Brewster House Bed & Breakfast (Freeport, Maine Coast)

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PORTLAND VISIT OF TALL SHIPS

April 11, 2015 by Scott Gile

July 18 – July 20th will mark the Portland visit of Tall Ships 2015, the first return of this event in 15 years, and the final stop of the 2015 Tall Ships Challenge!  The Challenge being a series of races beginning in Cape Charles,Virginia which makes stops up the East coast in Philadelphia, Camden, NJ, and Greenport, NY before finishing in Portland.  These races are crewed by young people in a friendly competition, as a means of sail training and education.

Square riggers racing under sail in open ocean with clouds in background

TALLSHIPS RACING

Portland will host at least eight tall ships, being lead by the US Coast Guard barque Eagle (295’) , and  including the Oliver Hazard Perry (210’ square rigger out of Newport, RI), the Picton Castle (179’ baroque home-ported in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia), and the El Galeon (180’ from Seville, Spain).  The list of participating sailing ships is still being finalized, but will likely include the Bowdoin, 100’ schooner famed for it’s Arctic explorations and formerly captained by Donald MacMillan http://www.bowdoin.edu/arctic-museum/biographies/macmillan.shtml (who grew up beside Brewster House), and other Maine based windjammers.

If you’ve never had the privilege of seeing and hearing these amazing specters from our past under sail, you owe yourself the opportunity to experience what is a deeply evocative and emotional experience!  It is truly a unique historical moment you will never forget!!  The fleet will sail in parade fashion into Portland Harbor on July 18th at 1PM, and dock for tours along the Portland waterfront. You may tour the Eagle for free, but tickets to tour all of the ships may be found at www.tallshipsportland.com for $15 (which will support sail training and education).  Ship tours will be offered from 9AM to 9PM on Sunday, and 9AM to 6PM on Monday.  The event will also include live music and food, which is remarkable in Portland, SO DON’T MISS THIS SUMMER HIGH POINT!

As I write this blog, Brewster House still has several rooms available, so make this getaway complete by booking your stay with us NOW!

The Best Restaurants in Portland, Maine

January 31, 2015 by Corey A. Edwards

Portland, Maine has countless restaurants to choose from, so writing a post about “The Best Restaurants in Portland, Maine” can be a risky business: we’re bound to miss someone’s favorite! That being said, we’ll plunge ahead, regardless, with the caveat that this list is compiled from both our own experiences and those of our guests:

Best Restaurants in Portland, Maine - 555Five Fifty-Five
555 Congress St. – 207-761-0555 – fivefifty-five.com
With a host of awards and associations backing up its efforts, Executive Chef and Co-Owner Steve Corry is proud to offer locally sourced ingredients in such delectable favorites as truffled lobster mac and cheese, citrus-cured Atlantic fluke, and their to-die-for white chocolate passion fruit cheesecake.

Best Restaurants in Portland, Maine - Hugo'sHugo’s
88 Middle St. – 207-774-8538 – hugos.net
Chef-Owner’s Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley’s combined restaurateur experience allow them to run a kitchen that fosters both excellence and creativity, so you know you’re in for something special. Consistently placed among the top 10 American restaurants, Hugo’s is nationally acclaimed for its refined, New England-style dishes, such as cornmeal-crusted soft-shell lobster, local pheasant with polenta, turnips and shiitake, and rabbit salad. Fine dining at its finest!

Best Restaurants in Portland, Maine - ZapotecaZapoteca
505 Fore St. – 207-772-8242 – www.zapotecarestaurant.com
Zapoteca is known for its unique, fire-roasted, Mexican dishes prepared using a combination of modern and old world cooking techniques and using sustainable seafood and local produce whenever possible. Billed as a tequileria as well as a restaurant, Zapoteca is famous for their creative margaritas and boasts over 100 different, high quality tequilas – just don’t ask for Jose Cuervo! – along with a broad, international wine list.

Best Restaurants in Portland, Maine - Fore StreetFore Street
288 Fore St. 0- 207-775-2717 – forestreet.biz
Fore Street was one of the first restaurants in Maine to feature an open kitchen with a wood-burning oven, grill, and turnspit. Hardwood and apple wood fire cooked seafood, meats, game, and vegetables have made Fore Street a New England destination.

Best Restaurants in Portland, Maine - DuckfatDuckfat
43 Middle St. – 207-774-8080 – duckfat.com
Billed as a small sandwich shop, Duckfat is anything but run of the mill. Chef Rob, former chef-owner of Hugo’s, focus here is great homemade food made from the best quality ingredients: classic Belgian fries made with local Maine potatoes fried in duck fat, panini, soups, salads, charcuterie, and milkshakes plus a beer and wine list designed to satisfy the pickiest foodie.

Best Restaurants in Portland, Maine - Portland Lobster CoPortland Lobster Company
180 Commercial St. – 207-775-2112 – portlandlobstercompany.com
Of course, there had to be lobster – this is Maine, after all. Portland Lobster Company is a no-nonsense, oceanfront mecca for great lobster, consistently awarded Best Lobster Roll, Best Seafood Restaurant, and Best Patio/Outdoor Bar in Portland. Other items on the menu include some fantastic non-lobster items like fried clams, scallops, Peekytoe crab and avocado wrap, and some of the best fries out there. Okay, enough: I’m now officially very, very hungry.

Brewster House Bed & Breakfast is less than half an hour’s drive from Portland, Maine, giving you another great reason to make us and the picturesque town of Freeport your Maine destination!

AMAZING BOATING FROM FREEPORT EAST

July 7, 2014 by Scott Gile

“Boating Portland, Part I” http://brewsterhouse.com/2014/06/21/boating-around-freeport-maine/, was the first part of this encyclopedic  compenduim, so start there and catch up before you dive in here!

Tour boating captain in blue shirt standing at the helm of his boat

At the helm – Atlantic SealCruies

OK, so we’ve moved up the coast from Portland to Freeport!  I’d love to tell you that there were multiple boating options from our hometown, but I only know of one, Atlantic Seal Cruises, with Captain Ring from Harraseeket Harbor in South Freeport (& Cook’s Lobster House on Bailey’s Island), but when you add in “the neighborhood,” there are AMAZING BOATING CHOICES FROM FREEPORT, & east!   Captain Ring is very entertaining, and works most of the year a commercial tug captain.  You’ll pick up some lobster traps, he’ll show you some seals, osprey, eagles and you’ll spend an hour on Eagle Island at what was the former home of the famous Arctic explorer, Admiral Peary!  Tom and his Wife actually owned a B & B on the Harraseeket waterfront, and he always raves about Brewster House when he stops by! He also does some special trips to Seguin Island light and fall foliage cruises.

A new opportunity locally is a husband and wife team, Bethany & Perry, who would love to share their 31’ ketch, “Tevake”, or their new acquisition, a beautiful dark green 70’ schooner, “Alert.” They sail out of Cooks by the Bailey/ Orr Island granite bridge, off Harpswell Neck. They offer a myriad of 2 hour to 6 hour charters on either yacht. Both boats are beautiful and they sail the local waters of Merriconeag Sound to Casco Bay. I can’t wait to have the time to sail with them! I would recommend this as the premier local sailing opportunity, the dock is a gorgeous 30 minute drive from Brewster House and their prices are very reasonable, and lunch or dinner awaits at Cook’s!   https://www.facebook.com/SchoonerAlert

We don’t get a lot of questions about boat fishing, but enjoying ocean fishing myself, I’ll offer a little information.  The “Barbarian III” out of Harpswell is a good example.  Chartering a sport fisherman is a blast, but it’s expensive enough that you’ll want to share the trip (& the stories) with some buddies.  $350 – $450 for a four hour trip is typical (for the whole boat), with $700 – $800 for an 8 hour shark or tuna fishing adventure.  Further, keep in mind, the premier sport fish in Maine are stripped bass or bluefish.  As they are both pelagic (they migrate), the fishing is best in either mid May to the end of June, or September to mid-October.

White cabin cruiser boating opportunity with outriggers at dock

Further afield (or should I say abay), but one heck of a daylong adventure, would be a trip to the lovely, rugged and wild Monhegan monheganwelcome.com. This would be an excellent adventure for those enjoying longer stays at Brewster House!  The May edition of Down East Magazine has a great piece about Monhegan, and it’s struggle to keep a year round population. The island is about 8 miles offshore, just short of 2 miles long, and very high and rocky. Its’ jewels are a year round community of artists and a very hardy community of lobster fisherman who only pursue their quarry in Winter, when prices for the delicious sea spiders are higher. It is a lovely place to hike and explore, and at the end of your hike, there’s even a local micro-brewery (the Monhegan Brewing Company) to reward your efforts! You can depart from either Boothbay or New Harbor (either of which is about 50 minutes east of us). Ferries depart at 9AM or 2PM, and you are asked to be there 45 minutes early hardyboat.com. I would recommend reservations. Bicycles are not welcome, although, you can arrange to bring your kayak!

Yellow & white hulled large schooner at anchor with blue sky behind

Schooner Heritage at anchor

Lastly, and really more of a “mid-coast” adventure is life experience you should not miss! That would be the traditional fishing schooner Heritage at anchorschooner charter fleet that sails out of Penobscot Bay www.sailmainecoast.com. These are largely classic, former fishing schooners, 75 – 150’ in length, that go out for 3 to 10 day trips, complete with crew, all meals provided, and you participate in running the boat as much (or as little) as you like. My Sister, cousin and myself took a 6 day trip on the “Heritage” in August a few years ago and had a wonderful, relaxing trip…..no TV’s or other distracting electronics, laying on deck at night watching the meteors and satellites, just quiet, extraordinary views of the sea, mountains, islands and marine life aboard a comfortable large, powerful schooner equipped with fabulous water toys, like sailing dinghies, rowing dinghies, etc. Food is prepared on a woodstove and of remarkable quality and taste. Don’t forget your wine!! And, don’t forget to start and/ or end you adventure in the luxurious comfort of Brewster House, at the turn of the Maine coast!

 

Boating Portland, Part 1

June 21, 2014 by Scott Gile

Brewster House Bed & Breakfast, Freeport, Maine

Wow, boating Portland offers so many great boating opportunities, this blog will be confined to that City, and I’ll follow up with a subsequent blog for boating choices from Freeport, and East.  Commercial St. is 20 minutes from our door, so after the bustle of a day on the water, and lunch or dinner around the Portland waterfront, there is no better respite than a glass of wine on the porch of Brewster House on the quiet north side of little ole Freeport!

Please refer back to my piece of July 29th, 2013.  In that blog I referred both to Atlantic Seal Cruises and The Portland Schooner Company.

Wendameen on a port tack

Wendameen on a port tack

The Portland Schooner Company runs two vintage, beautiful schooners “Bagheera” & “Wendameen” several times a day, including sunset cruises http://www.portlandschooner.com.  Sailing is a beautiful & unique experience in which the power of nature is both moving and soothing!   See their website for schedules.  This experience  is very economical and exhilarating, when there is wind!!  Our Seafarer Adventure Package includes a trip with Portland Schooners for two!

A simple and inexpensive approach to appreciating Casco Bay by ferry would be Casco Bay Ferry Lines http://www.cascobaylines.com.  They offer a great variety of adventures, everything from the “Mailboat Run” (to most of the inhabited islands in the Bay) for a 3 hour round trip for just $16, to “Sunset” and “Sunrise” runs.  Can you think of a better way to while away a few hours, taking in the Bay on a summer day?  I’ll bet you can bring your own cooler too!

Of the same ilk, but a hair more tourist oriented would be Portland Discovery Land & Sea Tours http://www.portlanddiscovery.com.  While much of their business is bus based, they do sell a couple of “Lighthouse Tours” of the Portland Casco Bay area, one of which is a sunset tour!  All for a piddling sum!

White & Blue hulled lobster boat with smiling crew aboard

Lucky Catch Lobstering

One of our favorite themes is lobsters, so the Lucky Catch Lobstering Tours www.luckycatch.com are a hoot!  For $30 (adult), you’ll get to participate in being a lobstaman (or lobtsawoman) and even take home a lobster for dock price!!  These tours are 1 hour 45 minutes, and they also lead seal watches as well.  Seals remind me of dogs a bit.

Humpback tail on wate & Tour Boat

Odyssey Whale Watch

There are whale watch boats from both Boothbay Harbor and Portland, but for this installment, we’ll confine our attention to the latter.  Odyssey Whale Watch Tours http://www.odysseywhalewatch.com operate a good size boat (above) out of a Commercial Street wharf.  They leave at 2PM in season, and go out up to 20 miles out for a 4 hour trip, during which you may see humpbacks, fin whales, minke whales, and often porpoises.  Remember, on any of these trips, once you leave the dock, the air temperature will reflect the sea temperature (which is now in low 50’s), so bring an extra layer!  It is an amazing experience to hang at the bow of the boat looking down at porpoises riding the bow wave, as they turn and look back at you!

Whatever your taste in ocean adventure, Brewster House has the best beds (choice of pillows, choice of layered blankets, ironed sheets), quietest rooms and most incredibly delicious breakfast in Freeport, so come back to recoup!!   We’ll deal with the Nova Scotia Ferry as a whole other subject!  Remember, this is only Part One!  Next blog, we’ll work up from Freeport North and East to New Harbor, stay tuned!!

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