Vacationing in Maine: Northern Penobscot Bay - Belfast/Searsport/Lincolnville?
I'll be visiting Swanville, at the northern end of Penobscot Bay, for a week with my wife, three-year-old, and nine-month-old. Any suggestions for what's good to eat, with an emphasis on the local and Chowhoundish? We're especially interested in the kind of places we couldn't get anywhere else and that we wouldn't want to miss. Bonus points for anybody who can direct me to a good market (we'll have a small kitchen). Thanks!
I've stayed in Belfast for years, and the places do change. I've not been up in two years, but I think the Twighlight Cafe is still around. Dudley's Diner in the center of town is great for breakfast as is Chase's Daily. Dudley Diner is traditional breakfast fare, and Chase's caters more to the organic crowd. Darby's has been around forever and has a good ecletic menu. When last there, the Theatre for the Handicapped ran a bakery in the center of town that had good baked goods, and I also really liked Bay Wraps for huge wrap sandwiches - definitely big enough for a full meal, filled with rice, beans, meat and veggies.
There weren't any Amy's Pies when we stopped in Thomaston but it was late in the day, probably sold out. I think we used to go to Young's Lobster near Searsport, not our favorite place but good. It's very basic so you'll want to bring your own extras including paper towels. I saw other people bring table cloths, salads, sodas, etc. I highly recommend Just Barb's right on Rt 1 in Stockton Springs. We had a great lobster roll and fried clams there the first week of July. Looks like the place locals go. We didn't save room for pie but sure looked good. You can get a brochure on farmers markets at the state visitors center. We only made it to the one in Brunswick on Friday morning (9-noon) but it made me want to move there. Wonderful fresh produce, mushrooms, goat cheese, baked goods, etc. I had a hard time choosing which bread (bought spinach bread but almost took basil rolls). Bought strawberry jam (you can test taste!), fresh biscuits for strawberry shortcake, etc. I remember the coop in Belfast as being really nice but didn't visit on this trip (we were staying in Wiscasset). If you need some wine, Cellar Door Winery in Lincolnville is great (and has free tastings). Just south of Camden there was a natural foods store but we didn't visit this year. If it's still there, they had some very good bread as well as other things. Stonewall has a store in Camden, I like their mustards. We like to take a picnic lunch to the top of Mt Battie overlooking Camden Harbor. Take the auto road. We carry bag chairs. With sunscreen this ought to be a nice place to let children play on a blanket. (Almost 2 yo granddaughter is fascinated by acorns this year.) Have a great vacation!
Stop in Thomaston, on Route 1, about a half hour before you hit Camden.........the little grocery store in the center of town (blink and you'll miss it)....carries AMYS PIES and they're to die for! Call ahead and ask them to save you a Chocolate Cream and a Blueberry! 207 354 2548
In Searsport, the little ANGLER CAFE usually has a good twin boiled lobster special. Casual and friendly.
Since I posted the former, I've checked my favorite Maine guidebook, The Explorer's Guide by Tree and Oxnard (the one even the locals use!) and it suggests The Ocean's Edge on Searsport Ave in Belfast, adjacent to the Comfort Inn. It's indicated to be "kid friendly." I can't vouch for it personally. Also, depending on where you are from, you and the kids might enjoy taking the ferry from Linconville over to Islesboro. You used to be able to get a pretty good lunch at the Dark Harbor Shop, I haven't been there in a while. And I'm vaguely remembering a lobster shack in Lincolnville, near the ferry, that was also good for lunch.
Re markets: This is Maine. Probably there's a farmer's market within a stone's throw. I'm (again, vaguely) recalling the Belfast Co-op as a good source for organic produce. Also, look into pick-you-own for blueberries etc.
I can make a couple of recommendations and non-recommendations in the Camden area -- not too familiar with Belfast.
Cork, in Camden, is great for a special, elegant night out. Pricey but worth it.
Fitzpatrick's, on Bayview Landing in Camden, is what the guidebooks call "locally popular." Better for lunch than for dinner. Good lobster rolls, skip the crab cakes.
I would NOT recommend the Lobster Pound in Lincolnville. The food is only okay and the service is terrible.
I would like to hear of other good restaurants in the Camden/Belfast area.
Wow-you are not making this easy...
The best market is the BELFAST CO-OP. They have everything and reasonable priced.
Lincolnville Lobster Pound is very good.
You will need to ask in Belfast because each year the good ones seem to change, and being a small town, losing MBNA, its difficult to name some good restaurants in the past as it changes. Enjoy, and good luck.