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Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's All About ME

The view of the harbor from our B&B in Boothbay Harbor.
Well, we've been back from our 2 week trip to Maine for a few days and I'm finally settled enough to get something written about it.

It was a great trip--we had really good weather for the most part, took some beautiful and fun hikes and, of course, ate a bunch of great food.  As you would expect, much of what I'll be writing about is food-related.

The drive up was pretty uneventful.  We always talk about how, once you cross the bridge from Portsmouth, NH into Maine, you can almost feel a palpable change.  You breathe in and know that you aren't dealing with the hubbub of the Philly suburbs anymore. 

We made our usual stop at Freeport and visited L.L. Bean and a few other stores.  Then it was on to Boothbay Harbor.  We used to drive straight through to our ultimate destination, but that gets pretty long and several years ago, we decided to stop a couple of nights in some other towns.  We've stayed in Boothbay Harbor the last 3 years in a nice B&B, The Bayside Inn--very kid-friendly (they have 2 kids of their own who were so excited to hang with Jake for a little while) and in a great location.

Our first ME dinner was at a place we visited last year.  The Lobster Dock gets great reviews and, if you're a fan of the Food Network show Throwdown with Bobby Flay, you may recognize it as the location of the Crabcake Throwdown episode (Flay won--a few nights later, we actually saw the episode on TV). 

The menu is HUGE, but we were in the mood for some good fried seafood.  I got a humongous platter of fried haddock, Maine shrimp, scallops and clams piled on a load of French fries.  MB got the fried haddock platter--a huge piece of fish over fries.  It was delicious: cooked to perfection--not a speck of grease on the paper plate, eaten on the dock overlooking the harbor.  Jake got a hot dog, but had his greatest epiphany of the trip--he loves fried Maine shrimp.

Maine shrimp are those little tiny shrimp--very tasty and tender.  I offered him one of mine and that was that--he probably ate half of the many I had on my plate.  He was so excited that he found something new to eat--and, as you will find out, he ate plenty of them in the coming weeks.

You can see the big menu
in the background.

 After dinner, we waddled over to the Greater Boothbay Ice Cream Factory--another place we've visited in the past.  Here they offer probably 70 or more flavors of homemade ice creams--and you can split the scoop, too (2 "half-scoops" of different flavors.  Very tasty.  Ice cream could be Jake's favorite food.

Artichokes (a member of the thistle
family--obviously) in the Garden of
the Five Senses.

Jake in the "bear cave".

After a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, fruit, blueberry muffins and more, we headed to The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens--a favorite of ours from our other 2 visits.  These gardens are relatively new and fairly unknown, but they are incredible--even in September.  Everything is done exceptionally well--from the walkways to the benches to the sculptures to the cafe to the gardens themselves.  They have a number of gardens including The Garden of the Five Senses, The Kitchen Garden and the incredible Children's Garden, which opened during the summer.  We literally spent all day there--much of it in the Children's Garden where Jake climbed in a tree house, hid in a bear cave and played in the fountains among other things.  It really is a must-see destination.
More fun at the Gardens.

Later, we went to nearby Wiscasset and had dinner at Sara's Cafe, a nice family restaurant with a great view of the Sheepscot River.  Admittedly, the food is so-so, but it's a good place to take kids.  They have very good desserts, too.  For the first time in a long time, we didn't stop for a lobster roll at Red's Eats, across the street from Sara's.  Sort of feels like something is missing not having stopped there, but as you will find out, there were plenty of lobster in our future.

Creme Brulee French Toast greeted us the next morning, our last in Boothbay Harbor.  After dragging our full bellies around town a little bit, we stopped at Ocean Point, a nice public area nearby.  Then it was off to the cottage in Brooklin.
In that area, one of the most famous and popular places to eat is Moody's DinerOpened in 1934, Moody's has been the place to get good, homemade comfort food.  Among the things we had there: Turkey Sandwich (with their own roasted turkey breast), Turkey Pot Pie, Blueberry Pie, Chocolate Cream Pie and a Whoopie Pie (The debate rages on about whether Whoopie Pies are a Maine creation or a PA Dutch/Amish thing.  They taste the same and my theory is that if they're both called the same thing, there must be some sort of connection between the two.  I should do some research about that.)  Anyway, we finally stopped at Moody's after passing it for the last 12 years.  Good stuff.

We made it to the cottage after going grocery shopping (the Tradewinds Grocery Store  in Blue Hill is great) and we were ready for the next part of our trip.

Next time:  Farmers' market, hiking and a meal at one of our favorite restaurants (anywhere)--Cafe This Way in Bar Harbor. 

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