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need a Foodie vacation spot in N.E.

ScubaSteve May 28, 2008 12:03 PM

preferably along the coast. someplace with Quality Hotels as we're not real fans of the B&B thing, but if it's a Really Nice Inn with modern plumbing we'd consider it.

we'd like a setting that has Very Good to Excellent dining options at all price points. extra consideration will be given to ethnic-centric places. not really looking for night life but a lively bar/lounge that doesn't shut down too early would be sweet.

i've been to Bar Harbor and while nice, really didn't do it for me. BoothBay Harbor looks decent but all i can find is converted Motels. we Hate the Winnipesaukee region and have never found anything approaching decent there. ProvinceTown and most of the Cape have proven disappointing in the past. and we'd like to keep the drive under 3-4hours.

that's about it. we'd be going the last week in June for at least four nights.


  1. ScubaSteve Jun 3, 2008 06:40 AM


    will be staying at The Blue Heron Inn in BoothBay. seems that this is WindJammer week and all of of first choices were unavailable and frankly talking to the owner really made the deal for me.

    we have reservations at 73 Townsend for one night and right now we're looking for something with a local feel, for breakfasts and lunches. lobster/crab shacks are kinda what we are looking for along with a place that can make up a picnic lunch of gourmet goodies. i've heard a little about Oak Street Provisions, any thoughts/other suggestions?

    and thanks to all that made other thoughtful suggestions as most of these have been filed for other trips.

    5 Replies
    1. re: ScubaSteve
      hiddenboston Jun 3, 2008 07:19 AM

      Have fun, ScubaSteve. I was in Boothbay last week, and, while the center of town is a bit tacky and cheesy, the location is something special (beautiful harbor, perfect spot for cool sea breezes), and there are a lot of dining options. I really liked the fish sandwich at the Boothbay Lobster Wharf on the east side of town (it was huge, fresh, and incredibly tasty), and I've heard their other seafood is very good, too.

      BTW, if you happen to get to Dunton's Doghouse, I'd really like to know how the place is!

      1. re: ScubaSteve
        steve999 Jun 3, 2008 07:20 AM

        "lobster/crab shacks are kinda what we are looking for"

        Lobster Dock. It's on Atlantic Ave in town on the far side of the harbor. You could walk to it across the pedestrian bridge. (Take a right on the far side).

        Bets Fish Fry in Boothbay Common. It's a little shack on your left as you head into Boothbay in the square.

        Once you get a picnic type lunch - go back up to Rte 96 and take a right towards East Boothbay. Follow it to the end at the boat ramp. Park here where you see all the other cars, and take the path to the left of the small harbor that looks like you are walking through someone's back yard. This is one of the best picnic/reading spots in the area. You can bring along folding chairs or sit on the rocks.

        When you leave, follow Shore road around and complete the loop on your way back to Boothbay village.

        Lobster Dock
        49 Atlantic Ave, Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538

        Bet's Fish Fry
        999 Wiscasset Road, Boothbay, me

        1. re: ScubaSteve
          Mainegal Jun 3, 2008 08:06 AM

          I know you're not a B&B fan, but I think you'll like this place. It's far more inn than B&B, quite stylish, spacious uncluttered rooms and right on the harbor. I can't remember if breakfast is served at one table or individual ones, but it is full and hot.

          Yes, Oak Street is a good choice for picnic fixings. For a lobster roll, head to the Barters Island General Store. For a fish sandwich, stop at Betts on the green in Boothbay.

          Well of most visitors' radar is Bakers Way--locally called the Donut shop. It not only has good baked goods (sticky buns are renowned), but it doubles as a Vietnamese restaurant. Try the tiny Ebb Tide or breakfast, lunch and early dinner--homestyle diner-fixings and damn good chowders. If you're a tea fan, check out MacNab's Tea Room, in Boothbay. There's also a cafe, I believe, at the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden (well worth visiting, and on the way to the Barter's Island General Store).

          For lobster: Cabbage Island Clambakes is ultra touristy, but it does a good job if you want the boat-to-an-island for a full blown-out lobster bake experience. Other choices are Robinson's Wharf, Lobsterman's Wharf in East Boothbay, and the Lobster Dock.

          Ports of Italy gets high marks for Italian. For sunset dining, head to the Ocean Point Inn. Food's okay, views are amazing.

          1. re: Mainegal
            Tipatina Jun 3, 2008 12:26 PM

            The Botanical Garden does have a little cafe. Had very fine sandwiches, salads and soups.

          2. re: ScubaSteve
            HDinCentralME Jun 3, 2008 02:38 PM

            I second Lobster Dock for relaxed "seafood shack" atmosphere.

            If you need a coffee fix try Townsend Wine and Coffee Bar.

            Blue Moon Cafe is where the locals (and evryone else) breakfasts.

            Oak Street Provisions is owned by same folks (Luanne and Bill) as 93 Townsend. Yes, good spot for gourmet picnic supplies.

          3. t
            treb Jun 2, 2008 12:25 PM

            Ever consider the White Mountain Inn, pretty nice garage!, great in the autumn also.

            1. Infomaniac Jun 2, 2008 09:11 AM

              I'd head over the border to Montreal, plenty of ethnic options and end of June is when the Jazz Festival starts too.

              1. hiddenboston Jun 2, 2008 08:10 AM

                I'd consider either Ogunquit/Kennebunkport or the Lenox/Lee/Stockbridge area. The former has some really nice hotels and inns as well as a good mix of restaurants and nightspots (including ethnic dining in nearby Biddeford as well as a at least one wild and crazy lounge in Ogunquit) while the latter has all kinds of good lodging and a number of good restaurants at both the high end and the low end (though perhaps not as many options for ethnic food).

                1. m
                  muzzie May 31, 2008 11:36 AM

                  If you decide on the Camden ME area, The Inn at Ocean's Edge may be to your liking. I would prefer Camden/Rockland rather than Boothbay. You can always stop by Boothbay for a visit.

                  I would suggest MV or Nantucket but they are certainly not rural as you mentioned in your posting.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: muzzie
                    jspear Jun 2, 2008 07:09 AM

                    I visit BB on occasion and always leave with the idea that it is a good place to visit. Vinelhaven off of Rockland is another great destination for a lot of time to relax and do nothing....

                  2. jspear May 31, 2008 04:50 AM

                    Hi Scuba, I am going to go out on a limb and ask you to try something old. I summer in Phippsburg, actually Popham Beach, at the end of 209 from Bath. ON the way down is a great old resort, Sebasco. Now here is why you should go there. Golf, tennis and the small pin bowling thing, walking tours etc. But they have a salt water pool and a real maine lobster steam. They have a deck for pub food and beer and a more upscale resto with great great views, very accommodating and while not top shelf eating, very good. IN the general area are some great resto's in Bath including MaryEllen Z's, the Kenebec tavern ( more pub food) and Mae's cafe (formerly Kristina's). Georgetown has a great spot, the Robinhood meetinghouse with a great sunday tasting all through June. Further north is LeGarage, one of my favorite restos for real new england food and great water views. A little driving but all of it is great. Plus, the best beach in Maine at Popham. If you are looking for rest and relaxation, you will not be dissappointed with Sebasco and while not a hot spot or a great night life, the place, I think, is a great step back in time with great service and quality accommodations.....

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jspear
                      jspear May 31, 2008 04:56 AM

                      this is the link to the robinhood meeting house calendar...

                      Link: http://www.robinhood-meetinghouse.com...

                    2. whs May 29, 2008 10:15 PM

                      Considering your taste for ethnic, offal and offbeat sushi, why not vacation in beautiful Lowell, MA?

                      1. l
                        lexpatti May 29, 2008 03:54 PM

                        Mystic Ct. - we had a wonderful time, lots to do, I loved the Seaport Museum (they were working on a very old boat). We stayed in a mansion where Bogie & McCall spent there honeymoon - kind of eerie because we were the only ones in this huge mansion on the hill. The Inn at Mystic. Funkie rooms with a japanese hot tub in the room. We had wonderful dinners in Stonington - Noah's and Water St. Cafe but there are others that foodie's talk about. No breakfast included.


                        1. u
                          unocal May 29, 2008 02:51 PM

                          i don't stay at b & b's often, but there are so many in the new england area that serve amazing breakfasts and the like (and cost $150/night), and offer that homey atmosphere that is hard to find in a hotel. i'm guessing you've had some bad experiences? anyway, i'm staying in boothbay now, and it seems many of the restaurants are pretty similar, aside from maybe 1 or 2 (there is a great vietnamese owned bakery right next door to 93 townsend, but other than that the food scene is pretty boring). i would recommend somewhere between here and camden though, as someone mentioned you can just take day trips up or down the coast; rockland is about an hour away, and i don't know much about what there is inland, but it'd be cool to check out i'm sure. all i know is i was in rockland yesterday and i want to eat at conte's so badly it's not even funny (ambience-wise, it's right up my alley!). btw, what about nantucket? that seems like it'd be up your alley...have fun and good luck!

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: unocal
                            ScubaSteve May 29, 2008 03:09 PM

                            thanks for the suggestions.

                            i guess the Breakfast part of a B&B is really not our bag. don't care for the Chit Chat and we will pretty much try to search out our first meal from where the locals go.
                            also, they all seem to smell like Gramma's house. couple that with (sometimes) showers crammed under the eaves (i'm 6'6"), various "night noises" and again more chatting up the InnKeepers and i think we're all done with mid-list B&Bs.

                            our thinking right now is mid-coast, Rockland/Camden area. we have a few that we'll be looking at closely this weekend and will pull the trigger Sunday night. realizing that Maine is not the White Sand Beach capital of NE we're looking for larger Inns/Resorts/Hotels that have decent pools.

                            1. re: ScubaSteve
                              Cassoulet May 29, 2008 05:59 PM

                              There are a lot of great dining options in the Rockland/Camden area, and it has that rural-yet-foodie setting that it sounds like you want. The only place in the area that I can think of that meets your hotel needs would be The Samoset.
                              You might want to rethink your anti-b&b-breakfast stance, though, as I've never been particularly impressed with the breakfast options in the area [Cassoulet ducks to avoid a coffee cup flung by the Rockland Cafe fans]. Maybe just save your appetite for the amazing lunches and dinners the area offers.

                              1. re: ScubaSteve
                                GWRyan May 29, 2008 07:54 PM

                                Here's an idea. Stay Home, or go to nantucket. We Don't Need you in maine. You've obviously spent Time here and nothing was Appropriately Satisfactory. We're nowhere near sophisticated Enough, And won't appreciate your Highly honed Sense of Irony, and capitalization, unless it drips on the furniture.

                                1. re: GWRyan
                                  Cassoulet May 30, 2008 08:29 PM

                                  Wow, that's pretty harsh.
                                  He clearly likes Maine, otherwise he wouldn't have vacationed here so many times. I'd take a friendly-enough-sounding visitor like ScubaSteve over a nasty sarcastic local any day (or at least I would this early in the season - ask me again around Labor Day).

                                  1. re: Cassoulet
                                    seedove17 Jun 3, 2008 07:48 PM

                                    Well said! if you think someone is missing a great chow place than make a rec...isn't the point of chow hound to learn of and help others find great chow?

                                  2. re: GWRyan
                                    ScubaSteve May 31, 2008 09:12 AM

                                    gee i'm sorry Sir. i guess you don't like us flatlanders or city folk. but if you let me stay in your barn tonight i promise i'll leave your daughter alone.

                                    1. re: GWRyan
                                      jspear Jun 2, 2008 07:07 AM

                                      Here's another idea, lighten up and listen to his request. I heard honest concerns and requests with people trying to help. I didn't hear an elitist attitude or any of the other garbage you list here. How about you drop out of maine and leave the great state for others to explore!

                                      1. re: jspear
                                        Passadumkeg Jun 2, 2008 08:57 AM

                                        Hear! Hear! How about the Catskills? Sounds right.

                                    2. re: ScubaSteve
                                      emilief May 31, 2008 04:27 PM

                                      Ogunquit has a beautiful white sand beach- so, I guess you have never been there. The Cliff House has a fabulous pool.If you opt for mid coast- try to get to Five Islands for a real Maine experience. Great lobster, crab, steamers, forn, potatoes, fish sandwiches etc with a beautfiul view of the Five Pine covered Islands. Can;t beat it.

                                      1. re: ScubaSteve
                                        jspear Jun 2, 2008 12:21 PM

                                        Please don't give up on white sand beach, popham has at least 5-6 miles of it, georgeous!!!!!!!!!!

                                    3. EastRocker May 29, 2008 02:06 PM

                                      what about something around Burlington? Lake Champlain etc.

                                      1. EastRocker May 29, 2008 02:02 PM

                                        You could stay somewhere on the CT shore like guilford or madison for small townish feel, and be a short drive from New Haven for food purposes.

                                        I think the combination of Hotels, Ethnic food AND rural, is going to be hard to find.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: EastRocker
                                          ScubaSteve May 29, 2008 02:08 PM

                                          i was just giving extra credit for Ethnic, it wasn't a make or break thing.

                                        2. a
                                          amyc May 29, 2008 01:39 PM

                                          Base your trip in Portland and stay at Hilton Garden, Portland Harbor Hotel, Regency or Eastland. Take side trips up or down the coast. Have a meal in Kennebunk, Camden, etc. Aside from Boston, I think only Portland meets your needs.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: amyc
                                            ScubaSteve May 29, 2008 02:07 PM

                                            we just did a 3 day Portland trip (stayed at the PHH) in March.

                                          2. m
                                            Mainegal May 29, 2008 07:00 AM

                                            Camden/Rockland, mid-coast, Maine. Emerging foodie scene led by Primo and Waterman's Lobster, both Beard winners. Search these boards on Camden or Rockland, and you'll find plenty of options.

                                            As for lodging, the B&Bs and inns in this area are all top notch. You won't find shared baths at any but the lowest priced ones. For Rockland listings, check its chamber: http://www.therealmaine.com for Camden's, search on http://www.visitcamden.com.

                                            Consider Hartstone Inn--chef/owner cooked at the Beard House this fall, or the renovated Camden Harbour Inn or the less pricey Lord Camden Inn, all downtown Camden. In Rockland, Berry Manor Inn is fabulous and walk-to distance of everything downtown, including the ferry terminal to the islands. For a motel, try Glen Cove Motel or the all-suites Country Inn, both in Rockport, roughly midway between Camden and Rockland.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Mainegal
                                              Passadumkeg May 29, 2008 09:44 AM

                                              What no Somoset?

                                              1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                phelana May 29, 2008 09:59 AM

                                                A long while back I was in Portsmouth NH and we did a foodie kind of weekend. It was FABULOUS. So many great eateries. The Strawberry Banks and entire coastal area was lovely.

                                                1. re: phelana
                                                  ScubaSteve May 29, 2008 10:18 AM

                                                  Portsmouth is another town that we're Very Familiar with. in fact we were there this past weekend, Drinks at The Brewery, dinner at Sake, and a little bit of shopping.

                                              2. re: Mainegal
                                                whs May 29, 2008 10:59 AM

                                                Primo is very good--if you stay in the Camden/Rockland area, you can do a day trip out to Monhegan Island, which is absolutely spectacular on a sunny day. The food on the island is pretty uneven, but you'll be able to score a decent lobster roll. The Dip Net, on the pier at Port Clyde (ferry to MI) was very good a couple of years ago. The trouble with seasonal places is the lack of consistency from one year to the next.

                                              3. h
                                                harry_sparrow May 28, 2008 01:53 PM

                                                Here's a link to a Boothbay Harbor website that lists lodging and dining options:


                                                We have stayed at Captain Sawyer's Inn in Boothbay Harbor. I recommend room 10. It has an exclusive access, a big bed, and yes plumbing.


                                                In East Boothbay, Linekin Bay Resort looks nice, but I haven't stayed there:


                                                For Dining, 93 Townsend is excellent:
                                                - http://www.93townsend.com/

                                                We also like the following, but these are a cut below 93 Townsend (all have outside dining on/near the water).:
                                                - The Lobster Wharf (cajun salmon sandwich): http://www.boothbaylobsterwharf.com/
                                                - McSeagulls: http://www.mcseagullsonline.com/
                                                - Lobsterman's Wharf: http://www.lobstermanswharf.com/

                                                About an hour from Boothbay:
                                                - Five Islands Lobster: http://www.fiveislandslobster.com/

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: harry_sparrow
                                                  ScubaSteve May 28, 2008 02:27 PM

                                                  thank you.
                                                  that first link was most helpful.

                                                  1. re: ScubaSteve
                                                    RandyL May 28, 2008 03:11 PM

                                                    How about Martha's Vineyard? Great places such as Mediterannean, Artcliff Diner, Lola's, Larsen's, etc.

                                                    1. re: RandyL
                                                      ScubaSteve May 28, 2008 03:51 PM

                                                      we did a cursory search and found most decent places well over $300/night. could you recommend someplace in the mid-$200's???

                                                      1. re: ScubaSteve
                                                        DonShirer May 28, 2008 04:24 PM

                                                        It might not have the cachet of Maine, but the Waters Edge Spa in Westbrook, CT is pretty famous. Good dining room and many first class restaurants within 10 miles. Some special rates during summer at $245/rm.
                                                        Look at http://www.watersedge-resort.com for details.

                                                        1. re: DonShirer
                                                          FoodieJim May 29, 2008 06:16 AM

                                                          Once Water's Edge passed over to the dark side by putting up those awful time shares, it is no longer worth visiting. The density of visitors is beyond the point of comfort, and the "quality" of the guests has dropped significantly. It is no longer an Inn. Rather, it has the feel of a Days Inn on the water. And the restaurant can no longer keep up with the number of guests. Quality there has gone way down. A real shame, because it is a wonderful piece of beachfront property.

                                                2. jaylhorner May 28, 2008 01:11 PM

                                                  Based on your profile of top restaurants (McDonalds, Wendys, etc.), I hesitate to recomment The White Barn Inn.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: jaylhorner
                                                    treb May 28, 2008 01:20 PM

                                                    Are you saying the OP's top places are MickeyD's and Wendy's? if so, then you really don't know Scuba.

                                                    1. re: treb
                                                      ScubaSteve May 28, 2008 01:27 PM

                                                      thanks Treb.

                                                      jay--i drip sarcasm.

                                                  2. e
                                                    emilief May 28, 2008 12:43 PM

                                                    Have you tried Ogunquit? Very pretty place, lots of nice places to stay and lots of excellent restaurants in Ogunquit, Kittery, Wells, and York- all within 15 minutes drive. Easy also to reach Portland for dinner out, less than an hour. Kennebunkport is about 20 minutes. Tell me what you are looking for in restaurants, hotels etc. and I can be more specific in recommendations. Ogunquit even has an old fashioned movie theatre in the centre of town with first run movies.

                                                    1. e
                                                      emilief May 28, 2008 12:34 PM

                                                      Have you tried Ogunquit? There are some nice motels/hotels and lots of dining choices in Kittery,York, Ogunquit, and an easy 1 hour or less drive to Portland for great food. The beach is gorgeous and there is a nice walk along the ocean on the marginal way. The Anchorage Motel, the Juniper Hill Inn (modern hotel) are both good choices. If you want real classy stay at the Cliff House in the Spa section of the Hotel- quite new and adults only. FAbulous spa and swimming pools, exercise rooms etc.
                                                      Fodd- hot dogs at Flo' in York, Pizza at cafe Preggo, breakfast at the Omelette Factory. Lobsters and rum punch at Barnicle Billy's, excellent food at MC Perkins Cove with a great view; high upscale dinner at Arrows (an old farmhouse); or drive to York to eat at Lydia Shire's new place Blue Sky at the Atlantic Hotel. There is even an old movie Theatre with first run movies in the center of town. If you are more specific about food, I can give additional recommendations.

                                                      1. t
                                                        treb May 28, 2008 12:22 PM

                                                        Hey scuba, although not to far up ME, for part of the excursion, have you ever been to Harreseeket Inn? I mean totally not a motel. You and the GF can get some real pampering, excellent chow, they also have an English Style Pub. Also, it's a shortie to Casco Bay. Check out their w/site. www.harraseeketinn.com

                                                        1. f
                                                          FoodieJim May 28, 2008 12:17 PM

                                                          In my opinion, if food is the focus, (or at least a major focus), you need to look at Boston or Portland. If you choose Boston, you would probably want to stay in the city (and consult the separate Boston Chowhound Board.) If you choose Portland, you don't necessarily have to stay in the city. You can find a place to stay in Maine that is more "small town coastal", but book your dinners in Portland. Hard to beat Portland for a "foodie" vacation spot. More "Food and Wine Best New Chefs" than any other place in New England. Lots of threads on this board to steer you to the best places (such as 555, Fore Street and Hugo's.).

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: FoodieJim
                                                            ScubaSteve May 28, 2008 01:15 PM

                                                            i'm Boston-centric, in there for Fun and Chow at least 2-3 times a week.
                                                            and i should of included it in my original post but we did Portland last September and again this past March. we're looking for something more Rural.

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