Travelin’ Maine(rs): Restaurant Reviews

Maine restaurant reviews form the Travelin’ Maine(rs).

Sarah's Cafe - A Maine Gem

City or Town: 
Wiscassett
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Sarah’s Café in Wiscasset would stop traffic even if the jam of cars in the summer didn’t. It’s a great place to get off Route One to discover a real Maine gem.

Sarah Heald opened her Wiscasset café in 1987. Ten years later she moved the café across the street to its wonderful waterfront location and added a pub. Sarah was honored in 2002 as the Maine Restaurant Association’s Restaurateur of the Year. Today her son Matt joins her in the kitchen.

Home this summer for a visit, daughter Hilary joined us at Sarah’s and offers her perspective in this column.

Great New Inn and Tavern At Brunswick Station

City or Town: 
Brunswick
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There’s something to be said for trying a brand spanking new inn or restaurant, being among the first to enjoy a meal, an experience, putting yourself at the center of what’s happening when and where it’s happening.

The new Inn and Tavern at Brunswick Station is happening, and we felt unusually ahead of the curve when we visited in August, just weeks after it opened. We tend to favor historical inns and established restaurants.

So this was a bit of a gamble. It paid off.  The Inn is stylish and only one thing really surprised us at the Tavern: the high qualify of the food.

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Bethel Inn Resort and Harvest Fest

City or Town: 
Bethel
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A resort should have beautiful buildings and grounds, nice rooms and suites, good eating opportunities, and lots of indoor and outdoor activities. Bethel Inn Resort fits the bill and is our go-to destination in western Maine.

Combine a visit to the Inn with Bethel’s annual Harvest Fest and you’ve got a weekend to remember.

Unable to attend the upcoming festival this year because of a family wedding on the same weekend, we visited Bethel a couple of weeks ago, staying at the Inn, enjoying two amazing dinners at 22 Broad Street and Sudbury Inn, and taking a drive on Route 113 through Evans Notch.

Harraseeket Offers Maine's Most Elegant Brunch

City or Town: 
Freeport
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The dictionary defines brunch as, “a meal usually taken late in the morning that combines a late breakfast and an early lunch.”

Here’s our definition of brunch: a room full of fabulous food, with unique and diverse dishes, where gluttony is encouraged. Posted over the door would be this quote from Epictetus (55 AD – 135 AD), “Bear in mind that you should conduct yourself in life as in a feast.”

We got this quote from the top of the brunch section of the Harraseeket Inn’s website, where we also found an excellent description of what we look for in a great brunch, written by Harraseeket chef Elizabeth DiFranco.

Cohill's Inn and Pub brings Ireland to Lubec Maine

City or Town: 
Lubec
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We’ve always wanted to visit Ireland. We didn’t realize it was in Lubec, Maine.

Jack and Ellen Gearren, Irish to the core, left their law enforcement jobs in New Jersey to settle into the one place in the states that reminded them of Ireland.

 “It’s the fog, the environment, the houses, the people,” that convinced them they need not migrate all the way to Ireland to live, Ellen told us.

At the end of Lubec’s Main Street, the Gearren’s opened their inn five years ago, providing nine small rooms with big views of Quoddy Bay.

 Downstairs they created an Irish Pub, authentic from the Smithwick and Guiness draft beers to the Shepards Pie.

The Great Train Adventure - Brunswick to Rockland

City or Town: 
Rockland
Brunswick
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With a sense of adventure and romance, we signed up for the train trip from Brunswick to Rockland. While the train moved forward at about 45 miles per hour, we felt like we were moving back in time, combining nostalgia with stunning coastal views as we rode comfortably through backyards and over rivers.

And we discovered the elusive Wiscasset Route One by-pass. It’s the railroad!

The night before our round trip to Rockland, we stayed at the brand spanking new Inn at Brunswick Station and enjoyed dinner at the Inn’s tavern. During a splendid sunny afternoon in Rockland, we breezed through the Lobster Festival and feasted at Rustica restaurant on Main Street.

 Arriving back in Brunswick at 8 pm, we hit the Sea Dog in Topsham on the way home for burgers and beer.

 It was 31 hours of fun.

Take a Hike on the Maine Beer Trail

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The best hikes in Maine are on the Maine Beer Trail. And you don’t need hiking boots!

Our state has gone from a wasteland to a wonderland of beer brewing. We’ve established an international reputation for finely crafted beers and many brew masters welcome you into their facilities for tours and tastings.

The Maine Brewers Guild provides maps and a list of brewery tours including days and hours. Some of the breweries include restaurants. Prizes are awarded if you visit 5, 10 or all 25 breweries on the trail. As if you needed any incentive.

Today’s column includes a piece by our son Joshua Smith, who works for My Brothers Keeper, serving the poor in Brockton Massachusetts. We’re very proud of Josh, especially for his commitment to public service.

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