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Maine Restaurant Week underway

Posted by Paul Kandarian March 4, 2014 10:21 AM

If you find yourself in Maine through March 10 and get hungry, consider the sixth annual Maine Restaurant Week, with more than 100 restaurants offering pre-fixe menus at set prices, $25, $35, $45, and $55. To find the complete list and breakdown, visit, or check out a free mobile app for iPhone users, the MRW App.

Valentine’s Day hotel deals in New England, Bermuda, Virgin Islands, and more

Posted by Paul Kandarian January 23, 2014 03:30 PM

In Bermuda, February is the island’s annual “Love Month,” which includes a couples’ golf tournament at Port Royal Golf Course (duos get a 50-percent discount on greens fees); a “Champagne and Strawberries Afternoon Affair” at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art; a “Love Train City Tour;” a “Lover’s Matinees” at Specialty Cinema; a love cruise around Hamilton Harbor; and a “Love Tales Walking Tour” in St. George. Check it all out

Rosewood Tucker’s Point is running an engagement celebration package that includes an 80-minute couple’s massage; daily breakfast on your balcony; and a private dinner customized by Chef Guido. The package, which offers much more, starts at $3,395 the first night, and $295 a night thereafter. Check it out at

More warm-weather offerings include Kamalame Cay in the Bahamas, with its “Lover’s Island Rendezvous,” at 20-percent off, which includes three-, four-, or five-night stay, free bubbly and chocolates, an afternoon on a small, private island, couples’ massage and private beach dinner. Three-night packages start at $2,669. Deal runs Feb. 1-28. Visit for details.

Also in the Bahamas, Deep Water Cay has an escape package starting at $5,308 for three nights that includes a stay in a one-bedroom cottage, private beach picnic for two and beachside cooking classes. Visit for details.

In the British Virgin Islands, you’ll find the “Sweet Surf” and “Sweet Sail” packages available from Jan. 31 through March 3. The surf package, which starts at $2,775 per couple, includes a trip to remote Josiah’s Bay for a private two-hour surf lesson. The sailing deal, starting at $3,425 per couple, includes a romantic, five-hour private boat charter on the Caribbean. Both packages include three-nights lodging in a one-bedroom, ocean-view suite; three-course dinner at Caravela at the resort; a 60-minute couples massage at Ixora Spa with 30-minute peppermint mocha or dark chocolate and coconut scrub; champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries on arrival; and breakfast for two each morning of chocolate pastries, hot items and beverages. Also included are unlimited use of sea kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, Wi-Fi, resort ferry and free airport transfers. Check it out at 

Bristol House Bed & Breakfast in Bristol, R.I., has a "Romance for Two" package which runs through February and offers two-nights lodging, daily breakfast, two one-hour massages, $50 dining certificate, flowers and chocolate. Rates start at $558. For info, visit

At Rhode Island's southern end, Ocean House in Watch Hill has its “Romance by the Sea” package, that includes a two-night stay in a deluxe room, welcome bottle of champagne, breakfast for two on Saturday, brunch on Sunday. Rates start at $745 per couple, and for info, visit

Up in Kennebunkport, Maine, three hotels offer deals dubbed “Five Shades of Red,” where in addition to a two-night stay, you get a lazy man’s lobster dinner for two at One Dock, bottle of red wine and chocolate-covered strawberries, red velvet whoopee pie and red rose turndown and continental breakfast. Hotels are The Kennebunkport Inn, Grand Hotel and Boathouse Waterfront Hotel. Rates start at $339, $412 and $425, respectively. Package is good through March 31.

At Harbor View Hotel on Martha's Vineyard, they have a Valentine's Day prix fixe dinner deal for $48 per couple, which gets you things like sous-vide local lobster, pork tenderloin, chocolate macaroons and truffles. If you stay, rooms start at $179 a night, which includes dinner. Check it out at

 Far away deals include one at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong, with a “Celebration Retreat” valid for all nights from Jan. 20-Feb. 16 and after that, just on Friday through Sunday nights until the end of the year. Rates start at $651, and include in-room breakfast, welcome bottle of champagne and chocolates, restaurant and spa credits and more. For all details visit Paris is arguably the world’s romantic city and two hotels have deals for lovers. At Le Bristol Paris, where rates start at $1,200, you get one night, a welcome bottle of bubbly, chocolates and a special surprise, continental breakfast and a cocktail for two in Le Bar du Bristol. A “Romance in Paris” spa package is also offered, starting at $1,064 for two, which includes treatments, treats from the pastry chef, champagne and scented limited-edition Diptyque candle to take home. For all info, visit At the Mandarin Oriental, the “Love in Paris” package available for February includes a seasonal “Exotic Passion” cocktail, dinner, spa treatments and more. Rates are from $1,681, and for information visit

The Palais Namaskar in Marrakech, between the Atlas Mountains and Djebilet hills, has a romantic package available year round, that includes two-nights lodging; round-trip airport transfers; romantic in-room amenities; sliced fruits with cream; and a romantic bath with flower petals and candles. It also gets you breakfast in bed, a “Sunrise Retreat” with five hours in a VIP cabin with private hamman and two Namaskar Signature massages; and a “One Thousand and One Nights” dinner in the gardens or private terrace. Packages start at $1,344. For info, visit  

Wine lovers may consider the Sonoma Coast Villa in Spa in California, with fully inclusive rates starting at $1,150 for the nights of Feb. 14 and 15, that gets you a room with fireplace, roses and chocolate truffles, private three-course dinner and one couples’ massage. Check it out at   

If you seek more heart-pumping adventure of the adventurous sort, consider the Wild Dunes Resort on Isle of Palms, South Carolina, where you can get a three-hour Morgan Creek paddle package and get two nights lodging and a three-hour kayaking journey with rates from $219 a night, or the “It Takes Two: Heart-Pumping & Pamper Package,” which gets two nights, massage and pedicure for two and a choice of a full-body conditioning workout or Vinyasa Yoga session. Rates for that start at $339. Visit for info.

Gamble on love and money with “Lights, Limos and Love” at Harrah’s Resort in AtlanticCity, with the package running through Feb. 16 starting at $899 a night, which includes a $100 dining credit and limo ride to a personal light show and bottle of Etoile Rose Brut Champagne. Check it out at

Family festivities, walk in seaside woods, and rustic feast in hut give Dec. 31 a twist

Posted by David Lyon December 29, 2013 02:01 PM

2012_Noon Year Eve.jpg

Looking for something new for New Year's Eve? Here are some ideas a bit outside the usual box.

The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, N.H., welcomes families from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for “Noon Year's Eve.” On the docket are a magic show, child-friendly food, live music, a scavenger hunt, and ice-carving demos. The grand finale features bubble wrap “fireworks” on the Winter Garden Café floor and a drop of hundreds of balloons (above). Discounted advance purchase tickets are available at For complete details, see

IAtlantic White Cedar Swamp PK.jpgf the approaching New Year puts you in a Cape Cod frame of mind (personally, we can't wait to get back to the beach), join a National Park Service ranger at the Cape Cod National Seashore to explore the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail, a rare and enchanting sphagnum moss-accentuated swamp (right). Meet at the trailhead in the Marconi Station Site parking area in Wellfleet for a 2 p.m. departure. Call the Salt Pond Visitor Center if inclement weather is threatening at 508-255-3421 to find out about potential cancellations or alternate programs.

Farther north, Maine Huts & Trails ( will be serving champagne to overnight guests on New Year's Eve at all its huts. It gets even better at Flagstaff Hut and Stratton Brook Hut, which both feature a four-course meal of organic, locally sourced ingredients, along with wine and beer for sale, starting at 6 p.m. Stratton Brook has great views of the Bigelows and Sugarloaf — including the 9 p.m. Sugarloaf fireworks. Flagstaff overlooks the Bigelows and Flagstaff Lake. For information or booking call 207-265-2400 or email

Balloon photo courtesy of Currier Museum of Art, winter trail courtesy of Cape Cod National Seashore.

Maine's Camden Harbour Inn celebrates Relais & Chateaux status with flash sale

Posted by Hilary Nangle November 18, 2013 10:18 AM

EveningInn_Serrano (1).jpgThe Camden Harbour Inn, in Camden, Maine, is one of only five properties in North America added to the 2014 rolls of the exclusive Relais & Chateaux group of distinctive luxury properties. To celebrate, the inn is offering a flash sale on a two-night package for $429. The package includes a welcome glass of Prosecco, a four-course dinner at Natalie's, daily champagne breakfast, and turn-down with Belgian chocolates. A one-night, midweek package with dinner is $280. An additional night is $150. The offer is valid through March, excluding holidays, but must be booked by Nov. 30 by phone, call 207-236-4200.

To become a Relais & Chateaux property, hotels must have the equivalent of a 4-5 star rating, be focused on exceeding guest expectation, and have a high quality gourmet restaurant focused on local cuisine. The rigorous selection process properties go through aims to find those that best embody the spirit of Relais & Chateaux through hospitality, kindness, generosity, and passion for their region.

Dutch owners Raymond Brunyanszki and Oscar Verest purchased the inn in 2007 and then invested more than $2 million in renovations before reopening it along with its restaurant, Natalie's. In 2012, they added two luxury suites.

All guests at the Camden Harbour Inn are treated to a welcome glass of Prosecco upon arrival, complimentary a la carte breakfast with Prosecco each morning and nightly turndown service. Rooms are equipped with Molton Brown Spa products, plush robes and slippers, feather beds, and flat screen TVs. Visitors have access to concierge and butler services, and the in-house spa which offers a full menu of massages.

Natalie’s restaurant places an emphasis on Maine seafood and offers a four-course Lobster Tasting menu, a three-course prix fixe menu and a Chef’s Tasting menu. The Wine Spectator-honored wine list features more than 250 specialty wines.

The Camden Harbour Inn is one of two Relais & Châteaux properties in Maine; the other is the White Barn Inn, in Kennebunk. Regular value season rates begin at $230, premium season from $430.

Maine foliage spreading south

Posted by Patricia Harris October 3, 2013 09:35 AM

Turnpike foliage Biddeford.jpg

The government may be shut down, but New England foliage is still wide open for business. We were surprised to see how much color was spreading across the Berkshire Hills in mid-September. And on a research trip up the coast yesterday, we were treated to a show in southern Maine along the Maine turnpike, as the photo above shows. To keep track of how the foliage is spreading in the Pine Tree state, visit the Maine's Official Fall Foliage website.

Tom’s of Maine releases travel tube of toothpaste

Posted by Paul Kandarian August 26, 2013 12:32 PM

We’ve all likely been there: At airport security, with little plastic bag of toiletries ready to be checked, and forgetting we had a larger-than-allowed tube of toothpaste. Which security takes from you. Leaving you without when you get to the hotel after a long flight and need it the most.

Tom’s of Maine this summer released a new, TSA-compliant 3-ounce tube of toothpaste, with or without fluoride. A lot of people who swear by the product from a company that always seems to be coming out with new personal-care products; earlier this year, Tom’s introduced its plant-based “naturally clean” toothbrush, with green, purple or blue hues made with mineral based pigments. And which can be recycled through Tom’s of Maine TerraCycle collection program which gathers up toothbrushes and other products to recycle into picnic tables and park benches.

I grabbed a tube to take on my travels and it proved to be a decent product, getting the job done, but most importantly making my life easier through security. It retails for $3, is made without artificial dyes, sweeteners or preservatives, and there is no animal testing on it or any Tom’s product (though there are a few dogs we can think of that could use it).

Tom’s also donates 10 percent of profits back to the community, as part of what the company calls “human and environmental goodness.” Check out the goodness at

Amtrak Downeaster three-day sale

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Staff August 15, 2013 01:45 PM

Travel to Freeport, Maine, the weekend of Aug. 20-22 for a mere $20 round-trip. That’s the deal with Amtrak Downeaster’s “Rail Sale,” featuring $10 adult fares, and $5 for children ages 2-15.

Reservations are required and must be made in advance. Visit or call 1-800-USA-RAIL. Business class upgrades are not available.

Samoset chops August rates

Posted by Paul Kandarian August 13, 2013 05:37 PM

By Paul E. Kandarian, Globe Correspondent

If you’ve got some summer vacation money yet to spend, Samoset Resort in Rockport, Maine, is offering $400 off per night at its popular Flume Cottage. Regular rates are $1,799 a night, but through the end of this month is $1,399.

Built adjacent to the resort’s 15th fairway and overlooking the ocean, the 1,500-square-foot cottage is a hot spot for romantic sorts, often used by honeymooners and those celebrating anniversaries. It holds up to four people, was refurbished three years ago and has a deck with glass railings with direct views of the harbor and islands of Vinalhaven and North Haven, as well as a gas grill and hot tub.

Check it out at

Ogunquit celebrates 60 years, with highlights from permanent collection and Warhol exhibit featuring rare images

Posted by Hilary Nangle July 29, 2013 07:28 AM

IMG_4091.jpg"Andy Warhol: American Icon," on view at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art through Sept. 1, includes not only 12 original works by the famed artist but also more than 60 photographic images of him that never have been previously exhibited. The images by photographer Pat Hackett depict Warhol in everyday scenes as well as with celebrities such as Mick Jagger, Joan Crawford, and Jackie Kennedy. Captions and commentary by Hackett help bring each moment to life.

IMG_4073.jpgAlso on view is "Sixty Works–60 Years," in celebration of the museum's 60th anniversary season. The exhibition,which continues through Oct. 31, features 60 of the most important works in the museum's permanent collection. Among these are "The Cliff" by Charles Woodbury, "First Bridge, Perkins Cove" by Hamilton Easter Field, "Sleeping Girl" by Walt Kuhn, "Still Life with Eel" by Marsden Hartley, "Alaskan Sunrise" by Rockwell Kent," "North Wind in March" by Charles Burchfield, and "The Bowery Drunks" by Reginald Marsh.

IMG_4058.jpgThe Ogunquit Museum of American Art has a spectacular oceanfront setting near Perkins Cove. It is surrounded by sculpture gardens featuring works by William Zorach, Cabot Lyford, Bernard Langlais, and Robert Laurent, among others. It's open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Oct. 31. Admission is $10 adults, $9 seniors and students.

Lobster’s last call? Perish the thought

Posted by Paul Kandarian July 19, 2013 09:50 AM

With summer in full, nearly literal boil, it’s hard to think of lobster season ending. But it will,for the most part, as many lobster boats dock for the year when cold returns.

New England Inns & Resorts is putting out a “Last Call for Lobster” packages, which can be found at, packages that vary by property and include things like “Lucky Lobstering” at the Chebeague Island Inn, in Portland, Maine. Here, you can join a Maine lobsterman for a two-hour trip around Casco Bay, learning about the creature, in a package that includes two nights lodging, gourmet breakfast daily, afternoon tea and more. The boat ride is with Capt. Jedediah Spear (if that’s not a great fishing name, we don’t know what is) aboard the Sea Nile. Your catch will be steamed and served with the regular fixings, or you can opt for a five-course lobster tasting, with wine pairings. Packages start at $1,160 for two people, taxes not included, and are available through mid-September.

Another possibility is “Lighthouses and Lobsters,” at Sebasco Harbor Resort in Phippsburg, Maine, a package for two that includes two nights anywhere on property (including the lighthouse), lobster dinner for two, self-guided lighthouse tour and directions to vantage points to see other area lighthouses. Main Lodge rates start at $149, with lighthouse rates starting at $219. Two-night minimum is required, and rates don’t include tax and service charge. Use promotion code SHR109 when booking.

Other Maine inns running lobster-related deals are Captain Lord Mansion in Kennebunkport, with its “Lobster Boat Cruise and Dinner Package,” at $159 per couple, and the “Rockport LobsterFest Package” at Emerson Inn by the Sea, which gets you three nights stay, a variety of amenities and two tickets to the 17th Annual Rockport Rotary LobsterFest Aug. 10. Package prices vary by room, running from $497 to $1,067. The Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth has a “Lucky Catch Package,” a family oriented deal that gets you three nights in a two-bedroom cottage, four tickets to the Lucky Catch lobster boat cruise, four fresh lobsters from the boat, and a $50 gift certificate from Portland Lobster Company. Packages start at $689 per night, and are available through Oct. 14, based on four-person occupancy.

There’s always room for more lobster, and for more packages, visit

The best lobster roll outside of Maine is...

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Staff July 1, 2013 01:38 PM

Mainers may say otherwise, but it is indeed possible to find a good lobster roll outside of Vacationland.

At least, that was the mission at The Daily Meal, which ranked the 20-best lobster rolls outside of Maine, with eight New England locales making the list, four of them from Massachusetts.

Here’s how the locals fared:

19) Belle Aisle Seafood, Boston
14) Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant, Newport, RI
12) The Bayside Restaurant, Westport
10) Offshore Ale, Oak Bluffs
9) Jim’s Dock, Jerusalem, RI
7) Neptune Oyster, Boston
5) B&G Oysters, Boston
3) Champlin’s, Narragansett, RI

New York’s Pearl Oyster Bar took the top spot on the list, and for the record, The Daily Meal does think that Red’s Eats, in Wiscasset, boasts the best lobster roll in Maine. That, unlike the Oyster Bar, is sure to be a popular opinion in New England.

Take the Midcoast Maine Lighthouse Challenge

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Staff June 21, 2013 12:35 PM

By Hilary Nangle, Globe correspondent

Visit and climb the towers of seven Mid-coast lighthouses during the Midcoast Maine Lighthouse Challenge (207-594-4174,, June 29-30. Register for the challenge at any of the lighthouses. There’s no cost to participate, but some lighthouses have admission or parking fees. Participating lights are Dyce Head, Castine; Fort Point, Stockton Springs; Grindle Point, Islesboro; Rockland Breakwater, Rockland; Owls Head, Owls Head; Marshall Point, Port Clyde; and Pemaquid Point, Bristol. Two special activities complement the challenge. A 4.5-hour Lighthouse Sunset Cruiseaboard The P/V Elizabeth Ann departs Port Clyde on Friday, June 28, at 4:30 p.m., ($40). A Saturday evening program blending stories and songis slated at the Owls Head Community Center, Sat. June 29 at 7 p.m.(suggested donation, $5).

Coffee done well in Bar Harbor

Posted by Paul Kandarian June 20, 2013 09:34 AM

I’m a coffee freak. Not a coffee aficionado, mind you, knowing various blends and tastes and acidities. Just gimme caffeine, I’ll take it from there.

So it was a great delight recently to find the Coffee Hound Coffee Bar up in Bar Harbor, a town I hadn’t visited since the 1970s, much of which is new. Among the newest is the Coffee Hound, opened in early June by barista Chris Keegan. I grabbed a cup of Acadia Roast, expecting, well, coffee. But it was easily one of the best, smoothest blends ever, a whopping step up from the usual swill I make at home.

I love those little pleasant travel surprises, and Keegan’s shop fit the bill, a long, narrow space with the affable Keegan eager to discuss everything coffee with anyone interested in knowing. He gets his coffee from Carrabassett Coffee Company in Maine, going into details of various blends and what each has to offer.

It apparently runs in the family: Daughter Cassidy was expected to work this summer at her dad’s shop, herself a barista, her proud father says, not bad for a 15 year old.

coffee hound.jpgThe coffee’s great here, as is the owner’s social conscience: He donates $1 for every bag sold to ReMAINE Healthy, a research collaborative with the goal of preventing kidney disease, where his girlfriend works.

Keegan claims, as does anyone in town serving it, that he has the best lobster rolls, bar none in Bar Harbor. I didn’t try it, but judging from looking around town, his was priced on the lower side, $13 for a roll with a quarter pound of lobster meat, $25 for a half pounder.

He also serves hot dogs, including the Maine-centric red foot-long version, as well as Hebrew National brand and a quarter-pound all-beef version. Also here is a range of pastries, made by Epi’s, a local restaurant, which also makes “traveling blueberry pies” solely for Coffee Hound, Keegan says. Whatever you get, a great place to enjoy is at Agamont Park across the street, a gorgeous hilly chunk of green space affording a terrific place to eat and look out over Frenchman’s Harbor.

Coffee Hound is open through October, when much of the town shuts down and you’ll have to find another place for your java. So if you go before, stock up, help a good cause and avoid drinking swill. I know I will, as long as my Acadia Roast bag lasts anyway.

Photo of Chris Keegan by Paul E. Kandarian

Colonial Inn open after renovation

Posted by Paul Kandarian June 6, 2013 09:28 AM

The Colonial Inn of Ogunquit, Maine, has finished a $4-million renovation and has reopened under new ownership and management, with upgraded facilities in a Victorian building that has been an inn for more than 125 years. The inn has 62 rooms in four buildings, most with water views, and all rooms have king beds, refrigerator and new furnishings. The inn is in the center of Ogunquit Village, halfway between downtown and Perkin’s Cove. Is it managed by Migis Hotel Group, a Maine-based company. For reservations and information, visit

White Barn Inn parties for its 40th

Posted by Paul Kandarian May 26, 2013 09:20 AM

Got $40,000 to spend on a drink? We didn’t think so. But for $18, you can sip something much cheaper but with the same theme.

It’s all part of the White Barn Inn’s 40th anniversary weekend May 31-June 2, when the luxury Kennebunkport, Maine is holding events such as a nine-course dinner, wine from 1973 and charity auction. Part of it is a $40,000 ruby cocktail that indeed comes with a four-carat ruby, which is the 40th-anniversary gemstone. The one in the drink is a lasting keepsake for those ordering, and the drink is available through the end of the year. If you don’t want to spend that much, the inn offers a Ruby Rose martini for $18, Hangar One vodka, St. Germain Elderflower, fresh grapefruit juice, pomegranate and a spoonful of rosewater.

The menu for the nine-course dinner will be created by Chef Jonathan Cartwright, and costs $400 per person, served on June 1, with the dishes taking diners back 40 years to mark the occasion, Cartwright said. With dinner, guests will drink a 1973 D’Oliveiras Verdelho wine. And during the dinner, there will be an auction of a bottle of 1973 Hanzell Vineyards pinot noir, with proceeds going to “Share Our Strength,” which fights childhood hunger. The bottle is valued at approximately $200.

There will also be a special VIP cocktail reception May 31, and on June 1 at 11 a.m., a historic tour of Kennebunk with food and drink along the way. Through the end of June, the inn offers room specials and a $40 spa service. For information, visit

'Mini Maine' is a hit on the web

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Staff April 4, 2013 11:00 AM

Using tilt-shift photography, German photographer Joerg Daiber has created the latest in intriguing destination clips to hit the web with his “Mini Maine,” which depicts various scenes in Portland that appear miniaturized.

"I kind of like to put things in the right perspective,” Daiber told the Portland Press-Herald. “Sometimes I think people take things too seriously.

"It turned into an obsession.”

The clip already has more than 25,00 views since being posted on YouTube on Tuesday.

Check out some more popular tilt-shift videos below.

White Barn Inn cooking up deals

Posted by Paul Kandarian March 6, 2013 09:35 AM

Maine Restaurant Week kicks off on Friday

Posted by Paul Kandarian February 27, 2013 03:43 PM

The fifth annual Maine Restaurant Week runs March 1-10 in Portland this year, with chefs creating three-course meals that highlight their restaurants’ cuisine. Cost is $15 for lunches and dinner for $22, $32 or $42. David Turin’s Opus 10, Buck’s Naked BBQ, Fromviandoux and the Lucerne Inn are new additions this year, along with mainstays like Azure Café, Back Bay Grill, Fuel and DiMillo’s on the Water.

Pies on parade in Rockland, Maine

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Staff January 17, 2013 08:47 AM

By Necee Regis, Globe Correspondent

Rockland, Maine, goes pie crazy on Jan. 27 with the 9th Annual Pies on Parade Pie Tour. From 1-5 p.m. sample more than 40 pies at businesses, restaurants, and inns throughout town. The 20 participating venues will serve both a savory and sweet pie, including galettes, tarts, quiches, pot pies, pizza pies, and even a grilled pie. Adults $25, children ages 10 and under $10. Ticket sales benefit the local food pantry. The Historic Inns of Rockland — Granite Inn, Captain Lindsey House, Lime Rock Inn, Berry Manor Inn — offer a Pie Tour package. A two-night stay includes two tickets to the Pie Tour, silent auction, wine and pie tasting, $50 credit for dinner Saturday night, two personally baked pies, breakfast, and more. Rates from $345. 877-762-4667,

Celebrating winter in chilly style

Posted by Paul Kandarian January 7, 2013 04:06 PM

The Portland Harbor Hotel in downtown Portland, Maine, is hosting its annual Ice Bar Jan. 24-26, featuring martini bars pouring specialty cocktails, as well as an ice bar serving local beers. The ice bar is carved outside in the hotel's courtyard and is surrounded by fire pits and ice sculptures. Inside, music is provided by a DJ along with free samples of food from area restaurants.

It's a popular event, organizers say, with tickets selling out quickly in advance; they are  not available at the door. Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets,, and are $20 each, for those 21 and older.

The Portland Harbor Hotel has overnight stays from $189 for double occupancy, including two tickets to the event and two drink vouchers for the ice bar. Rooms must be booked by calling 207-775-9090.

Rockland gearing up for Pie Day

Posted by Paul Kandarian January 3, 2013 12:25 PM

The Maine town of Rockland, dubbed “Pie Town USA” by the Food Network, is hosting the ninth annual pie-a-thon to celebrate National Pie Day (yes, there is one, it’s Jan. 23). The town is celebrating the event Jan. 27 from 1-5 p.m. when the Historic Inns of Rockland join town businesses and restaurants for “Pies on Parade,” where visitors can sample more than 40 different pies throughout the community, take tours of the town and some guest rooms at the inns, and participate in silent auctions featuring pies, local gift certificates and a chance to win an inclusive two-night stay.

All proceeds from Pies on Parade benefit the Area Interfaith Outreach Food Pantry & Fuel Assistance Program. Over the past eight years, more than $50,000 has been donated to the pantry. Lodging packages can be found at, or by calling 877-762-4667.

Northern Lights burning in Maine

Posted by Paul Kandarian November 28, 2012 10:42 AM

You don't have to go terribly far to see the northern lights - at least the L.L. Bean 7th annual Northern Lights Celebration in Freeport, Maine, a series of ongoing events that include horse-and-wagon rides, live shows, light displays, sled dogs and more. New to the list of Northern Lights activities this year is a Music Holiday Light SHow, featuring choreographed lights and visual effects timed to music. A new show appears each hour, five times a night, running through the end of the year. The shows start at 6 p.m. The famous store is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and ends the party New Year's Eve, with a fireworks display and free entertainment. All events are free. For information, visit

Brew tours take off in Maine

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Staff November 27, 2012 12:04 PM

By Kari Bodnarchuk, Globe Correspondent

Hop aboard a lime-green minibus and take a tour of southern Maine’s top microbreweries. The 13-passenger Maine Brew Bus offers three tours with stops at Allagash, Sebago, and Rising Tide breweries, Federal Jacks brew pub (the birthplace of Shipyard), and other beer-related hot spots. Each tour includes samples and snacks, a tour of the brewing operations, and a chance to chat with brewers. The Local Pour Tour visits a mix of beer, spirits, and coffee producers in Portland. $65-$75, depending on the trip length.  207-200-9111,  

Downeaster service to run north of Portland, Maine for first time in 50 years

Posted by Paul Kandarian November 2, 2012 07:59 AM

By Paul E. Kandarian, Globe Correspondent

For the first time in 50 years, Amtrak is going north of Portland, Maine from Boston, with its Downeaster service to Freeport and Brunswick. Kicking it off are a couple of packages from the Inn at Brunswick Station that include Amtrak tickets. The first deal, the "Inn at Brunswick Station's Train to Maine" package, includes an overnight stay at the inn and two tickets, starting at $139 for Monday-Thursday stays, and $169 for weekends.

inn lobby.jpgThe inn's "Small Town, Big Experience" package is more inclusive, with a two-night stay, free rides to Freeport for holiday shopping and two tickets to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. A private dining experience in the Tavern kitchen is included, led by Executive Chef Kevin Cunningham, featuring wine pairings with food. The price starts at $639 midweek and $699 on weekends, and includes daily breakfast and roundtrip Amtrak tickets. This package must be booked by calling 207-837-6565.

For more information, visit

Photo of Inn and Brunswick Station lobby by Ted Axelrod

Dueling spirits of the Kennebunk Inn

Posted by Paul Kandarian October 10, 2012 08:34 AM

About globe-trotting Travel news, tips, deals and dispatches.
  • Anne Fitzgerald, Globe Travel Editor
  • Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor
  • Eric Wilbur, staff
  • Kari Bodnarchuk writes about outdoor adventures, offbeat places, and New England.
  • Patricia Borns, a frequent contributor to Globe Travel, writes and photographs travel, maritime, and historical narratives as well as blogs and books.
  • Patricia Harris, a regular contributor to Globe Travel, is author or co-author of more than 20 books on travel, food, and popular culture.
  • Paul E. Kandarian, a frequent contributor to Globe Travel, writes and photographs New England and Caribbean stories.
  • Chris Klein is a regular contributor to Globe Travel. His latest book is "The Die-Hard Sports Fan's Guide to Boston."
  • David Lyon, a regular contributor to Globe Travel, is author or co-author of more than 20 books on travel, food, and popular culture.
  • Hilary Nangle, author of Moon Maine, Moon Coastal Maine, and Moon Acadia National Park, writes about soft adventure, skiing, cultural travel, and food.
  • Joe Ray, a frequent contributor to Globe Travel, writes and photographs food and travel stories from Europe.
  • Necee Regis is a regular contributor to Globe Travel.