HOME > Chowhound > Northern New England >


Roadtrip up East Coast

My husband and I are planning to roadtrip from Brooklyn up the east coast to Maine, stopping along the way for the best in foodie offerings. Seafood of course will be the highlight but also looking for quirky suggestions (best donuts, ice cream, pies, lobster rolls, etc.). Any suggestions of best restaurants/road side stands or best foodie towns to stop in would be so helpful. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It's hard to make suggestions unless you give us a more specific route.....but the Clam Shack in Kennebunkport has the best Fried Whole Belly Clams I have ever had.....and the Lobster Shack @ Two Lights, outside Portland, for steamed Lobster are two to start.

    I would also suggest pizza in New Haven.....I like Frank Pepe.



    4 Replies
    1. re: fourunder

      Thanks for these! Our itinerary is a bit vague right now, but here is my ideal. Start out in CT at Pepe's, since I have never been and keep hearing about it. Continue on to RI for a day since we have friends there. Then I'm hoping to get up to So. Yarmouth, where I used to visit my grandparents as a kid (recommendations welcome!) Followed by Maine coast, of which I know nothing about. Thinking maybe Bar Harbour. But open to any suggestions!

      1. re: kam0424

        Just in case anyone tries to convince you to go to Sally's instead of Frank Pepe.....let me say this. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the appiza at Sally's.....their service is terrible and it's not worth the drama, the back door access or the secret telephone number. During my neice's four year stint at college in New Haven I ate there many times.....but not by choice. Usually, because people like yourself wanted to try it. On my first trip there, I was second in line before they opened.....doors opened, sat and ordered right away.....but were near last to be served. It wasn't worth the waiting outside, then at the table ......

          1. re: kam0424

            Just remember, pepe's opens at 11:30am. I'd time my departure from NYC until after rush hour to be one of the first in line. Then I'd give a big +1 to midcoastmainiacs list of cities.

    2. We love BT's Smokehouse in Sturbridge MA...always stop in for some Q on our drive from NH to NJ.

      Goody Cole's in Epping NH is excellent as well for BBQ.

      Love Republic Cafe in Manchester NH

      Petey's in Rye for a lobster roll. I've also heard great things about the lobster rolls and clam chowder at The Beach Plum, but I've never been.

      If you drive thru Hampton, get Blink's Fried Dough.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rizzo0904

        Totally forgot about fried dough, thanks for the suggestion!

      2. On the "foodie town" list (Boston north)...assuming you are staying closer to the coast on the drive...would be:

        1. Boston
        2. Portland
        3. Rockland/Camden
        4. Bar Harbor

        There are some other little pockets in between, like Portsmouth, Kennebunk/York, Damariscotta and Belfast which have some really great options, as limited as they may be. All of those places deserve a stop and look around nonetheless.

        If you search the Chowhound boards for those destinations, you'll get alot of info (including donuts, ice cream, pies, lobster rolls and anything else you can dream of).

        1 Reply
        1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

          Thank you, this town list was amazingly helpful!

        2. Since you will be driving north, here are some suggestions from south to north:

          Pie: Pie In the Sky, York/Cape Neddick, ME, on Route 1
          Donuts: Congdon's on Route 1 in Wells, ME
          Lobster rolls/clam chowder: Cape Pier Chowder House, Kennebunkport/Cape Porpoise, ME

          Assuming you'll be on I-95/Maine Turnpike, you can get off at the York exit and drive Route 1 through to Kennebunkport, where you can get back on the T'pike.

          2 Replies
            1. re: kam0424

              If you're going that route, you'll go through Ogunquit center, a really lovely place to stroll around, with a beautiful ocean walk called Marginal Way. Don't miss Bread n' Roses bakery and the wonderful candy store next door, which looks exactly like an old-fashioned candy store should (the divinity fudge is wicked good).

          1. If we've gotten an early start from NY metro, we often stop in Providence for lunch... lots of restaurants in the riverwalk area. Bar Harbor is a great food town, IMO. Trenton Bridge lobster pound is our favorite, even if it is on a busy road.

            1. Boston: The imports aren't as tasty. Blunch, in Boston makes excellent sandwiches for lunch or a snack. Speed's Hot Dogs, if you can find the truck, has delicious sausages as well as a balsamic, which I believe is a better topping on ice cream than their dogs. Shabu-Zen is good for Japanese style hot pot dinners. Neptune Oyster has a great raw bar, but only mediocre kitchen fare.

              Kennebunk: : Being a veteran of the Brooklyn to Maine route/s, I will second the Clam Shack in Kennebunk. But only if they have local clams. Sometimes, the their beds get red tide and they need to import. HB Provisions has deceptively delicious breakfast and lunch (sandwiches). The Hot Diggity Dog truck makes a mean pork (with casing) hot dog. Grilled and surrounded by Texas toast. Mabel's Lobster Claw makes a very good Savanna lobster and house blueberry muffins. If you like the lobster tamale and roe you need to make it very clear to the waitress to tell the chef to either leave it in the lobster or serve it on the side. Avoid Allison's. They seem to cater to the "munchies" crowd. Everything tasted like a reheat.

              Bar Harbor: Unfortunately, I went there in mid-October when everyone closed for the season. However, I did like McKay's Public House. The mussels were cooked perfectly. If you order the lamb burger make sure you ask for the whipped feta cheese on the side.

              In between Portland & Bar Harbor you'll probably run into private houses that sell oysters. They seem to work on an honor system. You go into the garage and take what you want and leave the money on the side. You have to shuck/cook them yourself. So bring a knife and/or a hibachi.

              On the way back you need to stop at the Sanford Butcher in Sanford, Maine. They have the most excellent cuts of beef, pork and chicken you will taste. They will survive the trip back to NYC provided you have a cooler with ice and/or if the meats are frozen. They also make excellent in-house bison jerky.

              You should also bring lots of water when you start heading out to Bar Harbor. The stretches on US 1 along with the stop & go traffic in the towns will dehydrate you.

              3 Replies
              1. re: David11238

                Glidden Point Oysters has a road side stand selling fresh oysters on the honor system, worth a stop if you're headed down the Boothbay peninsula. And please DO get off Route1 and explore the villages (Pemaquid, Round Pound, Friendship, Port Clyde, Sprucehead, Tenant's Harbor) of Mid-Coast Maine!


                1. re: crawfish

                  Don't forget Red's Eats in Wiscasset, Maine on US1 / ME27 right before the bridge. Classic stop on our way to/from Bar Harbor. 'Nuff said.

                  Although they don't have a website (that I can find, anyhow), just Google them and you will get lots of info & reviews.

                  Enjoy your trip !

                  1. re: bakersma

                    Red's Eats and The Lobster Skack at Two Lights, Cape Elizabeth, Maine were my two favorites on a road trip 2 years ago. Trying to go again this Oct.; for about 6 nights, think I'll go to Boothbay Harbor this time, any other places where I must stay? (Last time was Camden.)

              2. We really enjoyed 2 Cats inn and restaurant in Bar Harbor for Breakfast/Brunch. Great Blueberry muffins as was everything else. It's been several years ago, so hope it is as good now as it was then.
                You can check theri web site.