Posts tagged ‘Red Sky Restaurant’

July 18, 2009

Maine Locals Share Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of Your Vacation to Acadia National Park

Where the locals eat, shop, and relax is a constant source of fascination for travelers.  And why not?  What could be a better guide for where to get off the beaten track to find value? 

That’s why I was delighted recently to see the proprietor of Sip’s and Sawyer’s Specialties in Southwest Harbor eating dinner at the bar of Red Sky.  Red Sky, with its creative cuisine and emphasis on local ingredients, has always been a personal favorite.  I felt validated by the local endorsement. 

Interesting enough, earlier that day I had visited Sawyer’s Specialties to ask Scott Worcester if he’d be willing to share some “insider secrets” about Mount Desert Island.  Here’s what he and two other Southwest Harbor locals-in-the-know told me. 

Scott Winchester

Scott Worcester

As I chatted with Scott, I eyed the delicacies in the counter at Sawyer’s Specialties.  There were “banana shooters” stuffed with provolone and prosciutto, smoked shrimp and scallops, and roasted red peppers.  He told me Sawyer’s Specialties features over 100 cheeses.  What a picnic!  All of a sudden I saw an intriguing alternative to my turkey sandwiches atop Pemetic Mountain.  My Nalgene of water morphed into a bottle of Pinot Noir as Scott talked about his philosophy: “I like to find out what customers like and then introduce them to something new in the genre they enjoy.”  So, what site would I choose for my elegant picnic?  

Scott’s Tip:  Go to Wonderland, the trail at the southern point of Mount Desert Island’s “Quietside.”  A spruce-scented gravel path, 1.4 miles out and back, leads you to the ocean where Maine’s rocky coastline offers ample seating – as well as tabletops – for you to relax and enjoy your feast from Sawyer’s Specialties.  Breathe in the salt air to complement the bouquet of the wine you’ve chosen.  Scott talked about the “stone chairs” at Wonderland.  Find the most regal for this feast.

Don Jalbert

Don Jalbert

When I was looking for a house to buy on Mount Desert Island, I stayed at the Harbour Cottage InnI still think it has one of the most appealing living rooms I’ve seen anywhere.  On my most recent visit, while I was waiting for one of the innkeepers, Don Jalbert, I mused how nice it would be to curl up on the chintz sofa  in front of the fireplace with a volume from the well-stocked bookshelves.  Instead, I maintained my decorum and enjoyed the lovely Southwest Harbor view over their rolling lawn.  When Don arrived, my first question was whether or not they were still serving their pesto eggs for breakfast, my all-time favorite egg preparation.  Having answered me in the affirmative, he surprised me with a recommendation I fully intend to pursue for myself. 

Don’s Tip:  “Not many people know about this,” he said, “Somehow it is kept very quiet. If you are on the island in June, July and August, be sure to call for a ticket to see The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden. It sits atop a bluff in the village of Seal Harbor.” The garden has both a Spirit Path and English-style flowers so it is an unusual blend of Western and Eastern elements. Reservations are required and available from 9 AM to 11 AM Thursdays only. Tickets are free, but reservations are limited so you must call well in advance: 207-267-5525.  

Heather Brown

Heather Brown

If there’s a rainy day during my vacation to Acadia, I love buying baby gifts at Hatched on MDI.  For friends who have become entranced with Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, I always buy little cotton sweaters emblazoned with lobsters, which I then bestow with a lecture on why I like Mount Desert Island much better.  This year the owner, Northeast Harbor born-and-bred Heather Brown, attracted my attention with a table of marked-down “values” outside the shop.  I felt apologetic as she rung up the $10 item that my daughter had chosen strictly because of its incomparable snuggliness.  

Heather’s Tip:  I asked Heather for a suggestion for a thoughtful gift to bring home to a little one after a trip to Acadia.  She showed me a biblet (that covers not only the baby’s chest, but lap) in blue with a fiery-red lobster.  As we were talking, another great tip emerged.  If you (or your spouse) need a break from perusing the local gift shops, the Southwest Harbor Library offers a comfortable setting, variety of newspapers, and even free Wi-Fi.  And you don’t need to be a library cardholder to access the library’s three computers.  I can’t imagine abdicating on a visit to Southwest Harbor’s expanded hardware store, but I must admit that the library is an appealing alternative, especially on a rainy day.

 I’d like to thank my contributors Scott, Don, and Heather for this post.  If you have tips you’d like to share, you can contact me at info@ouracadia.com.  In the meantime, you can check out more of my favorite ways to explore, eat, and relax when visiting Acadia National Park at www.ouracadia.com.  Stay tuned for more tips from Bar Harbor!

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July 28, 2008

Best Restaurants in Bar Harbor, Maine — from a New Yorker’s Point-of-View

First of all, my favorite Bar Harbor restaurants aren’t in Bar Harbor. 

For those unfamiliar with the area, Bar Harbor is the best-known among Mount Desert Island’s towns, but there are several other villages on this island of 100 square miles (roughly the same size as Martha’s Vineyard).  Exploring beyond Bar Harbor will not only yield delectable dining, but also introduce you to the charms of what the locals call “the quiet side” of the island.

Restaurants on Mount Desert Island absolutely live up to the standard of the best restaurants in the world.  And, as a New Yorker, I can say that in my opinion they are often better because everything is fresher in the relevant seasons.  For example, last spring at the recitation of specials at my favorite restaurant in Southwest Harbor, the owner announced they were offering asparagus that had been “in the ground that afternoon.”

Unfortunately, I no longer eat lobster in Manhattan, only in Maine.  There’s a sweet and salty flavor that comes from the freshness and the saltwater boiling method that makes lobster anywhere else disappointing.

All this doesn’t mean that all of the restaurants on Mount Desert Island are good, however.  Frankly, you have to plan ahead a bit because reservations may be hard to get and walking into a random spot may give you the unwanted experience of a “tourist trap.”  OUR ACADIA reviews the top spots from Trenton to Bar Harbor that range from wine bars to sandwich shops, beloved by locals and visitors alike.  But here are three that we go to every time we visit Acadia National Park.

Sips
Thurston’s Lobster PoundThurston’s Lobster Pound
Steamboat Wharf Road, Bernard, 207-244-7600

You can get waitress service if you sit downstairs at this postcard-perfect lobster pound overlooking the working fishing docks of Bass Harbor. However, for us it’s a rite of summer to stand in line upstairs with a beer (we really like the local micro-brew Harbor Lighthouse Ale) and begin the debate: Should we have hard shell or soft shell? How many pounds? Steamers or chowder? Standing in line heightens the anticipation of the sweetest lobsters we know anywhere. You can opt to have your lobster alone or with a “basic dinner” of corn, coleslaw, roll, and Thurston’s blueberry spice cake (so good you’ll want to buy extra for tomorrow’s breakfast). Or you can enhance the experience with steamers, the chowder of the day, lobster stew, or crab cakes with chipotle sauce. There are lots of things for seafood-averse kids, too, including grilled cheese, burgers, and a grilled chicken sandwich with Boursin.

Red Sky Restaurant Sky
14 Clark Point Road, Southwest Harbor, 207-244-0476

A favorite of both locals and visitors to Mount Desert Island, it draws guests not only from Southwest Harbor and other communities on the “quiet side,” but also regulars from Seal Harbor and Northeast Harbor. Balancing warmth with culinary expertise, the owners James and Elizabeth Lindquist set a white table cloth for an excellent menu that features local products and seasonal produce. The pan-roasted breast of duck and grilled marinated lamb are among my favorites, as is Elizabeth’s martini. When we visited in June, we also indulged in the light lemon soufflé cake, another reason that Red Sky at night is a sailor’s delight, and everyone else’s, too.

 

Town Hill BistroTown Hill Bistro
Route 102 and Crooked Road/West Eden Commons, 207-288-1011

The first time we all went to Town Hill Bistro, only four months after their opening in 2007, there was a chalk board outside the front door announcing the restaurant was totally booked. Since Town Hill is off the beaten path, this is no small feat, but it’s no wonder once you experience the creative cuisine and very friendly, but competent service here. The restaurant serves about 30 guests in a cabin-like dining room that has a pitched, beamed ceiling and bar at one end and fireplace at the other. Guests include large and small parties, out-of-towners who rave (see TripAdvisor!), and locals who are regulars. Town Hill Bistro offers starters, small plates, and large plates that generally represent fish, steak, chicken, pasta, and vegetarian selections. We highly recommend the Asian Barbecue Salmon Filet over Udon Noodles!

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