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Coastal Maine 1st Visit in June - itinerary advice

My wife and are thrilled to be vacationing up and down Coastal Maine at the end of June. I think, overall, I have a pretty solid dining schedule figured out for our first visit, but there are still some holes and questions. Any advice would be most appreciated.

Thursday - Driving up to Portland from CT in the morning. Would like to grab a lobster roll for lunch once we hit Maine. Any great stops south of Ogunquit? Dinner that night at Fore Street.

Friday - Planning on doing the Culinary Walking Tour in Portland that AM. If anybody has done it, is it worth it and will I still be hungry when it's over? If so, I'm thinking about Miyake for lunch and then heading up toward Mid-Coast. We don't know where we're staying that night, but have a reservation at Primo.

Saturday/Sunday - This is the big question on the trip. We'll be staying in Bar Harbor both nights, but I haven't read about many options that really stand out. Havana looks interesting, but any other highlights on the way into town and in Bar Harbor would be very helpful. Casual is always preferred.

Monday - Trip gets goofy as we drive back to Portland that AM to meet up with my parents and our 2 kids. Was thinking Eventide for lunch. From there, we're spending the next couple of days in Ogunquit. We'll probably hit Clam Shack in Kennebunkport and a couple of the Ogunquit lobster shacks. We'll have a kitchen there . . . are their any recommended shops to pick up supplies if we actually feel like cooking?

Thanks again for any suggestions.

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  1. Skipping right over the midcoast...tsk tsk!

    4 Replies
    1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

      I thought Primo was in the midcoast :)
      Good choices in Portland.

      1. re: bobbert

        Good point, missed that tidbit! I take back my tsk tsk.

        1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

          I'd like to spend a chunk of time mid-coast on Saturday before heading up to Bar Harbor. Any great suggestions, especially for lunch.

          1. re: freshlycured

            Home Kitchen Cafe for lunch for sure. Or head down to Waterman's Beach Lobster in So. Thomaston (15 minute drive) for a lobster shack experience.


            One further note about Primo...if I were you I'd head upstairs...preferably to the antipasti bar if available, the "bar" bar if not. The vibe is much better...plus you get a little bit of dinner theater watching them make the small plates. And the BIG plus, you get to also order from the bar menu (as well as the regular menu). Upstairs is no reservations. Keep the reservations you have, but once there consider heading upstairs instead.

    2. So so jealous.. ; )

      Maine is my all time fave for road tripping and it doesn't get any better than eating and drinking along the way.
      We had great lobster rolls at Cape Elizabeth Two Lights..great location on the rocky coast.

      Kennebunkport is an idyllic town with blueberry pie and ice cream, lobster, chowder and an Allagash beer.
      White Barn Inn is a lovely place to have dinner.

      I wish Maine was closer to California.
      Have fun!

      1. As for where to stay your one night on the midcoast, let me suggest any one of these:


        You'll get a great breakfast, but if there's any way to slip in Home Kitchen Cafe the next day before heading to Bar Harbor, I'd do it...

        1 Reply
        1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

          This looks like a great lodging option. Thanks.

        2. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/778503

          That thread may help you, look for my last trip report at the bottom.

          I know the owner puts a lot of effort into keeping Havana atop some lists, but it's not a food destination, more of a style thing.

          Food was not bad, not great. Nothing I'd go back for. I've been back often, always love Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound, Cafe This Way, and we liked Mache Bistro best last trip.

          Have had good meals in the past at McKay's, too. Thirsty Whale is a townie bar with good bar food, great for a quick lunch. Two Cats has hellish waits and ignores you and service can be non existent even with owners looking on.

          1. I'd be curious to hear if anyone's been on one of the culinary tours in Portland and could give a review, too. I did a little bit of research on it as something to do with visiting guests and ended up nixing it. Googling around, you can find some blog reviews of the tour (notably on The Blueberry Files--the blogger was a tour guide a couple years ago--).

            It sounds like you'd have room for lunch after the tour--the tour stops at places like spice purveyor Vervacious, Harbor Fish, bakery Two Fat Cats, etc.; where you're given samples at each place--

            The Old Port is pretty easily navigable (with a smartphone or a map if you have specific places you'd like to visit--), and you could easily park your car and wander around, snacking and drinking coffee, on your own, for a couple hours.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sultanaboudreau

              Missed Chowhound while I was away. Friends and I have been doing culinary tours on our annual Sept getaway. We did Portland in 2011. I thought the tour covered a good range of places but you will still be hungry. The last stop was the brewery so we walked over to Duckfat for fries and then to MDI ice cream on Exchange St for a fun sampler. What we did not like was no handout of places we visited and a week later I wouldn't be able to list them all. There was not as much historical content as we got on the Boston tours. But, yes, I would recommend but don't expect it to be as good as Boston's Chinatown tour that ends with a dim sum lunch.

            2. For Bar Harbor, here are some suggestions.

              Fathom features creative food from a fun, local chef. The drunken shrimp is fantastic, and if they still have it, the scallops with fiddleheads.

              XYZ in Southwest Harbor is exceedingly low key and not very well known, but it's actually very good Mexican food.

              Finally, I've not had a chance to go to Burning Tree, but I've heard really wonderful things. A glance at the menu - http://www.barharbormenus.com/burning... - looks promising. Same with Mache Bistro, which I've also heard good things about. I also recommend getting a burger or a lobster roll and sitting on the patio at Rupununi and people watching. It's quite fun. Oh, and for a touristy but still fun taste of classic MDI, go to the Jordan Pond House for popovers.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rockblogsterbdn

                I think the patio at Rupununi's is fine, you just wouldn't want to count on them for a good meal. :-)

                Fathom was awful. The folks next to us ordered a dessert so burnt ahd hard that it was impenetrable, our server and theirs was really inappropriate and inept and it felt like a ripoff from start to finish. Made me even more nostalgic for Maggie's which used to occupy the space.

                Burning Tree was quite good, Town Hill Bistro was a total disappointment, insipid food, "house made" dessert that was a store bought frozen in the middle thing, just kind of bland diner food.

                Jordan Pond House is worth visiting once at the end of a hike, but nit a real dining destination, otherwise. Lovely setting, though.

                1. re: rockblogsterbdn

                  I completely agree with the suggestion of Mache. We've eaten there at least once a year, and have never had anything other than an excellent meal. Wine choices are particularly strong and reasonably priced.

                2. Oh, and if you want a magical afternoon excursion, I'd take one of the mail boat ferries to Islesford on Little Cranberry Island and eat at the Islesford Dock. It's Martha Stewart's favorite restaurant in the area, supposedly. Lovely family. http://www.islesford.com/idcbusiid.html

                  1. It is so hard for me not to go to Portland or somewhere else in Maine for a weekend trip but I think we're heading to Monadnock instead this Mem Day weekend. I do have some good info below tho. Have a great time and don't forget Holy Donut in Portland.


                    1. For your lobster roll south of Ogunquit, you could try Chauncey Creek in Kittery. Pretty spot.

                      1. Trying to finalize our itinerary, I'm thinking about subbing out Fore Street for something different. We're eating at Primo the following night and thought it might be better to mix things up. Any thoughts on Pai Men Miyake overall and more specifically, their yakitori options. Seems like between the ramen, sushi and yakitori, one could have a great meal trying many different things.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: freshlycured

                          Pai Men certainly allows for trying many things. 3 of us ate there the other night and split the following: 3 piece set chicken yakitori - very good though I've had an overcooked item or two on occasion. I've done the 10 piece omakase which had some unique items. Continuing from the other night, special pork meatballs, a special marinated sardine dish over noodles, a special fried snapper bun, pork buns (still my favorite), Brussel sprouts, and a maki roll. Anyway, the point is, yes, it is a good place to try many things, the ramen bowls are pretty big and may limit how much more you can eat. Boda and Eventide are also good for trying a lot of different items.

                        2. In Ogunquit, the Ogunquit Lobster Pound is excellent for Lobsters, steamers. Casual setting. You actually go out to their holding ponds and pick out your own lobster. There is the Village Market in Ogunquit with a pretty decent wine offering to pick up supplies for cooking in. Also, in Ogunquit, Five-O and there sister trattoria, Caffe Prego, are very good. Bread and Roses Bakery has some very nice items. The Omelette Factory makes the best breakfast, but it is very small and will have a line in season on the weekends. Jonathan's is a great place for dinner or brunch. Great food, great service. Highly recommended. If you like to see a show, the Ogunquit Playhouse might be an option for. When headed south from there, I recommend a stop at Yummies candy store. Every candy you can think of and hundreds more. Make a stop at When Pigs Fly for the best breads. Flo's steamed hot dogs, if you like them steamed. Wild Willies for one of the best burgers around. Bob's clam hut next to the Kittery Trading Post for great fried seafood. FYI, most of the lobster rolls in ME are cold, salad style. If you're used to the hot type, like I was, make sure if you order one, you check to see what type it is first. Have fun and Buon Appetito!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: awm922

                            Thanks for all the great recs in Ogunquit and points south. This is the area I'm lacking the most info on.