Blue Hill Chews and Snooze

Handsome Blue Hill blends active retiree and rusticator culture with alternative leanings, artsy overflow from Haystack and local down-to-earthiness. History runs deep–for a real kick, tour the Parson Fischer House. And the shops lean towards fine craft–Jud Hartman’s gallery is simply amazing.

So what’s new? I went looking for the chamber of commerce office on the waterfront to pick up the local guide, and it was gone (it’s moved to a far better, year round location on Main Street).

Across Water Street, in the spot where the soups spot replaced the pizza place, is the Bird Watcher’s Store Cafe, a delightful new entry that opened just this week. Half of it is a cafe, with homebaked goods, soups and sandwiches (it smells simply wonderful inside), the other half is a shop dedicated to birdwatchers. Nice blend, and I hope the third times a charm in this location. I didn’t eat here, but I’ll definitely return. Prices are low and everything looked quite tempting. There are a few tables both inside and out on the waterview deck.

For lunch, we chose the Wescott Forge. Owner Anneliese Riggall has hit the culinary jackpot here. Our party of three enjoyed two salads, both intriguingly served on plates but contained within bowls made from cucumber slices, and one order of the smoked shellfish platter. The menu here changes regularly, reflecting what’s seasonal. I would go back in a flash, and next time I’ll try the house trio of ceviche, which came highly recommended by a local.

I also ducked my head into The Pantry, a hole-in-the-wall serving very inexpensive breakfasts and lunches; the chowder earns raves; the Fish Net, a mostly takeout spot with the area’s best lobster roll; and family favorites The Blue Moose and Marlintini’s Grill (aim for a seat on the porch).

And I couldn’t resist the Blue Hill Hearth, tucked in the back of First Light Books. This is the reincarnation of the old Pain de Famille–same owner, same staff, same fabulous breads, sandwiches and baked goods. I was considering a baked chocolate doughnut, dusted with confectioner’s sugar, but the lemon melties had just come out of the oven, and who can resist warm cookies. Wish I’d bought a dozen instead of just one. I’ll return before leaving the region for the breads and more.

Yes, Arborvine and The Vinery are still going strong, and if I’d stayed in Blue Hill overnight, I would have gone to one or the other for dinner. They share a kitchen. And it’s great to see that Barncastle, new last year, is also doing well. Expect to wait for a table there; pub-style fare with creative wood-fired pizzas.

In the snooze department, Sarah Pebworth, who purchased the Blue Hill Inn from longtime owners Don and Mary Hartley, hasn’t missed a beat. The only changes are subtle: the addition of Wifi and–here’s a plus for foodies–it now serves breakfast to the public, by reservation only. It’s $13, and includes a bread course, fruit course, entree, toast, meats, tea or coffee and juice. Yum.

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