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Jun 18, 2009 06:12 AM

boston to rockland, me...what not to miss?

hello all, i will be driving up to rockland next week, and was wondering what's lurking off the highways and byways. since i have never been to coastal mass, i thought it'd be a good idea to hit the clam box in ipswich; is it worth it? i figure it'll be a total tourist trap, but its only still june so maybe it won't be so bad. i don't think i need any recs for maine, but maybe something in new hampshire since i have never stopped there either! i basically eat anything, but of course will focus on seafood. also, any local amazing ice cream places on the way would be great to know about as well. thanks for any recs!

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  1. The Clam Box is in no way a "tourist trap". It's often busy, but only because the quality of the food is high.

    1. The Clam Box is worth the wait. We tried it after it won a Chowhound Klam Krawl. A group of hard working hounds did all the testing so you wouldn't have to take a chance on your trip through here.

      Here's my report with photos and ordering hints.


      1 Reply
      1. re: BostonZest

        awesome, thanks for the links penny...i'm sure many appreciate all the hard work you guys did, all for a good cause ; ) i can't wait to check it out!

      2. Ice Cream stops on the way up include Lone Oak just off I-95 in Rye New Hampshire (Route 1).....Brown's by Nubble Light in York......and Toots on Route 115 between Yarmouth Maine and Gray, Maine. John's Handmade in Liberty, Maine (Route 3 near Lake St. George) is worth the drive from Rockland. Also, seek out one of Amy Upham's pies while you're in Rockland, they are sold at Thomaston Grocery on Route 1 and a few other small stores. The Chocolate Cream would make it back to Boston in a cooler with an ice pack, or you could get a Blueberry and not worry about refrigeration.
        Ted's Fried Clams near Acton Maine (outside of Sanford) is as good as anything you'll find in Ipswich, but I don't remember just how far it is from I-95.

        7 Replies
        1. re: jackattack

          thanks for the recs jackattack; have you been to many of these spots? i think i may just hit up brown's since it's right by the water...

          1. re: jackattack

            Yep, been to all of them. I liked the New England flavor "Indian Pudding" at Lone Oak and Brown's, the coconut -needham flavor at Toot's, the peanut butter cookie flavor, the Butter Pecan and the Black-Raspberries-n-Creme at John's in Liberty. Always nice to visit the lakes areas of Maine along with the coastline...and John's (from Rockland) fits the bill for a drive through some nice lake region.

            1. re: jackattack

              indian pudding sounds like something right up my alley. i think brown's it'll be then, and if time allows, a stop at john's in liberty. i'm most likely gonna have lunch at chase's daily friday, and it'd be so wonderful to follow that up w/ some homemade ice cream! just curious though regarding john's; it was originally in rockland, and if so, where? thanks again for your info jackattack

              1. re: unocal

                I've just found out that SHAINS OF MAINE is now providing the ice creams at Browns in York. I guess it's been this way ever since Mr. Brown died. Shain's is pretty good stuff, but you can probably find some without detouring out to Nubble Light for it. With Gifford's and Shain's now dominating the Maine ice cream scene, it's getting harder and harder to find the homemade stuff. Mrs & Me in Kittery is made on-site, and a very easy stop off the freeway. Sundaes at the Beach on Route 1 in Wells is also homemade, and I think it's better stuff than "Big Daddy's" just up the road. From Chase's Daily, John's Handmade on Route 3 is worth the drive, especially if it's around sunset and you get to enjoy sunset over the lake nearby. John's is open until 10pm.

                1. re: jackattack

                  Unfortunately most ice cream parlors use mixes that are bought from large dairy distributors. It comes in giant boxes full of unknown stabilizers, and then the retailer adds there own flavorings to the mix during freezing. The flavorings are also sold by these large dairy distributors. Sad really, but that is the reality in nearly all seasonal ice cream shops.

                  1. re: simplyput

                    I don't mind that they buy their ice cream mixes from a dairy, (as long as they don't buy the cheap 10% butterfat mixes). If they make, say, their own cookie dough or their own fudge sauce for the ripple, it's still "homemade" to me. I don't mind paying 3 bucks a scoop when someone has been slaving over the ice-cream-making machine all morning, painstakingly adding all the mix-ins and trying to get everything just right. But I don't like paying $3 a scoop at places that are just having ice cream delivered by a Giffords, Shains or Blakes Ice Cream truck. I'm not saying that these outfits don't put out some decent ice cream, I'm just saying that there's no reason to be charging $3 a scoop for it if you're not investing in ice-cream-making equipment, refrigerators, ice-cream-making personnel etc.

              2. re: jackattack

                I love John's. Whenever I drive to Acadia, I always get off of 95 and via Route 3 to the coast just so I can stop at John's for the Raspberries-n-Creme.