We started our ten-day trip to the East Coast with three-days in New York City. (See the last post of Thebeerchaser for the initial glimpse of our time in NYC).
The last of three and one-half in the City was filled. After starting with an excellent Apple Fritter at one of the many street carts, we boarded the subway for the ride to the 911 Memorial and Museum.
Words are not adequate to describe the emotions one experiences when walking through the museum after entering through the magnificent rebuilt One World Trade Center.
I remember that morning listening to NBC News seventeen years ago as I was getting ready for work, but to view the pictures and videos, hear the 911 calls, see material such as stationery and calendars pulled from the wreckage and witness the former foundational structure conveys new meaning.
That afternoon, we walked around Midtown and before our Broadway play that Friday evening, stopped and had a pint at the excellent District Tap House – it’s actually two bars.
They have an extensive tap list with over fifty beers.
Given our initial encounter at our hotel the day before, we split another Brooklyn Brewing Defender IPA.
It was a friendly place with a Friday vibe as you can see from this picture of Janet and the “bouncer” at the entrance.
We then walked up Broadway to our theater to see the highly recommended play – “Once on This Island.”
Part of our interest was the lead – a young woman, Haily Kilgore, who attended Clackamas High School in Oregon for two years and was a star in the Portland theater scene before furthering her education in New York and being cast as Ti Moune in this Broadway revival. She was nominated for a 2018 Tony Award.
The theater-in-the-round experience was delightful, and Kilgore and the cast outstanding as evidenced by this excerpt from the 12/17/17 New York Times review entitled “Revived and Ravishing:”
“….and Mr. Arden’s (Director) staging serves his top-to-bottom terrific cast of black, and Hispanic and Asian actors beautifully.”
On the morning of our fourth day, we took the morning Amtrak to Boston. Although we had some great food in the City, my favorite meal was the lox and cream-cheese bagel I ate on my lap in the Penn Station waiting area.
The view from the window of our coach as we departed on d the four-hour trip to Boston was outstanding. The coach-bus for the additional hour ride to Portland, Maine and the Amtrak ride were both clean and pleasant.
We picked up our rental car for the next week at the Portland Airport – a trusty Volkswagen Beetle This one was an automatic not like the stick shift on my college-era Beetle that had no gas gauge and a one-gallon reserve tank you switched on manually. (This one may be the last time in a Beetle since VW is discontinuing the line.)
We stayed at a nearby hotel after dinner at the Sea Dog Brewery by the airport – one of nine locations in Maine, New Hampshire and Florida for this brewery founded in 1993.
Not much ambiance in this brewpub – kind of reminded me of the Portland (or Denver or Chicago or …..) version of the Rock Bottom Brewery franchise.
That said, the staff was courteous and they had sixteen beers on tap. I really enjoyed Sea Dog’s award-winning Windjammer Blonde Ale (4.8%) and Janet’s Deep Stowage IPA (6.14%) a dry-hopped cask ale, which is not itemized on their website, also got a good rating.
We drove through rural areas about forty miles north to Bridgton, Maine, where our Oregon friends, Roy Lambert and Mary Maxwell – frequent Beerchasers in Oregon, have a picturesque home named “Pinehaven” on one of Maine’s many beautiful lakes.
Our two-day stay with them was filled with hikes, kayaking on the lake and hitting some great nearby pubs. They have both been very active in the Lakes Environmental Association – an important initiative to preserve the pristine nature of this natural resource throughout Maine.
Two of the interesting pubs we visited were Ebenezer’s in the historical town of Lovell, settled during the Revolutionary War and incorporated in 1800. Ebenezer’s adjoins a golf course and is in an old house which includes a wonderful screened porch where we ate and also has a beautiful inside bar.
The pub has won a number of awards and asserts it’s the “17-Time # 1 Best Beer Destination in the World.” I didn’t inquire the source of this rating, but their incredible selection of beers is notable as described in this excerpt from a review on Thrillist:
“With more than 700 bottles available and a huge tap selction of Belgian rarities and favorites, Ebenezers has about 1.5 different beers stocked for each of its tiny hometown’s residents.”
That’s where I had my first of many Alagash White Ales (5.0%) on the trip – one of the most popular beers in Maine. It’s cloudy and white with coriander and orange and was outstanding.
Alagash Brewing, founded in Portland, Maine in 1995 now distributes its Belgian-inspired brews to seventeen states.
Ebeneezer’s also had outstanding food including our Reubens and Quesadillas. This Trip Advisor (7/9/18) review describes it aptly:
“Fantastic Food and Beer. This eclectic restaurant is a hidden gem. There is an amazing selection of beer and the menu was vast and most delicious.”
It was definitely one of the best establishments of the many we visited on the trip.
The next day we took a healthy jaunt on a 2.3 mile trail through Pondicherry Park – a 68 acre gem in the heart of downtown Bridgton -population 5,384!
Roy and Mary have contributed time and money to improve and maintain it and there are streams, woodlands and abundant wildlife in this family-oriented park..
There are a number of small but innovative obstacles courses along the Pinehaven Trail – gifts of the Lambert-Maxwell family. One of the entrances is through a memorial covered bridge.
The next day after touring rural Maine, we hit an idiosyncratic but cool pub for dinner – the Standard Gastropub right on Main Street in Bridgton.
This former gas station and mini-market was converted into a gas station and pub which is know for good comfort food and a large selection of beers – both bottled and on tap.
That’s where we first tried the Kresge Kolsch (4.8%) from Cushnoc Brewing in Augusta, Maine and Bissel Brothers’ Brewing of Portland Maine flagship beer – Substance Ale (6.6%).
We love trying “local” beers and supporting small breweries – a good choice on both beers that night. Bissel Brothers was founded in 2013 and has already expanded while Cushnoc was founded in 2017.
Early on Monday, we set out and drove north to Bar Habor and Acadia National Park – “Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast.”
We checked into our quaint bed-and-breakfast – the Harbor Cottage Inn in SW Harbor and took Oli’s Trolley for a 2.5 hour tour of the Acadia Park Loop Road – the best way to get an overview of the park and avoid traffic problems.
The weather was a bit stormy and windy which made the view along the coastline that much better.
The next post will narrate what we saw in the Park and some of the watering holes in both SW Harbor and Bar Harbor – two wonderful Maine Villages.