May is a beautiful time in Maine to make the first trip to the coast. The weather is warm and sunny, all the non-bare-survival stores open again for the season, restocked with new items, nature is in sweet green, yellow and white bloom, and yet the tourists have not arrived and will not until Memorial weekend. I headed to Belfast to carouse in some of my favorite stores and restaurants: Chase’s Daily with its James Beard Foundation nominated vegetarian dishes, fresh from their own garden, the Belfast Coop, where I finally located the Smokey Tempeh Bacon, and a beautiful kitchen store (among other things). The tarts at Chase’s Daily looked and smelled extra good today.
Next stop was Castine, a quaint harbor village that was found in 1637, and is home to the Maine Maritime Academy which keeps the town busy in the winter. Once the students leave for the summer the rich people move into their ocean-side summer houses with a landing for their sail boats. I often come to Castine to sit at the ocean and take home some mussels that I plugged myself from the stones on the beach. This time I only found a handful, but appropriate, I guess, once you are vegan.
One of the characteristics of coastal Maine are also the many road-side antique and flea markets, great to rummage and find out about anything, probably rusty. Old bath tubs with claw feet, lamps, lobster buoys, records, paddles, and and and…
My final stop was Ellsworth with the ever well-stocked kitchen emporium Rooster Brothers and their selection of high end foodie items, and finally a dinner a the lovely Cleonice, where I had, appropriate for the season and local, a fiddlehead salad tapas. Headed home in the evening sun, with a first taste of the summer to come. Can’t wait.