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What I Ate on My Summer Vacation

By Judith Hausman, Urban Farm Contributing Editor

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lobster boil, corn and steamers

Photo by Judith Hausman

My lobster boil in Maine, served with corn and steamers

This summer I traipsed through New England, where I’ve spent quite a number of summer vacations.

First stop: Belgrade Lakes, Maine

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Photo by Judith Hausman

A blueberry pie from Mary Bean's in Belgrade, Maine

  • Golden chanterelles on the first hike, despite dry weather. I’d never eat one I was even slightly unsure of, but Don Bean, the chef at Tacconet on Great Pond, still prefers I cook them myself in his kitchen — just enough for a bite of mushroom, eggs and butter for everyone.
  • Mary Bean’s blueberry pie is dynamite; thick homemade crusts sprinkled with crystal sugar and packed with Maine blueberries.
  • The best lobster boil maybe I’ve ever had: sweet lobsters, well-grown into their shells, clean; tender steamers from the nearby coast; and corn right from a local farm. Dessert was berries soaked into sweet soft biscuits and topped with real whipped cream.
  • Food souvenir scores: Moody Blue farmstead cow’s milk cheese at Echo Ridge in Mt. Vernon and clear, local honey at Winterberry Farm in Belgrade.

Next stop: Kittery Point, Maine

(on the New Hampshire border)

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Photo by Judith Hausman

A sheep from Allen's Farm

  • More lobster and more steamers at Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier, a can’t-miss jewel. Piles of steamers, onion rings and corn, and small, hard-shelled lobsters served on paper trays. The restaurant floats on a barge tied up in the creek, and it’s not only BYOB, it’s BYO tablecloths, candles, hors d’oeuvres and wine glasses. They make mean chowder, too.

East to Cape Cod

  • What kind of oysters are these? “Regular ones,” said our busy young waitress. “They’re from Chatham … I think.” And this is in Woods Hole, home to the Marine Biology Lab and the Oceanographic Institute.
  • I did find some famous Wellfleet beauties the next night and a Nobska Light local beer.  (That’s the local lighthouse, too.) Keeping the giant peppermint stick ice cream cone from melting onto my lap distracted me from sunset on the beach.
  • The cloud-light popovers at Pie in the Sky Bakery made a wonderful breakfast. Good thing we had plenty of ocean swims and bike rides to work it all off.

Ferry to Martha’s Vineyard

Photo by Judith Hausman

View from my fish tacos

  • The island has been ahead of the curve in supporting land preservation, local farms and seafood. At State Road, I ate seared cod with clams in a light fennel cream — all local products. The striped bass balanced on red and yellow tomatoes, corn and celery. Jonah crab salad was piled with diced beets and tender greens. I stuck bits of lemon balm and rosemary into my buttonholes in the restaurant’s surrounding herb garden.
  • The breathtaking view from Gay Head’s clay cliffs was fog-bound, but the mist cleared as we ate a bass sandwich and fried fish tacos at The Aquinnah, a luncheonette that literally hangs out over the cliffs. One more drippy ice cream at Menemsha Harbor and a stop at Allen’s Farm for more souvenirs: local wool and lamb.
  • There were homecooked feasts, too: bluefish grilled on top of fennel fronds, more corn, giant salads, quinoa with summer squash and tomatoes and garden herbs, finished with a Black Dog Bakery blueberry pie.
  • A last melancholy stop for a smoked bluefish to take home and a sunset ferry ride back to the grindstone.

Autumn’s turning leaves may be the most famous attraction of New England, but in the summer, it’s a locavore heaven as well.


 

        Give us your opinion on What I Ate on My Summer Vacation.
        Submit Comment »
        Don't you just love New England, Janine? Sorry to be so long getting back to you.
        Judy, South Salem, NY
        Posted: 9/17/2010 10:51:36 AM
        This may be your best blog yet. These places are all frequent childhood vacation spots, makes me very nostalgic.
        Black Dog blueberry pie! What I wouldn't do...
        Janine, St. Louis, MO
        Posted: 9/3/2010 8:51:26 AM

        About the Blogger

        Judith Hausman

        Judith Hausman
        As a long-time freelance food writer, Judith Hausman has written about every aspect of food, but local producers and artisanal traditions remain closest to her heart. Eating close to home takes this seasonal eater through a journey of delights and dilemmas, one tiny deck garden, farmers’ market discovery and easy-as-pie recipe at a time. She writes from a still-bucolic but ever-more-suburban town in the New York City 'burbs.

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