Rockland, Thomaston + Port Clyde
By Susan Pritzker, Marketing Manager, The Brand Company
Photographs + stories by Maine magazine staff
It’s snowing. The wind is howling. The temperature is dropping. It’s a perfect time for a road trip to the midcoast. My husband Rob and I find our sense of adventure as we chat excitedly about the weekend and head north into the storm.
4:15 p.m. @ Berry Manor Inn
We are greeted by Jordan, who gives us a tour and tells us that Charles Berry built the inn in 1899 as a wedding present for his wife, Georgie. We walk through the restored Victorian and into the large working kitchen where there’s a “free-for-all” drawer in
the fridge, with beer. I can see Rob making a mental note. On the counter, pie is available 24/7—recipes for which have been handed down by the “pie moms” of the inn staff. We can see the remnants of blueberry and raspberry pie and a cherry one is cooling. I make a mental note. Jordan leads us to our room, which has a gas fireplace, king-size bed, and more pillows than I can count.
5:30 p.m. @ Fog Bar & Cafe
Heading out into the mix of rain and snow, we make the short walk to Main Street. The restaurant is warm, airy, and funky. The movie Shall We Dance is projected on the wall, and Bob Marley plays in the background. We pull up to the bar and enjoy some local beer and cider, along with a half-dozen oysters and duck wings that are out of this world.
6:30 p.m. @ Rock Harbor Pub and Brewery
This brewery opened in 2011 and has a great selection of its own beers on tap. Jessica, behind the bar, tells us the bar hosts fun theme nights, like trivia on Mondays and open mic on Tuesdays.
7:30 p.m. @ 3Crow
Our innkeepers were kind enough to make a reservation for us at this Southern-influenced restaurant from chef and owner Josh Hixson. We meet our bartender, Dan, who just moved here from the Boston area after his girlfriend landed a job with Pen Bay Healthcare. We order a variety of dishes to share—all impressive, but my favorite is the corndog made with Andouille sausage.
8:00 a.m. @ Berry Manor Inn
Downstairs we grab a piece of homemade lemon-poppy seed cake and get ideas for the day from Cheryl Michaelsen, one of the inn’s owners. As we head out, Rob notices that Cheryl’s husband, Mike LaPosta, has cleared all the snow and ice off of guests’ cars, including ours—a much-appreciated gesture.
9:30 a.m. @ The Highlands Coffee House
We meet our next-door neighbors from Portland, Chris and Janey, who split their time between the city and Thomaston, at this bank- turned-coffee-shop, which has live jazz every Sunday. Huge lattes hit the spot as we catch up with our friends and get a glimpse into their midcoast lives.
10:45 a.m. @ Port Clyde General Store
At the land’s end of a windy peninsula with spectacular ocean views sits this store. It’s the kind of place where you can buy anything from rope for your boat to a glass bottle of Coca-Cola Classic. The store also serves breakfast and lunch all day—a good thing, because we’re hungry. We sit at the counter and our server, Chris, makes us blueberry pancakes and a Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine Lobster Roll.
11:45 a.m.@ Marshall Point Lighthouse
We take in the breathtaking view of this small lighthouse, which sits out on the icy blue sea, and remember Forrest Gump running by this very spot.
12:30 p.m. @ Maine State Prison Showroom
I’m fascinated by this showroom and store, which contains beautiful, intricate wood products all handcrafted by inmates working in the state prison wood shop. The products are the result of a program that enables inmates to develop the marketable skills, work ethic, and responsibility necessary for re-entry into the work force.
1:00 p.m. @ Rockland galleries
Rob and I planned on visiting the Farnsworth Art Museum, but with the snow and wind, it is closed for the afternoon. Lucky for us, there is no shortage of interesting artwork in Rockland. We stop in at Jonathan Frost Gallery where we chat with the owner and have a look around the space. Next we head into Dowling Walsh Gallery and view striking works by artists like Tadashi Moriyama, Tollef Runquist, Cig Harvey, and a display of gold leaf photographs by Joyce Tenneson that I fall in love with. Finally we hit up the multi-level Harbor Square Gallery, a former bank space, and check out pieces by William Crosby, Imero Gobbato, and James R. Pyne.
2:05 p.m. @ Archipelago Island Institute Store
We’re drawn in by the merchandise, but stay a while learning that a large portion of the proceeds from the store go into programs that facilitate the mission of the Island Institute, which sustains Maine’s beautiful islands and remote coastal communities.
2:35 p.m. Shopping on Main Street
We pop into Motifs, admire the home- decor items, and buy a fun painting of two pigs. At Fiore, we taste flavors of olive oils and vinegars, buy a few gifts, and grab a mushroom and sage olive oil for ourselves. Next I stop into Distinctive Tile and Design, where I check out a beautiful white tile with different fish stencils, while Rob visits the Loyal Biscuit Co. and picks out a new collar for our dog, Goose.
3:30p.m. @ Time Out Pub
Needing a place to rest our feet, warm up, and have a bite, Time Out is a perfect choice. We grab a beer and two steaming cups of chowder, which hit the spot. There’s a pool tournament in full swing and we can tell this place has a great local following. Owners Kathy and JB offer to show us the upstairs, where a DJ will be spinning tunes later that night.
4:50 p.m. @ Berry Manor Inn
Time for a nap in front of the fire. It’s just what we need before freshening up for the evening.
6:30 p.m. @ In Good Company
The wind is still howling, but it’s warm and cozy in the small but open wine bar and restaurant. We enjoy a few drinks and the Peppadew peppers stuffed with goat cheese, a recommendation from our server, Cathy, and they are delicious. We chat with her about what it’s like to live here in Rockland and she uses the word “serene.”
7:30 p.m. @ Suzuki’s Sushi Bar
Rob and I never miss an opportunity to try a new sushi place, especially one that has a reputation like Suzuki’s. We enjoy miso soup with black trumpet mushrooms, and a beautiful selection of maki, sushi, and sashimi.
9:00p.m. @ Rock Harbor Brewery
Back at the brewery, which is conveniently across the street, we round out the night with a few beers and some live music. Before we leave I look around and notice groups of friends smiling, laughing, and singing along to familiar songs.
10:14p.m. @ Berry Manor Inn
Innkeeper Mike is finishing cleaning up when we get in and encourages us to grab
a slice of cherry pie before bed. Who are we to say no? (It was well worth it.)
Sunday 8:l0a.m. @ Berry Manor Inn
We take advantage of the inn’s
full breakfast and are entertained by Mike’s charming antics. Rob and I agree that he’s a character— it would be hard to wake up in a bad mood here.
10:00a.m. on Clark Island
After a bit of indulging the past few days, we spend the morning outdoors. Clark Island is a secluded, private island that is inhabited by just one person who doesn’t mind visitors on foot, as long as you leave your car on the mainland. We walk across the causeway, snowshoe into a field, find a path, and meander along the cliffs with the ocean on our side. We are the only ones here. The temperature is cold, but our bodies warm up as we trek through the deep snow. We remark on how lucky we are to have been able to experience this weekend, meet so many wonderful people, and get to know a great part of our state. I look over to Rob and consider the morning a gift. I breathe in the fresh, beautiful air, ready to begin a new week ahead.