About a month ago, my husband and I decided we needed a little R&R and some time away, and thus decided to visit Maine. It was by chance that during the popular Grand Prix event one weekend in our hometown of Montreal, we happened to meet the owners of a hotel in Ogunquit, a charming, sea-side town on the edge of Maine.
We knew it was a sign, and so we invited another couple to join us, we packed our bags, and were off on yet another unforgettable adventure. I must say that the four of us are among the rare few who have never been to Maine before. In fact, I can attest that we were probably some of the last remaining Montrealers that had never visited. Being only a 5 hour drive, we felt that we needed to see for ourselves what all of the hype was about.
Keep in mind, as a culinary trip planner, my love for good food is great and finding wonderful places and hidden gems to eat at, is my passion. Everyone told me…do not expect a gastronomic experience. I left Montreal with very low expectations.
The drive to Maine from Montreal was breathtaking. Going through the green mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire was simply spectacular. Once we got to Maine, and by the ocean, it truly was surreal. Seeing all of the quaint little towns along the way, engulfed with antique stores, outdoor markets, and those uniquely constructed American homes you see in pictures or magazines, all decked out with flowers and American Flags—it was truly a unique experience.
Ogunquit is a very pretty town, picturesque, quaint, and very comfortable. We stayed at the beautiful Anchorage by the Sea Hotel, a wonderful and well maintained resort hotel with a very friendly and helpful staff as well as great ocean view rooms.
After we got checked in and soaked up the sun and beauty of the coast, I was determined to find my first culinary treat—but unfortunately, our first indulgence was a total let-down. Places that were recommended by friends still did not make my cut as a culinary find. I was determined to find good food…and finally did.
Day Two: A Spectacular Beginning
My second day of the trip began at 4:45 AM. Being on the Atlantic Ocean, with a perfect view, I was not going to pass up seeing the magnificent sunrise. It truly was beautiful. After taking at least a hundred pictures, I decided to walk through the town and down to the beach. It was perfect. No one around, except a runner or jogger, here and there or maybe a lone person walking their puppy. I walked for two hours, taking in the beauty of the town and ocean, enjoying the peacefulness, watching the fishermen, the seagulls. The town slowly woke up and I headed back to the hotel. When I look at the pictures I took on this walk, hey will always remind me of the sense of calmness within me that I felt that day. It was just one of those perfect mornings.
The rest of the trip was great. We visited a Saturday Farmer’s Market in Kennebunkport, and saw President Bush’s Compound. Quite impressive. I did love the town of Kennebunkport, very charming, with the cutest little shops and enjoyed one of the best Maine lobster roll I’ve ever tasted. If you are familiar with the Food Network and the show Food Wars, this amazing sandwich at the Clam Shack with the meat of a 1lb lobster in it, won top prize. I don’t have to tell you that I am still dreaming of that lunch! The fried clams were amazing as well. Don’t miss it if you are in the area.
During our time in that little village, we visited the most unique antique shops and wonderful ice cream parlors, candy shops and tacky souvenir and gift places. After all, isn’t that what a getaway weekend is all about?
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Near the end of our trip, we visited Portsmouth, N.H, about a 20-minute drive from Ogunquit. This town was very nice, well kept and manicured; lots of young people out and about having fun. It’s where I found another truly delectable destination. Our dinner was at a restaurant called Cava, a tapas style restaurant and wine bar. From beginning to end, a first class delectable dinner.
In all, Maine offers a spectacular getaway. I will definitely return and maybe even become one of those Montrealers that visit every year.
My list of favorite Maine restaurants:
- The Wild Blueberry in Ogunquit – Yummy place for Breakfast!
- 98 Provence in Ogunquit – French cuisine and absolutely wonderful with a unique atmosphere.
- The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport – Go there! Try it all…Lobster Roll, Fried Clams and Lobster!
- Cava in Portsmouth, N.H – Excellent tapas and wine bar restaurant
- Annabelle’s Ice Cream Parlour in Portsmouth, N.H – Really, really good ice cream!
Carol Ketelson is the owner and operator of Delectable Destinations LLC. Dedicated to planning, co-ordinating and curating customized group tours to hand-picked destinations. As an experienced travel planner, Carol’s customized itineraries, specialized tours and off-the-beaten-path experiences create memorable journeys for her small groups of singles, couples, divorced, widowed and solo travelers seeking exceptional trips into the culture and cuisine of destinations around the world. Spring and Fall bookings invite travelers to taste delectable local cuisine, culturally rich traditions and mesmerizing sights. For over 10 years, Carol’s tours have captured the true essence of Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, Puglia, Spain, Ireland and India.