Archive for the ‘Penobscot Bay’ Category

Glendarragh Farm Lavender’s new Camden store is heaven scent

June 7, 2010

I’m a huge lavender fan, not just for the scent, but also the taste. Lavender Earl Grey tea, lavender shortbread, lavender chocolate, lavender chicken… if the ingredients list lavender, I’m a goner. No surprise, then that my nose drew me into Glendarragh Farm Lavender’s new store in downtown Camden, and trust me, for lavender fans, this place truly is heaven scent: lotions, sachets, bath salts, soaps, teas, sweets, sachets, dried lavender, lavender plants; it’s all here perfuming the store and the street outside its front door.

The name Glendarragh, Gaelic for “Glen of the Oaks,” honors owners Lorie and Patrick Costigan’s Irish ancestry and refers to the oak forests that line the fields and pathways of theit 26-acre riverfront family farm in Appleton, where they grew multiple varieties of both French and English lavender. With the move to Camden, the farm is no longer regularly open to visitors except for special harvest events.

And did I mention it sells a lavender cookbook?

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Rockland dining report: In Good Company and Big Fish

June 5, 2010

Dined earlier this week at two Rockland restaurants: One night meeting an old friend at In Good Company and another with friends at  the Big Fish Cafe; completely different experiences, but both delivered good food and a fun time.

In Good Company

Smack downtown in Rockland’s version of a restaurant row, In Good Company has built a strong following by excelling at  delivering what it promises. Chef/owner Melody Wofertz, a Culinary Institute of America grad, has created an equally chic and casual wine and tapas bar, an inviting space with bar, tables, even couch seating (be sure to look up the ceiling, with its elegant relief design.

We married a mix of tapas selections, including a charcuterie plate, stuffed peppers, and the day’s cheese selections, along with glasses of wine. Service was prompt, efficient, and friendly; food was delicious and plentiful (we split leftovers), and the atmosphere? Well, two hours passed in no time. This remains one of my go-to faves for a lighter meal (although there are larger plates, too), paired with nice wines.

Big Fish

On Route 1, just south of downtown, Big Fish is far less refined, but no less fun. Enter to a nice, somewhat cozy room with booths and tables. Here’s the secret: Ask for seating in the lounge, which has been decorated to make you feel as if you’re in a sunken ship (right down to the glowing portholes).

Big Fish specializes in—yeah, tough one here—seafood, although there are chicken, beef, and veggie choices. There’s a bit of a southwestern accent to some of the dishes—shrimp cocktail Yucatan, rockin’ lobstah nachos, fish tacos,  crab and shrimp quesadilla—thanks to the owners’ California roots.

We began with a couple of starters for the table: crab rangoon with a sweet chile dipping sauce and fiesty fried mushrooms with ranch dip. Nothing earth shattering, but both were above average, which set the tone for the night, food wise. We were warned that our entrees would take a while, since a number of tables had come in a the same time. After the starters, we waited. And waited. And waited.

End game, it was worth the wait. On a friend’s recommendation, I had the clams linguini, which came with a garden salad and garlic bread. Big Fish makes its own dressings, and my bleu cheese vinaigrette enhanced a fresh, mixed-greens side salad. Unfortunately, my garlic bread was MIA, but before I could request it, a friend volunteered his, as he wasn’t going to eat it. In hindsight, I wish I’d had both his and my own as it was perfect for mopping up linguini juices. Mmmmm.

Newsy bits and pieces from all over Maine

June 3, 2010

TONIGHT: It’s not too late to Eat for Pete’s Sake, a Humane Society of Knox County fund raiser to benefit homeless animals . See previous posting.

FREE! Don’t you love that word? The National Park Service has waived entrance fees to Acadia National Park this weekend, June 5 and 6, as well as Aug. 14-15, Sept. 25, and Nov. 1. Saturday, June 5, is National Trails Day, so go hike one of the park’s rehabbed classics in its honor.

CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION: “Winslow Homer and the Poetics of Place” opens at the Portland Museum of Art on June 5 and remains on display through Sept. 6. The exhibit, in honor of the centennial of Homer’s death, showcases PMA’s collection of about 20 watercolors and oils by the noted artist. It’s the first time since 1988 that all the works will be on view in the Charles Shipman Payson building. The museum owns Homer’s Prouts Neck studio, which is undergoing restoration and expected to reopen in 2012.

HUT, TWO, THREEMaine Huts & Trails has begun construction on its third full-service, back-country hut. This one’s about two miles below Grand Falls on the Dead River, and will be accessible by foot, bike, ski/snowshoe, and self-propelled boat .  “Construction of Grand Falls Hut, more than 15 miles of new trails and a spectacular 200-foot pedestrian bridge over the Dead River completes the first phase of our vision,” Herring said.

ISLAND ESCAPE: Nebo Lodge, on North Haven Island, has undergone a renovation and expansion, which included the addition of a new bar and fireplace, new deck and courtyard, new entryway, enlarged kitchen, expansion of two guest rooms. The lodge, owned by congresswoman Chellie Pingree, is open to the public for dinner. Its teamed with Equinox Island Transport to offer roundtrip transportation on the last two Fridays in June, and every Thursday in July and August. Depart Rockland, have dinner, and return the same evening; transportation is $20 pp. 

TWEET! Aroostook State Park is hosting a Birding Festival, Saturday, June 12. Highlights include: guided hikes led by seven of Maine’s top bird; birding by boat from Echo Lake; a live-bird demonstration of raptors; bird-house building for youngsters; and a group of artisan wood carvers demonstrating nature and bird carving. According to Park Manager Scott Thompson, this year’s festival emphasizes diverse birding experiences. “We’re here for more than just fishing and hiking; there’s a whole world of nature to explore and to learn how this park relates to Maine and the park system.”

FEELING BLUE? You might want to ink the Saddleback Bluegrass Festival on your calendar for the weekend of Aug. 6-8. Featured performers on Saturday include: The Jerks of Grass; Darol Anger, Scott Law, Sharon Gilchrist and Sam Grisman; The Stowaways; The Infamous Stringdusters; Mason Strunk; The David Grisman Bluegrass Experience; and The Del McCoury Band. Additional performances over the weekend will include The Mueller Family and Erica Brown & The Bluegrass Connection.

Dine out for a doggone good cause

May 30, 2010

Dine out Thursday and help Pete and his pals, Humane Society of Knox County photo.

If you’re in the Greater Camden/Rockland region on Thursday, June 3, consider dining out at a participating Dine Out for Pete’s Sake restaurant (see participating restaurants, below) to help the Humane Society of Knox County.

This is a great organization that not only places local strays and unwanteds, but also takes dogs in from overcrowded shelters around the country. Its policy: Animals are not euthanized unless severe physical or behavior problems exist that cannont be resolved, they’re never euthanized for time or space

It’s success in its mission, so successful that it takes in dogs from more challenged shelters. Recently, 13 chihuahuas arrived from Los Angeles Animal Services, which receives over 300 chihuahuas a month but it doesn’t have enough homes for them all. (Adoption fee for these special dogs is $325. See more on the website.)

To help support these and other animals being cared for by the shelter, have lunch, dinner, or both at one of these participating restaurants (There are some excellent choices). FYI: My guys, Bernie and Dooley, give this event four paws up.

LUNCH

Amalfi on the Water
Big Fish
Blue Sky Cantina
Brass Compass
Harbor View Tavern
Home Kitchen Cafe
Prism Restaurant and Gallery
Thomaston Cafe

DINNER

Amalfi on the Water
Athens Pizzeria
Atlantica
Badger Cafe and Pub
Big Fish
Blue Sky Cantina
Brevetto
Cafe Miranda
Ephemere
Harbor Gawker
The Haven Restaurant
In Good Company
Mc-Hales Restaurant & Pub
The Offshore Restaurant
Park Street Grille
Peter Otts
Pizza Hut
Primo
Prism Restaurant and Gallery
Rockland Cafe
Silver Lane Bistro

Love-it-or-leave-it Conte’s rises again

May 16, 2010

I don’t think any other restaurant in Maine (okay, maybe J’s Oyster, in Portland) inspires such love/hate as Conte’s. Those in the love-it camp were crushed when it closed earlier this year (this after Anthony Bourdain paid it a visit and filmed it last fall). Take heart, folks.

Innkeeper Cheryl Michaelsen, of the Berry Manor Inn, in Rockland, reports:

Just so you know Conte’s is alive and well at its new location on Rt. 73 – South Main Street.  Same funky decor, same funky cook and same great food.  A lot brighter (windows are still clean).  Just for fun he hasn’t decided if he will put a sign out front or not.  It is located immediately after Primrose Framing at 156 S. Main Street.  Just thought you would like to know. When I went last week he was serving a dessert that was 1/2 carrot cake (bottom layer) with a cheese cake on top!!

Uhm, okay, Cheryl. I’m going to give you a holler one of these days and meet you there.

Maine bits and pieces: news and chatter

May 3, 2010

Here’s a quick round-up of interesting news bits that have come across my desk:

Chebeague Island Inn reopening under new ownership

A favorite destination for travelers and day-trippers since the 1880s, the inn, restored in 2003-04, will re-open May 14 under the new ownership of the Prentice family of Yarmouth, Maine. With the May re-launch, the Prentices will be adding a more stylish, up-to-date ambiance.

One notable change is the inn’s restaurant, now under the direction of Executive Chef Justin Rowe, a veteran of 555 and Fore Street. The contemporary American menu, rooted in Maine and New England, will focus on locally/regionally sourced foods and beverages.

Here’s wishing the new owners success. I’m hoping to visit soon to see what’s happening.

• Unveiling of the Calves

You’ve heard of the Running of the Bulls, well Aldemere Farm, a 136-acres saltwater farm in Rockport, offers a far gentler experience. This Saturday, May 8, is its ninth annual Calf Unveiling Day. From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. , you can  tour the Farm and visit with the newly born Belted Galloway calves (nicknamed the Oreo cookie cows for their distinctive white belt). Aldermere staff and volunteers will be on site speaking with visitors and providing information about the Farm and the herd.

Several other local farms will also be on site offering information regarding the goods they produce. These include:

• Sunnyside Farm with goats

• lueberry Farm and Blue Sky Farm with alpacas

• Ells Farm and Terra Optima will be selling meat

• Savage Oakes and Coastal Mountains Land Trust will have information about their operations

• Tanglewood 4-H Camp will present about their many agricultural offerings.

Other activities include the Rusty Hinges band performing (around 11 a.m.) and the Aldermere Achievers 4-H Club working throughout the day with their animals.

• Best Chef in the Northeast

Tonight, the James Beard Foundation will name the winner of the coveted Best Chef in the Northeast award. Chef/owners Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier, of Arrows Restaurant in Ogunquit, have been nominated seven times. Here’s hoping that these perennial bridesmaids finally win; they certainly deserve it.

No. 10 Water Street opens tonight

No. 10 Water Street, the new restaurant at Brunswick’s Capt. Daniel Stone Inn, opens tonight, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. Brunswick is getting to be an increasingly interesting food town, with a nice choice of inexpensive to moderate restaurants.

• Zip-line adventure park opening in Wiscasset

Monkey C Monkey Do, a Zipline family adventure park, is under construction on Route 1 in Wiscasset.

Golf and sail the Maine Coast

April 20, 2010

Windjammer, Penobscot Bay © Hilary Nangle

You want to sail, partner wants to golf; not a problem: The Maine Windjammer Association has you both covered with three packages that add golf to any 3- to 6-day cruise this season. Cruises on one of the 12 member vessels start at $400 per person, which includes all meals, activities, and accommodations. To that, add one of these options:

• Samoset & Sail Package: A one-night stay at Samoset Resort, with a round on its 18 hole, PGA championship course complete with cart and club rentals, for $179-$234 per person.

• Lanyards, Links, and Luxury Package: A two-night stay at historic B&B in Rockland, including gourmet breakfasts, one round of 18-hole golf, cart and club rentals, for $250 per person.

• Travel-Light Sail & Golf Trail Package: Includes map and complimentary club rentals at participating courses around the State of Maine. Free!

Victory Chimes © Hilary Nangle

Never been on a windjammer? Let me tell you what to expect. It’s a few steps above camping on the water. Expect a cozy bunk and hearty meals. A few boats have roomier and more private facilities, but for the most part, you’re living in tight quarters with like-minded individuals. Bring good books, musical instruments if they’re portable, binoculars. You’ll sail by day, then anchor usually off an island or a small seaport, given a chance to explore it before returning for the night. It’ll be quiet, and if the weather cooperates, star-gazing provides the best free light-show for miles around.

Windjamming is not for those who need to be waited on hand and foot, who demand luxurious accommodations and fancy baths (most boats have shared heads and shower, but there’s usually a sink in your cabin), fussbudgets, or who can’t survive without being connected to the electronic world. Most—but not all—boats are historic vessels, built for freight and retrofitted for human cargo.

There are no set destinations; wind and tide set the daily course. You have to be willing to roll with the weather—sunshine, clouds, fog, rain, gales—whatever Ma Nature pitches, you deal with.

For the right people, though, it’s a vacation without compare.

Two for the weekend: fish and shrimp

March 19, 2010

If you’re looking for something fun to do this weekend in Maine, consider these two events: L.L. Bean’s Spring Fishing Weekend, today through Sunday March 21, and Celebrate the Shrimp, all day Saturday, March 20, in Rockland.

• Spring Fishing Weekend

If you’re angling to catch some free fishing know-how, cast your line into this event at Bean’s Freeport flagship store. It kicks off with a free fly-tying clinic tonight, and continues Saturday and Sunday with demonstrations, lessons, seminars, contests, and book signings with the “legends of fishing.” Most events are free.

• Celebrate the Shrimp

Here’s a tasty Rockland Maine Street-sponsored event. It runs from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., and includes free admission to the Maine Lighthouse Museum to 1 p.m.; a shrimp walk; shrimp tales at the Rockland Library; a shrimp cook-off with chefs and foodies competing in separate categories ; shrimp picking and handling demonstration; free historic trolley tours of the city from 2-4 p.m., and a special Shrimp Art Walk between local galleries from 5-7 p.m. Of course, local restaurants will be featuring shrimp specials.