Food always seems to taste better after a day of fresh air and outdoor activity. If you're staying at a remote resort or sporting camp or participating in an organized rafting or other outing, your meals will likely be provided. If not, here are some eateries — from down-home to offbeat — to look for in western or northern Maine.
Western Maine Dining Finds
The Lakes Region's first brewpub, Bray's Brewpub &; Eatery (Routes 302 and 35, Naples, 207-693-6806, www.braysbrewpub.com), opened in 1995 in a 120-year-old Victorian farmhouse. Lunch and dinner are available daily, and tours of the brewing operation are available Thursday afternoons. The children's menu features the likely suspects.
In Bethel, Maine-brewed beer is also on tap at Sunday River Brewing Co. (Route 2 and Sunday River Road, 207-824-4ALE). The Shipyard Brew Haus at Sunday River (White Heat Lane, Bethel, 207 824-5138, www.shipyardbrewhaus.com) is popular with the après-ski crowd. And although they don't brew their own ales, you'll find twenty-nine regional beers on draught at the family-friendly Suds Pub at the Sudbury Inn (151 Main Street, Bethel, 207-824-2174, www.sudburyinn.com).
When you're ready for a sweet treat, visit the farm animals and savor homemade ice cream at Gillmor Farms (615 Enfield Road, Lincoln, 207-794-6565).
You could literally step right into Moosehead Lake from your table on the deck at Kelly's Landing (Routes 6 and 15, Greenville Junction, 207-695-4438, www.kellysatmoosehead.com), where hungry vacationers love the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet on Sundays. Lakeside dining is also available at The Black Frog (Pritham Avenue, Greenville, 207-695-1100, www.theblackfrog.com), where you watch the seaplanes take off and land as you munch on fried chicken or chish and fips — they have a sense of humor, here.
If whitewater rafting isn't your cup of tea, you can still dine at the New England Outdoor Center's River Drivers Restaurant (Medway Road, Millinocket, 207-723-5438 or 800-766-7238, www.neoc.com), where entrées range from fresh seafood preparations to rack of lamb. They promise: “Here, no one will frown at your kids.”
Of course, if you're more worried about putting smiles on your little ones' faces, you may let them to talk you into simply grabbing a hot dog at Magic City (237 Penobscot Avenue, Millinocket, 207 723-4404, http://mysite.verizon.net/magiccityminigolf), a year-round indoor entertainment center featuring an arcade, kiddie rides, golf simulator, and miniature golf course.
Your palate may not appreciate just any potatoes once you've tasted the Maine-grown variety. So, order organic potatoes grown in Aroostook County from Wood Prairie Farm online at www.woodprairie.com or by calling 800-829-9765. They even have a Maine Potato Sampler of the Month Club.
In Aroostook County, the Blue Moose (Route 1, Monticello, 207-538-0991, www.connectmaine.com/bluemoose) welcomes snowmobilers — the log cabin restaurant with a cozy wood stove and children's menu is just 400 feet from snowmobile trails. The Elm Tree Diner (146 Bangor Road, Houlton, 207-532-3181, www.mallplexusa.com/elmtreediner) has been serving home-cooked breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for more than sixty years. The Lakeview Restaurant (9 Lakeview Drive, St. Agatha, 207-543-6331), serves everything from prime rib to seafood in a family-friendly setting. Their all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch will fill your family up without costing a fortune.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire