Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day Trip to Kennebunkport & Mabel's Lobster Claw

Indian summer! The weather is perfect: sunny days, cool nights and no crowds. Today family came up to visit.

We went to Kennebunkport for the day. Kennebunkport is a charming seafaring town known for the Bush's, quaint shops, grand hotels and busy marinas.  Its only a 15 minute drive from Ogunquit (about 10 miles). Kennebunkport is also known for some great restaurants.

One restaurant worth visiting is Mabel's Lobster Claw. "Mabel's" is located on 124 Ocean Ave. You go through the Dock Square and take a right on Ocean Avenue, and its on the left before you get to Walkers Point.
Mabel's is known for Lobsters and Clams, and sits near a busy marina where lobster boats bring their daily catch.
At Mable's we had lobster rolls, clam rolls and shrimp. The lobster roll was perfect: light mayonnaise on a toasted bun overfilled with fresh lobster, with a side of fries and coleslaw.  The coleslaw was delicious because there were no  preservatives or mayonnaise.
Mabel's is just a simple little place with outside dining, inside dining with  wooden booths (which are the same booth's as we have on our breakfast porch!). There are pictures of celebrities on the walls and they make their own blueberry bread!
No visit to Kennebunkport would be complete with out viewing Walkers Point, home of Pres. George HW Bush.  The Bush "cottage" compound sits on a peninsula that is know as Walkers Point. You can't get on to the point, but there are great photo-ops on the side of the road, and there is short term parking.
 Ocean Avenue meanders along the rock Atlantic with craggy coves and twisted trees. The drive on Atlantic Avenue includes: Marinas,  St Ann's Episcopal church, grand hotels and summer "cottages".
The Wedding Cake House is located in the town of Kennebunk. The Gothic mansion is loaded with high Victorian details reminiscent of a wedding cake. The "Kennebunks" have interesting architecture: early colonial, colonial, Federalist, Victorian, and Maine summer cottage. The houses are much more grander than Ogunquit. Ogunquit was a fishing colony, turned artist colony. The Kennebunks were part of the shipping trade years ago, which is reflected in the rich history and architecture of its buildings.
Ogunquit Beach Inn

The Details:
Mables Lobster Claw
124 Ocean Ave
Kennebunkport, ME 04046
207. 967.2562
Full Bar, Outside dining.  Casual Dining. Credit Cards accepted.
Great lobster, good slaw. "Two thumbs up" If you are up visiting Kennebunkport, Mabels Lobster Claw is a must! Reservations Accepted.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

History of Ogunquit Beach Inn

Ogunquit Beach Inn was built sometime in the mid 1920's. The above picture was taken in the winter of 1939. House was built on School Street in the village centre. There are many houses on School street that were built in the craftsman /bungalow style of the early part of the 20th century. The Bracey family built the house for their daughter Gladys Eckman. Gladys was a character. She was a "lively" woman that had big Siberian Huskies. She operated a guesthouse and other properties throughout the village.

The house is an American Foursquare craftsman style with a hipped roof. The American Craftsman Style, or the American Arts and Crafts Movement, is an American domestic architectural style, interior design, and decorative arts style popular from the last years of the 19th century through the early years of the 20th century. The highlights of the style include a basically square, boxy design, two-and-one-half stories high, usually 4 boxy rooms to a floor, a center dormer, and a front porch running along the front of the house. Most of the rooms in the house have hard wood floors and 5 panel cottage style doors with glass knobs.

The house originally had cedar shake shingles. When we bought the house in 1997 there was yellow vinyl siding covering the shakes. We stripped the vinyl and eventually had clapboard replaced with a green earth tone stain. New roof shingles were added with architectural style shingles. The new wing to the house was modernized in 1997. Michael's father, Fred added the two new rooms: Naughty Pine and Lighthouse rooms. These rooms are on the new wing of the house. Off of the Naughty Pine room site a private mahogany terrace with patio furniture. Both rooms have a private entrance, and all modern features.
Gladys Bracy Eckman, during the 1970's. Gladys died in 1996.

Replacement windows were added, and the original hardwood floors were restored. We are constantly fixing repairing and replacing things throughout the house.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Roost Bistro: Something to Crow About!

When my neighbors, Pam & Rich of the Leisure Inn, invited Michael and I out for dinner over Columbus day weekend,  I quickly said "yes". The choice was easy to me. There are so many restaurants in the village. Ogunquit features many fine Zagat rated restaurants.  There is never a reason to drive out of town, but this quaint bistro is well worth the trip....

We went to Roost Cafe and Bistro. This new restaurant,  located in Cape Neddick village (Four miles south of Ogunquit village ) is the latest endeavour of Ogunquit's own Rob Pinkham, and Aldo Vallecillo.

Roost does a lively gourmet breakfast and lunch business. But on weekends, ( Thurs to Saturday nights), Roost offers a delicious dinner menu.

Roost Cafe & Bistro is located in a remodeled carriage house in Cape Neddick village.  Wide pumpkin pine floors are accented with oriental rugs. The artwork and artifacts where collected by Rob and Aldo from their world travels. Aldo worked as flight attendant for Eastern Airlines, and Rob ran a successful restaurant in the Lakes region of New Hampshire. The outside terrace features a charming patio, and potted garden with a fountain. The decor is eclectic country with an antique bar and mix & match tables and chairs. There is a second floor function room; a perfect place for intimate dinning or a private party of 20.

We made advanced reservations and were seated in the second floor known as the "roost". This room featured a coffered vaulted ceiling, charming old window displays and lovely antique furnishings. Our server was the lovely Dina. We started the evening off with an assortment of mix & match starters that are as eclectic as the decor:  crab cakes, eggplant Napoleon, mini mac & Cheese ( with lobster), and the incredible Cuban bean soup ala Aldo. The four of us sampled the appetizers and could not decide what we liked more.

The dinner menu is done weekly and changes with the seasons. The menu features hardy autumn favorites like: Pork Tenderloin,  Beef Stew and Linguini with Clams in a red wine garlic sauce. I chose the Linguini. The sauce was delicious with the right amount of clams, garlic and tomato. I enjoyed this entree, it was tasty and satisfying! At Roost Bistro & Cafe all the senses are pleased: The food is dressed perfectly on the plates, the aromas are satisfying and the music is enjoyable.
Roost Cafe & Bistro is located at 1300 US Route One, Cape Neddick (tel 207.363.0266).  Attire is casual. Reservations are requested. Dinner menu changes weekly. Price points are reasonable; about 20 percent cheaper than Ogunquit village prices. All entrees were under $20.   Roost is a favorite with many of the "locals" and townies as well as tourists of the Ogunquit/York area. The Bistro features a full bar, and bar meister Aldo usually tends bar with a warm personality that reflects the mood of the restaurant.
A big thank you to Pam and Rich for a wonderful evening and thank you to Roost!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A trip to the Ogunquit Museum of American Art...

One of my favorite things to do is to visit Museums. Here in Ogunquit we have the Ogunquit Museum of American Art. Its located on Shore Road after Perkins Cove.

This morning it was raining, so I decided to pay the museum a little visit.

Started by artist Henry Strater, this museum is called the most beautiful small museum in the world.  The permanent collection of 1600 works,  includes artists like American 20th century artists as Edward Hopper, Roy Lichtenstien, Marsden Hartley and Charles Woodbury.

The museum is situated on three acres overlooking a narrow cove with incredible views. On the grounds there are many sculptures, stonewalls and gardens. Its the magnificent views that inspired many artists to paint in Ogunquit. The craggy rocks reach out to the ocean, on the north side of the museum sits picturesque Perkins Cove. The crashing waves against the rocks and the wild north Atlantic sky is the perfect subject matter for 20th century artists. I am always amazed at the incredible colors of the sky, even on a less than perfect beach day.

The current exhibit features a retrospect of Maurice Freedman, Boston painter in the cubist/expressionism genre. Travelled to Europe in the early part of the 20th century, returned to NY, and painted in Maine. He fused together European ideas with unique American subject matter. This piece is my favorite painting from the retrospect. Notice the fauve colors with the cubist elements.
Its called "Bathers Interlude" 1948. The subject matter is a bit whimsical. A day on the beach should be fun! The docents at the museum are helpful and will help visitors dissect the art and give tours.

Picture taken out on the cliffs at the Ogunquit Museum of Art 10/07/2009. Could not get any of the docents to take my picture out on the cliffs......
The Details:
Ogunquit Museum of American Art
543 Shore Road Ogunquit, ME 03907
open daily from May to October 31

Monday, October 5, 2009

October is Italian-American Heritage Month!

As a child, I grew up in Somerville, MA which, is situated next to Boston and Cambridge. With only slightly over 4 square miles (10 km²) of land, Somerville is the most densely populated city in New England. Italians made up a large minority of the population there. My church was St Anthony's. When I growing up, St Anthony's was a "mission" church focused on the Italian Americans. Masses were in English as well as Italian. Many houses had grape vines, bocce courts and statues of various saints that adorned the small postage stamp size yards. Neighbors would meet at the Dante Club, and Italian-American social club across the street from my Aunt Santa and uncle Joe's house. As an adult I also lived in  other Italian neighborhoods too; East Boston and the fabled North End.
Being of Italian heritage, I always loved the culture and enjoyed the food. When I moved to Maine 13 years ago, I found it a challenge to find good Italian food and groceries. In the mid 1990's at the local Hannaford's Supermarket, the Italian food section was in the "ethnic" aisle next to the "LaChoy" food and "Old El Paso" taco sauce. Italian Restaurants were few and far between. There are not a large number of Italians in Maine, there are small pockets in Portland and Rockland Maine.
However now there are some decent Italian restaurants in Ogunquit: Angelina's   Roberto's and Caffe Prego. Caffe Prego is great! It is at the end of my street and features incredible pastries, coffee and brick oven pizza. This is close as you will get to the North End of Boston or Rome for that matter. Its nice to sit on  Caffe Prego's "piazza" and watch Shore Road and ocean. The coffee is authentic, the music is jazz or opera and the food is "delezioso". The European staff is cute and helpful. I think this has been a nice additon for Ogunquit! Roberto's is Ogunquit's oldest Italian restaurant with handcrafted food. Roberto's always is pleasing!

I am named after my grandfather, Gregory Mario, ( pictured to the left). My father wanted to name me Gennaro Mario, but when I was born, my mother refused!
Here I am, ready to go to church.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies,....OBI style.

One of my earliest memories of fall was the smell of my mother baking cookies. Summer we had peanutbutter cookies,  oatmeal  cookies in the fall, and  sugar cookies around christmas time.
Every Saturday from May to the end of October, I make cookies for guests. Over the years, I have developed this recipe. Hope you like it:

2  sticks of unsalted butter
1  cup of brown sugar, packed
1  cup of white sugar
2  eggs
3  teaspoons of vanilla
3  cups of sifted flour
2.5 Cups of quick oatmeal
2 Tablespoons of peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 Cups of choclate semi-sweet morsels

optional: 1 teaspoon cinanmon,  M and M's

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Add sifted flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and mix well. Add oats and mix. Add chocolate morsels and blend. Drop by tablespoon on cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes ~ and then enjoy!
Baked on 10/03/2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

Running on Ogunquit Beach....

I run virtually everyday. I am real lucky that I am in Ogunquit. The beach is a barrier peninsula. Its a long spit of land the is over 5 miles from the "loop" to Moody point and back. The beach is owned and maintained by the town of Ogunquit. It has pristine white sands, and a dramatic tidal flows. The hard packed sand makes it ideal for running!
Its actually quite interesting to run on the beach. You'll never know what you'll see......

There are always tourists, beachcombers, but last week there was a Minke whale that washed up!

Yesterday there was a small shark that was washed up. Today, I noticed that the shark's carcass was virtually gone, with the skeletal remains left. The seagulls had a feast!

There are always birds along the beach: flocks of seagulls, terns, and the federally protected plovers.

Many days I run solo, but I do enjoy running with my buddy Mark. I tend to run faster when I have a running companion.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October 1st....

Today is October 1st 2009, and autumn is here! My morning run was a bit later. It was a nippy 39 degrees at 7.30 am. Cold enough to run with gloves, but warm enough to wear shorts. Not quite cold enough for a frost. I am sure that a "Mr" Frost is on "his" way back to Maine!

The summer season is short. Sunflowers barely had enough time to pop open, and it seems that the flowers are already tired and wilted.

Today's guests are enjoying the "New England" style autumn: touring, walking the Marginal Way, and visiting Kennebunkport...

Ogunquit Beach Inn