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Jul 7, 2007 07:55 AM

Food and/or roadside attraction in central Maine

We'll be driving to South Thomaston, Maine next Saturday from Toronto. We will come into Maine on 26 then cut across via Augusta roughly, then into Rockland on 17. I've been doing this trip my whole life and the stretch from NH to Augusta is my least favourite. We're pretty wiped out by this point (it's a 12 hour drive) and sorely in need of a treat but those pulp and paper towns just seem so depressing. Is there something not out of our way that would cheer us up? Ice cream, a natural wonder, etc.? Oh, yeah, and one of us is 7.

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  1. Not far out of your way, just south of Augusta on Rte 201 is Hallowell. Nice lively riverfront few blocks to stretch your legs. I was going to recommend the excellent brewpub, Liberal Cup, 'til I noticed one of you is seven. Perhaps the lobster stew at Hattie's Chowder House would hit the spot. There is also a new ice cream stand in town, Hamilton's Dairy Barn.

    As to attractions, how about Blaine House and the state Capitol?

    From there it is easy to get onto Rte 17 toward the coast.

    1 Reply
    1. re: HDinCentralME

      Or a wee bit further down river is the A1 Diner in Gardener or right along Rt. 17 in Windsor and Union are 2 funky down home diners; good local interactive viewing.

    2. In Bethel, try The Good Food Store for excellent soups and sandwiches or Barbecue Bob's Real Pit BBQ at Graceland, the orange trailer next to the Good food Store. It's on Rte 26, on the eastern end of town. On Main St., DiCocoa's Bakery has great baked goods and lunch specials and Cho Sun serves pretty darn good Korean.

      In Turner, on Rte. 117, Nezinscot Farm is a fun stop for baked good, cheeses, crafts, and all kinds of stuff you didn't know you wanted. Animals, too -- good for the kid.

      In Hallowell, yes, the A1 or around the corner, A1 to Go, and also Slate's Bakery, which is also open for dinner Tues.--Sat nights. And the real Slate's, which burned last winter, is going to reopen in September. That's definitely worth a stop. There's also one of the state's best Thai restaurants -- Cafe de Bangkok, on the southern edge of town and right on the river.

      In Augusta, I haven't eaten at Cloud 9 at The Senator, but I'm hearing good things about it. Haven't had a chance to visit Riverfront Barbeque and Grill, downtown either, but it's a sister restaurant to Beale Street.

      In Augusta, on the east side of the river, just south of where Rte 17 heads to the coast, is the Pine Tree State Arboretum, a great place to walk and have a picnic. Oh, and there's a rail trail that runs from Hallowell to Augusta, but parts of it are still under construction. It's right on the river. The Maine State Museum is kinda cool, in a retro way, but still has some fascinating exhibits. I never allow enough time when I go.

      And I'm sure you're familiar with Morse's on 220, just a few miles south of 17 in Waldoboro, right?

      4 Replies
      1. re: Mainegal

        A few minor corrections and comments to Mainegal's post.

        A-1 Diner and A-1 to Go are in Gardiner, farther south on Rte 201.

        Slates Bakery dining (actually they call it Slates Rising Grill) is outdoors so only when weather permits.

        Thanks for mentioning Cafe de Bangkok which I agree is excellent.

        I recommend Cloud 9 at the Senator. Very good for a "hotel" restaurant. Good breakfast (and weekend brunch buffet). All day lunch/dinner menu with good salads, sandwiches, wood-oven pizzas, raw bar, and select dinner entress (which can get pricey).

        Riverfront BBQ was part of the Beale's "chain" (Bath and So. Portland) but split off by one of the partner/brothers. (So no longer a "sister", maybe a "cousin" :-)

        A-1 Diner
        3 Bridge St, Gardiner, ME 04345

        Cafe De Bangkok
        272 Water St, Hallowell, ME 04347

        Liberal Cup
        115 Water St Ste 1, Hallowell, ME 04347

        A-1 To Go
        Gardiner, ME, USA, Gardiner, ME

        Hattie's Chowder House
        103 Water St, Hallowell, ME 04347

        Slates Bakery
        163 Water St, Hallowell, ME 04347

        Best Western Senator Inn & Spa
        284 Western Ave, Augusta, ME 04330

        Riverfront Barbeque and Grill
        300 Water St, Augusta, ME 04330

        1. re: Mainegal

          Your suggestions in Bethel sound great! Any reviews of that brew pub we've passed wistfully so many times?

          I'll make a note of the suggestion in Turner, too.

          By the time we get to Augusta, we're pretty much home free and just want to get there. We love the A1 diner in Gardiner and will make a separate trip during the 2 weeks we're in Maine. And I've made a note to check out Hallowel.

          The husband and driver doesn't like hwy. 219 (it was under construction for a long time and he's never forgiven it) so we usually end up taking the more northerly route through Rumford, Jay, Livermore Falls - it's very stressful for the navigator and that's where I hit the wall and need a pick me up. Any suggestions in this stretch?

          1. re: crawfish

            The last time I ate at the Sunday River brewpub, which admitedly was quite a few years ago, it was nothing to rave about. If you're coming through in winter, there are a few good choices on the Sunday River access road, but they're not open in summer.

            If you're coming through Wayne on Rte. 133, take a break at the Wayne General Store for ice cream, Tubby's I think is the name.

            There used to be a place with homemade ice cream near the intersection of Route 108 and 4 in Livermore, not sure if it's still there.

            1. re: Mainegal

              Sunday River's brew is nothing to write home about neither, no matter how much Rory Ferguson used to wax on and on about it. Yup, Tubby's still serving great ice cream. I bought a t-shirt there several years ago emblazoned ; "Where The Hell Is Wayne, Maine!" It doesn't fit so good anymore. I think DW musta shrunk the damn thing or sumptin'!

        2. Don't miss Tubby's in Wayne, Maine. Great homemade ice cream in a beautiful location in a charming town just West of Augusta.