Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Front Porch

An autumn evening in Ogunquit.

One of the few places to go for a great dinner and entertainment in Ogunquit (in November) is The Front Porch right in the village.

(The Front Porch)

The building used to be a pharmacy.  Now it's a restaurant/cafe, bar/lounge and piano bar.  The ground floor houses the cafe and bar and upstairs is the piano bar/lounge where they have live entertainment.  Khris Francis usually performs and he is very funny and raunchy.
(The Front Porch Menu)

The menu is covered in cork and has a great logo.

(Main dining hall and fireplace)

The dining room is quite cozy and filled with autumnal ambience.

(Spring rolls)

We started with some spring rolls.  Very tasty!

(Salmon with chopped salad)

I had the salmon salad.  The salmon was well seasoned and it was a huge portion.

(Trout and lobster croquettes with cauliflower gratin)

Neil had a decadent version of fish and chips made with trout served with cauliflower gratin and lobster croquettes.

(Lobster croquettes)

The lobster croquettes was something else!  New Englanders seem to like their seafood fried and battered.  

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My Very First Maine Lobster

Rocking the lobster.

At one end of the Marginal Way is Perkins cove. What better place to grab a taste of the famous Maine lobsters!

Jackie's, Too restaurant in Perkins Cove is right on the water.  Fisherman dock at their terrace to sell them the day's catch.
5  Preparing for the feast with the lobster bib ritual.

5  One and a quarter pounds of lobster-y goodness!

The lobster was fresh and tasty.  The sweet-fresh meat was laced with the briny taste of the ocean and was further enhanced by the richness of the accompanying lemon-butter sauce.

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Marginal Way of Ogunquit

A walk in the clouds.

The Marginal Way was a gift to the people of Ogunquit given by Josiah Chase in 1923.  It is currently a paved path alongside the cliffs of Ogunquit.  You can pick it up from the town and walk all the way to Perkins Cove.

5  Part of the Marginal Way

5  Posing at the mini lighthouse along the path

The path has fantastic views of crashing waves, the Ogunquit beach and nearby cities.

5  Crashing waves on the rocky coast
5  One of the gorgeous private residences along the path

There are gorgeous houses along the way.  The path is peppered with bayberries, roses and twisted trees and curiosities like a mini-lighthouse.

5  Another private residence
5  And yet another private residence

5  Striking a Hollywood pose by the twisted trees

It's an easy walk but if you get tired, there are about thirty memorial benches along the way where you can sit and enjoy the view.

Friday, November 21, 2008


The lighthouses of Maine.

Maine is  a treasure trove of lighthouses with more than 60 lining it's coast.  Looking back, we did miss a couple along the way.

(Portland Head Light)

The most photographed lighthouse in the world is Maine's oldest lighthouse called the Portland Head Light. It's located in a park where you can take food and picnic. It's also one of the few that you can see up close and personal and has a museum which appears to be closed for the season by the time we got there.

(The wreck of the Annie Maguire at the Porland Head Light)

There is a wreck of an old ship just off to the side of the lighthouse. (Just how effective is this lighthouse?) Maine's coast is very rocky so the lighthouses are an absolute essential to ships navigating along the coast.

(Two Lights Light House)

Very close by to the Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth is the Two Lights lighthouse.  It's called Two Lights because there used to be two of these almost next to each other.  Like a matched set!  Except,  I think the other one was put out of commission.  I believe this one standing is made of cast iron and is privately owned so you can only view it from afar.

This light house was painted by the artist Edward Hopper and was the first light house featured in a US Postage Stamp.

(Nubble Light House in York, Maine)

The most dramatic lighthouse we saw was the Nubble Light in York, Maine.  It was a very stormy late afternoon when I snapped the photos.

(Me in front of the Nubble Light House)

As you can see, the light is pretty visible through the bad weather.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Visiting The Mother Ship

Freeport, Maine - the home of LL Bean.

We arrived at Freeport around 5 pm and it was dark already.  The streets are filled with Outlet Shops.  It's not a standard mall layout but more like shopping on Main Street USA except all the stores are outlet stores.

The LL Bean group of stores consists of a giant regular price retail store and an outlet store directly across.  There are LL Bean specialty shops (like hunting or fishing) scattered in between.

(The LL Bean flagship store in Freeport Maine)

(Bust of Leon Leonwood Bean, founder of LL Bean)

(The famous LL Bean tote bag in a jaunty stripe and zipper top)

I'm not really into LL Bean clothes, although they are well made and last forever.  I am into their tote bags, which are also well made.  The outlet carried a wide variety and you can even take them to the regular store and have them monogrammed.  Sweet!


Cheap eats in Portland, Maine.

Passing through Portland, we found ourselves in the tourist-y area of Commercial Street. It's a mix of grimy bar and grills, moderate restaurants and nice looking shops as well as the usual seafood restaurants by the water.

Given that, I was expecting all sorts of tourist traps. Then we ran into Andy's Old Port Pub. Andy's is a bar and grill with what looks to be a happening bar in the evening with live musical entertainment.

(Andy's Old Port Pub)

(Catfish with Beans and Rice)

They were offering $5 specials which included one item (from a special menu) plus beer or soda.  I picked catfish with beans and rice plus a diet Coke.  Not bad, the portion was small but just right for the middle of the afternoon.

(Whoopie Pie!)

I finished the meal by going across the street to Portland Coffee Roasting Company and had my first taste of a Whoopie Pie.  It's basically a large fat Oreo cookie and comes in several varieties.  I had Chocolate with mocha filling. Yum!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fall Colors 2008

Snapshots from Maine.

Ogunquit is a great starting point to drive through all the little towns along the southern coast of Maine.

These were taken on the drive to Portland, Maine passing through the towns of Kennebunkport, Saco and Wells.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Distant Sands

On to Ogunquit.

Ogunquit (pronounced "o-GUN-quit") means "coastal lagoon" in Abenaki Indian but it could just as well mean "Beautiful Place By The Sea" (also the city's motto). 

Ogunquit is a small town on the southern coast of Maine and is about 1-2 hours north of Boston.

We booked ourselves a room at the Distant Sands guest house, only because the town pretty much shutters down after the summer peak season and this was one of the few places that was open in November.

5  The Distant Sands Bed and Breakfast

5  The Distant Sands sign (left) and Innkeeper Bob Rush (right)

It turned out to be a great choice.

The place is competently run by Innkeeper Bob Rush who was a most wonderful, charming and informative host (and cute!).  Bob seems to know when you need to be alone by yourself or if you need information or simply chat.  Bob left the corporate life to run this B&B and used to work under Ivana Trump at the Trump Castle in New Jersey.

Bob also prepares the most wonderful breakfasts.  For the three days that we were there, we never had the same breakfast twice and they were all hearty and delicious!

5  The main living room with woodburning stove.  Perfect for relaxing or fireside chats

5  The Breakfast Room

5  Muffins and coffee at the 2nd floor landing (left) and staircase (right)

The Distant Sands have five updated guest rooms in what used to be an 18th century farmhouse.  I hope to come back and find out the stories behind the rooms.  Your day starts with some coffee and muffins that Bob puts out at 7am for the early risers.  The Big Breakfast starts after 8:30 AM.

5  Part of the back patio and the public land that provides the property with a view of the beach

The property is small but it abuts a field that is protected land for public use, which means that no commercial structure of any kind can be built on it so it provides an unobstructed view straight to the ocean from the back patio.  Not only does it provide a great view, but in the summer, the residents plant fruit and vegetables on the property that they gladly share with Innkeeper Bob who in turn shares it with his guests.  There are Apple trees on the property that were still bearing fruit when we were there.

5  The apple tree bearing fruit

5  The path to the beach

There is a small charming pathway to the beach from the B&B that was ablaze with fall colors.

5  View of the beach from the footbridge

The Ogunquit beach looks completely serene and abandoned in November.  It's completely different in the summer when every square inch of beach is occupied by summer tourists.  During high tide, the beach almost completely disappears.

For some peace and quiet, fall is  a great time to visit.  The place is completely desolate in the winter and comes alive again in the spring and summer.

Quincy Market, Boston

The birth of the mall.

Quincy Market is one of the first covered markets in the United States, sort of like the grand diddy of the modern mall.
5  Quincy Market

As you can imagine, markets in the early days were open-air markets.  It must have looked something like the palengke in Malabon.

5  Faneuil Hall with the statue of Samuel Adams

Quincy Market is actually an off-shoot of Faneuil Hall (rhymes with Daniel) and named after Boston mayor, Josiah Quincy. Faneuil Hall had a market on the ground floor and a meeting hall on the second floor where many American Patriots voiced out their views on reform and sowed the seeds of the American Revolution.

Quincy Market was further expanded by two more buildings to its left and right, or what is now known as the North Market and South Market.  Quincy Market was slated for demolition in the 70's  but was saved by preservationists and developed into a mall with the central building converted into a food court.

5  The Food Court interior

The Quincy Market food court is a long and narrow gallery with fast food stalls galore.  The stores pretty much cover the major cuisines of the world including India and Thailand.  Sorry, no adobo here.

5  Boston Chowda's busy storefront

We picked Boston Chowda for some, what else, Boston Chowder!  I don't think I've had a bad cup of chowder in the New England area.  The clams are always tender and juicy, not tough and dried out as it is in the west coast.

5  Boston Chowda graphics

5  My Tuna Salad and Lobster Bisque lunch

The second floor has some dining tables and a vaulted dome and brick walls.

5  Second floor dining area

5  Outside the Quincy Market food court

5  Neil is happy to be on the East Coast

The Quincy Market is on the Freedom trail and close to the water.  The waterline used to be just outside of Faneuil Hall but was filled in to it's current square footage.

It's a great place to get reasonably priced food in a wonderful historic setting.