Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Moving over to MaineTravelMaven.com

June 9, 2010

I’ve been working on this new site for a few months, and—deep breath—I’m finally ready to flip the switch and make the move to MaineTravelMaven.com. I do hope you’ll all follow.

Please, let me know your thoughts. Is it easier to navigate? Any glitches? It’s still a bit of a work in progress, so bear with me, please, as I move forward.

Bourdain in Maine 2A

January 5, 2010

Duckfat sighting has been recanted, but Conte’s is confirmed.

Share the holiday spirit

November 28, 2009

As you give thanks and prepare to spread joy this season, consider sending a box of goodies or a donation to Operation Gratitude, which in turn sends it on to troops in Afghanistan*. Beanie Babies and the like are especially coveted, because they’re used to help befriend local children. If you’re a knitter/crocheter, Op Grat is also seeking 60,000 scarves and neck gaiters to include in holiday packages. See details on site.

* This isn’t about politics, and any comments in that regard will not be posted.

Sweet dreams at the Blue Hill Inn

July 13, 2009

Two nights at the Blue Hill  Inn isn’t nearly enough time to enjoy the inn, never mind the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle.

IMG_1158I didn’t think anyone could fill the shoes of Don and Mary, who previously owned the inn, but innkeeper Sarah Pebworth has done it. Her enthusiasm for both the inn and the area are infectious.

So far, she hasn’t made too many changes, and those have been subtle. When I asked, Sarah said she’d been advised not too make any for two years, which would give her a chance to get the feel of the place and repeat guests to get to know her. She’s closing on that marker, but I wouldn’t expect anything too earth-shattering.

The Federal-style inn, built in 1830, is located across from the George Stevens Academy, and just steps from Blue Hill’s eclectic shops and restaurants. It’s a five-minute walk to the waterfront town park, where we caught the Flash! In the Pans one night (more on that, later).

IMG_1159Rooms are decorated in period style done right, antiques are balanced with plush linens and contemporary amenities including air-conditioning (not that we’ve needed it this year, sigh) and Wifi. Our room even had a wood-burning fireplace that was ready to light. And at night, turn-down treats: chocolate-dipped strawberries one night, chocolates the other.

What I really like here are the downstairs common rooms. I spent a rainy late afternoon hunkered down in the living room, with another fireplace (there are quite a few in this inn), and a rainy evening in the library, which is stocked with good reads as well as a guest computer.

And the food! If you’re not staying here, it’s worth the effort and the money ($12.95 for nonguests) to come for breakfast, by candlelight, no less. The menu changes daily, but always includes a bread course, a fruit course, and a choice of entree. I still smile and sigh when I think of the Stonington crabmeat with eggs and leeks. Sweets appear every afternoon—the best chocolate chip cookies one day—and in the early evening, Sarah serves hor d’oeurvres, and guests can order wine. When the weather cooperates, you can enjoy these in the gardens, but rain prevented us from that experience. Guess we’ll have to return.

Is your pooch stressed?

May 9, 2009

IMG_8804Take him for a spa escape at the Cliff House, in Ogunquit.

Doggie massage is the newest service at the oceanfront resort topping Bald Head Cliff. Just like with humans, it helps minimize pain from arthritis and hip problems, increases circulation, improves cardiovascular health, relieves pain, provides relaxation, and reduces anxiety, stress, fear and other emotional issues.

“Many middle-aged and older pets suffer from arthritis and joint disease. Massage improves not only their health, but their quality of life,” says Maine veterinarian Dr. Gary Stuer, who integrates Western veterinary medicine with complimentary and holistic therapies.

Instead of dogs visiting the full-service spa (oh, and do treat  yourself while there), a therapist will come to your room to give your dog a private, 25-minute massage. Two choices are available, a customized massage that targets muscles needing attention and an aromotherapy massage, which uses essential oils to leave your dog not only feeling better, but also smelling sweeter, too.

The Cliff House has eight pet-friendly rooms in the Ledges building. Each comes with a water dish, canine bed, PYOP bag, ground floor access to an enclosed exercise area, and all-natural dog treats.  Dogs are welcome (on a leash) to walk the resort’s 65 acres of lawns, woods and rocky seashore.

Bermuda dreaming

May 5, 2009

img_9380If Crayola doesn’t have a color named Bermuda Blue, it should. Nothing compares with the brilliance and depth, the clarity or the dreaminess of Bermuda’s vivid bluesy sea.

Turquoise in the sandy shallows, a seaworthy marine in deeper waters, shimmering like a jewel under sunny skies, but blue it is, an unmistakable, undeniable blue as true to Bermuda as its pink sand.

img_9067I spent the last five days on this Atlantic island, exploring it from St. George’s on the East End to Dockyard on the West, walking much of it on the Railway Trail, with detours off to the sights along the way.

I’ll detail some of my adventures over the coming days. In the meantime, check out the view from my room at the Fairmont Southampton Princess.

UPDATE: Go here for my spa review.

Not too taxing a day at the loaf

April 15, 2009

Because I know you don’t believe how good the skiing is, here’s proof, taken today, April 15, 2009.

Sugarloaf from the access road, 4.15.09

Sugarloaf from the access road, 4.15.09

Nancy on Timberline; Mt. Washington and Sunday River in background

Nancy on Timberline; Mt. Washington and Sunday River in background

Heading up Spillway chair

Heading up Spillway chair

Laurel starting down Ramdown

Laurel starting down Ramdown

Skier ponders, hmmm, Sluice or Spillway?

Skier ponders, hmmm, Sluice or Spillway?

Sugar on snow

April 14, 2009

Nope, not talking maple syrup. I’m referring to the conditions at Sugarloaf.

I know, I know, you’ve put away your skis in favor of clubs and rackets, garden tools and seed catalogs. Trust me: It’s worth getting the boards out of the closet.

It might be snowless where you are, but up here, there’s still snow on the trails and in the trees. Yes, it’s getting a bit thin at the base, but the upper three-quarters of the peak are mighty fine. Forecast through Friday calls for cold temps at night (20s) with warm ones during the day (50s). Now that’s a recipe for perfect spring skiing.

Today was sweet. Cold (yes, cold) at the summit. I’m thinking the ice on Gauge Ext. won’t melt for a long time. Best skiing was mid mountain: Skidway (Groomed!), Sluice, Gondy, Comp, Spillway—all were more winterish than spring. Firm but definitely edgeable. Below Spillway, surface was sugar.

Oh, and don’t forget your sunglasses.

Planning ahead: chefs duel at Arts in the Inns

April 12, 2009

Both visual and food arts take the stage June 3-7 at Arts in the Inns, Kennebunkport’s spring shindig pairing palettes with palates.

New this year is the Chefs Gala, June 6, which features chef/co-owner Steve Corry of Portland’s 555 going toque-to-toque with Mark Militello, exceuctive chef of the Regent Bal Harbour, in Florida. Both previously have been knighted as part of Food & Wine’s 10 Best New Chefs club.

Now this isn’t the only reason to ink Arts in the Inns on your calendar. Throughout the week, artists will be creating and chefs will be preparing special meals.

Lodging packages include breakfast with the artists, a gift basket, tickets to the Champagne Preview, and to the Artists in Residence Inns tour.

Other events include:

art-in-the-inns4• Regional Plein Air Painters  Invitational, June 3-6: Following a paint-out June 3-6, artists will exhibit their wet paint works and studio pieces at The Gallery on Chase Hill, beginning Saturday, June 6. Opening meet-the-artists reception is slated 4-6 pm.

Signature dinners, June 3-4:  These small gatherings held in private homes pair a chef with an artist, with the mission of creating a meal inspired by a selected work. ($100-$185)

Tattinger Champagne Preview, June 4: Opening reception highlighted by chefs, artists, and winemakers and held at the Breakwater Inn. ($25)

Filming of the Chef’s Kitchen, June 5: Live filiming of the syndicated cooking show at Chase Hill Center. ($25)

• Twilight Soiree, June 5: A social season summer highlight, according to those who know such things. It’s held at St. Anne’s oceanfront rectory (spectacular location) and features “canapes inspired by the land, sea, and sky and designed by the White Barn Inn” (their wording, not mine). Participating artists will display recent works, and there will be live music by Big Chief.($55)

• Artists in Residence Inns Tour, June 6-7: View artwork by each inn’s artist in residence. On Sunday, artists will be present to discuss their work.($5)

• Grand Tasting & Showing, June 6: Wine tastings, chef demonstrations, artist conversations, artwork displays, all under one roof, oops,  make that tent, at the Breakwater Inn.($50)

The Children’s Festival, June 6: Lemonade, sugar cookies, crafting, and art displays, at the Nonantum Resort. (free)

• Lobster Rolls and Blueberry Pie at The Seaside, June 6: Meet Chef Rebecca Charles, author of Lobster Rolls & Blueberry Pie: Three Generations of Stories and Recipes from Summers on the Coast of Maine, at the Seaside Inn and Cottages. Lobster rolls, chowder, and blueberry crumble will be served. Bring the book if you want her to sign it. ($65)

• Chefs Gala, June 6: Chef/co-owner Steve Corry of Portland’s 555 and Mark Militello, exceuctive chef of the Regent Bal Harbour, in Florida will prepare a multi-course menu centered around one secret ingredient that’s native to Maine. Each will prepare three canapes, an appetizer, main course, and dessert. All courses will be paired with wines. The evening ends with live music and dancing. ($185)

For Tix, go here. Many events are limited, so book early.

Foodie tidbits

April 10, 2009

A round-up of new from restaurants that participated in Restaurant Week Maine, courtesy of gBritt PR.

CAMDEN:

Natalie’s
Natalie’s at the Camden Harbour Inn will be hosting a special gourmet brunch buffet on Easter Sunday, April 12, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Also reservations are being accepted for a five course tasting dinner that evening. Guests can opt for the a la carte dinner menu.

DAMARISCOTTA

King Eider’s Pub
King Eider’s Pub has announced that the Damariscotta River Oysters are back!

FALMOUTH

Johnny’s Bistro and Bar
Chef Rick Barbata is back at Johnny’s. His new menu will be released April Tuesday 7. Rick was the chef/owner of Rick’s on Munjoy Hill. Also he opened Finch’s and worked with Stephen Lanzalotta at Sophia’s on Market St.

FREEPORT

Harraseeket Inn

Harraseeket is extending Restaurant Week menus through mid-May. Both the Maine Dining Room and the Broad Arrow Tavern are participating. Reservations are recommended in the Maine Dining Room. The Broad Arrow Tavern does not take reservations.

PORTLAND

The Front Room
Eat dinner at The Front Room on April 20 and show your support for The St. Lawrence Arts Center. 10% of the proceeds from the evening will benefit the organization.

The Grill Room
Eat dinner at The Grill Room on April 27 and support Crossroads for Women. 10% of the proceeds from the evening will benefit the organization.

Eve’s at the Garden
Eve’s new Executive Chef, Earl Morse, has settled in and is adding his distinctive flavors to the Portland Harbor Hotel’s redesigned restaurant. Chef Morse comes to the hotel from White Barn Inn.

Back Bay Grill
Look for Sally’s Lamb from Sunrise Acres Farm later this month. Also don’t miss Executive Chef/Owner Larry Matthew’s cast iron seared skate wings in brown butter.

David’s Monument Square
David’s Restaurant just released a new menu and a new wine list. Also South African winemaker, Neil Ellis, of Neil Ellis Vineyards, will host a wine dinner on May 7. Seating is limited to 30 guests. Also David’s 388 just celebrated its 2nd birthday.

Local 188
Local 188 will be rolling out their new spring menu in the coming week. Also check out their spring beer list!

POM’s Thai Taste
Pom’s is still serving its 3-course Restaurant Week menu.