Photographs + stories by Maine magazine staff
My bags are packed and I’m ready to hit the road. I bid farewell to my colleagues and head out of the office to beat the 5 p.m. traffic. I pick up my traveling companion, Brandon, and we head north on I-295 towards Brunswick—a short 25-mile ride from Portland.
4:45 p.m. @ The Brunswick Inn
Across the street from the inn a beautiful tree is decorated in lights and children laugh while building a snowman. We duck into the historic Federal-style bed and breakfast, and the hostess, Linda, greets us warmly. We explore the 15-bedroom inn, then warm up near the fireplace and gaze out across the street at the ice skaters gliding across an outdoor rink.
6:00 p.m. @ Enoteca Athena
Linda recommends Enoteca Athena—an Italian and Greek restaurant and wine bar. The build-your-own negroni menu immediately intrigues me, while Brandon orders a Space Gose beer by Barreled Souls, brewed in our hometown of Saco. We order the chef ’s special catch of the day, a whole sea bass stuffed with local greens, and fettuccini duck confit in a tomato sauce.
8:00 p.m. @ The Bowling Bowl
We walk off our full bellies and venture down Maine Street, where we notice a candlepin bowling alley. All the lanes are full except the last one—lucky number seven. My bowling skills are rusty, but our lane neighbors, who have been regulars here since the early 1940s, show me a few pointers that get me hitting spares—and one strike.
9:30 p.m. @ Bull Moose Music
On our walk back towards the inn we decide to check out Bull Moose Music. They’re open late and have a great selection of books, music, video games, and gag gifts. An employee tells me this Bull Moose was the chain’s first location, cofounded by two Bowdoin College students in the late 1980s.
8:00 a.m. @ The Brunswick Inn
We start the day off right with a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs with spinach and feta, French toast, organic Greek yogurt with homemade Naughty Augie Granola made by inn owner Eileen Horner, and a hot cup of coffee. Eileen gives us a quick history lesson about the inn, which was built in 1848 as a private home and eventually turned into a boarding house for Bowdoin College students. Since Eileen and her husband, Steve, purchased the inn in 2009, they have seen an explosive growth of amazing people coming in and out of Brunswick because of the Bowdoin International Music Festival and the Maine State Music Theatre.
10:00 a.m. @ The Winter Market Down
in Fort Andross there is a winter market on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. There is a variety of vendors, including artists, brewers, jewelry makers, toy makers, stone makers, bakers, and of course fresh Maine produce, all in a fun family atmosphere with music.
10:30 a.m. @ Waterfront Flea Market
Right down the hall is the Waterfront Flea Market. I could spend all day here wandering the endless aisles of vintage trinkets.
11:30 a.m. @ Maine Street
We continue our shopping at Timeless Cottage, a vintage furniture shop. I fall in love with an Italian chandelier and daydream about hanging it over my dining table. A few shops down we check out paintings at Bayview Gallery. Many of the works depict beautiful Maine scenes. Next we stop in Nest, a neat place that sells an eclectic array of home goods, furniture, candles, soaps, stationery, and more. Being a design and typography lover, and collector of notebooks, I spend at least 15 minutes examining every notebook and poring over the cover designs. I leave with three Paper Source floral- patterned notebooks to add to my collection. We hit up Local Market next, the newest addition to Maine Street. Brandon and I are in love with the shop, which sells beer, wine, cheese, and home goods. Brandon finds a bamboo steamer and I choose a camping utensil kit. Attached to Local is Wyler’s. I am captivated as I look through their stationery, then find myself in Frye boot heaven. Lastly we stop in at Gulf of Maine Books, where we take our time reviewing the great selection.
1:00 p.m. @ Tontine Mall
Wild Oats Bakery and Cafe has a huge selection of great soups, sandwiches, and baked goods. I grab a hearty stew and a root beer from Maine Root, and Brandon gets a curry wrap and a honey ginger soda. After our quick lunch we make our way around the plaza and check out the Slot Car Junction racing station. Next we stop into Indrani’s, where we play African drums and smell the incense. Across the way is Summer Island Studio, a gallery and shop featuring a range of works from Maine artists, sculptors, and jewelry makers. We head downstairs to check out Bart and Greg’s DVD Explosion, a local favorite.
2:00 p.m. @ Bowdoin College
We walk through the campus and are mesmerized by the architecture. Hubbard Hall is a Gothic-style building, the chapel is Romanesque, and the museum of art’s newer addition blends modern design with the original Renaissance- inspired facade. My favorite building is the pink-colored Mary Frances Searles Science Building, built in 1894, which reminds me of a Wes Anderson film.
2:15 p.m. @ Bowdoin College Museum of Art
We spend a good hour browsing the two floors of the museum, seeing the works of Mary Cassatt, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol. We wander through a mythology exhibit with works by Hendrick Goltzius.
3:15 p.m. @ Peary- MacMillan Arctic Museum at Hubbard Hall
The museum memorializes Robert E. Peary (Class of 1877) and Donald B. MacMillan’s (Class of 1898) voyage to the Arctic. I’m captivated by the Inuit art and a collection of arctic animals, and I am filled with joy when I get to touch a narwhal tusk. I’m fascinated to learn that to this day professors continue taking students to the Arctic to pursue their research.
6:00 p.m. @ Frontier Cafe
In the back of the Fort Andross building overlooking the Androscoggin River is Frontier Cafe. We decide to order dinner from the “Maines” section of the menu and we get maple- cherry chipotle pork tenderloin with butternut squash and pumpkin ravioli. We end the meal with a cheese plate and a glass of port, then decide to stay for the band, a jazz, funk, rock, and indie outfit from the University of Maine, Augusta, called Sassquatch. Now I can say that I’ve seen Sassquatch.
10:30 p.m. @ Ebenezer’s Brew
Pub We end our night at Ebenezer’s Brew Pub, a go-to pub for any beer lover, Ebenezer’s has 35 beers on tap. The beer is brewed on location and during the day, you can see the process in action. The Lemon Haze Saison was the perfect beverage to end a great night.
Sunday 8:00a.m. @ Frosty’s Donut
We’re told that our Brunswick tour would be incomplete if we did not stop by Frosty’s for a donut and coffee. Normally I’m not one for early morning sweets, but I give it a go and order “the glazed” donut as well as “the twist,” to save for an afternoon treat.
9:00 a.m. @ 250th Anniversary Park
We take a stroll down to the park and check out the scenic view of the Androscoggin River and the Florida Power Hydroelectric Dam.
10:00 a.m. @ Androscoggin Swinging Bridge
In 1892 the Androscoggin Swinging Bridge was built for workers walking from Topsham to the Cabot Mill in Brunswick. It was engineered by the same company that designed and built the Brooklyn Bridge. I stand on the bridge looking down into the water and feel the sway with each step.
11:00 a.m. @ Cox Pinnacle
Cox Pinnacle is Brunswick’s highest point, roughly 350 feet above sea level and nicely maintained for anyone looking for a short hike—approximately a mile and a quarter.
12:30 p.m. @ Big Top Deli
You can grab great deli sandwiches or subs here, a popular spot among Bowdoin students.
1:30 p.m. @ Eveningstar Cinema
We decide to catch a movie right in the Tontine Mall. They only show one film at a time and we enjoyed an almost sold-out show.
4:00p.m. @ Gelato Fiasco
To satisfy my sweet tooth, we venture into Gelato Fiasco. As positive reinforcement for coming out in the cold and grabbing a frozen dessert, the store offers a one percent discount for each degree below freezing outside. We end up getting 12 percent off our treat. This is the best end to our 48 hours in Brunswick.