When in Maine...

If you want to explore the state that has something for everyone, Maine is the place to be... 

As many of you know, I love Maine--and encourage everyone to explore this amazing state--I've been visiting since I was 9 months old... Our family home here is in the "mid-coast" region, on Muscongus Bay, overlooking Little Island.  I'm so blessed that I get to spend time here every year.  If you're planning to visit Maine, these are just a few of my recommendations.  I strongly encourage you to call individual places for their current hours and offerings.  Seasonally, restaurants and shops vary their schedules, and in Maine, businesses do not necessarily keep regular hours...  (Click the pink links for details...)

What to listen to...

Start your day listening to Breakfast with Bach on Classical 106.9, and let this station be your musical backdrop while exploring the back roads, sea-side drives and wooded landscape that is Maine. 

Read this...

Since 1954, Down East Magazine has been the ultimate go-to guide for all things Maine. “Down East” is a reference to the practice of sailing downwind to the east in order to reach Maine from Boston during the great age of sail. The new magazine, which was loosely modeled on The New Yorker, was the brainchild of a Mainer named Duane Doolittle.  My grandparents had piles and piles of past issues and as a child I often paged through them, studying and savoring every detail.  When planning any trip to Maine, get onto DownEast.com and by all means pick up a copy of the latest issue. 

YUM! Have a lobster roll & more...

If it's a Maine lobster roll you're craving, there is no better place in all of New England to have one than at the famous Reds Eat's, located in downtown Wiscasset. The line of people never goes down--no matter what the time of day-- there is always a crowd in front of Red's.  (For those of you in NYC, check out Luke's Lobster)  Meander down to Round Pond for an old-time dinner with a great view at The Anchor, and enjoy a spectacular view, and the freshest of seafood. Sign up for a cooking class, or a Full Moon Supper at Salt Water Farm a recreational cooking school and farm located on the coast in Lincolnville, Maine  You must visit their cafe, Union Hall, in Rockport.  Housed in a beautifully restored historic building, they offer breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Owned by a native Scot, visit the Douthy Bear in Camden, and enjoy an authentic Scottish pub with tasty food, whiskey, and Guinness beer of course.   

In Portland, treat yourself to drinks and dinner at the amazing  restaurant, Gather.  And to satisfy lunch cravings in the Old Port area of Portland you've got to check out Blue Rooster.  Finally, If you're near Scarborough, do not miss The Cheese Iron for sandwiches, gourmet treats and wine.  Be sure to see the cheese cave while you're there...

                              

Cocktail time...

For vino at home, select something from The Walpole Barn's extensive selection of wine.  Not only are they knowledgeable, but they're super helpful in finding just the right varietal to complement any meal.  (Check out the fresh oysters in season, too.) There's no better way to cap off a crisp fall day in Maine than with a visit to the classic tavern at The Bradley Inn, located in New Harbor. The lovely bar is warm and inviting, and they make a most excellent libation. The flat-bread-of-the-day is the perfect thing to nibble on as you sip and savor the atmosphere.  Warm up by the fire before heading out into the crisp evening air under millions of twinkling Maine stars...

Shop till you drop...

A visit to the Old Port District in Portland should definitely be on your to-do list. This is the hip, trendy, area of Portland, and you can easily spend a day here.  Wander the brick streets and check out the locally owned shops, bookstores and independent coffee houses in this charming part of the City of Portland.  We often joke that we can land at the airport and be shopping in less than 10 minutes!!!  Don't miss Folly 101, for great home goods, J.L. Coombs for a huge selection of shoes and boots, and pop in to Enterprise Records to check out real vinyl albums in this cool joint. York, Maine, is home to Stonewall Kitchen--one of our favorite places!  Take a ramble down Route 1 to tour the Stonewall Kitchen store and gardens, and sample their latest jams and treats. Plan on staying to have lunch in the wonderful cafe. If gardening is of interest, there are a few spots to visit. On your way down south, don't miss Snug Harbor Farm for their specialty topiary plants.  Allow plenty of time to wander the property, see the chickens, and say hello to the donkey.  If you want a bit of a wander, Fernwood Nursery and Garden is a natural delight.  Located in a secluded inland wooded setting, this unique haven focuses  on native and woodland plants hardy to the area. They have one of the largest collections of shade tolerant plants in New England.  Many a Hosta in my yard has come from this inspiring place.

A beautiful drive north will take you up to Stone Fish, in Tenants Harbor. Owner Anne Klapfish has a great eye for the unusual, and combines new merchandise with vintage finds to create her amazing shop.  Scoot down the winding road to Round Pond for one of my new favorites--The Art of Antiquing--a delightful emporium of all things French and British.  Several treasures have made it home with me!

                      

Antique Bonanza...

Maine has got the best antiquing of any place I've ever been, and almost every town has a few shops, in addition to innumerable tag sales to check out as well.  Read the little road-side sign posts as you travel Route 1 for all sorts of wonderful spots to explore. 

The annual Union Antiques Festival is an amazing outdoor marketplace packed with more than 150 of the best dealers in New England.  You'll find Early American items, primitives, pottery, textiles and anything else you can think of. The early-bird shopping is definitely worth the price of admission.  (Swing by Beth's Farm Market on the way home for bountiful fresh produce, pumpkins, mums and baked goods.)   Nobleboro Antique Exchange is one of the best multi-dealer shops in Maine; allow plenty of time to explore all the nooks and crannies.  The Cornish Trading Post is another outstanding multi-dealer shop.  Many a rainy day has happily been spent browsing its three floors of eclectic offerings.

For individual antique shopping, do not miss the outstanding offerings at the ever changing Pillars Antiques in Freeport.  Quite a few treasures in my house have come from here. The shop is always changing, and full of great decorative stuff.  For an authentic Maine antique outing, be sure to visit the 1839 House in Damariscotta. Housed in a huge vintage barn, there are two floors of goodies to explore.  Be sure to say "hi" to Chloe the shop dog when you visit...  Swing to the very south of Maine to "Hit the Strip"--the 42 miles along Route 1 from Scarborough to Kittery that has more than 50 antique shops to explore--from the super high end, to a pickers delight...  Some of our best vintage finds for Clever Girl are sourced in "The Pine Cone State", and I have an excellent relationship with the local U-Haul place, because a trailer inevitably seems to follow me back home to Illinois...

Finally, sneak a peek at my Mom's little cottage here.  Many, many happy times spent in this wonderful place.

I hope you have wonderful adventures in Maine--there's certainly lots to explore. I'd love to hear about your own favorite finds...

Happy hunting,