Travelin’ Maine(rs)

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

The Lucerne Inn now has one of our favorite chefs

City or Town: 
Bangor
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 George

                We would follow Arturo Montez anywhere. One of our favorite chefs, Arturo cooked for years at the Looking Glass restaurant at Bar Harbor’s BlueNose Inn, but that place was closed in the winter, so he had to move here and there for winter employment. Finally, last year, he moved to the year-round position as chef at the Lucerne Inn just east of Bangor.

                Lucky for us, because the Lucerne Inn is also a favorite of ours. And because it has new owners and a new chef (ok, we are very familiar with him!), we thought it was important to revisit and bring you up-to-date on this place. Well, that was our excuse for returning a couple of weeks ago!

Christmas Ideas

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 Linda

                Wondering what Christmas gifts to get for your loved ones? A gift certificate may be the answer. Maybe your grown children would love a dinner out alone with their spouses, a brief respite from a busy life. Or, perhaps you are thinking of a getaway for a night or two at a nice inn for yourselves!

                George often came up with just such a gift for me when the kids were little. He loved the fact that he got to enjoy this gift too! We went to the Spruce Point Inn in Boothbay Harbor one year and it is still a great getaway today, one we visit for our travel columns. The view and grounds are incredible and the restaurant is top notch.

Buen Apetito is one of our all-time favorite restaurants

City or Town: 
Waterville
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                 It’s easy to see why Buen Apetito is so popular: very tasty food, large portions, and low prices. We’ve been eating at Gary LaPlante’s restaurant since he first opened many years ago in a tiny place up the street. After he moved to his current location, beside Railroad Square Cinema, there was often long lines waiting in the hall to get into the restaurant.       

                Thankfully, Gary has expanded by adding a new entrance with a bar and several tables. You might still have to wait, but not nearly as long as in the past. It was surprisingly busy on a Tuesday night.

A great place in Yarmouth to gather

City or Town: 
Yarmouth
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                 You can gather at home, or in this beautiful restaurant in an historic Masonic Hall, but wherever you choose, Gather’s food will impress and please you.

                Our friends Bill Seretta and Lyn Baird, who dine here often, recommended Gather and joined us for dinner there. I was intrigued with the huge space with lots of seating choices, their interesting decorations, and the open kitchen where you can watch the staff prepare your meal. You can sit at a long bar on one side, or booths on the other, or individual tables – including a large setting that accommodates a group of up to 18 diners.

Great food and friendly staff at the Old Mill Pub in Skowhegan

City or Town: 
Skowhegan
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 George

                When you enter Maine from Quebec and ask for a restaurant recommendation, you’ll be told to stop at the Old Mill Pub in Skowhegan. Yes, they are well regarded all the way to the border!

                The Dore family purchased the pub four years ago, and two brothers and their wives work here. Eric Dore is the manager and spends a lot of time going up and down the stairs, delivering the food. His wife Sarah was our very friendly and professional server. Ben Dore is the kitchen manager and his wife Christin is a server and bartender.

Cinque Terre is stunningly beautiful

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 George

                We are very grateful to several friends who urged us to visit Cinque Terre, Italy. We fell in love with Tuscany years ago, and haven’t visited anyplace new in Italy in a long time. But the moment we stepped onto the roof top deck above our room at Elisabetta Rooms in Vernazza, we were astonished by the stunning beauty as we looked down on the town and out over the ocean.

                Cinque Terre consists of five towns, all within hiking distance or just minutes from one to another by train. Cars are not allowed here, so we took the train from Lavanto to Vernazza.

A gem in the "middle of nowhere"

City or Town: 
Rangeley
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 George

                Linda and I love discovering very special places like Forks in the Air in Rangeley, a casual and comfortable, yet elegant, place. Checking out online reviews of the restaurant before we arrived, I was amused by one that described it as “a gem in the middle of nowhere.” That’s not how I’d describe Rangeley!

                Owner Michael Kupstar first came here at the age of 6 with his Dad who sold boats and sporting goods. And he’s been coming to Rangeley ever since. His son took his first step here. Michael has an impressive resume in the restaurant business, from Kentucky to Florida, and including management of 1000 Long John Silver stores, plus 18 years growing Panera from 52 to 1700 stores.

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