Postcard from Maine- 5

20 August 2012

Trenton, ME

“OK dude… why the silence? You awake out there?”

Yup, we’re awake. Still hanging out in coastal Maine. The weather here beats pretty much the whole rest of the US this summer, so we’re not anxious to move too soon to get back to the Southwest.

Which presents a dilemma. We managed to schedule doctor/dentist appointments in Santa Fe at the same time as the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. How smart is that?! Not very if past experience is any measure. Every RV park within 100 miles of ABQ will be booked for that week plus a few days before and after. Not sure how to deal with that… workin’ on it.

Fat Farm

We’ve discovered a hidden treasure in Maine. They have a ‘fat farm’ here. Usually that means a place to go to lose some unwanted fat. In this case, though, the fat farm puts weight on you.

The center of this conspiracy happens to be Gifford’s ice cream. I can’t believe Maine isn’t the heart attack/stroke capital of the US! Great ice cream and all our favorite flavors, but without Dr. Oz looking over our shoulder we’ve gone nuts. I bet I’ve added at least 10 lbs. It’s been a month since I’ve seen my shoes while I’m wearing them!

So you’ve been warned: if you come to Maine, be prepared to have some of the best ice cream available in the US. Just make sure you’re prepared for the consequences! Our favorites are…

  • Gifford’s- Sold most places including Hannaford’s and Shaw’s supermarkets. We’ve tried blueberry, moose tracks, vanilla, and chocolate.
  • Rich’s of Maine- not easily found. We’ve tried vanilla and blueberry.
  • Scoops- a tiny independent in the Ellsworth Harbor parking lot. They offer their own homemade ice cream and it’s excellent. We’ve tried apricot-peach (wow!), and chocolate.

The B-List

It’s expensive in this part of Maine whether you’re eating out or cooking at home. It’s tourist heaven and, since locals only have 4 months to earn most of their annual living, prices are higher than we find comfortable. So when we eat out we look for the least costly that’s good enough to go back. So if you don’t want to eat at the very best places, here’s our B-List of a few which meet our very loose criteria. In no particular order…

  • Hot Dog Heaven– About a 1/4 mile S of Timberland Acres RV Park on Bar Harbor Rd in Trenton. HDH is a one-man show with only occasional help at the counter (so it can be slow). John serves a great chili/cheese dog, his lobster and crab rolls are wonderful, and his fish chowder is excellent. And of course Gifford’s for dessert. Order at the counter; no inside seating… just picnic tables. And his food is great! He closes Columbus Day, then spends his winter in Jamaica recovering from working 7 days per week.
  • Pat’s Pizza– On Bar Harbor Rd just before the turn to WalMart when driving N. Been around for decades. They have good pizza, good design-your-own hamburgers, and they have specials each nite. For instance, on our first visit they had lobster rolls for $10.95 which is the best price in town. Save room for carrot cake!
  • Governor’s Restaurant and Bakery– They’re on High St. near Hannaford’s. Breakfast anytime they’re open. Everything is good but I really liked the Memphis Bacon/Cheeseburger and Celia liked the Southwest omelet. And try the fritter for dessert: a combo of apple fritter, chunky applesauce, caramel and Gifford’s ice cream. The bakery was only OK except for the bread was excellent (they’ll slice it for you if you want).
  • Jordan’s– Another walk-up place but it also has a dining room in the adjacent building where you can take your food if you don’t want to eat in the truck. They have hamburgers, dogs, lobster ($$) or crab ($) rolls. They brag about their onion rings, but I thought they were just so-so.
  • Martha’s Cafe (was Martha’s Diner till Martha changed the name)- It’s next to Shaw’s Market on High St. She serves breakfast and lunch only, then closes at 2 PM. And bring cash… no CCs here. Everything we’ve tried has been good including the Rueben. If you like maple syrup on your pancakes, plan on smuggling your own cuz it costs a small fortune to buy hers!
  • Union River Lobster Pot– In Ellsworth on (surprise!) the Union River, just over the bridge. This upper end place (white table cloths, waiters, casual dress) serves lobster serveral different ways plus clams, fish, etc. Not the kind of place we go very often, but what we had was good. You need reservations here.
  • Ruth & Wimpy’s– A lower-middle place in nearby Hancock (east of Ellsworth) with high end prices. The usual lobster/crab/fish offerings. I did a double take at the prices ($28 for a lobster in a diner-style restaurant?!) till I saw the section with ‘baskets’. A lobster roll was no pricier than anywhere else. The home made blueberry pie was definitely blueberry, but nothing to write home about. The problem was probably that it wasn’t yet blueberry season (duh!).

Here are some that were only so-so or that we were warned away from…

  • The Mex– I guess the rule of thumb is you don’t come to Maine for Mexican food!
  • Mainely-Meat– A BBQ place in Bar Harbor on ME-3 & in downtown Ellsworth . Only so-so. Again, when you think of BBQ, is it Maine you think of first? Probably not. But it was definitely better than what we had in Batavia, NY.
  • Helen’s– on US-1 near Home Depot. We tried to like this place but looks can be deceiving. The food was not well prepared and the recipes left me wondering (lasagna Alfredo? Maybe, but it’s not on my short list of favorites!). The desserts looked great but had apparently been sitting too long: the genuine whipped cream topping was stiff enough to be used as a Frisbee.

Celia had lunch with friends at Jordan Pond House in Acadia NP. High end, in a prime location, and quite literally world famous. Apparently parking was chaotic which made it dicey to arrive on time for their reservation (recommended). Prices were $$$, food was good (but skip the lobster soup… not enough lobster). Jordan Pond House is famous for its popovers. If they’re anything like I had when there in 1971, they’re outstanding! Everyone needs to go Jordan Pond House at least once so you can have bragging rights. But if you have a long bed dually like us, better find another way to get there!

And if you don’t know what a popover is, check out Wikipedia.

Along the road.

Watch for the road side stands. That’s where you can buy good berries in-season. You’ll find (in order of appearance) strawberries, then (briefly!) raspberries, and finally blueberries. We lucked out cuz the park has a local that supplies each of these as they become available. A local drops them off as she makes her rounds. We paid $5.50 for a quart of blueberries. However…

When we took a drive northeast we made it as far as Columbia Falls, ME to the Wild Blueberry Land. Kinda’ looks like the Giant Orange roadside stands we used to see in California except it’s blue and doesn’t have orange juice. They sell blueberries and pretty much anything made with blueberries like pie, jams & jellies, candy. Whatever. I coaxed The Admiral into buying a blueberry pie which I later discovered cost $17. Yikes! The point is, don’t get too carried away with local food and crafts. The local dude a 1/4 mile down the road from the RV park is selling the same things and wants $11 for a pie.

Off to the vet

Annie has struggled since we left the southwest. She keeps getting hotspots. Probably from bug bites or maybe it started from inadequate rinsing from the last bath before leaving. Whatever, she would get over one, then another would start. We went to a vet in Michigan, just north of Elkhart, IN; then we called the vet in Santa Fe and got Cephalexin via WalMart; then when she got her 4th or 5th infection we decided she needed to see a vet again. We found Oceanside Animal Hospital here in Trenton, about 1.5 miles south of us on ME-3 (Bar Harbor Rd.). Oceanside AH is run by Darryl Burmeister, DVM. He did a thorough check of Annie looking for hotspots we may have missed (we hadn’t, but he found all the old ones); treated the worst site; then sent us on our way with prescriptions for Prednisone and Cephalexin.

About a week later Kelly started having a problem for the first time. She licked and chewed her way through the hair on her side and managed to get a big old smelly site going in a matter of a few hours. Back to Oceanside.

This time Darryl-the-vet said he thought Kelly wasn’t far enough advanced to require Prednisone, so she was treated (shaved the site and disinfected it) and sent us home with just Cephalexin. Again, the treatment was like magic. Both dogs are doing great now and we couldn’t be happier with Oceanside Animal Hospital for care of our dogs. So if you find yourself in the area of Trenton/Ellsworth in Maine and in need of a vet, consider Oceanside as our suggestion.

Btw, Annie & Kelly routinely get a pro-biotic every morning, so antibiotics are seldom an issue for diarrhea or loose bowels. Prednisone, however, made Annie have to pee every hour only to slurp up more water. Had to get up several times the first night. Which is not a problem since I have to get up just as often for myself! Annie did complain about having to shave several times a day, but hey… that’s life in the truck lane!

More coming. May try to get out of here about the first of September depending on the weather west of us.

About bruce10b

Celia and I are full-time RVers wintering (and now summering!) in Benson, AZ. The 2 bernese mountain dogs that initiated the name of this blog are gone but forever alive in our memory.
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