Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Maine Vacation

D and I spent 5 days in Maine last week--a "babymoon" of sorts where we got to enjoy some things that we won't be able to do next summer with a baby. I'll go into details on some of the specifics in subsequent posts, but here's an overview.

For 2 nights we stayed in Ogunquit which is one of the towns furthest south on the Maine coast. We stayed at a place called the Admiral's Inn which D rates as a 2 out of 5 stars. It was on the main street into town, about 1/2 mile from the restaurants/shops. I picked it because the price was reasonable and it had a pool. We stayed in the main inn. Well, the room was small, the AC set off the carbon monoxide alarm, the bed wasn't comfortable, and the breakfast left something to be desired, but the pool was excellent! I enjoyed about 2 hours in the pool both afternoons we were there--pregnancy heaven! While I typically prefer the beach to the pool, the water in Southern Maine is so cold that there was no way I was going to go swimming when we were at the beach.

The highlight of our stay in Ogunquit was dinner at Arrows restaurant. A number of years ago I attended the wedding of my friends Chelsea and Thomas at Arrows and since then I've really wanted to go back. The restaurant is well-known to foodies and I will do a full post with a review of our meal. Overall, it was a terrific dining experience--the food was exceptional, the service was very attentive, the pacing was perfect, and our walk through the vegetable garden was inspiring.

After our 2 nights in Ogunquit we headed up the road to Camden. There we stayed 2 nights at the Spouter Inn in Lincolnville Beach which was just a short drive from all of the "action" in Camden. Camden is a much quieter town than Ogunquit, but I think in some ways it has more to offer. There's a public landing in Camden where there are numerous schooners for daysailing and Windjammers for overnight sails. Had I not been pregnant, I would probably have convinced D that we should do a 3-day sail, but I wasn't sure how well pregnancy and sleeping on a schooner go together.

The Spouter Inn (photo below from their website) was a fabulous B&B experience. I'd give it a 5. The inkeeper, Grant, gave us really good recommendations on places to eat and things to do and see. Breakfast was amazing--the first morning I had fruit, french toast, and home made sausage and on the second morning I had a crustless veggie quiche with lobster. Interestingly, the week before we stayed at the Spouter, it had been written up in the Travel section of the Boston Sunday Globe.

While in Camden we took a 2 hour sail on the Surprise. The boat was designed as a replica of a Gloucester fishing schooner, only on a smaller scale. Typically the owners captain the boat for tourists, but on the day we went their children gave them the day off. Our captain was their son who is an editor at Down East magazine and first mate was his sister. Both had lots to say about Camden, the surrounding area, and the people who live in and visit Camden (including a story about the captain of Martha Stewart's yacht not being able to bring her boat into a berth in Camden one day). When we got home and were reading the website for the Surprise, I found out that the sister of the folks who took us sailing is married to a guy from the town where I grew up (in fact, I grew up on milk delivered from his father's dairy).

We ate lunch on both days in Camden at the Camden Deli which has great views of Camden Harbor, and had a very good lobster roll (lots of claw meat and very little mayonaise). Dinner our first night was at a brand new (3rd night open) flatbread pizza restaurant called Paolino's Way. The salad there was excellent and the pizza was very good. Dinner our second night was at a little place called Francine Bistro whihc had been recommended to us the weekend before by friends of friends. It was excellent, and I will be writing a post specifically about this restaurant.

While I was napping one afternoon, D went to a local winery called Cellardoor Vineyard owned by a couple of people from Boston. He did a full tasting and found a few of the wines to his liking. He bought one bottle for us to enjoy post-baby. He brought me there the next morning to see the restored barn that houses the tasting room and to take a walk thorugh the gardens and vineyard. It was inspiring, especially for the 2 of us who like to dream about D's company stock skyrocketing so we can buy a "gentleman's farm."

Surprisingly we didn't buy much on the trip. We weren't looking for anything in particular and there were a few things I considered, but I guess I'm getting more practical about souveniers from vacations. It was tempting to get cute things for the baby, but not knowing the gender has really helped me hold back from buying things. I was going to buy capiline long underwear for the baby at the Patagonia outlet but D vetoed that idea (even though I told him that we could save on heating oil if we dressed the baby in a base layer of long johns). The one thing we did get, other than a bottle of wine and some maple syrup for the family taking care of Mercury, was a print for the baby's room. It's an illustration from the children's book "Bunny My Honey" (which I have never read) and will look really nice in the baby's room. If I remember correctly, it's this illustration which is from the cover of the book.

That about sums up the bulk of the vacation. We didn't take many pictures (didn't bring the "good" camera), but I'll post whatever we have. And, I will get those posts about Arrows and Frnacine written in the next week so stay tuned. I'll try to channel all of the food bloggers and magazine editors I read to make my reviews do justice to the restaurants.


Anonymous said...

Made me so happy to read about your Maine vacation. I remember fondly the Camden Deli where I ate several times when up there on work and at least 2 times with J. Would have recommended Primo, an amazing restaurant in Rockland, just up the road from Camden, had I thought of it - perhaps if you're up there again. LOVE the baby print. xo Al

Anna said...

Glad you guys had a great Maine vacation! Sounds so RELAXING, just what you should be doing now.