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New England Road Trip

Our family (no children, only adults) is headed out to New England from San Diego, California for a road trip. We fly into Boston (1 night), drive to Stowe, VT (2 nights), Lake Winnipausaukee in Sanborton, NH (1 night), to Kennebunkport (1 night), to Camden, Maine (1night) then back to Boston (2 nights). I need local (non-chain) lunch and dinner restaurant recommendations in route. Nothing too high end, as casual may be better with all the driving we will be doing. We love lobster and seafood, so we are looking forward to indulging while we are in the area. I am looking for restaurants that serve local, seasonal produce/ingredients from New England. Thank you in advance!

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  1. In Kennebunkport two really nice places are Hurricane and Bandaloop. Hurricane is a bit more expensive but has a wider selection of seafood, oysters, lobster etc.

    1. Not sure if this will help but you may want to check out the "Road Food" website, I believe it is roadfood.com

      1. Don't know if it's past the season or not but one thing that I really miss about living in Massachusetts are the fantastic local ice cream stands. Of course I can't recall any of the names but there was a great one that I recall in Attleboro, MA and another one near me in North Andover, MA. Anyway if you see a local ice cream stand give one a try.


        1. I'll only comment on the areas I know, the Kennebunkport to Camden segment and Boston. Hope you're going soon, as many of the better lobster pounds are closed for the season by mid-October, with almost all shut down by the end of the month.

          When you leave Kennebunkport, stop for breakfast at Becky's Diner in Portland - great blueberry pancakes and other breakfast treats.

          Lobster pounds worth checking out -
          Cape Porpoise Lobster, close to Kennebunkport
          Harraseeket's Lunch & Lobster, Freeport
          Lobstermans Co-op, Boothbay Harbor
          Red's Eats - famous for lobster roll - Wiscasset
          Five Islands Lobster - Georgetown
          Waterman's Beach Lobster house - South Thomaston

          All of the above are within a few miles of the route you'll travel, but only Red's in Wiscasset is right on the road (you can't miss it). All the others will require some searching (and Maine roads are not always well marked).

          Any lobster house would be considered "casual", but not necessarily inexpensive.

          Plenty of posts on the Boston dining scene. Boston's North End has dozens of Italian restaurants - my favorites are Antico Forno, La Summa, and Giacomo's. Pizzeria Regina for Pizza. I enjoy the Franklin Cafe - limited menu but very good. Daily Catch or Neptune Oyster, maybe Summer Shack, for seafood. Peach Farm for Chinese.

          Enjoy your trip. Leaves are turning in the next couple of weeks - gorgeous.

          1. If you're doing 93 to 89 you'll probably want to stop somewhere between Boston and Stowe. Depending when you start, you could have a nice poutine breakfast at Chez Vachon, a lobster roll at Tinkers Seafood, or fried clams and ice cream at Cremeland in Manchester NH (about an hour and half north of Boston). If you drive a few miles north of Lebanon NH, the town of Hanover is the home of Dartmouth--very pretty, and there's Lou's on Main Street--great omelettes, burgers and you keep expecting Wally and the Beaver to walk in any moment. Another choice would be Simon Pearce in Quechee VT--across the river from Lebanon, more upscale in a beautiful setting overlooking a waterfall.

            1 Reply
            1. re: whs

              Recent reports on Simon Pearce recommend lunches there, not dinners. Just passing it along. :)

            2. When in New Hampshire, check out The Woodshed, an excellent restaurant with great drinks, or Maison Place, a small french bistro type, in Wolfeboro NH.

              For breakfast Lydias Cafe in Wolfeboro is excellent both for their wholesome food & great coffee but also for the people watching.

              1. Thank you all. We leave in a week so we will be there in time for the trees changing colors. Keep the suggestions coming!

                3 Replies
                1. re: linnstewart

                  Here are some suggestions for Stowe, Vermont.

                  Places to visit:
                  Ben and Jerry's factory tour (don't go on Sunday, the line isn't running)
                  Cold Hollow Cider Mill (this is an absolute must for the cider donuts alone)
                  Vermont State Courthouse (Montpelier)

                  Places to eat:
                  Miguels Stowaway on the Mountain Road has good Mexican-influenced food at reasonable prices
                  Mr. Pickwick's at the Olde England Inn (also the Mountain Road) gets differing reviews but it's mostly good. It's a little pricey but has a nice atmosphere
                  Pie in the Sky (mountain road again) has good wood-fired pizza and other pizzeria fare.
                  The Alchemist (Waterbury) is a pub with home brews and good pub food
                  Arvad's (Waterbury) has some good sandwiches, but I wouldn't go for dinner
                  I've heard other folks recommend Hen of the Wood (summer menu: http://henofthewood.com/henofwood_men... ) for fine dining in Waterbury.

                  Stay away from:
                  Any of the restaurants in the Baggy Knees Shopping Center and the shopping center right near the movie theater on the mountain road, they universally suck and you can get better further up the mountain road.
                  Marsala Salsa, if it is still open.

                  This is by no means a comprehensive list of places. :)

                  1. re: Morganna

                    Miguels is closed. Try Waterbury wings and Michaels on the Hill.

                    1. re: Morganna

                      do Hen of the Woods for dinner, or Michaels on the Hill, also try the Kitchen Table in nearby Richmond, Vt. One thing I always love this time of year is doing American Flatbread in Waitsfield (only open for dinner Fri & Sat's) but it's so beautiful in the valley, you put your name in with the host, grab a beer or glass of wine, then go out to the fire and drink, talk, chat with the people around and then have some darn fine pizza...without blowing the food budget... I feel like it's a "real" Vermont experience.

                  2. Just got back from Camden. The best dinner I had was at Francine's (you need reservations). It was great! Although considered a high-end restaurant there, the vibe is casual and the menu items were imaginative and fresh, and not heavy. My starter was seared scallops on arugula with a ham-hock vinagrette (YUMMY!) and my entree was skillet chicken on corn and barley. Everything was seasonal and local, and the blending of flavors was perfect. My husband and I were very impressed. An excellent dessert list too, not the same old stuff.

                    For lunch, the Lobster Pound in Lincolnville (15 minutes up the road from Camden) has classic seafood and lobster, decently done, and is open. A lot of the lobster shacks are shutting up for the winter. The Edge in Lincolnville is very fancy, but supposed to be good. My husband and I stopped at their bar and had cocktails on the patio one evening and watched the sun set. The weather was warm and it was a beautiful spot to sit. We didn't eat there though.

                    As a west-coaster in search of serious lobster, the best thing I did was stop at Jesse's Seafood in Rockland (on Hwy 1, south of Camden) and buy a pound bag of their cooked, picked lobster, ready to eat, and buy a lemon and asked them to slice it for me. Then drive further north, stopping at The Market Basket which is at Hwy 1 and 90, and buy all the other ingredients for a gourmet picnic. I bought some of the homemade bread, the local Appleton Dairy goat cheese, some sauces and drinks, and made my own lobster rolls at a park with picnic tables. Better than anything I got at a restaurant, and I finally got my fill of lobster. The lobster meat from Jesse's included 4 tails, and 8 claws of meat, and was delicious and fresh. Jesse's is just a little hole-in-the-wall fish shop where you can order live lobster shipped or buy fish to cook, but they also have cooked lobster (whole and just meat). Some of the locals later told me that Jesse's was the best place to buy lobster. It was not an inexpensive lunch (1 pound of lobster meat was $45) but my husband and I each ate 1/2 pound of lobster. Wish I were there so I could do it again. Sigh...

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: dahlia47

                      What a great idea, making your own lobster rolls! Good on ya. I so much prefer hearing tales like this, instead of disappointed reports from travelers who post in advance looking for “The Best Lobster Roll Ever!!” and then complain about everything that was wrong.

                      I happen to love the Camden/Rockport area, and think Francine's would hold up as A+ just about anywhere – it's that good.

                      1. re: dahlia47

                        Wow Dahlia... I am all over the picnic idea. I just hope my family likes the idea as much as I do. Thank you for the great post!!!

                      2. Stop in Georgetown and eat at Robinhood Meetinghouse on your way north through maine, just outside of Bath. Also stop in Bath at the Kennebec Tavern. If you can do a little side trip, Sebasco Lodge off of 209 towards Phippsburg has a great place to watch the sun go down over the water, very low key. We also like the Back Street Bistro in Brunswick. Good luck

                        1. there is a great diner in Alton Bay, I think it is called the Alton Bay Diner, on the water, no view, great breakfast.