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Boston to Bar Harbor, ME: chow advice?

I'm heading up to a wedding in Bar Harbor over Columbus Day weekend with several out-of-town friends. I am picking up the out-of-towners at Logan around 10:00 am Friday morning: the plan is to stop along the Maine coast on the way up for scenery and chow. Two of my traveling companions are vegetarians, so while seafood shacks are possibilities it would be nice if they at least serve grilled cheese. We also might stop somewhere more veggie-friendly for lunch and then hit a seafood shack later. We do need to get to Bar Harbor by 6:30ish, so we probably don't have time for significant detours off Rt.1 or for long, leisurely lunches.

Based on reading previous postings, the following places look interesting:
Two Lights Lobster Shack (Cape Elisabeth) - maybe too far out of the way?
Harraseeket Lunch (Freeport)
Alisson's (Kennebunkport) - might be too early for lunch here if we leave Logan at 10:00
Duck Fat (Portland)
Silly's (Portland)
Blue Spoon (Portland) - couldn't find a website, do they serve lunch?
Red's Eats (Wiscasset)
Just Barb's (Stockton Springs)

In Bar Harbor, I'm looking for dinner recommendations for Friday. We'll probably want something close to the hotel (in Bar Harbor) for dinner on Friday: Maggie's and Mache Bistro both look great, although perhaps a bit on the high end of our price range - any suggestions for something worthwhile that is a bit cheaper? Will we need reservations this late in the season?

Finally, I haven't had much luck finding anything that looks appealing for lunch on Saturday yet (somewhere on Mount Desert Island, but not necessarily Bar Harbor). Any suggestions for a good place to grab a light lunch? If the weather is nice, takeout sandwiches would be perfect.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Duck Fat or Silly's (especially for funky veggie fare) would be my rec for lunch. If you take Rt 1 for red's or Barb's, you won't make BH by 6:30. What hotel in BH? I'd stay w/ Maggies of Mache. There are a couple Deli on Main for sandwiches for sandwiches, but since I live here, I've never been. Eat-a-pita in Southwest Hbr. might meet your needs (if still open).
    Have a great time.

    1. Second Duck Fat for lunch on the way to BH.

      For Saturday lunch you could go to Little Notch Bakery and Cafe in Southwest Harbor. They have great bread, soup, salads, pizza, and good sandwiches. Veggie friendly as well. They are bit pricey as lunches go, but portions are big.

      You will likely need dinner reservations for Friday night. Things are still crowded enough. If you want to go a bit lower price-wise, try Cafe This Way for dinner. A few have said on this board that the food has slipped a bit recently, but I have not experienced it.

      1. Duck Fat for coastal scenery??????

        1 Reply
        1. re: jackattack

          Look at his time frame, and call off your attack, Jack. Traveling w/ Vegetableterrorians too? Waddya gonna do, send 'em to the Portland Light for tofu lobber rolls? Lighten up and take 3 Midol.
          Little Notch is very good. I misread and thought Sunday; closed Sundays. Cafe This Way ain't too much cheaper than the other 2.
          Oh critical one, what is your profound suggestion, all things considered?

        2. We had a wonderful picnic lunch from the Cheese Iron just outside of Portland. You might stop, pick up some goodies and find a picnic spot. I just wrote about it- recommending it as a Columbus Day side trip.



          1. Thanks for the suggestions so far, especially about timing. We've managed to rearrange things to leave Boston 2 hours earlier, so that should give us a bit more time on the way up.

            Google says ~2 hours from Boston to Portland and ~3.5 hours from Portland to Bar Harbor along Rt. 1. Is that way off? If we get to Portland at 10:30 am, walk around a bit and eat an early lunch, we could be on the road again by 12:00. Hopefully that would give us time to hit a seafood shack along Rt. 1, and maybe stop for a view or two?

            In Bar Harbor we are staying at the Atlantic Oceanside.

            1 Reply
            1. re: greenzebra

              Yes, the times are about right except that you may hit C-day traffic that clogs things up on rt 1. Finding veggie fare at seafood shacks is a bit of a conundrum. Have fun.
              One off beat suggestion. In Ellsworth go north on Rt 1 instead of Rt 3 into BH, you'll cross a bridge into Sullivan, about 8 mi. and there is a small resto. The Galley at the Bridge. Get lobster dinners to go, cross over the bridge again, turn left and go .7 mi. to the Reversing Falls Park(?). Owned by the Frenchmen's Bay Conservency, there are picnic tables, grills and br facilities. Either bring veggie fare or see what the Galley has (not much). Bring wine and beer too. John Edwards, on Main St. in Ellsworth can supply beer, wines and veggie fare to go. There is also The Union River Lobster Pot 2 blocks away. The falls was our very favorite lobster pound, but shut last year. We take lobster and crab rolls from the Galley and our own beer down to The Falls all the time.

            2. If it's open Columbus Day weekend, try 2 Cats for your light lunch/takeout sandwiches. For the non-vegetarians, I recommend the Thirsty Whale. I had an excellent fish sandwich there, and will definitely be retuning next trip for lunch.

              There was another place downtown - Michelle's? that looked to be a sandwich shop, but I didn't get a chance to go there.

              1. I had a lovely dinner at Blue Spoon last year. I don't know if they serve lunch and I'm pretty sure they don't have a website. The neighborhood is neat, too - the Front Room and Lola's are all within walking distance if you want to do a mini-chow crawl.

                2 Replies
                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                    Literally between the two! Where is your Google Crystal Ball?
                    Blue Spoon... it's at:
                    89 Congress St. (East End)
                    Portland, ME 04101

                1. Reporting back: On Friday, given the rainy weather, we decided to just stop in Portland for lunch and to walk around a bit and skip Rt 1. We ate lunch at Silly's, which did very well for everybody (especially good were the fried pickles we shared as an app). In Bar Harbor on Friday night, we had dinner at Maggie's (who were kind enough to fit us in even though, because of traffic, we were running about 45 minutes late for our reservation). I couldn't resist the lobster crepes, which were decadent. Other favorites included a poached pear & blue cheese appetizer, a roasted beet salad and a delicata squash stuffed with quinoa & veggies with a coconut milk curry sauce. Everything was delicious.

                  On Saturday, we went to Cafe This Way for breakfast. It was a bit disappointing. I had eggs Benedict with smoked trout - while the smoked trout was good, the eggs were not well poached and the english muffins were a bit under-toasted and thus kind of soggy. Home fries were great, however, and my wife's blueberry pancakes were quite good. For lunch, we got takeout sandwiches at Michelle's (on Main St), and ate them enjoying the waves and the fall foliage at Sandy Beach. The sandwiches were fine, but not exceptional. While Maggie's was excellent, otherwise the scenery beat the chow in Bar Harbor (especially the views from the top of Cadillac Mt - wow!).

                  On Sunday the weather was perfect, so we decided to drive down Rt 1 along the coast. Beautiful! For food, we stopped at Red's for a very late lunch: got lobster rolls & fried clams (and grilled cheese + shakes from the ice cream place next door for the vegetarians). The lobster rolls were quite good, although perhaps more suited to a hot summer day that a chilly fall day, especially considering the breeze of the water and the lack of outdoor seating. The fried clams were quite different from what I've had on the North Shore near Boston -- much heavier breading around very large and tasty clams (rather than the very lightly breaded style). Quite delicious, and the ice cream place next door makes a mean shake (Lear's Ice Cream I think it was called).

                  All in all, great food with minimal disappointments. Maggie's lobster crepes were the clear highlight for me, with the lobster roll & fried clams at Red's a close second. Thanks to everybody for all the advice.