Mini-Vacay: a change is as good as a rest!

Belfast Harbor – Photo by Lynn Karlin

I’m just returning home from a few days in Maine. A dear friend is recovering from surgery at home in Belfast and I wanted to go stay with her for awhile and help out.  Anyone who reads our blog and/or knows me, already knows I’m a Maine-o-phile to the core. I just love it…especially in the summer. And even with my care-taking responsibilities I still managed to hit some of my favorite go-to spots and I really found my visit inspiring and relaxing.  I even found some interesting new pieces for the store in my favorite antique shops (see a couple finds at the end of this post)

So I thought for those of us who sometimes can’t take more than 3-5 days off at a time, I’d share with you my idea of perfect mini-vacation within an hour of Belfast, Maine.


LINCOLNVILLE, ME

On this trip I was staying with my friend in Belfast, but a good central location in relation to the 4 places I love going to is Lincolnville, Maine. There are quite a few Air BnBs in this area but I discovered the most adorable motel a couple years ago…I just loved it. You can check out my original blog about it below.

Maine Travel Tip: Lincolnville Motel – It’s adorable!

There are some other great places to check out in Lincolnville. Lincolnville Beach, a small strip of sand right on U.S. Route 1 overlooking Penobscot Bay and Islesboro Island (a 30 minute ferry ride away if you’re interested in a day trip) is just lovely and the Lincolnville General Store . After a long restoration and renovation process, this 19th century store was re-opened in late 2017 by the town’s local celebrity, PHISH drummer, Jon Fishman (who is also a Town Selectman) and his wife, Briar. Jon apparently, isn’t just an owner on paper…he and Briar are very involved in the daily running of the store. It’s filled what you’d expect in a historic general store–various sundries and dried goods on the shelves–plus an incredible selection of freshly made breads, bagels, artisanal pizza (with unbelievable toppings), fresh produce, wines and craft beers (they’ll deliver too!).  It’s also a great place to pick up something for breakfast or dinner to take back to your hotel/motel. It’s a “must-visit” for sure!


ROCKLAND, ME

You will have passed through Rockland on your way to Lincolnville, and you’ll be passing through again on your way home, but the trip is SO worth it.

The Farnsworth Museum is the only art center dedicated solely to American and Maine-inspired art and it houses an impressive Wyeth collection featuring the works of Andrew, N.C. and Jamie Wyeth

Known as the Art Capital of Maine, Rockland boasts two fantastic museums: the Farnsworth Museum and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art.  There is also an amazing restaurant here called PRIMO. The very talented Melissa Kelly is the Executive Chef and proprietor of Primo. She has TWICE been the winner of the James Beard Foundation Award of the American Express Best Chef: Northeast Award — the first 2-time winner of the same award ever. Needless to say, the food is fantastic!

Rockland also happens to be where the ferry to my most favorite island in Maine–Vinalhaven–leaves from.


VINALHAVEN, ME

I first fell in love with Vinalhaven in 2017.

My New Favorite Place in Maine

I have since returned many times to visit my friends Sharon and Paul Mrozinski who own the wonderful Marston House Vinalhaven.

Just a visit to their shop inspires me beyond words. This is what my friend Sharon suggests one should do when visiting their magical island.

Vinalhaven from the ferry

Catch an early ferry in Rockland. Enjoy the ferry ride on deck with camera in hand. Once you’ve arrived, stop by the Marston House and say hi to Sharon and Paul. Have lunch at the wonderful Nightingale restaurant. Be sure to bring a swimsuit and towel for a swim in Lawson’s Quarry.  The second hand book store is fabulous as well as Phineas Fogge (women’s clothing and accessories, with a smattering of antiques and the unusual). Creelman’s Farm Store has the best home made caramels made with goats milk by Erin Creelman, using her own goats’ milk as well as the goats milk soap she sells in the store (also made on Vinalhaven) by Green Granite Soap.
Visit New Era Gallery and The Barn and maybe stay a night, if time allows, at Tidewater.

I, personally, also enjoy visiting the Vinalhaven Historical Society

And then the ferry trip home is just as lovely and the trip over!


BELFAST, ME

Less than a half hour north of Lincolnville is beautiful Belfast. I have to admit, Belfast feels like my home away from home. I have such good friends there and I just love the atmosphere and feel of the town.  So here are my places & picks of things to do in Belfast.

Chase’s Daily
A Farm-to-Table restaurant and farmer’s market. Chase’s is the “cool” place to go for breakfast or lunch.


The Good Table
The best kitchen shop on the East Coast owned by my dear friend Vicki!


Heavenly Yarns Shopheavenlysocksyarns.com

My favorite yarn shop of all time. Unusual yarns, inspiring ideas and Helen (the owner) is all enough to make you want to walk in and start (or learn how) to knit. Tell Helen I sent you!!


Penobscot Maritime Museum (Searsport, ME)
just up the road a bit from Belfast.

“The Lobstering Women of Maine”

I was so blown away by this exhibit. It breaks through every stereotype most of us have of the people who haul lobsters. The paintings by Belfast artist Susan Tobey White are just spectacular. The exhibit will run through October 20th.


Belfast Co-op Store
This is a truly great co-op. It’s been around a long time for good reason!


Young’s Lobster Pound
Right on the water…you couldn’t ask for better, fresh caught lobster and other seafood (see menu)


As you head back to Lincolnville and then home, keep your eyes peeled for out of the way antique shops and roadside places to eat. You’d be surprised what you can find…it’s an adventure!



WHILE I WAS IN BELFAST THIS WEEK I ALSO…

The Lost Kitchen
(just up the road from Belfast in Freedom, ME)
Even though it’s impossible to get a reservation at this now famous restaurant, I did stop by TLK to visit with my friend Erin French while she was prepping for dinner.

Visited the studio of my friend, the brilliant photographer,
Lynn Karlin!


AND I FOUND THESE…


You know I LOVE COWS! Zinc Cow Weathervane – artisan made in New Hampshire


4 Comments

  • Joan: What a great article about Belfast, Vinalhaven and other parts of Maine. You recall for me the many trips we have taken in mid-coast Maine, and to many “targets”, such as Rockland, Camden, Wiscasset, Belfast (for the Lost Kitchen, thanks to your recommendation, with hard to get reservations courtesy of Helen Meserve, with whom we have wandered a whole lot of your favorite state!). Great photos too! Many thanks!

  • Joan: What a great article about Belfast, Vinalhaven and other parts of Maine. You recall for me the many trips we have taken in mid-coast Maine, and to many “targets”, such as Rockland, Camden, Wiscasset, Belfast (for the Lost Kitchen, thanks to your recommendation, with hard to get reservations courtesy of Helen Meserve, with whom we have wandered a whole lot of your favorite state!). Great photos too! Many thanks! I started this comment a bit ago, but hadn’t finished! Hope it can get posted!

  • Britt Gimlewicz says:

    Joan, this was fun for me to read as I sit here in my kitchen in Camden, Maine. I’m a Maine girl who has fallen in love with your Hammertown shops. I work at the best little hospital ever, Waldo County Gen in Belfast. The various places you highlighted in your blog are also my favorites too.-come again soon
    -Britt

  • Cherridah says:

    When we lived in Dutches county, visiting Maine was doable even for short visits or taking guests from Europe to see this country’s treasured rocky coast. Now living in San Francisco, it’s been a while so it was a delight indulging in your photos this morning. It brought back many warm reminders of favorite foods, shops and scenes. We also get out Millay’s Renascence and take turns reading to each other and reminisce from time to time. But this morning, the pictures caused a peak in interest and we are talking about a trip. We will visit Hammertown too—we could always have a rug or slipcover shipped home.

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