Wednesday, October 20, 2010

48 Hours in Freeport, Maine

By: Finance Foodie

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Freeport, Maine? Well, before my past weekend trip to Freeport, I probably would have said lobsters. But after seeing the eons of outlet shops and the blueberry infused dishes that ran ramped at local restaurants – I’ve come to realize that there is much more to the city than my delicious crustacean friend.
Check out where I ate, played, and stayed during my fall foliage getaway after the jump…

There is a reason why Maine is known for their lobster – almost every single restaurant in Freeport had some form of lobster on the menu – from the $6 bowls of lobster stew to $30 plus whole steamed lobsters. One of my favorite meals during my weekend came from Azure CafĂ©, a charming fine dining establishment serving Italian and seafood classics. I started my meal off with a blueberry infused prosecco, which I was very excited about (FYI, blueberry just by happy chance is one of my favorite fruits). The drink was delightfully bubbly and the slight hint of blueberry juice gave the drink not only a welcomed tartness, but also a beautiful royal purple coloring.

Blueberry Prosecco
My main course, a seafood risotto with fresh Maine lobster, scallops, shrimp & calamari, was also excellent. The large chunks of lobster meat were nice and tender (and very generously portioned, despite the increase in wholesale lobster prices as of late). The risotto itself had a lovely consistency – creamy enough to satiate my desire for a rich dish, but not overtly sticky and “gloppy”.
Hellllloooo Mister Delicious!
My friend and fellow Team FF contributor Coco, who accompanied me this weekend, had a wild Maine blueberry barbeque salmon served with broccoli and roasted garlic smashed potatoes. In all honestly, I was really intrigued by this dish (I had never seen blueberries combined with salmon before), but it was a letdown in terms of taste. The salmon was blackened to the point where I could taste the char from the grill and the blueberry flavor did not come through at all in the dish. Luckily, this wasn’t my dish to finish.
Coco's Blueberry Salmon
Also don’t miss: Broad Arrow Tavern (in the Harraseeket Inn) for their lobster rolls that are rich in whole chunk lobster and light on salad/mayo “filler”, as well as their cozy ski lodge like atmosphere; Isamax Snacks Bake Shop for their world famous Wicked Whoopies in variety of eclectic flavors from orange creamsicle to pumpkin and mint.
Broad Arrow Tavern's Lobster Roll

Freeport is known for two things: being a mecca for outlet shopping and being the birthplace of L.L. Bean stores. You definitely won’t forget the latter, as there are three large L.L. Bean complexes all within 5 miles of each other: the original L.L. Bean flagship store (complete with “Bean Boot” statue and interactive fish tank), the lower priced but highly disorganized L.L. Bean Outlet, and the L.L. Bean Hunting and Fishing Store (two subjects I ashamedly know nothing about, even though I grew up in Texas). And if that wasn’t enough, there is also a Linda Bean’s (L.L’s granddaughter) Perfect Maine Lobster Roll kiosk, home to her $16 lobster rolls. Whew – this is truly an L.L. Bean town!
Big Boot"ie"!
But if L.L. Bean isn’t your cup of tea, don’t fret! There are plenty of other shops where they will gladly take your hard earned dollars. Among the factory store goodies I scored during my marathon outlet shop-a-thon: a pair of North Face sneakers ($40), a J Crew blazer ($25) and dress shorts ($25), and Patagonia thermal long johns ($30).
Coco and I picking pumpkins at Wolfe's Neck Farm
Also don’t miss: I spent most of my weekend at the outlets, but did make a quick trip to Wolfe’s Neck Farm, a historic 600 acre farm known for its sustainable agricultural practices (many of Freeport’s restaurants buy their organic beef from the farm). The farm is open to the public during the weekends, and visitors can feed the animals as well as take a pumpkin hayride lead by the effervescent farm hands who seem to be on a permanent high (could be a result of the fresh Maine air).
During my 48 hour trip to Baltimore, I had a very pleasant stay at the Hilton Garden Inn. Therefore, I decided to stay at HGI again in Freeport due to its convenient location (within walking distance of the outlets for quick shopping bag drop-offs), free in room wi-fi (as someone who lives for the digital age and is constantly checking emails, its important for me to have the option to stay connected, even on weekend relaxation retreats), and the friendly service (and the fresh baked cookies at the front desk upon check in). This mid-price HGI isn’t quite as luxurious or full service as its namesake parent Hilton Hotels, but the rooms are still spacious and beds still comfortable (and thankfully sans crazy patterned polyester bedcover that always make me nervous / dizzy).
All and all, a sweet shopping filled weekend surrounded by the beautiful fall foliage!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

you look adorable in your pink jacket- looks like a fun weekend!

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