Rockland towards Ellsworth | Blue Hill Peninsula | Onward Eastward | Bangor towards Ellsworth | MDI

OHWOW.BIZ: Ellsworth Area

ELLSWORTH  is Hancock County's Shiretown and, curiously, the nation's second largest city, taking a back seat only to Los Angeles. We're talking about square miles here, not population even at the height of tourist season. We're thinking that whoever staked out Ellsworth had serious delusions of grandeur. What evolved is a bit more humble, but a whole lot nicer than any big city. Especially Los Angeles.

There was a time when we regarded Ellsworth as a rather disagreeable place that made people slow down on the way to Bar Harbor. We have come to think differently. Ellsworth is a remarkably nice community with several noteworthy amenities. Included are a state-of-the art YMCA, a nice library, a theatre with frequent live presentations, a prize-winning (and quite haughty) weekly newspaper, modern cinemas, a classical music station, and, just down the road, a great alternative community radio station. Ellsworth has a full slate of fast-food restaurants and a Super Walmart. There are eight public golf courses requiring no tee times within a half hour's drive. Good God I sound like the Chamber of Commerce.

Census data shows that during the 1990s Ellsworth was Maine's fastest growing city. Why Ellsworth grew almost 20 percent while the rest of the state limped along at four or five percent is
something of a mystery. Ellsworth has no big industrial employer. There is no college or university, and the local high school was judged to be among Maine's ten worst. There is no nearby interstate highway, major airport, commercial port, or big shopping mall. There are no astounding natural features. Taxes are quite high. Ellsworth can accurately be described as the gateway to Downeast Maine, but how many people dream of living in a gateway?

In recent years, Ellsworth has engaged in a bit of civic beautification, installing some greenery and decorative street lights. The City Manager suggested that these could account for people wanting to live here. Maybe, but we  remain skeptical.

At the BIG CHICKEN BARN  there are some hundred thousand old books and 21,000 magazines—the largest assortment in all of New England. Downstairs, 34 dealers provide a vast assortment of antiques and collectibles.

Talk about nice—at COUNTRY CRAFTS  Maudine Cunningham sells unique Maine crafts on consignment without taking a cut for herself. Her idea is to create good word-of-mouth and to help the crafters, many of whom are elderly folks on limited fixed incomes. The result is great Maine-made crafts at heretofore unheard-of attractive prices.

HAFFAS FARM  began life as Halfass Farm, a name rejected by Ellsworth city fathers as too raunchy to adorn a local roadside sign. To owner Claire Wallace, it was just a play on words; seems that half of her animals are donkeys. That and the fact that the farm is a part-time thing; its operation, she admits, can be a bit halfass. Being an unusually good-natured and accommodating person, however, Claire changed the name. Visitors are welcome to stop by to see her friendly critters.

is no ordinary gym. It's a coaching facility— members come in only during scheduled sessions when  coaches are running classes.  This is not a place where machines are kept— it is a place where trained professionals turn bodies and minds into highly functional and efficient machines.  When you visit Cross Fit Acadia, there is always a certified trainer at your disposal. He or she will teach you physical skills and nutritional habits leading to a lifetime of fitness.

PYRO CITY is a Maine-owned business serving all your fireworks needs. Launch your own dazzling pyrotechnics show with a full line of Zenith Shells, Fountains, Multi Effects, Roman Candles, Smoke Items, Firecrackers and more. Owner Steve Marson has been in the professional fireworks display business for many years and can advise you on a safe and memorable experience.

When all is said and done, FOREST RIDGE CAMPGROUND has the area's lowest rates. "More Bang for your Buck," as the manager puts it. At Forest Ridge, you don't pay extra for electricity, Cable TV, or a sewer connection. There are none of those extra, annoying "Resort" fees! Here the Sites are large, the Nights are quiet, the People are friendly, the Lobster is fresh, and Downtown Ellsworth is only a mile away.

is the distribution center for medical marijuana.   Sorry, no free samples; to get some, you need a script from a legitimate physician.

If you’re at all interested in the history of popular  technology, you’ll want to visit THE TELEPHONE MUSEUM. Situated in a big gray barn on the Winkumpaugh Road, the museum traces the history of the telephone  network from Alexander Graham Bell’s patent in 1876 through the era of switchboard operators and early dial telephones to the more complex electro-mechanical switching systems that preceded today’s digital technology. Exhibits are hands-on—everybody (including kids) are encouraged to operate the old equipment. The people operating the museum have had life-long associations with telephone companies, and are crammed with fascinating information (like how Bell may not really be the telephone’s inventor!). The museum, open July, August, and September, charges admission.

In 2012, the BRANCH LAKE PUBLIC FOREST added a new trail, more than doubling its hiking trail network.  The new 2.6-mile trail branches from the original one about a half mile from the gravel parking lot at the trail system’s entrance. It snakes north through wet woods across a small stream toward the lake’s edge, then loops around to send hikers back toward the first trail.

If you're fascinated by unusual automobiles, check out MOTO-CAR. Terrence Pinkham keeps on hand 40 or 50 special-interest cars, ranging form antiques to new limited-production models.

DORR LOBSTER & CRAB TAKE-OUT, based in Milbridge, is a well-established family business devoted to delivering the freshest product possible. The Dorrs handle most everything themselves; they catch the lobsters, pack them, and ship them out all over the world. There is just no way to get lobster any fresher.

There is nothing humble about FUDDRUCKERS. The people there insist they serve the World's Best Hamburgers! It's possible they do. The beef is cooked fresh, never frozen, and buns are baked fresh every day. A toppings bar features every condiment imaginable and fresh produce, allowing customers to build their own Mega-Burgers! This is the only Fuddruckers north of Boston.

The AGASSIZ HISTORICAL OUTCROP is where in 1864 professor Louis Agassiz of Harvard College shook up the fundamentalist religious community by concluding that scratches on the smooth rock surface were caused by glaciation, not the Biblical flood of Noah's time. It wouldn't be totally preposterous to say that this is the spot at which mankind entered into the modern age. This outcrop is in the National Register of Historical Sites

Got a good appetite? We mean a really good appetite, an appetite that people sitting around campfires a hundred years from now will expound upon. If you do you might want to try the Hibernator at SYLVIA'S CAFE.  This monster entree begins with a stack of buttermilk pancakes topped with a scrambler and accompanied by corned beef hash, two eggs, sides of bacon, sausage, and ham, and, of yeah, toast. It costs $30, but if you can eat it all in an hour, it's yours free.The indigestion, of course, is yours as well.

The YMCA is named for the late James Russell Wiggins, publisher of the Ellsworth American and wannabe poet. Wiggins was once managing editor of the Washington Post and ambassador to the U.N. under Lyndon Johnson. He had a seaside home in Brooklin, Maine, at which avid sailor Walter Cronkrite was a frequent visitor.

Joe and Anne Paradise both do the wonderful bird carvings found at RAVENSWOOD.

Tom Murphy of TOM'S TERRIFIC TATTTOS calls himself a body art aficionado. In business for more than 20 years, he was Downeast Maine's original Tattoo Master. Tom's skills range from applying traditional designs to drawing custom sculpted lines using the finest in tools and inks guided by his experienced hand. He has seen his art evolve from a badge of grungy outlaw culture to a highly respectible means of personal communication.

is carrying on with locally-owned businesses in the face of all the major franchises and big box stores on High Street south of Main. Several fill specialized niches such as Mexican, or Irish cuisine or Mediterranean cuisine and natural foods.

At SMOOTH SAILING THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE, Eric specializes in what he calls the Working People's massage, a combination of Swedish and Sports massage, augmented with instruction in Oriental Medicine, Theraputic Massage, Trigger Point, Deep Tissue, Hot Stone, and Reiki. Eric is certified in both Reiki I and II.

FLEXIT may sound like a body-building program, but actually it's a popular restaurant in downtown Ellsworth. The name stems from the term "flexitarian," which refers to someone wh eats vegetarian part of the time, but meat at other times. A flexitarian is  said to be somebody who understands the health benefits of occasionally focusing on fruits and vegetables. In tune with this, the Flexit Cafe and Bakery provides diners several options, including comfort food like macaroni and cheese and real fruit smoothies.

Besides good, homemade ice cream, MORTON MOOS offers hot chocolates from around the world. There is Belgium's Callebaut, Switzerland's Neuchatel, an American blend of five cocoas, Mexico Cacao, which contains chipotle and cayenne, and Mortons' Special Sipping Chocolate made from condensed Belgium cocoa. TripAdvisor gave Morton Moos its Number-One-Restaurant- in-Ellsworth rating.

The SURRY GIRLS GIFT SHOP is the only Yankee Candle dealer in area. The girls stock unique gifts to make your house a home. Gone for several years, they say they love coming home. Check out their humorous signs.

The GRAND AUDITORIUM  provides the Downeast region with a wide range of theatrical services - everything from live productions and classic films to special programs for children. The local Gilbert and Sullivan Society performs here. Call 207-667-9500.

THE ROCK & ART SHOP does a nice job of combining rocks and minerals and highly creative art. Here is perhaps the finest collection of rocks, minerals, fossils, art, jewelry and natural history objects in Maine. Out back is a well-tended Nature Trail at the end of which is a fascinating Zen Garden.

Among other things, locals flock to the RIVERSIDE CAFE for the golden strawberry & cream waffles. At the Riverside, breakfast is served all day long and there is revolving weekend entertainment. The French fries here are among Maine's best, as is the clam chowder.

FINN'S IRISH PUBLIC HOUSE claims it has  has the town's best beers on tap, brews perfect for downing this pub's great burgers, fish and chips, fresh oysters on the half shell, inventive fresh salads, and other delicious fare. The owners invite people to  experience what they call "the ultimate comfort foods," their meatloaf entree or homemade macaroni and cheese. Lorena is famous for her Guinness chocolate cake and other scrumptious desserts.  Finn’s has a full bar, lots of seating for small and large parties, and friendly servers. It’a local favorite.

THE CELLAR is a casual, fine dining restaurant specializing in distinguished wines and great cheeses. The chef uses all local and fresh ingredients, and takes pride in preparing a little something for everyone.

The UNION RIVER BOOK & TOY CO. stocks more than 5,000 children's books.

ROBIN'S ROMANTIC SUPERMART is the place to shop for naughty apparel. On hand also are adult novelties and movies,  sexy lingerie, and smoking accessories.

This venerable market, MIKE'S COUNTRY STORE, has been open at the same location more-or-less continuously for over 120 years, a record in these and most other parts. This the place to get penny candy and fabulous pizza.

If you'd like some chuckles with your vittles, you might try 86 THIS! The menu includes such items as Minor Threat, Blat, Mountain Goat, Beet Knick, and Yam I am.  (Besides cracking jokes, the people here make great sandwiches.)

PYRAMID STUDIOS stocks Maine's most diverse selection of gemstone and pearl jewelry.

The CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH  on State St. is a handsome example of early New England church architecture. Check out the Scandinavian motif on the nearby city hall. Across the street, the Tilsdale house, a classic Federal-style home built in 1817, has been converted into a modern public library.

A Down East magazine "Best in Maine" issue describes ROOSTER BROTHER as "two stories packed full of well-edited kitchen gear and ingredients (that) lure in serious cooks from miles around." The soft pretzels they make here are based are based on an old traditional recipe that shop owner George Elias spent years perfecting.

he COL. BLACK MANSION (1824-1828), also called Woodlawn, is a three story, brick Federal country house with a columned portico and balustrades that was built as a combination home and office by John Black, a young land agent from England. It took three years to build, as the bricks came by sea from Philadelphia and the skilled workmen from Boston. Three generations of the Black family lived in this house, and it remained virtually unchanged throughout their ownership. The estate, with all the original rich furnishings, decorative objects, and historical artifacts, was bequeathed to the public by the grandson of John Black in 1928 and has since been administered by the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations. Located at the rear of the house are a restored country garden and a carriage house filled with interesting old carriages and sleighs.8 It is open June 1 - Oct. 15, Monday-Saturday, 10-5. Admission.

This trek on Route 172, the Surry Road, continues into the Blue Hill Peninsula.

The DOWNEAST SUNRISE TRAIL runs eastward for 85 miles along what was once a busy railroad bed. The tracks have been removed and the trail offers hikers, bikers and ATV enthusiasts a beautiful, nearly flat corridor  running along the coast, providing spectacular ocean views.

Although we've never actually known anybody who thought, "Gee, wouldn't it be great to be able to get on a train and go from Ellsworth to Ellsworth Falls,"  this has, nevertheless, become a possibility, thanks to a non-profit organization called the Downeast Rail Heritage Preservation Trust. The good folks here are making it possible to ride the rails in a restored vintage rail coach pulled by a vintage diesel electric engine. Tickets are $12 for adults ($17 if you want the privledge of riding in the caboose), less for kids. The DOWNEAST SCENIC RAILROAD does trips on Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays until Columbus Day.

ATLANTIC ART GLASS at 25 Pine Street in Ellsworth is one of the coolest places we’ve been to for authentic art glass. Their glass blowing operation is open to the public to stop by and view. Ken and Linda  the owners are right out straight producing some of the most beautiful and colorful glassware to be found around the Downeast area. They may not have much time to talk , but  encourage folks to stop by and shop for a one of a kind creation.

S ELLSWORTH OUTLET  offers returns and seconds at reduced prices as well as first-quality merchandise. A Maine institution, L.L. Bean's has an incredibly generous return policy. If you bought an item there, you can return it—no limitations on length of time you've had it or how you've mistreated it.  Such a policy invites abuse, but the brains behind Bean's feel the good will it engenders justifies its cost. (Nationally, factory outlets move around $6 billion worth of merchandise each year. New England has more outlets than any other region of the country.)

TripAdvisor has rated MARTHA'S DINER  the Number One Restaurant in Ellsworth. All of the desserts are made from scratch, including its famous  spinach pie. We especially like the ham and eggs. The ham is a real ham steak, not the practically transparent stuff you get most places. The wheat toast is homemade.

The folks at COZY CAR FARM GIFTS FOR EWE in the Maine Çoast Mall specialize in Maine-made and New England-made products as well as hand spun, hand knit items from their own sheep. Also featured is jewelry by Zagel Arts and other Maine crafters along with gourmet popcorn and salsa.

THE UPS STORE At 216 High Street is the place to go for all your mailing and shipping needs. Besides shipping, you can receive faxes, and packages. They have both black and white and color copy machines as well as a notary service. Wondering how to get stuff back home? Bring it here. They'll pack it and ship it and save you the hassle.

ELLSWORTH TENNIS CENTER  offers a whole lot more than the name implies. Besides tennis, there are racketball and wallyball courts, a complete fitness center, a big children's play area, a juice/espresso bar, and much more.

At FIRST IMPRESSIONS HAIR STUDIO you can get your hair cut at 5 a.m.
Peter, a good barber and staunch Libertarian, is Downeast Maine's premier alternative money source. Ask him to show you  North America's newest currency, the beautiful "Amero” or the latest issue of the decade old “Liberty Dollar.”

The recently renovated WHITE BIRCHES MOTEL on Route One in Hancock provides the most attractive rates in the Ellsworth area. This doesn't mean they scrimp on amenities. WIFI and children are free and pets are welcome. The two-room honeymoon suite features a king-size bed, living room, and Jacuzzi tub. The cable TVs provide premium channels and local phone calls are free. There are senior, auto club, and extended stay discounts, and there are smoking rooms.

If cars excite you, check out the possibilities at EAST COAST PERFORMANCE on the Douglas Highway. Here you'll find all the add-on accessories to make your car or truck something really special.

Not far from Lamoine Beach is the CHOCOLATE CHIP BED & BREAKFAST, a really pleasant place to stay. The first thing we noticed was all the books. They were everywhere, hundreds and hundreds of books, books on shelves, on tables, in baskets—books for every sort of reader. Visitors are encouraged to take a book into the sunlit library or out onto a wraparound porch. Everybody seems to agree that a perfect accompaniment for a good book is one of Susan Hann's hot, fresh muffins.

LAMOINE STATE PARK, a 55-acre preserve on Eastern Bay, offers a generous assortment of pleasant campsites, including several overlooking the water. There's a boat launch, a pier for fishing, grassy fields, and picnic tables providing a view of Mount Desert Island.

Although YU TAKEOUT specializes in unique-to-the-area Korean dishes, you can also get burgers, hotdogs, fried clams, and other Maine seafood delicacies. Where hostess Son
ye Carroll really shines, however is in her Korean-style Buffalo wings, her signature egg rolls, wontons, teniyaki beef and chicken, wonton and Korean noodle soup, lo mein, sweet potato noodle, fried rice, and Korean hot and sweet and sour pork and chicken. MENU.

Just down the road, you'll come to the spot where RAY MURPHY, the world's foremost chainsaw sculptor, holds court. Murphy is an immensely talented artist, creating magnificent beasts from raw blocks of wood with his trusty chainsaw. He bills himself as the WILD MOUNTAIN MAN, but beneath his rough exterior lies the heart of a poet. He got his start back in his lumberjack days when he impulsively carved a bathtub from a fallen log, much to the merriment of his fellow loggers. They aren't laughing any longer. Ray went on to become famous, taking his art all over the country, racking up well over a million miles on his big bus. He has held crowds spellbound by carving people's initials on wooden belt buckles--while they were wearing them. Robert Ripley featured Ray in his syndicated column after a chainsaw-banishing Ray carved the entire alphabet onto a common lead pencil.

We like getting breakfast at the TIDEWAY MARKET. Our favorite is their biscuits and sausage gravey, but there are several additional tempting offerings. For lunch, Scott's Steak Bomb is always good. Other favorites include homemade Italian sandwiches, wraps, salads, and a variety of warm grab 'n' go treats. There's also made-from-scratch pizza and their famous fried chicken tenders.  Between bites you can check your e-mail with their free WIFI.

At GRANT MASONRY, Danny Grant specializes in stone fireplaces and chimneys. Danny says he prefers working for "normal folks," not the ultra-rich, even when this means way less money. Danny also has a bustling Christmas tree business.

displays one of the few remaining galamanders, large-wheeled carts once used for transporting huge slabs of granite.

SHALON ORCHARD WINERY, one of two East Coast certified organic wineries, specializes in organic fruit—apples, blueberries, cherries and raspberries. From these they make fine wines they sell  wholesale or retail from the farm. Unlike many sweet fruit wines, Shalon's tend to be dry dinner wines.

HOMETOWN FUEL on the Eastbrook Road sells heating oil, diesel, and kerosene both residentially and commercially. Its pricing is very competitive. A family-owned business since 1944, Hometown Fuel offers senior discounts, participates in the LIHEAP Program and the Citizens Energy/CITGGO Program. This is a company you can cozy up to. Call 207/565-2746.

  At TREESTUMP LEATHER AND GUNS, 443 Cave Hill Road (Rte 200), Waltham, Chris Kravitt has earned a national reputation for making fine leather knife sheaths and gun holsters. He has made sheaths for some of the country's top knifemakers. Shop here for a nice selection of custom- or factory-made knives or a wide variety of interesting firearms.

Keith Herkotz says he loves to make pots. The pots he makes show his love. You can see them at DOWN TO EARTH POTTERY shops in Blue Hill and Franklin. His fine stoneware pottery is all hand-shaped on the wheel or freeform and fired at 2300 degrees. All pieces are oven/microwave and dishwasher safe, as well as lead-free.

It's on a road that's off a road that's off the beaten track, but the trek to FIERY MOUNTAIN GALLERY is worth the effort. Featured is custom metal sculpture, block prints, and wood and iron furniture fashioned by Jeffrey Gagne. You'll especially enjoy his outdoor sculpture garden.

Keep going on Rte. 200 and you'll come to SPRING WOODS GALLERY, Paul and Ann Breeden's place. There are oils, acrylics, and watercolors by the Breedens and a nice assortment of native American pottery, jewelry and instruments. If you're into greenery, don't miss their Willowbrook Garden.

Ounce for ounce, sea vegetables are higher in vitamins and minerals than any other class of foods, according to the folks at MAINE SEA COAST VEGETABLES  in Franklin. They offer four varieties -- alaria, dulse, kelp and laver, all of which are hand-harvested, sun-dried, and packaged without further processing. The idea may seem a bit strange to some of us, but people all over the world have been ingesting seaweeds for centuries. Evidently, they have reaped great nutritional benefits in a highly enjoyable fashion. Maine Coast Sea Vegetable's products can be found in many Downeast stores. Call 207-565-2907.

The BLACKWOODS SCENIC BYWAY, Route 182 connecting Franklin and Cherryfield, comprises more than 15,000 acres of Maine Public lands with scenic lakes, wi
lderness trails, and wild blueberry barrens. Visitors can hike to abandoned mines, kayak on pristine lakes, and hunt and fish in the Maine woods. Route 182 winds through some lovely woods and by several appealing ponds including Tunk Lake before reaching a picturesque picnic area. On Rte182 look for the Dynamite Brook Road, the Caribou Loop Connection Trailhead, Tunk Mtn./Hiddden Ponds, Spring River Lake Day Use Area, and Tunk Stream Campsite.

If you stay on ROUTE 182, you just might come across Catherine. She is easy to recognize; she has no head. Legend has it that if you don't offer her a ride, you'll soon die. There are several verp[sions of the tale, but most agree that she usually appears on foggy nights in a flowing dress, most often around Catherine's Hill or Fox Pond. Hundreds of people have reported seeing her, including many who had never heard of her. It really seems like strange things are happening here.

If you stay on Rte 1, you'll come to RUTH AND WIMPY'S KITCHEN where quite often you can get the area's best deal on a lobster dinner. Here also is Hancock’s foremost celebrity Wilbur the Lobster, the world's biggest lobster sculpture. A few years ago, Roadway Express included Wilbur on its list of the 12 most interesting things to see in the United States. The 20-foot, fiberglass creation has been the subject of countless articles and mentions in tourist-related publications. Kirstie Alley offered Wimpy a blank check for Wilbur, but he turned her down. "That’s our logo," he pointed out. Ruth and Wimpy were featured nationally on The Cooking Channel in a show called "Hook, Line, and Dinner." Visit their FACEBOOK Page.

Your Sign is often completely responsible for the first impression your company makes. You need to make a good one. With complete professionalism, SIERRA SIGNS AND DESIGNS will put your best foot forward. They do both 2-D and 3-D interior and exterior signs, vinyl graphics and installation, custom vehicle graphics and magnetics, banners, lawn signs and real estate signs. With a Sierra Sign, people will want to get to know you.

At the SALT BOX RESTAURANT chef Mike Poirier and baker Alice Letcher serve  breakfast, lunch, and dinner five days a week and brunch on Sundays.
They take pride in adding their own touch to everything from chocolate chip cookies to a smoky pulled pork sandwich with beet fennel slaw.

It is easy to pass right by Melissa Ford's VILLAGE CAFE, but the pople who do this miss out on something special. Everything at this locally owned and operated eatery is homemade, including the ice cream, sorbet, and gelato.

BEST WINES LLC stocks exceptionally good wine. The owner's husband is in the import business, and he brings in the very best. She assures me that fine wine needn't be expensive.

"Maine: An Explorer's Guide" gives the CROCKER HOUSE COUNTRY INN  credit for providing top quality at moderate prices and for having features that are appealing to children. (Near-by is the nation's second smallest post office.)

Look for the memorial to Pierre Monteux, who founded the famed PIERRE MONTEUX SCHOOL FOR ADVANCED CONDUCTORS AND ORCHESTRA PLAYERS. During the summer, free concerts are held the last Wednesday of June and each Wednesday of July. Donations are accepted. A free children's concert is held in mid-July. Call 422-3931 for details.

IRONBOUND RESTAURANT AND INN is a bistro-style eatery featuring modern American cuisine. There are two dining rooms and a full bar. This establishment has a great selection of Mainecraft brews and spirits. Upstairs there are five charming guest rooms.

Maine's premiere artisanal smokehouse, SULLIVAN HARBOR FARM cures salmon fillets using an old-world, Scottish method that involves hand-rubbing raw salmon in small batches with salt and brown sugar.  After curing, the fillets are cold-smoked over a smudge fire of fruit wood in one of the company's small kilns. After eight hours, the smoked salmon fillets have a beautiful, thin coral-red crust. Yankee Magazine honored  Sullivan Harbor Farm with  its Editor's Choice Award, choosing it over other New England smokehouses for the silky texture and sweet and salt balance of its salmon.

The stonework
made at GULL ROCK POTTERY is wheel-thrown and hand-decorated. Their view of Mount Desert Island is unsurpassed.

This trek continues in Chapter Onward Eastward.

acquired my goodwill the day I needed a keyboard for my Mac. Found a good-as-new  Apple keyboard there. Price? Two bucks. Later I got a fine digital camera for four and after that a top-of-the-line, hundred-dollar Sony radio for seven. For ten bucks, you can get a discount card that gives you a ten percent discount on every purchase for a year. Oh, every day a certain color labels provides a 50 percent discount. When you pay, the cashier thanks you for supporting their program. Is this a great world or what?

BIRDSACRE SANCTUARY, adjacent to the Stanwood Homestead Museum, is a 130-acre home to many species of birds. Often injured birds are brought here for rehabilitation. Open year-round, there are well-marked walking trails. (The museum, which is open mid-June to mid-October and charges a small fee, is a memorial to Cordelia J. Stanwood, ornithologist and author. Here there is an impressive collection of
mounted bird specimens.) During the summer, Birdsacre presents a children's story hour that features meeting Ollie, Birdsacre's famous barred owl, a story about Ollie or Ms. Stanwood, a nature trail walk, and refreshments.

TASTE JAMAICA is Downeast Maine's only completely authentic Jamaican barbecue. Open year round. You can take your food out or eat it there outdoors. Dogs are welcome.

CHINA HILL is a happy combination of Szechuan, Hunan, Mandarin, and Cantonese cuisine with salad and sushi bars.

The THAI SANA RESTAURANT serves authentic Thai food. Specialties include Thai Sana Salmon, Duck Pad Thai,  and Basil Lamb. Open year around, you can eat outside when the weather is nice. Open for lunch or dinner. This popular eatery has been tagged by TripAdvisor as Ellsworth's best restaurant.

Nobody stocks more varieties of beer and wine than GLOBAL BEVERAGE WAREHOUSE. Some 2,400 wines, 1,500 beers. This place may seem like a mega-big-box, cold and impersonal franchise from afar, but it's locally owned and operated.

ELLSWORTH GIANT SUB offers more than 60 varieties of sandwiches, but for you they'll make whatever you like. There's plenty of parking; buses and campers are welcome. They're open Monday thru Saturday year round. After lunch, drop by the Blueberry Hill Dairy Bar next door for dessert.

The BLUEBERRY HILL DAIRY BAR features 40 varieties of hard ice cream and 17 flavors of soft serve.

David Matz, chef/owner of CRAZY DAVE'S PIT BBQ, uses a secret blend of hand-selected native Maine hardwoods to create a flavorful smoke ring true to the venerable craft of old-school smoking. You can't find better BBQ ribs anywhere.

he people at MAINE'S OWN TREATS offer free samples of the most popular of the 26 varieties of jams and jellies they make. This shop is billed as having the state's largest inventory of Maine-made food products. While you're there, you can pick up a free mail order brochure. Call 207-667-8888.

The GREAT MAINE LUMBERJACK SHOW has nightly performances mid-June to Columbus Day Sunday. Timber Tina invites you to come and enjoy The Olympics of the Forest, a fun show the whole family will enjoy.

We guess that the opposite of fast food is the low-and-slow Texas barbecue found at Trenton's LOBSTER POUND AND REAL PIT BBQ. The pulled pork in our sandwich had been smoked for a full 24 hours— guaranteeing it would stay moist. There aren't better bbq ribs anywhere, and the sweet corn tastes fresh from the vine. Trip Advisor gave this place its Number One, Five Star  Rating. At the height of the season, there's live jazz Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons.

BAR HARBOR GOLF COURSE, an 18-hole, public, championship layout that's tough enough to challenge the finest players. The 600-plus yard 18th hole is an"untouchable"-- from the back tees, nobody has ever reached it in two.

When it comes to catchy business names, it's hard to beat BEST DAMN LOBSTAH!, LLC. Who else combines a superlative and a cuss word with a folksy regionalism and an exclamation? Besides creative name-calling, this family-owned business  provides fresh-as-possible live lobster, mussels, and clams attractively priced. The lobster is delivered daily off the owner's own vessel, The Georgia Peach.

LAMOINE STATE PARK is a something of a well-kept secrert. An attractive 55-acre park , it attracts folks who find MDI too crowded.  It has an oceanside setting with picnic and campsite areas, hot showers, a dock, boat access, a pebble beach and allows fishing. There are great views of the mountains of Mount Desert Island.

Don't look for SEAL COVE FARM in Seal Cove; it's in Lamoine. It's well-worth looking for, however, if only for its prize-winning goat cheese known as chevre. This deluctable cheese is crafted in the farmstead tradition, using only high-quality goat's milk from the farm. Artisans here are trained in the traditional methods of French cheese making; their cheeses rival the balanced flavor and texture of the finest French goat cheeses. The people here insist that happy goats produce tastier cheese, and that their happy goats enjoy much personal attention, resulting in products of unsurpassed high-quality. On many weekends, they sell pizza made entirely from ingredients raised on the farm and baked in their wood-fired oven.

Driving past the KISMA PRESERVE, on Route 3 you may see buffalo grazing in the pasture. The park has more than 100 creatures, both local and exotic. It houses what probably is Maine's largest petting zoo. There are exotic creatures, including lions and tigers. A private, non-profit organization, Kisma management first of all is dedicated to enhancing the welfare of the animals. Trip Advisor says, "If you love animals and have a healthy respect for their needs, you will love this place."

"We're not a biker shop," Betsy is quick to point out, although her BLACKSHEEP TRADING CO. stocks lots of stuff, including sheepskins and the custom sheepskin motorcycle seat covers that bikers like. Many people, she notes, are intimidated by biker shops while there is nothing at all scary about her place. There is interesting stuff here for the whole family. You never ever know what you'll find. Look for all kinds of vintage posters, old tin advertising signs, genuine wooden lobster traps and buoys, and wonderful old photos. This is where I bought my cool, outback leather hats. Definitely worth the stop.

Phil Alley's ACADIA WEATHERVANES AND WOODSHOP CUPOLAS  is the area's original cupola and weathervane factory store. These family-crafted cupolas are built with only the finest materials using methods usually reserved for high-quality cabinetry. The cupolas, hand-made by the family crew and built to last, all come with witten guarantees. .

The structure now known as the OPEN HEARTH INN was built around 1820 by one of Trenton's earliest families. Many of the original architectural details have survived, including pumpkin pine floors, paneled wainscoting, and a large open-hearth fireplace, complete with oven and iron crane. In the mid-1940s, the house was converted to an inn, and over the years several cottages have been added to the property. According to local legend, the inn is haunted. In the mid-1800s, the couple who owned the place were returning home by horse and buggy when they were caught in a freak snow storm. The next day, they were were found a couple of miles from home frozen to death. The story has persisted that over the years they have been seen in the inn by numerous guests.

THOMPSON ISLAND, which separates Mount Desert Island and the mainland, has still another well-stocked information center and a nice picnic area on saltwater.

This trek continues in
Chapter MDI.

Questions or comments? Send them along to Captain D.