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New England Road Trip - Be Our Guide?

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We're from Oregon, and making our first tour of New England (part of a Peace Corps reunion group). We've been looking over the board for suggestions and it seems much of the information on places we are going is somewhat dated. We don't know if we should trust posts going back two or three years -- we know how things change quickly out here.

What can you teach us about eating local in the small towns? I am a food writer (cookbooks) interested in local products. Portland, Oregon, where we live, is very focused on shopping locally. The occasional upscale is fine but we really like the idea of everything from those funky diners (we don't have out here to finding the best Vermont cheeses. We are, alas, a bit selective on wine and probably won't go with the berry things we see made in NE wineries -- so are there good wine shops on our route where we can pick up California, Oregon, Washington and/or European wines? If you love wine, tell us where to meet you for a glass -- I've already found Meritage wine bar in Portland, where we are staying one night.

We will be spending several days in Boston (I'll ask there separately) then head up the coast of Maine to Portland, and then around Bar Harbor or Winter Harbor. (Note: One big drawback is a shellfish allergy here.) Any recent food finds -- that bread at the Farmer's Market, cafe that changed hands, old favorite?

Or for the towns on the Skowhegan, Bethel and Franconia/St. Johnsbury route the next day?

Then through Montpelier, Woodstock to visit friends, Rutland, Bennington, Lenox?

Hartford, the Connecticut coast, Narragansett?

Cape Cod and Provincetown?

Finally Providence, maybe (is that worth a night?).

We've never been to your home and we are very excited about seeing as much as possible, and eating well. Any suggestions on the best towns to sleep on that route also welcome - one needs a good breakfast place to walk to. We are not young, we are not interested in spending $200+ a night for the grand lodges when we will be in and out, but we are adventurous.

Your thoughts are very much appreciated; while visiting we promise to be good guests, share our best Oregon and Washington wine tips, and cheer for the Sox!

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  1. A huge query!
    I can steer you to the Plymouth Cheese Factory, Plymouth Vermont, almost next to Woodstock. Even better is the Crowley cheese factory on Healdville road in Mount Holly. Check the hours for the factory. The store on rte 103 has the cheese but is not as interesting as the factory.
    Shellfish allergy and Narragansett is a tragic combination.
    Providence is worth a night - plenty of fervent, recent posts.
    What I do if an interesting post about an out of the way spot seems old is google the place to try to learn if it is still there.
    I think New Haven style pizza is worth a journey - There are places along the coast east of New Haven almost as good as without the lines. One is Grand Apizza in Clinton. Stonington is a great little place to stay and walk around in but I do not know if the right breakfast is to be had there.

    1 Reply
    1. re: atheorist

      In Cape Cod, if you are meat eaters, there's no place better than Brazilian Grill in Hyannis. Was there last week on vacation and wonderful as usual - they do rodijuos - brazilian barbecue - which if you're not familiar with, and are big eaters like we are, is quite a treat. Something for everyone.

      In Connecticut, New Haven pizza is a must - try the Spot - right next door to Pepe's - same owners, but lesser known and the pies are better. If you're willing to travel half an hour north, visit Carole Peck's Good News Cafe in Woodbury (stop by my house and say hello now) - she's rated as one of the best chefs in the country. www.good-news-cafe.com. Have a wonderful trip!

    2. Some wonderful farmers' markets in Bennington County, heading north towards Rutland are the Manchester Farmers market, Thursdays from 3-6pm www.manchestermarket.org and the Dorset Farmers' Market, Sundays from 10am-2pm. www.dorsetfarmersmarket.com

      In Rutland, there's one on Saturday mornings, 9am - 2pm downtown in the Walmart parking lot. And in Londonderry, there's one on Saturday mornings, 9am - 1pm. Those are the big ones in the Bennington/Rutland area.

      For more, see this state's listing at http://www.vermontagriculture.com/far....

      1. You might explore the Dept of Agriculture websites for each state. There are some locally grown meats. I remember a news story about a farm near Portsmouth NH that is set up to allow people to slaughter the animal they have just purchased. Sorry, can't remember details but certain ethnic/religious groups have strict rules about when and how an animal is slaughtered. Small scale agriculture is encouraged in NH. Buffalo, deer, etc are raised here. You'll find goat cheese here but VT is the winner for cheese.
        We went to a wonderful farmers market in Brunswick ME last summer. The bread and pastries were wonderful. If strawberries are in season, buy fresh biscuits for strawberry shortcake. We also bought some mushrooms. One place had great herb plants esp some unusual varieties. A couple of people were selling prepared ethnic foods. You might try the locally made ice cream. Concord NH has several places but it's an hour south of Franconia.
        In Boston, make sure to take Michelle Topor's culinary tour of Boston's North End. The pushcart vendors are in Haymarket Sq on Fridays and Saturdays. (Adjacent to Quincy Market and then a short walk to the North End)
        The Cellar Door Winery in Lincolnville ME (just north of Camden on your way to Bar Harbor) makes wine with grapes they grow. We enjoy their wines but we're not connoiseurs. They also grow their own grapes at Flagg Hill Winery in Lee NH (not far from Portsmouth NH on your way to Maine) and they also make their own vodka - General John Stark Vodka from grain and apples (it is not apple flavored but I detect a subtle apple fragrance) Find out how a family keeps their former dairy farm productive when dairying is no longer financially viable.
        Stop for lunch at Just Barb's in Stockton on Rt 1 (before you get to Ellsworth on your way to Bar Harbor). Sorry you can't enjoy a lobster roll but make sure you have a piece of pie. This is a locals' spot.
        Check out King Arthur Flour in VT for unusual baking ingredients and specialty flours. Polly's Pancake Parlor near Franconia is an institution.
        Providence is an expensive place to sleep. You might visit Federal Hill, their Italian section. Possibly you would be interested in the culinary museum at Johnson & Wales. You will need a student guide. Mostly a collection of old stoves with interesting stories but there are also some unusual things like busts carved from beef tallow. It's cheaper to stay in Seekonk or Warwick.
        When are you visiting? A small nature museum near Mystic CT holds a wild mushroom festival around the 3rd weekend in Sept.
        Sounds like a great trip. Hope you do a trip report.

        1. One idea may be the CT wine trail-- grapes, not berries! This takes you through many lovely and rustic areas of CT, charming farms and beautiful farmland. The eastern trail also follows much of the CT coast, which is lovely. Their website provides links to maps, accomodations, etc..


          1. i am a native oregonian living in providence- so welcome! i miss portland very very much.

            i think that providence is worth a night. in terms of wine- the providence oyster bar (don't worry, plenty of non-shellfish options!) is fantastic. it carries sokol blosser pinot gris which i find to be delicious, and any sokol blosser is hard to find. la laiterie (http://lalaiterie.farmsteadinc.com) would also be a fantastic option- fresh local cheeses and seasonally influenced foods. it doesn't seem that they have oregon wines on their menu- but it is the type of place where you could probably strike up a conversation with the owner and convince him to offer some of the northwests best!

            if you are here for breakfast, go to nick's on broadway or julians for the best brunch around- nick's especially has a "funky diner" feel.

            i hope you make it to providence- and enjoy the rest of your trip!

            p.s. are your cookbooks oregon related? i would love to check them out...

            1 Reply
            1. re: tomatosoup

              Have lived along the Main coast for 20 yrs. In Portland(the real one), try Susan's(Suzie's?) Fish'nChips on North Forrest Ave. off I295. In Rockland, for breakfast or lunch, The Rockland Cafe; dinner Conte's is a trip, Italian seafood and funky atmosphere, split an entre and still have trouble finishing it, also excellent are Miranda's and Amalfi's. Ditto on Just Barb's. In East Orland , Duffy's(like Barb's) in East Orland and stop by WERU radio station(really!). Ellsworth has better dining than Bar Harbor for a more reasonable price, I feel. Bar Harbor is a tourist trap but beautiful(I work as a sea kayak guide there.). Back to Ellsworth, Cleonice is great for lunch or dinner (tapas bar), ditto for Riverside Cafe (great breakfast's too) Jordan's Snack Bar is not to be missed. Just north of Ellsworth the most scenic "Lobster Pound" I know is Reversing Falls Lobster Pound in Hancock(nonshellfish available) and a little further north Bartlett's Estate Winery is well worth the effort. Oh, Yes Helen's for pie and Finelli's for really great award winning pizza.
              In Bah Habah (yuck), locals go to The Thirsty Whale(best food value in town), and DeMurro's Poor Boy. The best, I feel, is the Burning Tree, on Rt 3, heading toward Otter Creek. On the quite side of the island, in Southwest Harbor, The Cozy Cove is where the locals go for break. and lunch. and Beal's Lobster Pound is a trip.
              In Skowhegan, try the Riverside(?) overlooking(overhanging) the Kennebec River; dramatic.
              I'm sure I've left stuff out if you want more, give me your email and I can give more.
              Oh yes, Five Islands Lobster Pound, south of Bath and Wasse's hot dogs in Rockland and Belfast(worth a stop). Go to hollyeats.com and check out the New England site.

              Wicked gud eaten Cappy,

            2. I live in the Hartford area. It's a fine place to live, but not worth a stop. I could recommend plenty of good chow, but there's not much attractions here. If you come to CT you'll want to head to the coast and/or the Litchfield hills in the Northwest part of the state.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Uncledave

                But Hartford has the wonderful Wadsworth. And supposedly good hot dogs at Roscoe's Big Dogs tho I haven't been yet. And the restaurants of the Max group are good.

                1. re: Joanie

                  Sure, there's a few things to do and certainly places to eat -- I enjoy living here. But if I had a limited amount of time to tour New England, Hartford sure wouldn't be anywhere near the tops of my list.

              2. One thing not to miss is the cheesemaker from Appleton Creamery who is at the farmers' markets in Camden- we visited a bunch of makers last year at this time as part of our trip (www.cheesebyhand.com). I would highly recommend Dorman's Dairy Dream for their grape nuts ice cream- total heaven. And in Scarborough ME along route 1 there is another great cheese shop called the cheese iron (www.thecheeseiron.com). Enjoy.

                1 Reply
                1. re: sashadavies

                  To clarify things, this gets rather confusing. Caitlin, the Appleton Creamery lady, is generally not at the Camden Farmers Market in the summer, when it's on Colcord Ave. on Saturdays in Camden. (There are, however, two other great cheesemakers at the Saturday Camden market: Hahn's End mostly cow's milk cheeses and Mystique (fabulous goat cheeses). Sometimes, though, in the summer, Appleton Crm. has a tent at the State of Maine Cheese store on Route 1 in Rockport. On winter Saturdays, there is a larger group that moves indoors at that Maine Cheese store location, including the Appleton folks. In the summer, through late October, though, Appleton Creamery always has a tent at the Rockland Farmers Market on Thursdays, from 9 to 1 pm, at the public landing. Phew!

                2. Welcome, ayuh!

                  Boston-Portsmouth: stop off and take a walk around historical Portsmouth. The Stockpot is a local’s place for pretty standard fare, but great views. The Portsmouth Brewery has some good brews.

                  Wells/Ogunquit/York/Kittery: stop off Rt. 1 (really a great drive up the coast) to Pigs Fly Bakery (www.sendbread.com) and then up the road is Flo’s Hot Dogs (in York, looks like a shack/trailer) apparently their special sauce is killer. Hours are sketchy (mostly weekend) and is hit or miss.

                  In Ogunquit, head into Perkin’s Cove and take a walk along Marginal Way…it’s really beautiful (especially on an empty weekday). You’ll find mostly seafood restaurants down here, but depending how severe your allergy is, Hurricane’s is great and I’ve heard good things about Marco…I used to wait tables at the Oarweed ;) and Barnacle Billy’s is an institution (but I’ve never eaten there!). also Perkin’s Candy Shop is a fun detour...

                  Maine Diner in Wells on Rt. 1 in Wells is classic Mainer fare. Close to that is Big Daddy's ice cream...mmm... In Kennebunk there’s Tom’s of Maine factory store ($1 toothpaste!) and the Shipyard Brewery (meh) but also the "wedding cake house" and the (in)famous Walker Point.

                  Some “Maine” foods that you should keep an eye out for: whoopie pies, Moxie soda, dilly chips (dill pickle potato chips), Shain’s or any local ice cream store.

                  Portland: the Old Port is really fun, sadly the huuuge Farmer’s Market building has closed but I’ve heard some local vendors are starting their own. You’ll find few ethnic restaurants in town, but both Indian and sushi restaurants are pretty good. Gritty McDuffs/Geary’s are local breweries with pretty fantastic beer (you can see where my heart is).

                  Portland northwest to Bethel (Rt 95 to 26 is the quickest): Bethel as you probably know is mostly a ski resort town, but there is a small fantastic health food store on the road to Sunday River (Rt 2, Good Food Store) – yummy sandwiches and if you’re lucky a pumpkin whoopie pie! In downtown Bethel, Suds Pub in the Sudbury Inn is pretty good.

                  Portland northeast to Acadia: Liberal Cup in Hallowell (just outside of Augusta) has great beer and really good food (killer comfort food). In Acadia you *must* try Lompoc Cafe & Brew Pub for fresh, local food. Also, for a casual place Geddy’s and Galyn’s for a fancy dinner. Also you *must* go to Jordan Pond for tea and popovers! BOLO for Seal Cove goat cheese (near Acadia) and Bartlett blueberry wine (http://www.bartlettwinery.com/index.html


                  Massachusetts (outside Boston): I recommend driving Rt. 2 out west instead of taking the Pike (90). Lots of neat towns and that’s where the fancy Boston restaurants get organic food from. In Greenfield (near Springfield), People's Pint Brewpub has shockingly good, local-sourced food (great beer too). In Amherst you’ll find a great farmer’s market (www.massfarmersmarkets.org/).

                  Oofa. If I think of more I’ll let you know. We just did a similar drive last summer thru OR/WA and it was pretty hit or miss… as I learned from my Dad, it’s always best to stop and ask the locals!

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: MaineRed

                    Here are some Cape Cod thoughts:

                    Hyannis has two must-visits for foodies: the Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory and Pain d'Avignon, which may be among the best bakeries in the country.

                    The "factory tour" is a bit of a joke, but you can skip it and go in the back door to the gift shop. You still get your free bag of chips and there is a full selection of CC products including some they do not sell off Cape. You can get cold drinks and cute shirts as well. One of their bargains is a beach bucket filled with bags of potato chips. The kids love it. http://www.capecodchips.com/

                    Pain d'A http://www.paindavignon.com/index.html sells a small selection of cheese, pate and condiments, and you can buy their wonderful bread and croissants, and pizza if they've made it that day, for a picnic lunch. I cannot say enough good things about the bread; it is sold to many Boston restaurants and you can find it in markets but the bakery has the full selection.

                    These two are located yards from each other in an industrial area behind the airport. Mapquest it, because it gets confusing to find.

                    I can recommend Sweet Tomatoes pizza (shops in Sandwich and Osterville) and I'm very partial to the Seafood Sam's chain (four of them on Cape.


                    Sweet Tomatoes http://www.sweettomatoescapecod.com/ has brick-oven, thin crust pizza with imaginative toppings. It is possible to eat an entire small by yourself, even though the menu says they are 14 inches. The Greek salads are excellent. The Sandwich location is tiny, by the side of 6A; the Osterville location is a nice place to sit, relax and eat.

                    Seafood Sam's http://www.seafoodsams.com/ is essentially a glorified fast food restaurant and they get mobbed with locals and tourists alike because the prices are reasonable and the portions big. One strategy is to call in your order; it often is ready by the time you arrive, and then you can sit and look at the view and eat your lovely lobster, lobster salad, chowder, and many other types of fresh fish. It's a good place for dieters because they offer baked potatoes instead of fries and will broil fish.

                    Wimpy's in Osterville has excellent burgers, and they also have a market downstairs where you can get anything for carryout. Very good salad and chowder, and amazing desserts.

                    I'm of two minds about P'Town. Everyone should visit there once just to see it, but it gets so overrun by visitors. If you time things right, you could stay in Chatham, drive out there early in the day, get your fill of P'Town, and go back to Chatham or parts nearby to miss the crowds.

                    1. re: brendastarlet

                      There isn't much fine dining in the St. Johnsbury area, but the new-ish restaurant called Elements is quite good. http://www.elementsfood.com/

                    2. re: MaineRed

                      Iam from PA and have never been to New England, We are planning to go fall of 2008 with another couple for our 30th anniversary. We are planning to drive to Mystic Seaport stay a night and then go to block island, from there to Cape Cod and visit either Nantucket or Martha;s Vineyard. I want to do the Freedon Trail in Boston and then on to Portland and finally Bar Harbor/Acadia. I want to stay there a few days and come home through Vermont and stay at Manchester Village. How many days would we need for this trip and do you think we are planning too much? I see you recomment Portsmouth and I have been keeping track of the restaraunts. I like when the locals recomment places that are not tourist traps. Any help would be appreciated because I am hoping this is one my trips of a life time.

                      dianern, pa

                      1. re: dianern

                        Hi Dianern,
                        I would plan at least 2 weeks for this trip to really see the places you've mentioned. It sounds like a great trip, my one absolute rec to everyone that comes my way is Kimball's Ice Cream, they have 3 locations so I know one of them can be made on your travels.
                        The Jaffrey NH location has a wonderful restaurant with great seafood and sandwiches.
                        Another location that doesn't get mentioned very often is the Lakes Region of NH. It truly is one of the most beautiful places on earth.
                        don't get me wrong, I love Maine and Vermont but on a road trip you really do need to drive through NH to get from one to the other.
                        With some planning your trip will be a memorable trip of a life time.

                        1. re: dianern

                          I would say that Portland, Acadia, and Nantucket (in Vermont, consider Woodstock) are the best bets for the kind of Grand Tour that you describe. However, you may find that the charms of the New England coast are best revealed if you slow down ,and you might even be delighted to discover wonderful experiences in some lesser place -- We live in a small village a bit off the beaten path on Cape Cod; you would never pass through here to sightsee, but there are many people who come back here for a week or month, year after year, to do Not Much Of Anything At All. Maybe you could pick one spot at the middle or end of your trip and stay for a while.

                        2. re: MaineRed

                          The original Flo's is only open at lunchtime, ca 11AM to 3 PM, and closed Wednesdays.

                          For more upscale Portsmouth food, I'd recommend the Black Trumpet (New American) or Pesce Blue (Italian seafood). Good breakfasts can be had at the Friendly Toast, and very basic diner grub (ultra cheap burgers and dogs) is found at Gilley's. Stockpot has good soups, but the place smelled really moldy when I was there.

                          1. re: MaineRed

                            We "stopped and asked the locals" once when we were visiting the Gilbert Stuart museum in North Kingstown, Rhode Island and he sent us to a RUSH ROOM.

                            Of course, we'd already ordered and were waiting for our food when his show came on.

                            It was one of the most distinctly UNPLEASANT meals we'd ever had. Nothing like being force-fed somebody else's idiotic political viewpoints while being a captive audience. We literally "ate and ran".

                            NO TIP.

                            I can't tell you what the name of the place was but it was part of a motel complex on the Post Road (Rt.1), I think.

                            So it pays to be careful out there. The "nice old man" who sent us there was probably so caught up in his right-wing worldview that he just assumed we would be too.

                          2. There Are many places to eat, through out your Maine portion of your trip. I am from Ct. but are frequent visitors to Maine. There are very nice accomaditions in the Ogunquit area. We stay at a place called the Meadowmere. You can get a room for about about
                            120 a night or up. I will send you there web address. Also there is a great Steak place Right on Rt1 on your way north in Wells. I will send you there website also. And I will included the chamber of commerce site, Hope this helps a little, http://www.the-steakhouse.com/ and http://www.meadowmere.com/public/ http://www.ogunquit.org/ Take a look at these sites and you might find something to do in the area. for a day. Earle

                            1. Between Newport, Rhode Island and Provincetown, the local cuisine has a lot of New Bedford/Fall River Portuguese influence. The dominant pizza topping is linguica, a mild but rich paprika/garlic/oregano pork sausage. You can get toasted Portuguese sweet bread at breakfast in local diners and greasy spoons. The mom & pop donut shops often make malasadas, an eggy sugar coated fried dough. Kale soup (pork shoulder stock base with chorico or linguica, onion, potato & beans) appears on a lot of menus. Chorico is the spicy version of linguica, the same pork w/garlic, paprika, and oregano but with some red pepper.

                              The shellfish allergy is disasterous. The quahog (hardshell clam) dominates the cuisine of Rhode Island and Cape Cod. Stuffed quahogs. Clear broth clam chowder. In New Bedford at Antonio's, Ribatejana (cubes of cooked-forever pork in a paprika/garlic sauce, shrimp, quahogs, with cubed french fried potatoes on top). Lobster, steamed softshell clams, corn on the cob, and portuguese bread is a summer staple. Clam cakes (unsweetened donut holes with bits of clam in them), fried clams, scallops.... Disasterous.

                              1. Glad to hear you'll be stopping in Portland. This is the epicenter of the foodie scene in Maine with an amazing assortment of restaurants and food markets (even an all-food bookstore, Rabelais). If you'll be in town either Wednesday or Saturday, you can check out the Farmers' Market. The Saturday market is the larger one and held in Deering Oaks Park from 7 a.m. to noon and on Wednesday in Monument Square from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Also in Monument Square is the Public Market House, with artisian cheeses, breads, fresh flowers and groceries. Other places you may want to check out are Browne Trading Company on Commercial Street (wines, cheeses, caviar, seafood), Le Roux Kitchen on Commercial Street (kitchen supplies, but also decent selection of wines and fine chocolates), Miccuci's on India Street (Italian grocer with baker/author Stephen Lanzalotta cooking up rustic Italian take-out) and Hong Kong Market on Congress Street (great Asian grocery store). There are numerous restaurants to try, a few of the best white tablecloth places are: Five Fifty-Five, Hugo's, Caiolia's, Bresca, Natasha's, Bar Lola, etc. Here's a link to a Portland restaurant guide by neighborhood: <A HREF="http://www.themaineswitch.com/portlan...>

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: CandyGirl13

                                  Hi CandyGirl13,

                                  If what you're referring to above is the indoors Portland Public Market--sadly, that closed some time ago.

                                2. Providence is absolutely worth a night for foodies! I won't make any specific recommendations now....if you decide to come post again and then we'll talk.

                                  Wine-lovers? Not all New England wines are berry-based. Westport Rivers in Westport MA has wonderful sparkling wines (their still wines are excellent too but they're known for sparklers). I'm not a fan of RI wines but eastern CT has a couple of excellent wineries in areas that are great for touring (Sharpe Hill in Pomfret, Taylor Brook in Woodstock altho some are fruity/berry, Priam in Colchester and Jonathan Edwards in Stonington).

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: JaneRI

                                    Jane is correct -- worth a night? I could spend a week in Providence and not hit every place I'd like to, from the most humble weiner joint to the best downtown restaurants. In fact, when I'm in town for just a night or two, which is usually the case, I spend much of the time driving between food itinerary stops.

                                    There are plenty of good threads about Providence on here, and more good recs on egullet.

                                  2. The original post is from a while back, so I hope this is still relevant! If you happen to be around Montpelier, VT for dinner, I highly recommend the Black Door. I've had the venison dumplings, crispy beggar's purse, smoked paprika chicken, and quesadilla there; all were excellent.

                                    Black Door Bar & Bistro
                                    44 Main St, Montpelier, VT 05602

                                    1. Despite perceptions others have of of Hartford and it;s environs, I suggest a stop in Manchester for several reasons...it is right off Rt 84 on the way to or from Boston.

                                      1. Cavey's...research it...the wine list is world class and second to none..the downstairs French Restaurant is outstanding and the Upstairs Italian is outstanding as well and you won;t get waited in by a student. Professionals...Middle of down town where 6 and 44 converge with 83.

                                      2. Mulberry St Pizza...exit 3 off 384 go south...still an unknown gem for take out only...leave the places in New Haven for the tourists and yalie parents who have time to wait for 2 hours for a reasoably good pie..but trust me...the cachet is the name and history...if you go, you let me know if I am wrong.

                                      3. Shady Glen for a Cheeseburger, Malted Milk Shake and Cole Slaw...it is worth the trip. Ryt 44 near the Bolton Notch

                                      Bonus extras...pancakes at Sinnamom Shop on Oak St...get there early. exit 3 384n
                                      ...Hosmer Mountain Soda Shop for a Sasparilla, Cream, Root Beer, Birch Beer...buy a case to go. Spenser st exit off 384

                                      1. See this post on Bar Harbor. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/428124 There are descriptions of some of the local farmers' markets, specialty food stores, etc.

                                        Excellent wine lists can be found at Havana and Red Sky. Havana's list is much longer and quite a mix of things from all over the world. Some very good values for little known regions, if you are interested in experimenting. Red Sky has a much shorter list but the wine special of the night is often very good. Last one I had was a Spanish grenache that was rich, a bit spicy and delicious. Havana makes a wicked mojito as well. You'll find the bars in both places good places for a before dinner drink with friendly bartenders. If you choose to dine there, they are both upscale places, but should be easy to manage with the shellfish allergy.

                                        If you go to the Bar Harbor farmers' market on Sunday mornings, their are breads from Firefly Farm that are terrific. I particularly like the toasted seed bread, loaded with all kinds of seeds, very toothsome and rich tasting. Firefly also makes great triple ginger biscotti.

                                        Bar Harbor is very touristy, but you can find great spots where it is not so, and it is one of the most beautiful places in New England. If you like the outdoors, hiking, biking, kayaking, etc., it is really special.

                                        1. Wow! What tremendous help and suggestions. Being my o/c self I have written our own personal travel guide with so many of these suggestions! Thank you, thank you, thank you. One last question: Any "communal dining" restaurants in New England. There are several in Portland, offbeat places, sometimes caterers, who only hold one dinner a night, usually on Friday, and it is family style -- pass the food and wine around for a set fee and a set menu. We love them; always meet interesting and unafraid diners and we'd love to dine with some New Englanders on this trip. Thank you again for all of your help.

                                          1. Make the swing into Windsor, Vermont and dine at the Windsor Station Restraunt. Also Juniper Hill Inn, and the two Diners Clara's Cafe and Dan's Windsor Diner(owned by Fred). If you can only make one it should be the Station. We first found out about this gem through the Boston Globe, but it has been featured in the LA Times, NY Times and Chicago Tribune. Our favorite place when we stay in Vermont.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: BoVT

                                              Also in Woodstock Simon Pearce, very pricey and the Mountain Creamery are musts.

                                              1. re: BoVT

                                                Recent reports on Simon Pearce are only for lunch, though. Not dinners. :)

                                            2. Thank you to everyone for the many kindnesses.

                                              Highlights of our trip included brown bread at the Littleton Diner, a lobster pound dinner in Belfast (organized by the Peace Corps reunion host), chili (!) and pie at the Maine Diner in Wells, the best ice cream I've ever had at that little stand in Waterville, sensational delightful DiCocoa in Bethel, both Cinque Terre and Standard Bakery in Portland (but Chocolate Bar was a real bust - she said she had limoncello, we ordered, then she mixed vodka and lemonade, not to mention there were no chocolates), Slates Bakery in Hallowell, our surprise at good wine at Sakonnet Winery, terrific lunch at Mark's Colonial in Providence (love that place!) the truly remarkable Coyote Flaco in Williamstown (I grew up on this food and this was special) and more of your generous recommendations, many of which were very good but these were the memorable ones. Places were closed (never find yourself in Weston on a Sunday night without your picnic basket) when we needed them -- in upstate New York on the way to Cooperstown our choice was shuttered so we ate in Cherry Village, Coyote, and it was beyond horrid; starve first.

                                              I know now how to get rich -- open a good coffee place in the back bay (we walked and walked, we don't care for chains like Starbucks, we like local coffee, for which there are two shops on every corner in the Pacific Northwest so we were surprised) or open a breakfast place in North Adams/Pittsfield - we couldn't find a good one.

                                              We loved New England, we especially loved New Englanders who we found funny, warm, approachable, and we delighted in turning r's into ah's (driving our children crazy when we called). We made new friends -- a woman from Brandeis, a delightful older gay man in Provincetown, and we cheered for the Red Sox as promised and see, it helped! (Does every fifth person wear a Sox clothing item?) Thank you again for your kind assistance.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: ejohn


                                                I just wanted to say thank you for enlightening us with the details of your trip. I'm a very proud NewEnglander and love to hear that people enjoyed visiting and hope you'll return soon. I lived in CA for many years, but finally came home a couple years back. I was fortunate enough to visit Portland and Salem a couple of times and have fond memories of the food and the people.