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Aug 14, 2012 07:04 AM

Shopping for wine between Bangor and Lubec

We'll be staying at a rental property in Lubec in September, and we plan to do a fair amount of cooking. I have no idea what the wine situation is in the area, so I'm thinking that we might want to stop somewhere between the airport in Bangor and the house in Lubec to pick up a stash of wine. Where will we find the best wine selection in that region?

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  1. Bangor Wine & Cheese in Bangor
    The French Cellar in Machias

    1. Both Bangor Wine & Cheese Company and State Street Wine Cellar in Bangor have a excellent selection and excellent staff!

      1. A wine shop in Machias? *faints* I've been away far too long.
        Rooster Bros. in Ellsworth used to be pretty good.

        5 Replies
        1. re: mollydingle

          Ellsworth would be quite a detour off that route, wouldn't it?

          1. re: CindyJ

            I am assuming ( I know, I know) that you're going from Bangor over towards the coast and then up from there.
            Bangor to Calais and then down towards Lubec makes the most sense.
            rockblogsterbdn has better info than I do, no doubt. If you do the Bangor-Calais route, you will also miss Machias.

              1. re: mollydingle

                We'll be in no particular hurry, so we can take any routing or detour that seems to make sense.

                1. re: mollydingle

                  Actually, either Bangor down to Ellsworth and along the coast or Bangor to Wesley on Route 9, then down to Machias and over to Lubec are shorter in mileage.

            1. First of all, drive via Ellsworth and Machias; there is nothing of interest (except forests) on the road via Calais, and it's very dangerous at night. Winding; no lights; moose.
              In Ellsworth there's the wonderful Rooster Brothers, with an excellent selection of coffees (they roast their own), wines, cheeses, charcuterie, breads, confectionery... everything except produce. Cookware, too. A fabulous store!!! Then on the highway there's the Wine Exchange (? I'm not sure of the name), a huge warehouse of wine/spirits. Hundreds of bottles from every region. On the main highway through town, you take the road TOWARDS Bar Harbor and just after you pass Home Depot on the left, you'll see the Exchange, also on the left. A low building. After you make your purchases, you have to turn around to get on the road to Machias. In Machias there is a huge Hannafords supermarket, where you can find very good fresh produce, deli, meats, dairy.... everything you will want. Good butcher. Very clean. Little choice of cheese; none uncut. You can buy a styroform "cooler" at Hannafords for a few bucks and they will give you a bag of ice to put in it.
              In Machias there is also an Italian butcher who makes wonderful sausages. You'll see little signs directing you to his "shop". Joe's, if I recall. Italian name...
              In the supermarket in Lubec you'll not find good fresh produce, but they have all the staples. They also have wine, and for your ordinary plonk, you'll find plenty of choice. You can get fresh lobster, sometimes shrimp, from Victor at the big Wharf (motel/restaurant complex). Maybe scallops. Just ask. (Sometimes Hannafords has scallops, which, as you know, freeze beautifully. )
              The restaurants in Lubec try hard, but are mediocre at best, if you are used to the quality we find in NYC. (There is an excellent Angus burger at Cohills.) They have nice views and are pleasant, however. People are, of course, very cordial. I'm sure you'll eat well!!

              8 Replies
              1. re: 24Main

                Thanks, 24Main! This is really very helpful. I had no idea what the grocery shopping situation was going to be like in and around Lubec. It looks like we're best off stocking up in Ellsworth (even though I hadn't considered heading to Ellsworth on this trip). I especially appreciate your recommendation for Rooster Brothers for coffee. I'd actually been considering bringing freshly roasted coffee from home; now I'm happy I don't have to do that.

                I've been Googling your recommendations to get addresses to plug into the GPS. Could it be the Global Beverage Warehouse you're referring to for wine?

                So where would you go for a special occasion dinner? We'll be celebrating a birthday and an anniversary on this trip. We're also not so hung up on dates that we can't celebrate closer to home either before or after our trip. But if there's a "don't-miss" spot in the area, that'd be great.

                1. re: CindyJ

                  Yes. It's Global Beverage Warehouse!
                  For a special occasion? mmm, a problem. I would decorate my own place and have lots of champagne. But if your rental does not inspire you, I don't know... The 3 places in Lubec (Wharf, Cohills, the Tavern) are pretty plain. In EASTPORT (a place you should visit anyway), there is the Herring-something, which is more elegant and has fine food. It the ferry (7-minute crossing) isn't running, the drive there and back is 40 minutes. Mealtimes are early, by the way. If it's an important celebration and you have the time to go farther afield, the grand and very posh Hotel Algonquin in St. Andrews, NB, is fabulous. A VERY long drive ( you have to go via Calais, then down the coast. A lovely trip. And you could stay over!) St. Andrews is charming, has a world-famous garden. Vaut le detour.
                  What is the property you're renting? My own house is for rent during the summer but I'll be there (24 Main St) from Sept 1-5, so if you're there then, stop and say hello.

                  1. re: 24Main

                    The property we'll be renting is on Legion Road. Thanks for the invitation, but our stay runs from Sept 8-15.

                    I had actually looked at the Algonquin website before you mentioned it. I know we'll be taking a trip to St. Andrews, and the Algonquin Resort, from what I've heard, would be a wonderful place for fine dining. However, the hotel is presently undergoing extensive renovations, and I think the only one of their restaurants that is open is the Clubhouse restaurant on the golf course. The hotel will become a Marriott property when the renovations are complete.

                    Our celebratory dinner out might take place before or after our trip. I think I'll bring along my copy of Jasper White's "Lobster at Home" and cook up something special while we're in Lubec. From the photos and description of the place we're renting, it looks like cooking in is a very viable option.

                    1. re: CindyJ

                      For fine dining in St. Andrews, consider the Kingsbrae Arms, a five-star Relais and Chateau property, or the Rossmount;both are worth the trip. You might also look into the Riverside Inn, in E. Machias (far, far less pricey or haute).

                      If you go to Campobello, do the Tea with Eleanor program at the Roosevelt Estate, offered twice daily and free. Tea, cookies, and a wonderful presentation about the former first lady.

                      The Pickled Herring is the Eastport restaurant, eh. I'd recommend St. Andrews or the Riverside over it.

                      1. re: Mainegal

                        +1 on the Tea with Eleanor program. Very fun, great opportunity to get inside the house adjacent to the Roosevelt Cottage, and the tea & cookies are good. Although it is free, you do need to make a reservation for it through the Park Service.

                        1. re: Mainegal

                          We visited Campobello twice and had Tea with Eleanor. Very pleasant and interesting. Thanks for the recommendation.

                          We visited Eastport and stumbled into the Pirate Festival. ARRRRGGGH!!!! But we didn't stay for a meal there.

                  2. re: 24Main

                    So we took your advice, 24Main. We left the airport in Bangor and our first stop was at Rooster Brother. Perfect! We bought a couple of pounds of freshly roasted coffee as well as a nice selection of cheese, salami and a baguette, which we enjoyed at the picnic table in the back, overlooking the river. Next stop -- the Beverage Warehouse. I must admit, from your description I was expecting a much larger store, but we found some nice Italian and French wines, and also picked up a few bottles of Prosecco to have with lobster. Oh -- some local beer, too. Next stop -- Hannafords in Machias. Picked up some veggies, fruit and a few other odds and ends, and then headed for Lubec.

                    Yes, Victor was selling live lobsters, but at $8.95/lb. his prices seemed a bit out-of-whack. We ended up instead at Becky's, right on Main St. not far from the variety store, for $4.85. We enjoyed three home-cooked lobster dinners, and bought all of our lobsters there.

                    You were right about the food in the restaurants in Lubec -- mediocre at best, but the restaurants are full of local atmosphere. And did you know you cannot buy wine glasses anywhere in Lubec? We were quite surprised that the home we rented didn't have a single wine glass, and the closest we could come was the disposable plastic ones we found at the IGA. In hindsight, I should have asked at Cohills if they'd sell (or loan) us a few.

                    Anyway, thanks for the recommendations. We loved Lubec -- it's soooooo NOT Bar Harbor!