Melancholy, begone! A guide to surviving the offseason
Melancholy. That's a word that comes to mind this time of year.
Flip flops are being put away and wool socks and boots are coming out. Nights are getting too chilly to sit on a deck with a cold beer. Cookouts and lobster bakes are fading to memory. Everything is slowing down.
Some area restaurants are closed, or gearing up to close for the long, cold winter months and we locals are already dreaming of spring.
Lucky for us, some of our favorite haunts will remain open to carry us through the cold, dark days ahead and help sustain us until spring.
Following is a list of some area restaurants that will remain open.
Baker's Way: A small family run place on Townsend Avenue for locals to get a hot cup of coffee and freshly made donut or breakfast sandwich on a snowy morning. Come back for an authentic Vietnamese lunch made fresh from scratch on the spot by a local Vietnamese family.
The portions are large and the food is aromatic and satisfying. Try the fresh spring rolls and chicken satay. And the hot chili sauce will ward off the chill.
China by the Sea: Just across the street from Baker's Way is another ethnic restaurant run by a Chinese family. A favorite among locals, the food is plentiful and affordable. Unwanted ingredients like salt, cornstarch and MSG can be eliminated upon request.
A great place for a hot lunch on a cold day.
The Thistle Inn: The Thistle has long been a favorite among locals. Years ago you'd find the bar lined with fishermen, bankers, newspaper editors, teachers, ministers — people from all walks of life.
A specialty was the inn’s version of surf and turf: a filet of beef smothered in lobster meat, sauteed in butter. Nowadays the easy-going atmosphere is much the same and locals still line up at the bar, especially in the winter. But the dining is more upscale (though still delectable), and attracts as many visitors as locals.
McSeagull's: One of the most popular spots in the harbor during the summer, it's also a go-to place for locals and visitors during the winter months.
The menu is extensive, providing something for a wide range of tastes, the food is consistently good, and the atmosphere is genial. Sitting on a wharf right over the harbor, you'll feel snug and smug while a snowstorm rages around you.
Ebb Tide: This place is a landmark in the harbor. A small, casual diner, it is a gathering place for locals to enjoy good, comforting home cooked food and catch up on the local gossip.
You can't go wrong with this place. Watch out, though; if you go too often you'll become part of the Ebb Tide family. One regular recently ordered her breakfast: Adam & Eve on a raft with bangers — and the waiter heard “two eggs over-easy on toast with sausage links.”
Red Cup Coffeehouse: One of our area's newer additions, the Red Cup is a destination for specialty coffees, espressos, cappuccinos and delectable pastries. The bagels rival any in Brooklyn.
A hip coffee house, The Red Cup has become a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike to relax and enjoy a latte and fresh baked scone with friends at a cafe table or on the comfortable couch.
They close during January and February, but we’ll take what we can get!
Robinson's Wharf: On Southport Island, just over the bridge, is another hot spot for anyone looking for some fresh local seafood.
Robinson's is a working waterfront restaurant that can be reached by car or boat. You can enjoy a great meal while watching lobster boats come up to the dock with their daily catch. Robinson's will close for 3-4 weeks in February or March, but will be otherwise open to brighten our days through the cold, dark winter months.
Boothbay Harbor House of Pizza: Serving pizza, including a Greek one overloaded with creamy, salty feta cheese and black olives, and hot sandwiches with with crispy rolls, this restaurant caters to the winter crowd.
Try the hand-tossed thin crust pizza or a spinach and cheese stromboli.
Bridge Street Cafe: A quaint little place on the slope heading down to the footbridge, this cafe is known for its good old-fashioned home cooking.
The food is good and comforting, service is efficient and friendly, and the morning sun shining in is a big plus on an icy winter morning.
Watershed Tavern: A cozy, inviting place to enjoy a wood-fired flatbread pizza or fresh calamari and one of their own handcrafted beers while sitting by a big warm fire in the fireplace.
Take a tour of their beer craft brewery, then grab a seat at the bar and enjoy a beer and one of the tavern-style sandwiches.
Mama D's: With its casual, friendly atmosphere, this cafe offers several different coffees and teas and homemade breads, coffee cakes and Belgian waffles.
Sitting at the “head of the harbor” it is a casual, homey space with friendly service and delicious food. The panini sandwiches are exceptional. Take a walk some snowy morning and stop in for some hot waffles. Your dog is welcome, too!
Mr. C's: Bubba Burger anyone? Home of the infamous Bubba Burger, Mr. C's aims to please with this enormous local favorite. With an inviting, down-home feel, the combination of atmosphere, good home cooking and generous portions, this is a must-go-to in Boothbay Harbor.
Rose's Cafe: (formerly A Place Like Home) Right in town, across from the post office, Rose's offers a relaxing, peaceful place to relax over breakfast or lunch. Serving breakfast till noon, and soups, salads and sandwiches all day. Need a bag lunch? Get one made to order. Friendly and accommodating, it truly is a place like home.
Trevett Country Store: A little drive out of town, but a nice one, this general store doubles as a small restaurant serving lobster and crab rolls with generous portions of lobster and crab, fresh fried seafood and homemade pies. It sits over the water next to the Barter's Island Bridge, making for peaceful, lovely views in any season. A lobster pound, post office and small country store all together, this is Maine at its best.
Along with these, there are a bunch of little convenience shops and stores to grab a quick bite, like T&D Variety, East Boothbay General Store, Clipper Mart, Circle K, Hometown Convenience and others. (If we missed any sit-down restaurants that will be open through the winter, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
So don't waste the winter sitting around feeling melancholy.
When the time comes, go for a walk in sparkling, newly fallen snow with your dog; curl up on the couch with a good book and thumb your nose at the icicles outside the window; cook up a big pot of hot, spicy chili; or put on your boots and down parka and head to one of these local spots for a hot meal and some good gossip.
Cheer up. Before you know it we’ll be complaining about the heat and humidity again.