My, my, my how quiet everything is. Where are you people? Get traveling!
Today I noodled my way around Hancock, Sullivan, and Gouldsboro, one of my favorite regions of the coast. It’s less developed, less trendy, less touristed and yet it has some of the best scenery as well as an excellent collection of galleries and studios and it’s home to the only mainland section of Acadia National Park.
Let’s start in Hancock. Still going strong is The Mexican Restaurant, now open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and serving killer Mexican and Central American foods, with three generations of women running the place. Everything’s made from scratch, and it’s cheap, too. We had a more-than-filling lunch sampling four separate dishes and got out of there for $12.80 including tax.
Le Domaine, the tres French restaurant, is looking quite suave from the exterior, freshened and welcoming. A five-course fixed-price menu goes for $35.
Next door Mano’s Market isn’t looking open. Can’t say for sure yet, sign is still up, but no one answered the phone and it just has that look.
Definitely closed is Art & Antiques, that cool shop just east of the Sullivan-Hancock bridge. And, as noted previously, Tidal Falls no longer has a lobster pound but remains a wonderful place for a picnic and Frenchman Bay Conservancy is offering a Monday night music series here.
The Galley just east of the bridge and on the water is still going strong and although I didn’t eat here, the reports I’ve heard are positive. I did stop in, and the dining room is bright and cheery with nice water views. Beer and wine are now served. Good spot and family friendly with a kiddo menu ($3.50-$4.99). Regular menu has hand-made pizzas, calzones, burgers, and the usual fried fish and chowders. Most choices $8-16.
Heading down the Schoodic Peninsula, in Winter Harbor, Grindstone Neck of Maine, the smoked seafood store, is now selling lobster rolls and crabmeat rolls. Gerrish’s Store is under new management and serving the usuals–sandwiches, soups, salads, ice cream, sweets. The former Mama’s Boy Restaurant remains empty. Looking for a cheap sleep? The Bluff House has a sign out front advertising $75 rooms (aptly named, this hybrid motel/b&b crowns a bluff with nice ocean views).
The ferry service to Bar Harbor is using a new, enclosed boat this season. And here’s something you might not realize. You can get to the Schoodic peninsula without a car. You can fly into Portland, Bangor, or Bar Harbor; take the Downeaster train to Portland and then the bus; or take from wherever to Bar Harbor, then hop the ferry over and board the free Explorer bus which circulates to many of the lodgings and restaurants as well as the park. Yes, it will take some coordinating of schedules, but it can be done.
Near the entrance to the park road is Harbor Girl Emporium & Cafe, a combo store and restaurant operated by the owners of the Prospect Soap Co. Inside are soap products and works by local craft artisans as well as tables and a menu ranging from subs and sandwiches to pizza and even lobster ($15 for lobster dinner, such a deal!).
Bunker’s Wharf Restaurant is closed and, as mentioned previously, Ocean Wood Campground has a new owner and is expected to close after this season,
Albee’s Shorehouse Cottages, one of my favorite low-key and cheap places, is looking quite dapper these days with fresh paint and cheery flowers. Not a place for anyone who’s the least bit fussy, but if you don’t mind rustic (in the Maine sense, not the New York sense) lodging, this place is fab. Sits right on the water’s edge.
Down East Deli is still in biz and still has that big for sale sign out front. Sigh.
We had dinner at Fisherman’s Inn, and it was excellent. Although it seems a wee bit pricey for the area when you first glance at the menu, those prices are backed with value. We were welcomed to the table within minutes with a plate of crackers accompanied by the house more-than-cheddar spread and a Grindstone Neck (same ownership) smoked salmon pate. Our entrees came with an order of the house-made focaccia accompanied by a dipping sauce comprising olive oil, roast garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes, and romano cheese. Quite addictive. I had one of the night’s specials, a crab casserole made with fresh crabmeat paired with the house cheese spread and baked. I ate every morsel. Service was very good, and the one minor lapse was quickly made up for with apologies and a gratis glass of wine. Nice!
And now I’m taking it easy at Oceanside Meadows Inn, a combination B&B and environmental resort on 200 acres that stretch from a sand beach through dunes and meadows and woods back to a salt marsh. Two buildings, a farmhouse and a former sea captain’s home, are filled with antiques and comfy furnishings. And now, with the window open, I can hear the ocean surf rolling in and crashing on the shore. Heaven!
Tomorrow I expect to mosey down to Corea then loop through the park, before heading up the coast.