Belfast + Lincolnville
I have the most excellent 48HRS partner road- tripping with me, one of my best friends— developer, hotelier, and restaurateur Tim Harrington. We both love discovery, good food and drink, art, shopping, and Maine towns. Belfast and Lincolnville, here we come!
6:30 p.m. @ Belfast Bay Inn After a gorgeous, winding drive up the coast on Route 1, we arrive at our home for the weekend, right in the center of downtown Belfast. Innkeepers Ed and Judy Hemmingsen epitomize warm hospitality at their eight-suite boutique hotel, where they take a hands-on approach to running the place. With their common backgrounds, there is a lot of bonding happening between Tim and the Hemmingsens— and throughout our stay, Tim points out to me their meticulous attention to detail.
7:00 p.m. @ Belfast Harbor Walk, Front Street Shipyard Before dinner, we wander down Main Street to the scenic half-mile stretch along the water marked by the Armistice footbridge at one end, and Steamboat Landing Park at the other. Along the way we pass through Front Street Shipyard and Marina, and ogle the yachts being prepared for the summer season.
7:30 p.m. @ Chase’s Daily While I’ve had many scrumptious breakfasts and lunches here, I’ve never had the chance to experience dinner, which is served only on Friday evenings. Tim and I kick off what becomes a weekend-long eating extravaganza, ordering the pizza, enchiladas, ramen noodle bowl, a bottle of Argentine Malbec and sunken chocolate cake and ice cream for dessert. It isn’t until well into the meal that I bring up that Chase’s is a vegetarian restaurant—and I realize that Tim hasn’t noticed. Chase’s food spans any category of delicious.
9:15 a.m. @ Moonbat City Baking Co. After a beautiful breakfast at the inn, we stop for one more coffee for the road. We step into the most heavenly aroma of freshly baked croissants—a new batch is coming out of the oven at any moment, after the first 50 of the morning have already sold out.
9:45 a.m. @ Bayside, Northport On our way to Lincolnville, we turn onto Bayside Road and take a drive through the historic village filled with sweet nineteenth-century Victorian cottages. We pass the town dock, park, and the village’s own nine-hole golf course before continuing onto Shore Road, passing Saturday Cove on one of the most scenic drives imaginable before connecting back to Route 1.
10:30 a.m. @ Painted Lady Antiques We pass the notable Swans Island Company and a favorite new home decor stop, Out of Hand—neither of which is yet open for the season. We are, however, lucky enough to find Sherry McGrath and her exceptional collection of furniture, art, and interior decoration open for us to browse. Upstairs I find a rack of special clothing and snag a gorgeous Theory dress that’s just my size.
11:00 a.m. @ Windsor Chairmakers I have not been in since the passing of founder and creative force Jim Brown, but I’m touched to find his spirit alive in the expert craftsmanship of the Windsor chairs and fine furniture pieces. I dream of a sleek Shaker bench for the side- entry/mudroom of my home.
11:30 a.m. @ Andy’s Brew Pub and Lobster Pound Our intention for a bloody Mary and a snack turns into a late-morning feast: delicate haddock chowder leads the way to the sautéed lobster roll, which is a natural gateway to a pint of Andy’s Porter and an order of poutine—fresh-cut fries, cheddar cheese curds, chicken, and gravy. We thoroughly enjoy it all amid the charming company of Joe the bartender and a crew of islanders on the mainland for the day.
12:15 p.m. @ Dot’s One more coffee is in order, so a cappuccino it is. We also grab
a freshly baked baguette and a bottle of rosé from the fantastic wine selection, and begin to hatch a plan for a picnic of steamers and lobsters on the edge of the Penobscot Bay at Young’s Lobster Pound’s back deck in Belfast later.
12:45 p.m. @ Cellardoor Winery A trip to Lincolnville isn’t complete without a visit to the stunning vineyard, winery, and 200-year-old barn to experience the welcoming atmosphere
at Cellardoor. Tim and I sit at the bar for a tasting. My favorite is Vendange, a brut sparkling rosé that’s the first estate-grown wine from Bettina Doulton and her crew.
1:15 p.m. @ Lincolnville Motel I’ve been following the refresh of the 1950s roadside motor inn on social media, so I want to stop by to see it for myself. Owner Alice Amory (who is taking on much of the renovation herself ) gives us a tour of the minimally appointed cabins, each outfitted with a record player and colorful decor.
2:00 p.m. @ Belfast Co-Op Since a group of back-to-the-landers opened the Co-Op in the 1970s, their motto has been “All are welcome.” We grab bottles of fresh coconut water and browse the selection of natural foods and wellness items.
3:30 p.m. @ Main Street, Belfast After a quick rest and change at the hotel, we set out to visit many of the shops that line downtown Belfast. We buy a stack of books at Bellabooks and Antiques and are enticed into a taste of a homemade scone (yummy!) from the bakery. At Parent Gallery we take in the skilled work of both photographer Neal Parent and his daughter, painter Joanne. At Eat More Cheese we grab a wedge of aged gouda and a couple sea salt bourbon caramels. At both the Good Table (“fine equipment for cooks”) and Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, we’re impressed with the quality and quantity of offerings. Modern jewelry at Quench Metalworks and stylish lingerie at City Drawers rival big-city shopping. One last stop into Brambles is well worth it for sophisticated gifts, potted plants, and magnificent floral arrangements by Jasmine the Florist.
6:30 p.m. @ Three Tides and Meanwhile in Belfast At Three Tides we find the last two seats and each grab a hard-boiled egg and hot sauce on the bar while we wait for our margaritas and fresh oysters. After grazing through tapas, we eventually make our way down to the fire
on the lantern-lit patio overlooking the bay. Next we stop into Meanwhile and are completely charmed by the vibe that chef/owners Alessandro Scelsi and Clementina Senatore have created. Somehow we find room for a whole, not- to-be-missed authentic, sourdough Neapolitan pizza. We’ve begun to call our weekend “48LBS.”
9:15 a.m. Downtown Belfast There’s so much more to cover: Coyote Moon, The Meadow, Yo Mamma’s, and Conklin’s Maine Mercantile each offers wonderful shopping experiences with delightful collections. But the most delightful experience of the weekend is our last, a visit with Eunice Palmer, the octogenarian owner of Jones Hardware store. Seven days a week, she can be found sitting in a sunny spot by the front windows of her shop. She is full of knowledge and memories, and thankfully, she joyfully shares her eloquent stories about this special part of the world.