Photographs + stories by Maine + Maine Home+Design magazine staff
When I tell people I’m heading to Freeport for a weekend “away” they look puzzled: the town is only 30 minutes from where I live. It’s true that we’re no strangers to this area, but I’m excited to spend a weekend exploring new places, as well as visiting ones we know well, with my husband, Steve, and our two-year-old daughter, C.
Friday 4:00 p.m. @ on Route 1
The 50-foot-tall “Big Freeport Indian” signals that we’ve entered Freeport. Sitting in the statue’s shadow is Conundrum Wine Bistro. I’ve enjoyed many a cocktail on the back patio here and love the wine list, particularly that they offer half-glasses—perfect for a sipper like me. We drive by Buck’s Naked BBQ, a favorite among our toddler-parent friends for its play area with a Kids Crooked House and train table. There’s nothing like being able to eat a barbecue pulled-pork sandwich with both hands while the kids play happily behind you.
4:30 p.m. @ The Candlebay Inn
We check in at the inn, a beautifully restored shipbuilder’s home built in 1853. Connie Lay purchased the inn (formerly the Captain Briggs House Bed and Breakfast) in 2014, fulfilling a lifelong dream. She shows us to our suite, which is made up of two rooms adjoined by a breakfast area under a skylight that quickly becomes our daughter’s favorite place to sit. Weappreciate the sample set of balsamic vinegar and olive oil from nearby Fiore Artisan Olive Oils and Vinegars, and make a note to stop by the When Pigs Fly Company Store to get some fresh bread for dipping.
5:00 p.m. @ Tuscan Brick Oven Bistro
I’ve been looking forward to trying the bistro ever since it opened. We are immediately wowed by the space designed by Nicola Manganello of Nicola’s Home: an open, rustic dining room with the lushest seating. We sit along a row of windows, and I sink into a cushy pillowed banquette with a lavender elixir cocktail. We order a fennel sausage and burrata pizza, a cheese plate, and wood-fired chicken wings, and savor every last delicious bite.
7:00 p.m. @ Mainely Custard
Despite being stuffed from dinner, we somehow find room in our bellies for some creamy vanilla custard on the big covered porch.
7:30 p.m. @ The Candlebay Inn
We retire for the evening with a tuckered-out toddler, who sleeps through the night, most likely thanks to our comfortable accommodations.
Saturday 8:00 a.m. @ The Candlebay Inn
We head downstairs for breakfast: decadent tiramisu waffles and parfait served by Connie and her daughter, Stephanie. They tell us that they moved here from Ohio and are excited to have Maine as their home now. We head out to enjoy the picture-perfect day.
9:00 a.m. @ L.L.Bean
Many shops don’t open until 10, but luckily Bean’s is always open, 24-7. We visit the Home Store first, where I buy a jute table runner before taking the requisite photo with the Bean boot and visiting the “fishes,” as my daughter calls them, in the riverbed aquarium.
10:15 [email protected] Brahms Mount
Last Christmas a friend gave us a Brahms Mount ombré wool throw, and I’m wrapped up in it so often it’s become practically my house uniform. Their flagship retail store is located inside a Federal-style house where you’ll find all manner of luxury blankets, throws, and linen towels woven on antique shuttle looms in an historic mill in Monmouth.
10:30a.m. @ Wolfe’s Neck Farm
We love coming to this working saltwater farm to visit the animals in the barnyard, which is open every day, free of charge. Today is the annual Spring Festival, and families are lined up to enjoy the day’s activities. C has a ball climbing the tractors, feeding the visiting horses carrots, and coloring on a giant hay bale.
12:00 p.m. @ Gritty McDuff’s Brewing Company
We catch up with friend and writer Melissa Coleman and her twin girls for lunch outside on the pub deck after meeting owner Billy Stebbins and his son. A massive grassy play yard means adults can enjoy a beer while the kids run around, safe within sight.
2:00 p.m. @ The Candlebay Inn
Back to the inn for nap time.
3:30p.m. @ Sherman’s Books & Stationery
I’m always up for browsing a bookstore, particularly a Sherman’s. Today I buy A Snowy Owl Story, a children’s board book published by Islandport Press in partnership with Maine Audubon.
4:00 p.m. @ Cafe Crepe
We head to the Freeport Public Market to visit Cafe Crepe, having gotten addicted to Lauren Dallam’s breakfast crepes when her food truck was stationed outside of Tandem Coffee Roasters in Portland. I spy a Billy Goat crepe on the chalkboard— herbed goat cheese, roasted red peppers, balsamic glaze, and spinach—but decide I probably shouldn’t spoil my dinner.
5:00 p.m. @ Broad Arrow Tavern
This lodge-inspired tavern inside the Harraseeket Inn is a classic, known for its lunch buffet, which runs every day except Sundays. An open- concept kitchen with wood- fired oven lets us watch the action. The seafood cioppino features lobster, littleneck clams, mussels, and shrimp, and the filet mignon, which is perfectly cooked, comes with Pineland Farms cheddar mashed potatoes. Steve enjoys the Ex-Wife Bitter Blonde Ale, which is brewed by one of the tavern’s cooks, Ken Collings of Freeport Brewing Co.
6:30 p.m. @ Winslow Memorial Park and Campground
We proceed down a road past a beautiful sandy beach and park near a grassy picnic area overlooking the ocean. And there, as if it couldn’t get any better: a playground to end all playgrounds. C is in swing, slide, and climbing heaven. It’s our first time here, but it won’t be our last.
8:00 p.m. @ The Candlebay Inn
It’s bedtime for a blissed-out toddler.
Sunday 8:00 a.m. @ The Candlebay Inn
Today’s breakfast of spinach and mushroom quiche with bacon along with fresh fruit hits exactly the right spot on this rainy morning. Our inn is dog-friendly (Connie has a veterinary background), and we promise to bring our own dog next time.
9:30 a.m. @ Bow Street Market
When the original Bow Street Market opened in 1946, it was primarily a butcher shop. (That’s why when you walk in today, meat is front and center.) Today, the Nappi family owns the second- generation business located in a beautiful, soaring barn- like space. We grab some fresh fiddleheads to take home.
10:30 a.m. @ Bridgham & Cook
I pop in to this British goods store and find an array of goods imported from the U.K., from Lochcarron tartan scarves to Barbour wellies. I spend some time in the tea section and decide on a Taylors of Harrogate lapsang souchong with a smoky, wood-fired smell.
11:00 a.m. @ Isabella’s Cafe & Bakery
I’m told I have to have a sticky bun from Isabella’s before we go home, so we stop in for the sweet treats and I am not disappointed. On our way out, we stop to admire the glass ornaments in the window at Edgecomb Potters next door.
11:30 a.m. @ Maine Woolens
It’s officially pouring, but Maine Woolens is cozy and warm thanks to a colorful array of Maine-made blankets. Manager Candy Fontaine gives me the scoop on the business, which was started by Jo Miller in 2009 after her late husband closed Miller Industries in Lisbon Falls. Today, the mill is located in Brunswick, where workers weave a variety of luscious blankets and throws in cotton and wool.
12:00 p.m. @ Maine Beer Company
Even before the term nanobrewery was around, Maine Beer Company was making beer out of a one-barrel brew house. Now, they enjoy a spacious brewery equipped with four fermenters, a catwalk, cold liquor tank, and tasting room. Steve stops in to try Beer II, and we get some Lunch (the beer) to go.
1:00 p.m. @ Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster Company
We drive down to the town wharf for lunch. I order a lobster roll from the window and sit inside. The place is BYOB, so we crack open the bottle from Maine Beer Company. It’s just us and one other party—a 90-year-old woman and her son enjoying their lunch together. I hear her tell him, “I love it here, even in the rain.” Overlooking the boats bobbing in the water, gray sky blending with gray sea, I have to agree.