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Maine Island Hoppers In Search of Good Eats

JenBoes Feb 14, 2008 07:14 AM

Hi all,

My husband and I are planning on chartering a boat again this summer to cruise the Maine coast. Last year, we found it difficult to find restaurants within walking distance of the docks in several of our ports of call and sometimes hunting down groceries and a good bottle of wine also proved challenging.

Could any of you suggest places to eat/shop for specialty food items and groceries on any of these islands?:

Islesboro
Swan's Island
Vinalhaven
Northaven

Also, we will depart from Buck's Harbor and probably stop over in Stonington. Any suggestions there for good eats?

  1. JMF Feb 14, 2008 07:53 AM

    Not on an island but a short block walk from Camden harbor is Francines Bistro. This place is the best in the mid-coast area.

    Same goes for In Good Company in Rockland. Two minutes walk from the harbor... with several other great places nearby. Sage market is a fantastic gourmet market right across the street.

    1. Passadumkeg Feb 14, 2008 09:43 AM

      On North Haven, there is a small grocery a few yards from Brown's boatyard on theThoroughfare.
      The Browns also operate The Coal Wharf Restaurant for good seafood and steaks. Across the street burgers and ice cream.
      On Vinalhaven at Carter's Harbor, there is a whole village center. A few hundred yards walk are restaurants, grocery, even a motel.
      Isleboro has the Dark Harbor Inn; very nice.
      Swan's, only a summer bakery and a tiny general store.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Passadumkeg
        JenBoes Feb 14, 2008 10:28 AM

        Does the Dark Harbor Inn have a restaurant open to the public? Is this the place that Kirstie Allie (sp?) used to own?

        1. re: JenBoes
          m
          Mainegal Feb 14, 2008 11:35 AM

          Dark Harbor Inn is no longer in biz. No, not the same place Kirstie owned--that was a different inn. There is a B&B on the island that was serving dinners occasionally last season.

          Vinalhaven has plenty of choices. Just walk downtown and there are at least a half dozen within a two-block radius. There's also a place outside of town that will pick you up on request. Can't think of the name of it right now. Will post later, if I do.

          Swan's has a place just up from the ferry terminal that serves good soup, sandwiches and baked goods. There's another place on the road to the lighthouse, kind of hangs off the cliff--takeout, if I remember correctly. Grocery store on Swans has reopened.

      2. c
        crawfish Feb 14, 2008 04:48 PM

        Not on an island but at the tip of the St George peninsula, we love Port Clyde. There's the Dip Net right on the wharf for interesting takes on fresh seafood and a general store, too, for your bottle of wine and groceries. I can't wait until summer!!!!!!!!

        2 Replies
        1. re: crawfish
          JMF Feb 14, 2008 08:07 PM

          I've found the dip net to be pretty mediocre.

          1. re: JMF
            c
            crawfish Feb 14, 2008 10:38 PM

            I think it compares favorably with what they'll find on the islands food wise and Port Clyde is a lovely port.

        2. j
          joss2 Feb 14, 2008 05:09 PM

          How about Belfast? We used to go to nearby Bayside, no recent knowledge. but I read things are happening there.

          1 Reply
          1. re: joss2
            JenBoes Feb 15, 2008 07:27 AM

            I actually had a really good sandwich and soup at the co-op in Belfast last year. I think there are a couple of restaurants there too but I haven't eaten at any of them.

          2. r
            rhdafoe Feb 16, 2008 03:17 PM

            Buck's behind the general store in Bucks Harbor was pretty good last summer; not what the Out Back Cafe was a few years ago but not bad at all.

            The Friday night fish fry at the Fisherman's Friend on the Stonington harbor is supposed to be good but I've not tried it: we go to the closer one at Marlintini's in Blue Hill we live in East Blue Hil

            I'll second Francine's in Camden. I think we went there five times last summer even though it's an hour and a half drive from EBH.

            Ralph

            4 Replies
            1. re: rhdafoe
              Passadumkeg Feb 16, 2008 05:26 PM

              The Out Back Cafe is gone. Fisherman's Friend is very good, Marlintini's if average and a looong walk from the dock. The Arbor Vine and its lesser relative, the Vinery, however are excellent i thriving downtown Blue Hill, Maine. "Maine the Way Life Should Be." (tourist dept. slogan

              1. re: Passadumkeg
                JenBoes Feb 20, 2008 08:36 AM

                We actually ate at Marlintini's on the drive home last year. It wasn't that great, but my husband bought a shirt (Marlin with an olive through its bill) and cherishes it. We'd love to spend more time in Blue Hill this summer, even if it is on the way to the boat in Buck's Harbor. I'll definitely check out Arbor Vine or the Vinery.

                1. re: JenBoes
                  Passadumkeg Feb 20, 2008 04:16 PM

                  Contact the Kollegewidgwok Yacht Club for moorings. Dont forget Southwest and Northeast Harbors on MDI and Sorrento too for moorings and fine dining.
                  May all your sailing be wing on wing.

                2. re: Passadumkeg
                  vbmontana Feb 21, 2008 03:32 AM

                  Bucks, which has replace the Outback Cafe, is definitely worth your consideration. Jonathan Chase who ran Jonathan's in Blue Hill for many years now runs the place. It is simple in its menu, but well executed. Jonathan also manage the general store attached and has good wines, cheese, and specialty items.

                  Dennet's Wharf in Castine is also worth a stop. The food is decent, the beers very good, and the setting superb. They have their own dock space. I boat over to Dennet's about 5 times a summer and have not been disappointed.

              2. BratleFoodie Feb 17, 2008 05:53 PM

                As JMF said, Camden isn't an island, but it really has some good food! It also has a very nice small wine shop, not far from the library (which is lovely too). The shop will also ship wine home. They know their stock, which has some less-familiar items, and are helpful.

                Can I crew on your boat??? Have fun!

                3 Replies
                1. re: BratleFoodie
                  JenBoes Feb 20, 2008 08:34 AM

                  Does this wine shop have the word "lupine" in its name? I think I know where you mean. They carry good pate, cheese and stuff too in limited quantities.

                  1. re: JenBoes
                    BratleFoodie Feb 21, 2008 03:00 PM

                    Ooh, you got me! I can walk there, point it out, can't remember the name, but indeed it does have some nice gourmet items. And the library, just a hop away, has free computer access and wi-fi too. Must be the same place. A real asset to Camden for sure -- perfect if you are visiting folks and need to buy the last minute gift!

                    1. re: JenBoes
                      f
                      finewineserver Feb 23, 2008 07:59 AM

                      Yes. The name of the shop is Lily, Lupine & Fern. Right on Main St. It's a great place!

                  2. eyemyth Feb 21, 2008 03:08 PM

                    When in North Haven, I highly recommend dining at the Nebo Lodge. Damn good food and mostly local ingredients. Garden frites with truffled ketchup - wonderful. Some of the best bread I've had in a restaurant too. My kind of place.

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