"Maine’s midcoast region has long enthralled summertime drivers," writes Brendan Spiegel in a New York Times "36 Hours In ..." travel piece published online yesterday.
But lately, as Portland’s arty influence creeps northward, the midcoast is flush with chic new inns, art galleries and a modern, hyper-local food scene. For visitors, that means the best of both Maines: a cool, innovative spirit that lures city dwellers from Portland and beyond, blended with the laid-back Down East spirit coastal Mainers have long taken pride in.His first stop of the weekend jaunt is Brunswick, for art and craft beer, recommending the bar at Frontier, a cafe/movie theater/gallery in the converted Fort Andross Mill, "for a cappuccino made with organic wood-roasted beans from Matt’s Coffee or an Oxbow Brewing Farmhouse Pale Ale" and across the river, Sea Dog Brewing Company in Topsham.
After a "scenic detour" to Reid State Park, Spiegel suggests dining atMelissa Kelly's Primo in Rockland, "the champion of the midcoast’s nascent farm-to-table food scene," before heading to Shepherd's Pie in Rockport where "local crops are put to use in fruit cocktails infused with herbs and in snacks" to wrap up the first night.
Saturday evening is spent in Belfast: dinner at "the new restaurant from the midcoast native Erin French, who started a hush-hush dinner club, then last fall expanded to the Lost Kitchen;" oysters, beer and bocce at Three Tides, "the closest thing midcoast Maine has to a hipster bar scene."
Sunday recommendations are lunch at the vegetarian restaurant Chase's Daily in Belfast and an afternoon stop at chef Annemarie Ahern's Salt Water Farm in Lincolnville, a "culinary retreat" ... "in a hip, natural-wood-filled setting that epitomizes the new midcoast aesthetic."
· 36 Hours In Midcoast Maine [NYT]