If you have heard of Freeport, Maine, the first thing that may come to mind is shopping. I’m going to take you on a day trip and show you that the quaint town should be visited for more than hitting the discount outlet stores.
Let’s start our little adventure at the harbor in South Freeport which is home to both yachts and fishing boats. It is three miles from Main Street in downtown Freeport so many people never see the working harbor.
There perched at the water’s edge is Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster. It is what many people come to Maine to find…a typical seafood shack where you can enjoy fresh seafood served “in the rough” as a New Englander would say.
You might be wondering what “in the rough” means. Typically the seafood shack has an outside walk up window with a printed menu on a wooden board. The menu usually consists of fried seafood, lobster rolls, and steamed whole lobsters. Sides are usually fries, slaw or corn on the cob. You place you order, pay, receive a number and then find a seat at a picnic table. When you food is ready, your number is called and you go back to the window for your food which is served on paper plates and baskets. Simple but good.
The seafood shack sounds good but you keep thinking about the shopping. For an in town dining experience and within walking distance of the shops, we’ll head into historic downtown Freeport. I know that you see all the nice outlet stores that are located in the old homes and businesses that line Main street…certainly not your ordinary strip stores. I’ll take you shopping but lets eat first so we will have strength to carry all those shopping bags.
I think you would enjoy having lunch outside at Azure Cafe on Main Street. The weather is lovely and we can sit in the shade of a large red umbrella and people watch while we have something cool to drink. The Italian inspired dishes listed on the menu feature fresh Maine seafood and locally sourced ingredients. With such a nice choice of soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers and terrific pasta dishes, it may be hard to choose. Let me give you some suggestions to make it easier.
The thin rings of fried calamari with a light vinaigrette is nice or perhaps you would enjoy a salad as a starter. My favorite is the Insalata Mescolare. It’s mixed greens with caramelized pistachios, Bermuda onions, and gorgonzola with a grilled strawberry balsamic vinaigrette.
For the main course, I have two suggestions that I think you might enjoy. The first suggestion would be the Spring Ravioli with peperonatta, spinach, and basil topped with a long stemmed grilled artichoke…perfect for this time of the year.
The second suggestion would be the Mussels al Fresco. Fresh harvested Maine mussels prepared with garlic, onions, lemon, white wine, tomatoes and butter tossed with linguine…it is delicious.
Now that we have eaten such a terrific lunch, I think a little shopping is in order. Just a little walk down the block is where we are headed. It is the one store in town that is famous around the world but not for discount prices…think more in the terms outfitting yourself for an outdoor adventure.
The legendary L. L. Bean is celebrating its 100th anniversary. L. L. Bean became known for its’ Maine hunting shoe “the bean boot” and outdoor clothes and equipment.
Today, they have a complex of buildings that specialize in hunting and fishing, bike, boat and ski, camping, hiking and backpacking and a home store.
Through out the buildings you will find very interesting displays of historic items from the past 100 years. You can sign up for their discovery schools for lessons in kayaking, archery, sporting clays and fly casting to name a few. During the summer they have outdoor concerts.
Now that you have signed up for a class, bought a lightweight jacket for the cool evenings even though it’s summer…remember it’s Maine after all, we are off to see where we can find some ingredients to this evenings meal.
First stop is Wolfe’s Neck Farm…let’s go into the barn. Remember to tell your friends to bring their kids…they will love this.
Now we are off to Wealden Farm just a couple of miles away. Local artisanal cheese, fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers and plants are sold here.
We have one last stop before we head back to Naples, and that is at Maine Distilleries.
They are a boutique distillery that produces the highly rated Cold River Vodka. They distill their premium vodka, blueberry vodka and gin from potatoes. Very few distillers produce potato based alcohol anymore. Would you believe that it takes more than twelve pounds of potatoes to make one bottle of vodka.
Their vodka is perfect for the best martini.
We have had a busy day…let’s go back to the cottage and I’ll make you a strawberry martini and garnish it with one of the lovely strawberries that we bought at the farm.
See, I told you… Freeport is more that just shopping.