Category: Places (page 1 of 2)

Inn by the Sea: Sea Cape Elizabeth Living

As you may have read in the last post, Off the Maine Road has completed a weekend exploring Maine. What you have not read is what we did there. This post begins the long stream of those to come.


While I believe that getting there can be (and often is) half the fun, it’s also important to consider where to stay during a vacation. We chose to stay at the Inn by the Sea, which is located in Cape Elizabeth. Although it’s a little off the main(e) road, it was perfect for us (I think you can see why). The inn was about a 20 minute drive from Portland International Jetport. We arrived late at night, but we were led to a Garden Suite, located on the first floor of the Main Inn. As you can see from their website, their are multiple types of accommodations: some in the main building, some larger two-bedroom cottages, and suites by the beach.

Here was the view from Garden Suite 101.

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The room featured a bedroom, bathroom and living room (which had a sofa bed).

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One of the coolest parts of the room had to be the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign, which was Maine-themed.

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It also had a small sitting area outside.

DSC_0233The entrance to the hotel was pretty cool too.

DSC_0242 DSC_0682You can see the lighthouse-shaped “beacons” in the photo below.

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While I don’t have any pictures, the breakfast at Sea Glass restaurant was good, but not that memorable. We didn’t have any other meals there, but they serve lunch and dinner. One night even included a band on the terrace.

The hotel also features a pool, which is to the left of this picture.

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The inn features a direct passageway to Crescent Beach, which I’ll show in a later post. There are also beach chairs from the hotel set in the sand.


That concludes this edition of Off the Maine Road. Stay tuned for more posts from the a-Maine-ing adventure we had!

 

 

 

 

The Benefits of Owning a Maine Inn

This post is especially fitting at this time, given the news that the owner of the Center Lovell Inn has decided to give the property away in an essay contest, which has gained national news coverage. Simply write a 200-word essay saying why you want to own a country inn, send in $125 with the essay, and you can be entered into a competition to win the 200-year old property. Okay, enough of that. Let’s go big picture: why inns in Maine are special. Oh, and if you want a chance to “win the inn,” you have until May 7 to submit your essay.

The Center Lovell Inn. Photo courtesy of Boston.com.

The Center Lovell Inn. Photo courtesy of Boston.com.


An inn is defined by Merriam-Webster as “an establishment for the lodging and entertaining of travelers,” and the inns in Maine definitely live up to that description. Lodging, yes, basically every inn in the US provides that. But entertainment is what sets these establishments apart. If you ever stay at an inn in Maine, I highly recommend having a short conversation with the innkeeper; many times they have an interesting story to tell. Whether they inherited the inn from their family, or they are new to the area, innkeepers are a great resource to help you get oriented to the area. Maine innkeepers are the epitome of overall kindness and warmth of Mainers. Let’s now more on to talk about some of the inns in southern Maine which are worth a visit, in true OTMR list fashion.


That’s it for now. The point of this post is to encourage you to go Off the Maine Road and try something new during your stay in Maine. Try an inn next time, instead of that same old Hilton or Hyatt in Portland (not that those are necessarily “bad,” but it may be time for a change in your accommodation while in the Pine Tree State). Thank you for reading!

P.S. Another reason why I love inns is the true family atmosphere they provide. I was struck by the friendliness of Maine people seven years ago, and that has been keeping me coming back ever since.

The Sea Dog Biscuit: A Destructive Breakdown and Analysis

(Just to be clear, the title is supposed to be the opposite of constructive analysis, but since we’re breaking down the product, I decided to make it destructive. Do not think I am trashing this lovely and delicious treat.)

The Sea Dog Biscuit is an integral part of Maine cuisine, and directly derives its name from the Portland Sea Dogs, Maine’s MiLB baseball team. The product is rather exclusive – aside from being sold at the Sea Dogs’ home stadium Hadlock Field, it is only available in a handful of other locations, including the Ice Cream Dugout. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the structure of this treat, I have set aside the next few words to explain it to you. It is very similar to a chipwich, just wrapped in signature Sea Dogs packaging. The outer layers are a chocolate-chip-cookie-type-biscuit confection, which in my opinion, is the most delicious part of the package. If you have a few Sea Dog biscuits to spare, I recommend you eat the cookie outer “shell” on its own one time.

The inside is filled with Shain’s of Maine premium vanilla ice cream, which is rather self-explanatory. If you like the filling, I suggest you sample some of their other flavors at their retail locations.


I really don’t know why I spent the last 212 words talking about what on the surface seems like such a simple product. Here at Off the Maine Road, we’re all about taking the simple and breaking it down in further detail. If Maine was that simple, this blog wouldn’t exist today.

A View of Maine from Above!

I want to make Off the Maine Road an interactive experience so you, as the readers, can experience Maine from different viewpoints and angles.

Today’s mini-post comes from 23,400 feet above sea level, in a Boeing 777. It’s a photo I took two days ago of the Southern Maine coastline, still somewhat covered in snow. I was able to recognize some “landmarks,” including:

  • Portland, the Old Port, and the Back Bay
  • Portland International Jetport
  • Sebago Lake and its surrounding lakes
  • Cousins Island
  • Falmouth and Yarmouth
  • Mackworth Island

I created an interactive picture, in which you can click on some of the places (marked by dots) and find some cool links related to the location. Hope you enjoy it!

North Conway, New Hampshire: A Weekend Getaway

Today, Off the Maine Road is going on an adventure. It’s an adventure which crosses state borders, into the state of New Hampshire. We’re taking a weekend off from Vacationland and will be going on a vacation of our own.

A short journey to the Northwest of Portland along Route 302 brings us to North Conway, New Hampshire. It’s a destination known for its activities during the summer and winter. One of the most valuable guides to the area is on this website. I’ll briefly mention some of my favorites in this post.

Lodging

There are a number of good hotels and bed and breakfasts in the area, which are all on the guide below. For families, the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort is a good choice, with an indoor waterpark called Kahuna Laguna in the hotel.

Dining

The Flatbread Company has some of the best artisanal pizza in town. It’s thin-crusted, and cooked in a brick oven right next to you. They also have a location in Portland, among others.  Another upscale choice is dining on the historic Conway Scenic Railroad. There’s a Ben and Jerry’s right across from the railway station.

Shopping

Shopping in North Conway can be divided into two parts: the outlets and stores in the center of town. Settlers’ Green Outlet Village contains many of the store you may be looking for, but the L.L.Bean outlet is just down the street. The main street in town (White Mountain Road) across from the railroad station is full of small shops chock-full of gifts and other New England goodies. Zeb’s General Store is one of the biggest.

Activities

If you’ve ready Off the Maine Road before you’ll notice that I like lists, so I’ll mention my suggestions in a list format.

Skiing

Cranmore Mountain Resort.

Cranmore Mountain Resort.

Everything Else

That’s it for now. Next time you’re left with a free weekend, consider North Conway as a possible destination!

See the gallery below for photos of North Conway’s dining, shopping and attractions.

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Naples: The Town by the Lake

In this post, Off the Maine Road will certainly live up to its name. This town is located a little “off the beaten track,” but it’s worth the visit if you have some time to spare.

Naples is located in the Sebago Lakes region, which is about an hour northwest of Portland. It’s in the middle of Long Lake (which is rather long, hence its name) and Brandy Pond. Local businesses revolve around the lake, and there are many activities you can do for leisure. Sebago Kayak Company is one-stop shopping when it comes to kayak, paddle board and other small craft rentals.

On the lodging front, the Lakeview Inn (also known as the Inn at Long Lake) has some newly renovated rooms Other bead and breakfasts include the Augustus Bove House and the Lambs Mill Inn.

Of course, no Off the Maine Road post would be complete without any mention of dining or food. My personal favorite restaurant in Naples is the Freedom Cafe and Pub. Although only open during the summer/spring months, it has a family atmosphere and serves some pretty good treats. It’s located right on the causeway, just across from the Lakeview Inn.  After having dinner, why not go for some ice cream at Causeway Dairy Bar? Some other picks to eat are the Black Bear Cafe, Merced’s on Brandy Pond, and the Lobster Pound. They’re all located on Roosevelt Trail (aka Route 302), which is the main road that passes through Naples.

Outside the Freedom Cafe and Publick House in Naples.

Outside the Freedom Cafe and Publick House in Naples.

Finally, Steamboat Landing maybe right up your “alley” when it comes to mini-golf.

While not as famous as Naples, Florida or Naples, Italy, Naples, Maine certainly has that Maine feel and a lot to offer!

Maine Track Club: Make a Run for It!

Throughout the next few posts, I will be writing short features on various tidbits in Maine.


A hobby among some Mainers is running. There are a number of running clubs and organizations scattered across the state, but the largest is located in Portland.  Maine Track Club was established in 1979, and hosts many annual races, the biggest being the Maine Marathon in October. The Farm to Farm Ultra Run in Wolfe’s Neck Farm is also a favorite event  among Mainers. The club also runs 7 weekly group runs across Southern Maine.

New members are always welcome, so if you’re interested in Maine running, check out Maine Track Club!

Maine’s Ski Resorts: The Super Bowls of the Pine Tree State

Maine’s been clobbered with the snow this past week. The Super Bowl was yesterday. So what better time to write about Maine’s “back bowls” (Vail, Colorado reference) and ski resorts?

Let’s start with the “Big Five”, and then we’ll move on to some of the smaller ski areas.

Sugarloaf – Carrabassett Valley, Maine

Largest ski area east of the Rockies. One of the top year-round destinations in New England. Enough said. And Maine Correspondent Simone L.’s personal favorite. Follow the resort on Instagram @sugarloafmountain – the photos are fantastic.

Saddleback – Rangeley, Maine

High elevation and rustic alpine experience. But don’t get discouraged by its toughness – it’s ski-in and ski-out for all lodging on the mountain.

Sunday River – Newley/Bethel, Maine

Large ski area. Summer and winter fun and excitement. Cool nearby town of Bethel (5 miles from the resort). 870 acres of skiing.

Shawnee Peak – Bridgton, Maine

Smaller, but still just as awesome. 19 trails are lit for night skiing. Lots of snowmaking equipment.

Mt. Abram – Greenwood, Maine

Near Sunday River. Small, but great for families.

Here’s an interactive graphic I created, mostly to show the sheer size of Sugarloaf.

 

Sugarloaf Mountain Resort. Photo courtesy of Simone L.

Sugarloaf Mountain Resort. Photo courtesy of Simone L.

Beyond those five, read this article on MaineToday for some other local favorites (including some of competitive skier Anne M.’s picks!). There will be a follow up article on MaineToday with the remaining few ski areas they say they will mention, so I will post that as an update when it comes.

 

Well, that’s it for now. Thanks for reading another edition of Off the Maine Road!

Maine, One Coffee Roaster at a Time: New York Times Feature

From time to time, I will post Maine references from other websites and news sources. Today’s edition of the New York Times featured this fantastic piece about coffee shops in Maine. They’re all great, so next time you’re in anywhere from Rockland to Bar Harbor, start your morning off right!

Click on the link to view the article:

http://nyti.ms/1DjRnlT

(Tip of the hat to Ira F.)

 

Wolfe’s Neck Farm: Quite the Spring Chicken

Play this song while reading this post:

After quite the adventure in Acadia National Park, let’s head back to Freeport for a quick replenishment of our L.L. Bean gear. Driving 10 minutes southeast of Freeport takes us to a surreal location by the sea. It’s kind of like going to a seaside resort in England for the weekend. Welcome to Wolfe’s Neck Farm. It’s actually out of the main Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, but it is worth checking out. Both the park and the farm offer campsites and the farm boasts 3 cottages with views of the bay and ocean. The park features many walking trails, but my personal favorite is the Casco Bay Trail, which leads right down to the ocean. Spend some time walking on the rocks and collecting Maine’s mussels. Back at the farm, discover the steps Wolfe’s Neck takes to promote Maine’s agriculture. Some of the activities at the farm include hay wagon rides, bicycle rentals, canoe and kayak rentals, and much more. It’s a great weekend destination for families. The farm also features Belted Galloway cows, nicknamed “oreo cows” because of their white and black pattern is similar to that of an oreo cookie. Don’t take my word for it – visit Wolfe’s Neck Farm yourself and prepare to show a greater appreciation for the Earth and Maine’s locally-grown food!

(Also, for you runners out there, Maine Track Club‘s annual Farm to Farm Ultra Run starts at Wolfe’s Neck Farm. It’s a 25K, 50K or 50 Mile race supporting locally-grown food in Maine. It’s pretty aweseome.)

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