August 18-25, 2012
08/18 Today marked what coulda/shoulda have been the 38th anniversary of the beginning of our honeymoon, but we had to postpone it (Montreal & Quebec) for a few days. The reason for the postponement was an idiot (me) flicked the ash from his (mine) cigarette into his (the idiot’s) eye and he (me) could not travel. There are many couples who spend the first day of their honeymoon in the bedroom; I did, Ann didn’t. LOL
Fast forward 38 years and you would have found us departing Port Westie with Max-the-Schipperke. After dropping him off at the vet, our trip officially began. Traffic was heavy and began to back-up as we approached Hartford so I made a quick exit expecting to connect to Route 15 that would take us over the Charter Oak Bridge. I went the wrong way and had to pull a U-turn that got us back on track.
I-84 traffic was heavy but moving along nicely until we approached the MA turnpike where we encountered stop and go, more stop than go, traffic. I figured it would clear up once we cleared the tolls, but it only grew worse.
Just about the time traffic started to clear up it was time for us to exit the turnpike. Fortunately the remainder of the trip to Scarborough, ME moved along nicely. We had a reservation at the Fairfield Inn using some old (20 years) Honored Guest points.
This property was probably old back when I earned the points and our first floor king was very small. The bathroom was the size you would likely find in an economy class room on a cruise ship (e.g. toilet, shower and sink all in a space the size of a small closet.
We tried taking a nap, but there were too many doors opening and closing so we gave up and decided it was happy hour. After a few glasses of cabernet sauvignon, we got ready for dinner. Getting ready for dinner on this trip entailed wearing the same shorts and top that we wore the rest of the day, but we brushed our teeth. On the way out the door we discovered a large pot of mac and cheese had been prepared; I would have preferred cookies, but we each took a bite and it wasn’t all that bad.
Dinner was at Little Seoul, a Korean restaurant in Portland.
We found a free parking space and walked a few blocks to the restaurant. It was empty save for one other table, but as the night progressed a number of people joined us. We started off with pumpkin soup that was sweet yet a bit spicy, just like me, plus an avocado salad that looked better than it tasted.
For entrees we shared orders of Japache – sweet potato noodles and katsu chicken. – lightly breaded and fried skinless chicken breast with a cabbage salad.
Everything was good as was the service, but nothing climbed any culinary heights. ($22.13, R.com, 2.5 Forks)
After dinner we walked around Old Port enjoying the public sculptures and listening to a band playing on the Green.
08/19 I woke up at 5AM and spent the remainder of the early morning hours on the internet. Breakfast was included so we started off with fresh fruit, OJ and make your own waffles with syrup and whipped cream. (2.5 Forks)
The weather this morning was glorious so we repacked the car and headed north. We took as side trip first stopping at Bath home of the Bath Iron Works and not much else from what we saw. The next stop was Georgetown Pottery where we spent some time in the showroom. We later discovered there was another, more convenient, location on Route 1.
At Wiscasset, the self-proclaimed prettiest village in Maine and home to Red’s Eats (lobster rolls), we took a side tour with our first stop being Fort Edgecomb State Historic Site. The park includes a large picnic area, a two-story octagonal wooden blockhouse and beautiful views of the Sheepscot River (more Sheepscot to follow).
We continued on to Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park which includes a lighthouse (surprise) plus an excellent view of the rockbound coast.
After backtracking a bit, we stopped at Pemaquid Fisherman’s Co-op for a late lunch of lobsters and coleslaw while dining on the patio overlooking the harbor.
The price of lobsters has remained low this summer so we only paid $4.99 per pound. I received the softest of soft shelled lobsters, but Ann lucked out by getting a hard shell because they ran out of the soft shells.
($15.23, 2.5 Forks)
We were running late so we cut the tour a little short arriving at the Birchwood Motel in Camden at 3:30PM. This environmentally friendly motel charged us only $99 per night because we booked 3 midweek nights.
We were assigned room 12, one of six recently remodeled rooms that included a mini flat screen TV, mini fridge, king size bed and no storage space for our clothes. The room was immaculately clean and more than serviceable.
After a nap and a few glasses of vino, we headed to 40 Paper, a restaurant in downtown Camden. Neither of us was very hungry so we shared a salad and a delicious artichoke, ricotta cheese, olives and spinach flatbread pizza. ($27.54, 4 Forks)
08/20 I slept until 6AM and then made the short drive to Camden where I toured the harbor area and town proper under a beautiful cloudless sky.
A “continental” breakfast was included, but it was limited to OJ, peach scones and fresh fruit salad. What we, and others, found to be a bit odd was there was no butter, margarine or jam available so the scones ended up being dry.
After breakfast we made the short drive to Rockport Marine Park where we enjoyed the view of the small harbor, a restoration of the 19th century limestone kilns and a statute of Andre the Seal. Andre was a harbor seal found as a pup in the harbor who spent his winters in a Boston aquarium and each summer for 20 years would make the 150 mile swim to Rockport harbor.
On our way to Port Clyde, we made a short detour to visit Marshall Point Lighthouse where there was a group of artists attending a workshop.
We then continued on to Port Clyde for the puffin tour to Eastern Egg Rock.
I knew the puffins migrated from Maine by the end of August, but did not realize until after purchasing our tickets that the last sighting was two days prior so there would be no puffins for us. On our 2.5 hour cruise we watched them pull 2 lobster pots, were given a detailed lecture on the history and inhabitants of many of the islands including a few owned by members of the Wyeth family. For wildlife we saw numerous species of pelagic birds, ospreys, seals and eagles.
Betsy Wyeth’s home (I think)
We returned to the motel where we took a siesta followed by a glass of wine before venturing off to Rockland for dinner at In Good Company.
We started off with blueberry mojitos and shared an order of sweet n’ spicy pepperdews with Seal Island goat cheese.
Ann ordered the sesame crusted tuna with yellow tomato couilis that was served on top of basmati rice.
My entrée was a beef and chanterelle mushroom risotto served with fontina cheese.
Though chef/owner Melody Wolfertz was not in the kitchen this evening, our meal was just as good as last year’s. ($83.76, 4.5 Forks)
It was twilight time as we exited the restaurant, so in an act of total foolishness, we then attempted to take the almost 2 mile roundtrip hike along the Rockland breakwater to the lighthouse.
We stopped just short of the lighthouse and made our way back in almost total darkness. Note to self: next time do this hike in the early morning.
08/21 The morning was cloudy with some drizzle so I slept late. Our breakfast included stale blueberry scones, OJ and fresh fruit salad.
We toured the shops and galleries of Belfast this morning and noticed an American Cruise Line ship in port.
This ship cruises from Portland to Bar Harbor, Belfast, Camden, Rockland and Boothbay Harbor. As it headed south over the next several days, we encountered the ship 2 more times.
On returning to Camden we made another driving tour with our first stop at Laite Beach. There is a saltwater beach, picnic tables, and an excellent view of Camden’s outer harbor including Curtis Island and its lighthouse.
Continuing on we stopped at Alderme Farm, home to a herd of Belted Galloway cattle. These are known as Oreo cookie cows because these black cows have a white stripe. We know this because of the pictures at the information center, not from seeing them though Ann did get a distant view. She also is now sporting a new Alderme Farm T-shirt.
The next stop on our tour was Vesper Hill Chapel, aka Children’s Chapel, that sits high on a ledge overlooking Penobscot Bay. On departing I connected to Beauchamp Road which hugs the rugged shore line on its way to Rockport Harbor.
On our return to Camden we had a late lunch at the Café Mediterranean where we opted to share a beef gyro. It was both large and delicious. ($9.75, 3.5 Forks)
After a short nap followed by a little reading, it was time to head off for Paper 40’s happy hour where all drinks are 50% off and there are $5 apps. For the first round I ordered a Pesca (mulled fresh basil & lemon, aged bourbon and peach infusion bitters – 4.5 Sips).
Ann opted for the ginger cilantro margarita (muddled cilantro, ginger, lime and silver tequila – 4.5 Sips).
Round 2 found Ann re-ordering the margarita while I decided to throw caution to the wind by ordering a Moscow Mule (vodka, lime juice, grapefruit bitters and ginger beer – 4.5 Sips).
Fortunately our choice for dinner, Long Grain, was only a short walk away. We started off by sharing an order of pork, shrimp and seaweed dumplings.
I followed Ann’s lead by ordering Chiangmai curry noodles (kao soi) with chicken which are served in an unsweetened and spicy coconut broth that was delicious.
We closed out the meal with an overpriced and mediocre slice of coconut flan with black sticky rice.
($44.52, 4 Forks)
We walked a few calories off by touring downtown Camden before retiring to the room for the night.
08/22 We woke up to find the weather was once again featuring clear skies, low humidity and warm temperatures. Our final breakfast at the Birchwood was OJ, fresh fruit salad and scones – still no butter or jam.
After checking out, we headed to downtown Rockland where we stopped in several shops and art galleries.
Today’s tour was to Owls Head where we visited Owls Head State Park.
The lighthouse, maintained by the Coast Guard, is only 30 feet tall, but appears more impressive because it rests on a 100 foot rocky promontory.
The entire park offers magnificent views of the west Penobscot Bay at every turn.
Our next stop was the Maine State Prison Showroom in Thomaston.
There were some wonderful models of sailing vessels, wooden furniture and many other items created by the prisoners that would have made wonderful gifts.
The showroom appeared to be staffed by one guard and several prisoners.
We stopped at Dog Eat Dog World for a pair of doggies for lunch. ($5, 2 Forks)
We continued south to Boothbay Harbor where we held reservations for 3 nights at Fisherman’s Wharf Inn.
This hotel is built on pilings so most, if not all, rooms offer views of the harbor from both the mini balconies and windows.
From our room we could see both the harbor, including Capn’ Fish’s, whale watch boat and a portion of the town.
The furniture and a TV are a bit dated, but the room was well maintained and I was a happy camper.
At check-in we received vouchers good for a 1.5 hour harbor cruise aboard the Boothbay Whale Watch vessel. We decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather so we booked the cruise for this afternoon. The naturalist did an excellent job of pointing out the various islands, lighthouses and expensive homes in the harbor area along with a brief history of them. We also saw numerous harbor seals resting on and swimming in the waters around Pumpkin Ledge.
We adjourned to our mini deck upon our return to port where we enjoyed a few glasses of wine. Dinner this evening was at our hotel where I had reserved an outside table overlooking the harbor.
We shared a very modest spinach salad that included 4 slices of crisp bacon, an egg and about a dozen baby spinach leaves – very much overpriced at $9.
Ann ordered the farm raised salmon entrée that included a pair of crab and potato cakes plus tempura asparagus (she swears they were green beans).
I ordered sole stuffed with house made smoked salmon, mashed potatoes and sautéed (frozen) spinach.
The quality of the meal was about what I expected - average. ($33.42, R.com, 2.5 Forks)
We walked around town resisting the temptations offered by the many fudge and ice cream shops along the way.
08/23 The nice weather continued today. On waking up I walked around town before purchasing a (very) large apple fritter ($2.87, 2 Forks) at Baker’s Way for our whale watch trip before settling in front of the inn’s complimentary computer where I checked my email and generally killed time until Ann was ready to face the day.
A complimentary buffet breakfast was included in our room rate so guess where we decided to dine this morning? I started off with OJ and fruit salad followed by a spinach and cheese made-to-order omelet.
I complimented it with a slice of ham, a few strips of bacon and a small portion of home potatoes.
The food was pretty good, but service was painfully slow. ($3, 2.5 Forks)
On arrival yesterday, I had taken the time to make a reservation for today’s whale watch which turned out to be a great move because we discovered the trip was sold out. On our 4 hour trip we saw a pair of humpback whales, pelagic birds and many harbor seals. What we didn’t see, though others did, were porpoises and minke whales. ($46, Groupon, 4 Seals)
The remainder of the afternoon was spent in our room resting. In the early evening we enjoyed happy hour glasses of wine on our deck before making the short walk to the Boathouse Bistro.
We decided to dine on the open deck on the third level. All the tables were taken so we opted to sit at the bar and shared orders of spinach salad (3 Forks) and “wild” mushroom ragout that was nothing more exotic than button mushrooms (2 Forks).
Our 2nd order was baked goat cheese with figs that was, shall we say, weird tasting (2 Forks) and Asian lobster and crab cakes that were devoid of flavor (1 Fork).
This meal was totally disappointing given the fact that the restaurant is generally regarded as being the 2nd best in Boothbay Harbor. ($38.17)
It was dark as we exited the restaurant, but we decided to walk across the footbridge to the other side of town and check out the Lobster Dock. Prices of lobster there were much higher than at our hotel and several other restaurants in town. On returning to “our” side of town, we stopped at the Ice Cream Factory for single scoops of black raspberry (Ann) and Bailey’s Island ice cream. ($5.31, 4 Forks)
08/24 I woke up at 5:30AM and spent most of the morning on the internet before taking a short walk around town. This morning’s complimentary breakfast included my usual OJ and fruit cup with yogurt plus easy over eggs and bacon.
Again, service was painfully slow. ($3, 2.5 Forks)
The weather today was a carbon copy of yesterday’s so we decided to hike at Porter Preserve on Barter’s Island.
This land trust property offers several view points of the Sheepscot River.
We rested for a few hours on our return to the room before making yet another tour of town where we visited several art galleries and stores
In the late afternoon we enjoyed yet another happy hour on our deck as we watched harbor traffic before heading to the inn’s dining room for dinner. I had made a reservation for an outside table on the deck for this evening.
The restaurant has been offering a lobster special - $10 for one lobster, $15 for 2, $20 for 3 – for the past few months. We ordered 2 each plus 3 sides at $1.95 each – baked potato for Ann, smashed red potatoes for me and we shared a mediocre coleslaw.
The lobsters were done to perfection. I was able to combine this special with a restaurant.com gift certificate resulting in an amazing bargain – drum roll please. $20.53 for a total of 4 lobsters, 3 side dishes, tax and a 20% gratuity. Our server did an excellent job.
We once again crossed over to the other side of the harbor via the walkway and soon encountered a friendly cat before arriving at the Catholic Church and Fisherman’s Memorial Park.
08/25 I rose even earlier than normal this morning and spent a few hours on the computer before it was time (6AM) to wake up Ann. I showered first and started loading up the car with luggage as Ann was prepping for the journey home. Our breakfast this morning featured OJ, fruit salad with yogurt and waffles with whipped cream and strawberries. There was virtually no service today so no gratuity was left.
Traffic was light for most of the trip home with the exception of the westerly portion of the Mass pike so we arrived at the kennel well before closing time.
This trip was assigned a 4.5 Claps rating so I am looking forward to returning in 2013.