After reading all those Bar Harbor posts here, we decided to go ourselves for just a couple of days. I wrote the following post about our plan:
[BROKEN LINK REMOVED]
Well, we didn't eat at 23 restaurants of course.
But we did have a good variety of things.
1.) Fore Street Inn in Portland.
We left Boston on Thursday at about 3:30 and knew we wouldn't make it up in time for a dinner in Bar Harbor. (Sorry, George's, but my wife still had a job to do.) Thinking of a few people we knew who raved about the Fore St. place we headed for it. It took us 20 minutes to find it.
It's an old warehouse, the last place you'd expect to find pristine high quality food; maybe that's why we didn't find it at first. We were very lucky: we found a parking space close by, and we were walkins at 5:45 but found a place at the very nice non-smoking bar where we became probably the first non-drinking bar people ever. No matter, the food was superb from the appetizers (Mussels and a mussel/salmon combo for us) and a white skatefish meal with fresh vegetables and oven baked mashed potatoes with butter and (I think) a touch of Bernaise (not sure if that was the specific flavor or not.) The detail, taste and art was superb, and even though we didn't get the full service of a regular table, the service from the bar was very friendly with no offense taken whatsoever of our non-drinking. The place had a shore-like grill-smell which was really refreshing and inviting. About the only thing we could complain about was the bread - which was simply bread. (I dunno, maybe we whineth too much here...) Very good, though prices reflect the quality of the food.
2.) George Clemens' Collier House
In Town Hill we had two breakfasts at the Collier House where we stayed for two nights. Two BIG breakfasts included:
a.) Full fresh applesauce appetizer with homecooked muffins (two brown-sugar soft corn and one blueberry cobbler), three large blueberry pancakes with wild blueberries with sausage links. From the drink choices we chose tea, hot chocolate and orange juice
b.) A melon slice, Blueberry-banana nut muffins, Ranch style eggs (scrambled eggs on crustless toast serves with sausage, spices and bacon), and the same drink choices. (Mr. Clemens always offers canisters of three varieties of cereal, bananas and a homemade loaf of bread to those who prefer something other than his current breakfast offerings.)
Both breakfasts were plenty large enough to last through tea....where we went to...
c.) The Jordan Pond House
Whenever someone mentions "National Park food", the hairs on your back tend to bristle. Not here because there's the J.D. Rockefeller tradition that needs to be observed. We ordered the simple Ice Tea and Popovers. Since Ice Tea was the traditional black, there's not much to comment on; the popovers were cooked just like they should be. The big thing here was eating outside by beautiful Jordan Pond with the two small "Bubble" mountains in the background. Beautiful and restful...despite a rather large crowd. Worth the wait, but reservations next time!! We should know better.
Friday night's dinner it was... should it be Beal's or Thurston's?? The answer was... [drum roll]....
d.) Beal's at Southwest Harbor. Yup, by the Coast Guard. Nothing fancy schmancy about the setting, just good ol' lobster caught fresh and served as quickly as possible. The lobsters available were soft shelled 1.5 - 2 lb. selects or hardshell 3+ pounders!! An explanation was given to us (should we buy it?) stating that this was the time of year for softshells and that they were maturing later than usual this year with a very slow start to the season. Well anyway, softshell or not (no 3 pounders for us), they were classic Beal lobster standard Maine lobsters, still the best anywhere (and much closer to our inn than Thurston's). As an added bonus, the corn was unusually good this time, and the mussels we ordered were just as good as Fore Street's - if not better!
After our breakfast on Saturday, we hiked the Great Head trail by Sand Beach and then looked for a lobster roll place in Bar Harbor. We went for something with a deck view and ended up at...
e.) The Quarterdeck.
Arf, what a tourist trap, and what a terrible "lobster salad roll". EEEeeew. Luckily they also served clam chowder which was actually fairly decent there. Why did we go here in crowded Bar Harbor with all the tourists, bad parking and with other fine places with better lobster rolls headed back towards Trenton and Ellsworth? I think we liked the idea of just saying goodbye to Bar Harbor, see you next year with a decent view of it. With the view trumping the need of searching for the best food, we slipped into the "Foodie" realm. Ah well.
That was our mini-trip to Maine! Hope it might help someone.