|Photo Courtesy Jumping Rocks Photography|
Twice a year, Beth travels to Orland, Maine, north of Camden, to pick up wild Maine blueberries for the jam she makes for Old Chatham Sheepherding Company's blueberry yoghurt. I have joined her several times on this quick overnight trip. I enjoy it because it takes me back to my old stomping grounds. I grew up in New Hampshire, and worked in the seacoast region during the summers while in college. Also, my grandmother was a "Maine-iac" as she used to say. This is a long haul, driving a big van 8 hours up and 8 hours back, but the fun part is a great dinner and an over night stay, usually at a bed and breakfast, and I always enjoy seeing how other innkeepers do it!
The big treat on this trip was dinner at Primo, Melissa Kelly's fantastic farm to table restaurant in Rockland, Maine. In the late '90's, Chef Kelly worked at Old Chatham Sheepherding Co. Inn nearby, and I have been wanting to eat at this restaurant ever since she left Columbia County and moved to Maine.
We started the evening with a drink at the upstairs bar, where these fabulous skinny, hand rolled bread sticks were offered in large glass vases, almost like a dried floral arrangement. And they were very tasty.
We then moved downstairs for dinner. I am used to excellent farm to table food here in our region of the upper Hudson Valley, but I must say, there is a reason Chef Kelly just won the James Beard Best Chef in the North East award....again. Here is a dessert we shared. Beth loved the pumpkin creme brule on the left, I preferred the ginger bread like little cake on the right.
We stayed overnight at the Strawberry Hill Seaside Inn, a motel in the most stunning location. Here is the view from the back, overlooking the Penobscot Bay.
Just a quick cup of tea in the morning, and out the door by 7:30 to get to Allen's in Orland, Maine, where Beth buys her blueberries. Aren't the blueberry field gorgeous in the fall when the leaves turn red?
As I said, this is a working trip. Here is Beth helping load 2500 pounds of frozen wild blueberries into the van...
with a little help from the guy with the front loader!
I helped too!
Next stop, Portsmouth, New Hampshire for a delicious lunch of seafood chowder and Caesar salad looking out at the harbor from our table by the windows at the River House Restaurant on Bow Street.
Downtown Portsmouth has come a long way from the early '70's when I was a cocktail waitress in Hampton, NH and used to go up to Portsmouth after work with other waitresses and bartenders to Gilley's, an all night place that served hotdogs and hamburgers....from the windows of a c. 1940 Worcester diner, parked in the main square. It was hauled into place each night by a truck... and received a parking ticket each night...for decades. In the mid '70's it was moved to a permanent location, and you can still go there...I plan to on the next trip. Watch this video to get the whole story.
The historic section of Portsmouth, near the harbour, is now gentrified and flourishing, with lots of shops, restaurants and bars.
Thanks, Beth, for taking me along on this trip to help drive the van, and enjoy the seacoast food!