat fancy place, Island Inn, is far and away the best hotel but the best food on the island for my humble purposes are the sandwiches, pizza, and occasional dinner dishes at the Novelty, and the fish and chips at Hot Fat, a truly unbelievable place that looks like a converted carnival funnel cake stand that just dropped from the sky (like Dorothy's house) onto a wide place in a dirt road. Freshest fish on the island. Also, no place to sit except for a big black rock. Take your stuff up to the lighthouse and watch the sun set.

You generally get to Monhegan via the ferry from Port Clyde, in which case you would be very wise to eat at the wonderful Dip Net restaurant right next to the ferry wharf. They will take reservations for an indoor table at night. Hugely fun and relaxed, with a beautiful light touch on the local ingredients.

Stay at the Craignair nearby if you have an extra night and don't want to spend a lot of money. Walk or kayak around Clark Island, swim in the quarry if it's hot.

As you wind your way back home (assuming that's south), stop at Beth's farm stand, which I think might be in Waldoboro. Look for and follow the signs pointing West from Route 1. Nothing I've seen is comparable to Beth's.

Sauerkraut fans might want to take an extra side trip to Morse's Sauerkraut in that area but I've found it hard to catch these guys when they're open, so call ahead.

Final stop for me is at the Fisherman's Catch seafood store on Main Street in downtown Damariscotta, where you can get local oysters in sizes ranging from M to XXX, a nice hot-moked salmon on a stick, and local cold-smoked salmon that is outstanding.

OK, honorable mention to the Scarlet Begonia sandwich shop in Brunswick, next to the Bowdoin campus, for a healthy, quick and well-made soup-and-sandwich lunch that is also pretty close to, but not right on, tiresome old route 1.

I'd appreciate any similar suggestions that are just off the main road. I like Moody's and Red's Eats as much as the next guy (OK, maybe actually a little less than the next guy judging from the lines) but it's a great big world out there. . . !

Regards,

L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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We had a wonderful day trip to Monhegan Island duing our recent Maine vacation. A really nice 1 hour ferry ride from Port Clyde. Unfortunately, I don't have much to add on the Monhegan/Port Clyde food front, as we were staying in Rockland (20 minutes away) and just brought some snacks for hiking. Our 2 principal meals in the area were at Red's (WOW!) and Primo (fine dining in Rockland - although unfortunately we didn't have the greatest experience - there's a whole thread for Primo).

The hiking in Monhegan was beautiful, and not overly challenging (things that were labled "Difficult/Challeging" on the hiking map, were in reality, on the lower end of moderate). Some beautiful views from the high cliffs on the back side of the mountain. REALLY wanted to try the Fish and Chips from Hot Fat (they looked/smelled unbelievably good), but we had dinner reservations at Primo that night, so it was not to be.

Definitely a nice day trip or overnight at the Island Inn.

Edited by jon777 (log)
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We were there earlier in the summer, so here are a few more places for your list:

- Shaws at New Harbour (a ferry for Monhegan goes out from this harbour too).

- Muscongus Bay Lobster Pound at Round Pond (my favourite place)

- Lobster Pound at Pemaquid Point.

- There's good sushi in Portland (see Portland thread and johnnyd's recommendations)

- Another vote for Primo. We shared the pizza for starters and it was fantastic, the best part of the meal. The bread was wonderful too. The mains weren't quite as good as I expected. I had scallops, my husband had veal. Not enough scallops, and just a bit too plain... I like food where the wonderful ingredients are allowed to sing through, but I expect a little attidional spark, which I didn't get. Veal the same. I'm only saying this to be even handed in my criticism, because I do really rate Primo and will be going back on our next visit. Dessert (which was a trio of something) was cute.

Our table was for 7.30, so we did have to wait a short while. We didn't mind. The owner is so gracious and our service was spot on. There were too very loud "food warriors" from LA sitting at the table beside us, dropping actors' and directors' names at a loud sickening rate. The waiting staff were so nice about their arrogance and even brought them in to see the wood burning oven. Of course, they may have chucked them in it when no one was looking!

Edited by Corinna Dunne (log)
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Hi

I add recommendations for the Damariscotta River Grille (pretty place, good food with plenty of options, full bar, wine list, not too pricey) and the Weathervane (gourmet market behind King Elder's Pub).

Also, note that the wine and cheese shop in Wiscasset (at the top of the little hill going down to Red's) is selling the hard-to-find Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam and Red Hawk cheeses--delicious! Send a friend to stand on line at Red's and check it out!

Finally, Thursdays there is a farmer's market in the town square in Boothbay (next to Bett's fish fry) where wonderful cheeses, sticky buns and whoopie pies, fresh oysters, and homemade pickles can all be found.

Sara

Edited by sara (log)

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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Already some good suggestions, particularly Round Pond - don't think I've been there. I've eaten at a lot of end-of-the-road lobster pounds in the area and never been disappointed but I'll look for that one, and the other places as well.

I probably should've added Cod End in Tenant's Harbor as a place that is a cut or two above the typical Lobster Pound, though I don't like eating there so much when the weather's not good. When it's nice outside it's one of the prettiest settings around, particularly at sunset. If you go and happen to see the owner, a lobsterwoman named (Julia? sorry - lost it, but maybe something like that), know that in years past she was a model for Andrew Wyeth.

I am so embarassed now the number of times I've been to Rockland and not eaten at Primo's. But I'm usually passing through to go to the Farnsworth and Wyeth museums, and eat lunch at either Waterworks (where I once saw Julia Child dining with her entire extended family) or just grab some soup and bread at the Atlantic Cafe.

Thanks & I hope we get some more lesser-known lights along the coastal path.

L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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Well, I've posted about Five Islands Lobster Co. a few times, so may as well add it here. It's at the very end of the road on Georgetown Island (heading north, take your first right off Rt. 1 after you cross the Bath Bridge and drive 14 miles). Great lobsters & lobster rolls on a working fish pier (which some may recognize from a car commercial, I've forgotten the brand of car now).

En route, there's also the Robinhood Free Meeting House for casual upscale dining.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sauerkraut fans might want to take an extra side trip to Morse's Sauerkraut in that area but I've found it hard to catch these guys when they're open, so call ahead.

I just have to put in a word here... Morse's Sauerkraut is just up the road from me and they are open everyday of the week from 9 to 6 except Wednesday.

David and his wife Jacq bought the business four or five years ago and have greatly expanded beyond making kraut. They have incredible lines of breads, mustards, sausages, deli meats, cheeses, crackers, canned fish like herring, and on and on. They have also opened a small restaurant featuring German specialities. In keeping with making kraut, much of what is available in the store has a German theme, but there is much else. They even have some excellent hard chorizo from Spain.

Here's a link to their website (which is under construction)

http://www.morsessauerkraut.com/

Edited by Country (log)
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Thanks Country, I don't think I've been there since your friends bought the place, it sounds great. I'll definitely stop by next time I'm in the area.

They always had great kraut. I make my own now but I used to get it from them mail order when I lived in Los Angeles.

--L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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