BONJOUR WORLD: Make Maine your summer destination

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By Rita Cook / The Ellis County Press

It is the kind of trip you are going to want to put on your short list come summer time next year. Even better, a little group called Inns Along the Coast have made it easy to find your perfect stop along the way each night as you wander through this poetic and charming state.

For my six-night trip in Maine I flew into Boston, picked up the very capable Lincoln MKC and headed that direction.

First stop Kennebunkport and the Captain Jefferds Inn. The Inn offers bikes if you want to explore Kennebunkport on two wheels. Definitely try and get a peek at the Bushes compound there. Pet friendly with excellent rates, Captain Jefferds is just the type of Inn you would expect to find in this part of the country with a nice breakfast and snacks to keep you happy all day.

For dinner take a drive to On the Marsh Bistro where Chef Christiane Hennedy helms the kitchen. Originally from Montreal she has been in Maine 32 years and offers such delights on the menu as Roasted Lemon Chicken Soup, signature pan-roasted rope cultured mussels and for the entrée a Coulotte Steak and Truffle Demi-Glace or even a Bistro Vegetable Pad Thai. For dessert try the unusual and very tasty Esporao Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cake.

After one night at Captain Jefferds Inn I headed to Rockland enjoying a leisurely drive before finding my home away from home for the next two nights at the Granite Inn. The Granite Inn is located across the street from the ocean and is in walking distance for discovering the downtown area.

While in Rockland walk around Main Street area and check out the Farnsworth Museum. The campus of the museum has been completely updated and the summer offering include two exhibitions; Pushing Boundaries (until January 22, 2017) and N.C. Wyeth: Painter (until December 21, 2016) Stop in at the museum shop, I spent way to much money and time there, but I took home some great memories.

At the Owl’s Head Transportation Museum there is a collection of automobiles, aircraft, motorcycles, bicycles and engines. If you get lucky there might be one of the number of special events they host going on when you are visiting.

One strong standout at this museum is the gypsy wagon. Authentic in design with strong colors and impressions, the wagon was once a horse drawn living wagon that was the home to many a Romani in the past. The Romani, also called Gypsy’s, used these wagons as their homes and over time the wagons also became the mode of transportation for the likes of peddlers, miners and even carnivals workers.

In Rockland I tried Café Miranda for dinner and highly recommended. They have a wood fired ovens and that means definitely order one of the pizzas from the pizza menu.

Another option for dinner is In Good Company located on Main Street with an excellent selection of wines including bottles from Hungary, Portugal and New Zealand. Try the Normandy non-alcoholic Apple Cider. For nibbles go with a few selections like the Deviled Eggs with Smoked Paprika, the Sweet n’ Not Peppadews stuffed with Seal Cove Goat Cheese or the Strange Flavored Peanuts.

The entrees offer good choices too. I suggest the Blue Cheese Butter Beef Tenderloin with Mashers and Red Wine Demi or the Risotto with Fiddleheads, Garlic and Gryere. In a word, the restaurant offers a very distinctive European taste with locally sourced vegetables and New England grown beef.

After two nights in Rockland, my trip continued driving up Route 1 to Bar Harbor. Stopping in at the Penobscot Narrows Bridge for a view that will take your breath away, this is Maine’s landscape at its best. Keep driving thought because it just gets better.

In the afternoon I checked into the Saltair Inn Waterfront B & B in Bar Harbor and then took a stroll to the main part of town.

One of the main draws while in Bar Harbor is Acadia National Park. There is so much to say about Acadia National Park that it is hard to know where to begin. To get there you will follow Maine 3 to Mount Desert Island or if you prefer Schoodic Point the park can be reached by way of Maine 186. The scenic drive will take you around the 27-mile park loop road that connects Acadia’s lakes, mountains and the seashore. In short, you can see it all by traveling this loop. Cadillac Mountain Road will give you panoramic views of the coast and the bays with islands in the distance, so don’t miss this remarkable bit of scenery either.

The National Park also has 45-miles of carriage roads that were made over time and are said to be some of the finest examples left of the broken stone roads from another era.

For swimming it is Echo Lake Beach or Sand Beach if you dare, the ocean in Maine is cold even on the warmest days. Actually, temperatures in this part of Maine range in the 70s and 80s in the summer to 50s and 60s during the spring and fall. And in the winter, well you will find it all the way down to 0 or around 30s on a warm winter day and the average snowfall is around 60 inches each year.

For a last night in Maine it was back to Kennebunkport one more time where I enjoyed The Inn at English Manor. With a touch of classic and contemporary, the inn is defined as modern chic and it has been welcoming travelers for the past 75 years. During nice weather guests are encouraged to walks in the gardens located on the two acres that make up the Inn’s property. The rooms in the inn feature Vera Wang mattresses, high-end linens and bed covers and some of the rooms even have a fireplace and whirlpool tub.

Overall, the Inns Along the Coast offer many wonderful options for visiting and spending a few nights while you make your way up and along the Maine coast. You can’t go wrong no matter your Inn choice and at each stop the owners will make you feel like an honored guest. For more information about Inns Along the Coast visit www.Innsalongthecoast.com.

Sidebar

If you stay in Boston for the night before or after your sojourn to Maine, I recommend the Loews Boston Hotel. It is conveniently located in downtown Boston, the staff is friendly and the hotel just feels good. Located in a limestone building that was once home to the Boston Police Headquarters, the Loews Boston is near Copley Square as well as Harvard and Berklee College of Music. The property offers a quint charm that blends the historic side of Boston with the city’s distinct sophistication. You will definitely want to make sure you have one meal at Precinct Kitchen + Bar serving American dishes alongside New England seafood specialties. There is a large patio where you can dine if the weather is good and then head to the Apothecary Lounge, which is just the right vibe to stop and hang out before bed.

For more information visit www.loewshotels.com/Boston-Hotel

Lincoln MKC

Appealing facts about the Lincoln MKC are that it is a small utility vehicle that has a power liftgate, auto start-stop and is now available with a 2.0-liter engine and all-wheel-drive. There is also the engine conserving feature that shuts off the engine when the vehicle is stopped and idling and automatically restarts when needed with no hassle. The Sync 3 plus Apple Car Play and Android Auto is a great feature too when road tripping and let’s drivers integrate all the needed devices. For my jaunt along the Maine coast the Lincoln made me proud and it could not have been more comfortable and easy to drive or maneuver no matter what conditions I was driving in along the way.

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