It was definitely a good storm!
Well, we’ve been in Maine for a full month now – that’s a full 30 days! – and it has been just awesome. We are settling into our duties and responsibilities we have taken on with house and pet sitting. I am doing a TON of cooking, reading of food blogs and blogs on how to write a blog (there’s a blog for everything). We are always planning out our next adventure (we’ve got to have something for you all to read). Maine is having a pretty mild winter this year and there is no snow on the ground now. There was one good snow storm that put down almost a foot of snow and we took advantage of it by going snowshoeing at a couple of the many nature preserves in the area. Since we aren’t out snowshoeing as much as we thought we would be, we are using this time to hit all the towns in our area. They all have something to offer, even during this time of year. In the winter, the villages along the coast of Maine turn into sleepy little towns where many businesses close for the season. The locals take this time to rest up before the summer when the population can quadruple even during mid-week. Traveling in the off-season comes with pros and cons – pros like places not being overrun or crowded, giving us plenty of time to chat with the locals and cons like having some limits on the places we can go or things we can do. We have been doing well getting recommendations from the locals for good places to eat and the must-see places in the area. Here have been a few we’ve hit so far.
Researching foods to eat in Maine; lobster rolls, blueberries, potatoes, beer and whoopie pies came up consistently. While some of these are not surprising, a couple of them were interesting to learn more about. Upon reading I found that whoopie pies are Maine’s official treat – that’s right, official! The most famous place to get them is from Wicked Whoopies. They have grown an entire business making only whoopie pies – and oh do they ever. They create about 15 variations (straying from the traditional of the chocolate cake with a vanilla frosting). There is quite the history with whoopie pies, aka “Gobs” in Pennsylvania, and the different camps on the make up of the traditional filling for the whoopie, but all are a vanilla white frosting about a half-inch thick sandwiched between individual round chocolate cakes. Despite their rather large size, we managed to eat the whole thing in one sitting. Whoops.
While Wicked Whoopies is well-known because whoopies is all they do, a local suggested Moody’s Diner as the best place around to get a whoopie pie. Luckily, it is only 10 minutes from us. Moody’s Diner has your typical diner food along with a stack of fresh made whoopie pies, both traditional and pumpkin, lining the wall just waiting to be devoured. We went for a walk on a windy cold day and stepped into the diner to warm up and get a treat. Just between us, Moody’s Diner definitely beats out Wicked Whoopie as the better whoopie pie. We are looking forward to comparing any other whoopie in the state we can find, along with making our own at home (of course!).
Our second (yes I’m counting) lobster roll during our time here was even better than the first! Same story of hearing from the locals where to get the best. Sometimes, where the best things actually are, are kept secret from most of the internet . This time we hit up a small country store in Trevett (just looking at the place there is nothing to write home about). This time the lobster meat was almost shredded – a bit like crab but there were definite chunks of lobster in there as well. This one also used a thin layer of mayo just to cover it. The store gets the lobster from the lobster business basically on the premises. The Lobster roll was excellent!
Breweries! My research on breweries in Maine provided plenty of information. I was delighted to find that, they too, have a booming craft beer scene. I quickly found Maine’s Beer Guild with a nice map of all the participating breweries along with a description of the breweries. Maine is supposed to have good water, which happens to be the most important ingredient in beer (I learned this little nugget from my dad!). It is my goal to hit every one in the mid coast area. Lee thinks this is a bit ambitious but I am willing to try. Here are a few we’ve visited so far.
Oxbow Brewing – lucky for us this place is only 20 minutes from the house! We managed to slip in a short visit before getting to the house for the first time. The route is up a winding country road. I thought the directions couldn’t possibly be right – but sure enough, there was a small sign out on the road (which we about missed)! Turning in, we saw a few small buildings on the premises, all very rustic looking. We saw signs for: “entry this way” so we figured it was legit. The tasting room was small but cozy with a short bar and a couple of steps down to a few barrel tables with games stacked on top. If it wasn’t early afternoon, I would have made an argument to stay for a full beer and a game. Next time. And there will be a next time because – thankfully – the beer is good!
We hit Rock Harbor Brewing Company in the town of Rockland, about 30 minutes from us. We visited on a cold, rainy, windy, grey day. Since it was most unpleasant outside and there wasn’t much else in town to do, we took to eating and drinking. The bartender recommended we go to Fog to indulge in some of their unique dishes. One of her favorites being the duck nachos! After a flight of beer we were ready to try them! We got there before the dinner menu came out, but we explained that we had come just to experience the duck nachos and they happily made some for us. The restaurant, unlike others in town, actually has many dishes with duck. And by the sounds of it, all the food is quality. They are even making the chips in-house, leading to a deliciously greasy and satisfying snack.
We made it to Maine Beer Company on a day trip down to Freeport to do a little shopping and I’m glad we did because this has been the best beer we’ve tried so far. I thought I was really going to like this place just upon driving up (seeing the “Fresh Beer” sign and the large amount of solar panels they’ve got on the roof and beyond). We tried a thick and totally delicious stout, their Beer III (they are coming out with Beer IV soon) which is deliciously black and hoppy, a really nice citrusy IPA and a quality pale ale. With each taste there would be a “mmm, this is Good” or “oh wow, that’s tasty” coming from me. They were all good quality clean tasting beers. I could go for one (any one!) right now actually! We learned about the company and the beer from the chatty bartender and got to watch some of the production through the big window showing off the barrels and equipment.
So many solar panels!