Much more than a college town, Brunswick, which was first settled in 1628 and became a township in 1717, and its neighbors mesh culture with outdoor activities and fun shops with good restaurants.
Smack downtown and facing the town green is Brunswick Inn on Park Row
, $145-$195), a handsome Greek Revival mansion and adjacent carriage house. Two other inns are within walking distance of downtown: the recently renovated, full-service Captain Daniel Stone Inn
(10 Water St., 877-373-2374, www.captaindanielstone.com
, $149-$269) tucked between Route 1 and the Androscoggin River, and the Black Lantern B&B
(57 Elm St., 888-306-4165, www.blacklanternbandb.com
, $95-$110), across the bridge in a quiet, riverfront Topsham location. For a peaceful, waterfront escape, check into Middle Bay Farm Bed and Breakfast
(287 Pennellville Road, 207-373-1375, www.middlebayfarm.com
, $170-$190), located on the grounds of the former Pennell Brothers Shipyard. For that breezy island feeling, check into the Bailey Island Motel
(Route 24, Bailey Island, 207-833-2886, www.baileyislandmotel.com
, $135), a congenial, clean, no-frills waterfront spot with great views. Children under age 10 are free, 10 and older are $15.
Local art adorns the walls, and white cloths cover the tables, at Clementine
(44 Maine St., 207-721-9800, $18-$29), serving seasonally inspired fare prepared with a dash of creativity. El Camino
(15 Cushing St., Brunswick, 207-725-8228, $10-$15) uses fresh, local, and often organic ingredients to create innovative Cal-Mex fare. Shere Punjab
(46 Maine St., 207-373-0422, $10-$22) is one of the state’s better Indian restaurants. New on the scene is Trattoria Athena
(25 Mill St., 207-721-0700, $14-$21), blending Italian and Greek fare prepared from locally sourced ingredients. Eclectic doesn’t begin to describe Frontier Cafe
(Fort Andross, 207-725-5222, $8-$15), a combination cinema, gallery, and cafe serving lighter fare. Order a BLT and a frappe from a carhop at Fat Boy Drive-In
(111 Bath Road, 207-729-9431, $2-$12), a landmark since 1955. Mosey down Route 123 to find two local favorites serving lobster and chowders with a view: The Dolphin Chowder House
(515 Basin Point Road, Harpswell, 207-833-6000, $7-$25) and the no-frills Allen’s Seafood & Takeout
(119 Lookout Point Road, Harpswell, 207-833-2828, $6-$15). Save room for a scrumptious treat from Gelato Fiasco
(74 Maine St., 207-607-4002).
DURING THE DAY
Maine Street is lined with independent antiques and specialty shops that make browsing and buying a pleasure. On the campus of Bowdoin College (founded in 1794), the Museum of Art
, free) houses an impressive permanent collection of 19th- and 20th-century American art and Greek and Roman artifacts, and the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum
, free) celebrates the Arctic explorations of graduates Robert E. Peary and Donald B. MacMillan. The nearby Joshua L. Chamberlain Museum
(226 Maine St., 207-729-6606, $5 adults, $2.50 children) honors the life of Civil War hero Joshua Chamberlain. Get the local lowdown at the Pejepscot Museum
(159 Park Row, free), where you can purchase the Brunswick Women’s History Trail
($2), a walking tour.
Take a spin through the Harpswells, a peninsula-archipelago complex dotted with fishing villages and linked by causeways, bridges, and a unique granite cribstone bridge. Time it to catch the Bailey Island Noontime Cruise (Cook’s Landing, Bailey Island, 207-774-7871, www.cascobaylines.com, $15.50 adult, $13 senior, $7.25 child), a 1 3/4-hour loop through nearby islands. For a more personal excursion, book a lighthouse cruise with Captain Les McNelly, owner of Sea Escape Charters (Bailey Island, 207-833-5531, www.seaescapecottages.com, $85 per person for two-hour cruise for two). Or kayak in ocean waters on a half-day tour with H2O Outfitters (Orr’s Island, 800-205-2925, www.h2outfitters.com, $50-$100 per person).
AFTER DARK Five Rivers Arts Alliance
(108 Main St., 207-798-6964, www.fiveriversartsalliance.org
), maintains a calendar of area concerts, gallery openings, art shows, lectures, exhibits, and other arts-related events and also sponsors a few key events. Catch a show at the Maine State Music Theatre
(Pickard Theater, Bowdoin College, 207-725-8769, www.msmt.org
), a summer tradition since 1959. The Bowdoin International Music Festival
) showcases an international array of classical talent through early August. Second Friday Art Walks
(207-725-4366) take place downtown, from 5-8 p.m. on the second Friday of the month through November. Music on the Mall
presents family band concerts at 7 p.m. Wednesdays on the green. The cozy Eveningstar Cinema
(149 Maine St., Tontine Mall, 888-304-5486, www.eveningstarcinema.com
) screens independent films. And be sure to check what’s on the schedule at Frontier Café.
Hilary Nangle can be reached at www.MaineTravelMaven.com.
© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company.