48 Hours in Freeport + Yarmouth
Nestled near the northern shore of Casco Bay and shaped by the Harraseeket and Royal Rivers, Freeport and Yarmouth offer plenty of water views, extensive shopping options, and unique culinary experiences.
Local libations and brick-oven fare
As my husband, David, and I start our trip, a glimpse of sunshine on a gloomy day leads us to the Freeport Town Wharf. Several fishing vessels are tied securely to the dock and scattered with bait barrels and lobster traps.
Just a short drive away on Route 1, we find Maine Distilleries, producers of Cold River vodka and gin. Each bottle of vodka uses 12 pounds of Maine potatoes. The tasting room showcases a signature blueberry vodka and another vodka aged in oak barrels.
Next door is Maine Beer Company, where we enjoy a selection of popular brews. The tasting room allows us to get an up-close view of the brewery operation through large glass windows. We try Mean Old Tom, a nitro stout. It has dark chocolate and coffee undertones with just a touch of vanilla.
It is time for us to check in with our host for the weekend, the Harraseeket Inn. Our suite is completed by a charming woodstove. We step back outside for the evening to find a stunning flagstone fire pit and patio encircled with classic Adirondack chairs.
Tuscan Brick Oven Bistro is just a five minute walk from the inn. Darkness has enveloped the quaint downtown area by this time, and all of the lights twinkle in the slight drizzle. The busy restaurant has a warm and cozy atmosphere. At a table for two with oversized wingback chairs, we settle in and order cocktails. Our brick-oven pizzas and mussels steeped in wine and garlic butter leave us feeling full and thoroughly impressed.
On our walk back, the lights of the inn’s Broad Arrow Tavern beckon us in for a nightcap. We pair our 20-year tawny port with an unforgettable turtle sundae.
Breathtaking scenery and shopping
We start our day in the Maine Harvest Dining Room located downstairs in the inn. The breakfast buffet is laid out, and we heap our plates. The highlights are the Spanish frittata and homemade blueberry muffins.
We pack our bags for a short hike in Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park. This local gem is only about ten minutes from downtown Freeport. At the end of the Casco Bay Trail, we find the rocky coastline and an uninterrupted view of the ocean.
We stop for a little pick-me-up from one of our favorite local roasters, Coffee by Design, which has a cafe housed in the lower level of L.L.Bean. After coffee, we head upstairs to do a little shopping. No trip to Freeport is complete without a visit to L.L.Bean’s flagship store and, of course, a photo in front of the giant Bean Boot. We discover that the hallway between the women’s and the hunting and fishing departments features copies of past L.L.Bean catalog covers, one for each year, dating back to the 1930s. It is tradition to take a photo with the cover from your birth year, so we oblige!
Heading down the street, we pop in to Brown Goldsmiths, a local jeweler that has been serving the Freeport area for more than 50 years. An impressive showroom is filled with gorgeous pieces, many of which are handmade in the upstairs workshop. We get a behind-the scenes tour and see the jewelers hard at work.
Exploring the new and old
Homage Restaurant was recently opened next door by chef David French. The restaurant offers local beers on tap and a menu of made-fromscratch fare. We opt for the beef carpaccio and the grilled Caesar salad and are not disappointed.
Craving fresh air, we head out toward Yarmouth. Grist Mill Park provides some scenery that reminds of us yesteryear. We can imagine the old waterwheel turning as the rushing river tumbles down the falls. The former Grand Trunk station is an architectural delight worth stopping at as well. Nearby we find Gingham, a new boutique in town. From trendy clothing to unique jewelry, it has a little something for everyone.
Yarmouth food tour
There are so many dining options in Yarmouth that we have a hard time narrowing down our stops. We start our evening with cocktails and oysters at Royal River Grill House, which is located on the river, then move on to Owl and Elm, a cozy little eatery in the heart of downtown. We start with the buffalo cauliflower starter, and chef Rocco Marzilli flawlessly prepares our entrees, Cajun-dusted scallops and halibut. We are eager to visit Woodhull Public House, which just completed a large renovation that added a game area with shuffleboard, darts, and bumper pool. We intend to just enjoy afterdinner drinks, but we can’t resist ordering some food—delicious carnitas and corn fritters.
Sunrise and sticky buns
We get up early to catch the sunrise at the Freeport Town Wharf and find a glowing pinkorange horizon dotted with a few fishing vessels warming up their engines. The early start gives us an excuse to buy a signature sticky bun and some coffee at Isabella’s Cafe and Bakery. On our walk back to the inn, we stop in to Sea Bags. Famous for totes made from recycled sails, the Portland company’s retail store is filled to the brim with a variety of styles and colors of bags.
Back in Yarmouth, we satisfy our appetites with an impressive brunch at Gather. Not only is the food creative and fresh (the Brussels hash!), the restaurant is hosting a live band playing bluegrass music.
Local fares and whoopies
We circle back to Freeport to browse luxurious handmade blankets and other textiles at Brahms Mount. One of the company’s classic afghan blankets was at the foot of our bed at the inn, and we want to see the whole collection before choosing something of our own. The shop is beautifully staged, making you want to reach out and touch everything as you meander through.
Wicked Whoopies is right across the street, and we pick up some sweet treats to bring home to our kids. The store is bright and colorful and makes you feel like a kid again. With dozens of flavors to choose from, we quickly fill our basket.
On our way out of town, we end our trip at Bow Street Market and pick up the essentials for dinner. An impressive wine selection and deli provide us with everything we need before we head home, satisfied with our relaxing weekend escape.