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Dear hounders

Travellling from the UK and have what wil hopefully be a great 2 week trip around NE ( and NH at the end ) lined up as follows

Fri 26 Sept- Mon - Boston
Mon 29th - Portland
Tue 30th - Camden
Wed 1- Fri 3 - Acadia - staying Southwest Harbour
Sat - Mon - Moosehead
Tues - Rangeley
Wed- Fri - Carter Notch NH

So, am looking for top houndish recs, for lunch but mainly for dinner. Price not main criteria but anywhere too pretentious will not go down well.

My assumtption is that seafood will be high on agenda first week but am wary of tourist traps so where do the locals go ?

For lunch diner style/ good burger places ( I like Shake shack in NY and Blancs in KC if that helps anyone ! ) or good delisto get picnic eats will be perfect.

In terms of cuisine bistro /gastropub /microbrew/italian/seafood all rate highly. I also like quirky or quintessentially American or photogenic locations or places to eat - so long as the food matches the view and it isnt a rip off .

Some places I have come across while surfing the net

Boston - Upstairs at the Square in Cambridge ?
Portland -555 ? Fore Street ? Hugo's ?
Camden - Hartstone Inn - is this a set menu thing - any good ?
Moosehead - place we are staying said we should go to Maynard's Sporting Camp one night - is she joking ?!

Finally as I have only been to Boston once before and am not familiar with the coastline ( week 1 ) or mountains ( week 2 ) - where would we be best stopping for brunch, lunch or just a peaceful scene or beautiful place for a picnic ? We dont mind a bit of a hike to get to it , so long as it is stunning !

Thanks in advance for your help !

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  1. Between Camden and SW Hbr. try Just Barbs on Rt 1 in Stockton Springs. In SW Hbr. Red Sky. There has been so much discussion on these areas latley go to "search the board" please.

    1. Upstairs on the Square is good, especially for that photogenic feel as it is in the heart of Harvard Sqaure. I personally prefer Eastern Standard which in Kenmore Square going towards Fenway. For a burger definitely hit Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage in Harvard Square. There are tons of good places in the city, but the ones that are pretty can be pretentious and the ones that aren't pretentious aren't necessarily pretty. My favorite "diner" was Zoe's halfway between Central and Harvard Square in Cambridge. But it doesn't much look like a diner. However if you want the diner to look like a diner, go to Rosebud in Davis Square in Somerville (on the Redline). There are lots and lots of fine dining options in the South End; The Butcher Shop, Hammersley's Bistro, Addis Red Sea, Metropolis Cafe, I could go on and on. Avoid Newbury St, unless you need to be seen or spend $17 on a salad.

      If you're driving up to Portland, ME, I recommend, HIGHLY, stopping at the Friendly Toast in Portsmouth, NH. They make all their own bread and the food is absolutely divine. Go for breakfast or lunch, there will be a wait on the weekend though. Enjoy your trip and have fun.

      1. Hartstone Inn, Camden: Classic New England inn. Yes, set menu, but it's published on the web site I think up to a week prior. I had an excellent meal there. Downtown Camden. No view, but it'll be dark, so not a factor, really.

        Moosehead: Oh yes, you MUST go to Maynard's. Don't be put off by the exterior, and don't go expecting fancy fare. But you'll get good food, big portions and an experience you won't forget. If you're in the area for lunch, consider the drive out to Pittston Farm, another classic Maine woods experience. In downtown Greenville, best food is the Rod and Reel. For finer dining, see if the Blair Hill Inn's dining room is open for dinner. And when you pass through Monson, south of Greenville, don't miss Spring Creek Barbecue, if open, for lunch.

        Rangeley: Consider making the drive north to the Porter House in Eustis. Excellent spot in the middle of nowhere, yet it draws folks up from Rangeley, over from Sugarloaf, and down from Canada. Just be careful on the drive--it's a moose slalom. Also in Rangeley area: Bald Mountain Camps, with a lakefront dining room and retro air; Country Club Inn, with spectacular views and a classic continental menu; Sarge's Sorts Pub and Grub for burgers; Gingerbread House, wide-ranging American menu; Thai Blossom Express for Thai (be sure to read the newspaper clippings on the wall for the story). Ask locally about Loon Lodge. It was struggling a bit, but grapevine tells me it's good again, and it has amazing sunset views down the lake.

        You choices are pretty limited for groceries in both Greenville and Rangeley, both have supermarkets and local sandwich shops. Greenville: Lakeshore Provisions is a good choice for fancier to-gos. Ask about transport to Kineo, and if available, get a sandwich at Lakeshore or at Jamos or the Moose River Country Store, in Rockwood, and head over there for a hike and picnic at the summit. Or take a picnic aboard The Kate for a cruise up the lake. Rangeley: Moosely Bagels does a good job on sandwiches, ask for directions to Angel Falls, or hike up Saddleback for 360-degree views that take in the Presidential Range of the Whites.

        1. In Moosehead try The Birches. We stayed there a couple of summers ago and really enjoyed. My Dad who's up there frequently swears by Maynard's.

          1. Have just been recommended , in Jackson, White Mountain Cider Co, Thompson Hose Eatery and The Wentworth - recs by place I am staying so always a bit wary - any thoughts ?

            1. The Deck House in Southwest Harbor was a great fun experience - its dinner and cabaret theater performed by the wait staff. http://www.thedeckhouse.com/deck_main...

              Bar Harbor ME:
              Poor Boys GOURMET 300 Main St. 207-288-4148
              QUARTERDECK RESTAURANT 1 Main Street 207-288-1161

              If you decide on breakfast at Acadia, two cant miss places would be
              2 CATS BED & BREAKFAST 130 Cottage St. 207-288-2808
              JORDAN'S RESTAURANT 80 Cottage Street 207-288-3586

              1. My most enthusiastic recommendation that you visit the Shaker Village in Canterbury, NH (near Concord). www.shakers.org is their website. Their restaurant, The Shaker Table, is lovely, with delicious Shaker and Shaker-inspired recipes. This time of year, there is also a farmstand with produce and baked goods, and a snack bar for light refreshments. The tour is absolutely fascinating (if you can get one led by Darrell, even better - a bit eccentric but was raised there and knows the place inside out) and inspiring. Love the unique vertical oven they invented.
                You cannot get more uniquely American than the Shakers! The idyllic location merits many photographs.

                Another spot, within about a 40-minute drive, is Gould Hill Orchard in Contoocook NH. www.gouldhill.com. It offers one of the best hilltop vistas in the area, and sells dozens of apple varieties, from standard to heirloom, including some unique to Gould Hill. The Little Nature Museum is on the premises as well, offering up-close examination of interesting natural artifacts from the area.

                West of Boston is Nashoba Valley Winery, which has a tour with samples of their various fruit wines (also for sale there), and fine dining at J's Restaurant.

                1. Southwest: Definitely Red Sky, it's one of the best on the island. I also like Sips, very casual wine bistro, and Cafe 2, quite good, kinda funky. For lunch, Eat-A-Pita is the day version of Cafe 2, eat in, on the patio or get it to go and take on a hike, such as up Flying Mountain, for superb views over NE Harbor and out to the Cranberries. You can go to the Deck House just for the show.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Mainegal

                    Hike the Perpendicular Trail at Long Pound, Sawyers Market for wine and provisions. Watch Steven King's Storm of the Century, filmed in SW Hbr. Thurston's in Benard for lobbers ( A scene in Cider House Rules movie).
                    XYZ for good but very expensive Mexican.

                  2. My favorite place in Boston is #9 Park. Expensive but they always excel. Davio's on Arlington St is another favorite. In the south end I would second both Hammersly's and the Butcher Shop, I also enjoy Union Grill there. Further north on the coast, great fried clams and lobster rolls from Ipswich right through Maine.

                    1. My recommendations are for your time between portland and camden. In Brunswick, back st bistro, in bath, kennebec tavern and Mae's Cafe for breakfast or lunch, in Georgetown the Robinhood Free Meetinghouse. Secondary choices would be the Great Impasta in Brunswick and the Sea Dog microbrewery in Topsham. My most unforgetable lunch idea would be to get take out at Mae's and bring it down to the end of 209 and eat it at Popham Beach, the most beautiful beach in Maine, park at Fort Popham and walk the beach to the state beach. If you are early enough you might be able to get ice cream at Percy's, a nice tourist trap with fairly good ice cream, can't beat the walk, however.....let me know what you did......

                        1. re: whs

                          Boston - loads of good places to choose from.

                          Hamersley's Bistro is excellent, for Cambridge/Somerville, try Oleana or EVOO, but if you have a car - book ahead and take a trip to Jamaica Plain. Ten Tables is the best. Great food, excellent service and yes, they really do only have ten tables!

                          1. re: whs

                            What happened was that I got lots of great information about where to stay, chow wise. Some of the recommendations I could not see throughn ( fully booked ) ansd some places ( eg Moosehead ) I didnt really get any recommendations for. So, I thought I would repost. Is that a problem ?

                            1. re: willowan

                              Not at all--just wondering if you had utilized any of the resources. Sorry if the tone sounded accusatory. :) BTW, where are you staying in the White Mtns? If you didn't get a room at Notchland Inn, at least try to have a meal there.

                              1. re: whs

                                Am staying at the Carter Notch Inn in Jackson. So, any Jackson recs would be welcome. Would you still advise going to Carter Notch for dinner ? Would that be a long drive ?

                                1. re: willowan

                                  We had a nice lunch at Thompson House Eatery and at Wildcat Tavern, both in Jackson. A big deal dinner in Jackson would be at the Inn at Thorn Hill, which scored a 100 on Conde Nast's Gold List for food. If you want to have dinner at Notchland Inn, it's a 20 minute ride from Jackson. Maestro in N. Conway is very nice.