Why do well-heeled foodies flock to Maine in the summer like Canada geese on the wing? What is it about that laid back state that attracts gourmands in the summer months when you can’t swim in the freezing water and the beaches are rocky and scenic rather than sandy and warm?
There’s something ripe and very American about a Maine summer: lighthouses, fresh blueberry pie, lemonade on the verandah and L.L. Bean Oxfords. You can get all of the above (minus the Oxfords which you must bring yourself) at the Inn by the Sea, a 20 minute drive from Portland at Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
The Inn (one of Travel and Leisure’s top 500 World’s Best Hotels, 2011) is the type of luxury hotel Americans do best: relaxed, informal and friendly. It’s the kind of place where you’d imagine Ina Garten would feel right at home, cooking up a garden party for her famous friends. This summer the Inn has been featuring the cuisine of its young Argentine chef, Mitchell Kaldrovich at a series of its own garden dinners which are bookable until the end of August.
The dinners highlight Kaldrovitch’s obsession with local foods, including lobsters caught within walking distance, fiddle heads (we love fiddleheads), mushrooms, local greens and of course, blueberries. All are served with seasonal sangrias on the Inn’s wide back lawn fronting Crescent Beach.
Culinary cognoscenti hungry for more can book the hotel’s “Taste of Maine” two night special, which includes a foodie walking tour of Portland with a stop over at our favorite Portland culinary emporium, Vervacious where amazing savories like espresso balsamic vinegar come dressed in pretty stackable glass bottles. The Inn also does sloop excursions with picnic lunches and wine as well as a trip out on the Bay with a local lobsterman who will show hardcore crustaceophiles how to trap the true Maine lobstah.