With Down East magazine recently naming Central Provisions as the hot new restaurant in the mushrooming little food city of Portland, Maine, and heavy-weight food magazines claiming it among the top 10 tables in the U.S., it’s no surprise that hungry travelers are booking getaways to Vacationland in hopes of a seat—and seasonal dishes with Pemaquid oysters, hearty butternut squash, and crisp Northern Spy apples. And right now, there’s even more of a reason to venture north to Maine.
As the Yankee food gods would have it, the welcoming Inn by the Sea is featuring a two-night ‘Taste of Maine’ package good for travel through June 2015. Located just four short miles from downtown Portland, the scenic seaside Inn is a favorite for its ‘best of both worlds’ appeal. We already love it for its stylish full-service beach suites—ideal for girlfriend getaways, family vacations, or lavish couples retreats—for its sea-inspired spa menu, and its eco-friendly ethos. But the property’s culinary clout is growing, too.
As part of the package, guests are escorted by culinary experts on a walking tour of the city’s Old Port waterfront and its top purveyors, like Vervacious condiments and K. Horton’s, which has grown beyond its smokehouse roots to sell other local products, including 150 artisanal cheeses (try the York Hill goat cheese!). Visits to taste craft brews at Gritty McDuff’s; modern Italian small plates at Piccolo; and Miyake, a creative Japanese restaurant with a cult following, are also on the itinerary. The reward for all that walking is a seasonal dinner—baked three-bean cassoulet, squash and cranberry risotto, and tarragon butter-poached lobster gnocchi—at the Inn’s Sea Glass restaurant.
Sea Glass’s executive chef, Mitchell Kaldrovich, will also hold court at the Grand Tasting at Portland’s annual Harvest on the Harbor Festival (Oct. 22-25), introducing diners to some of the lesser known (but no less delicious!) seafood and fish from Maine waters, like whiting. Fast becoming one of the top culinary events in the state, the festival flaunts flavors unique to Maine and many of its homegrown talents, such as Kaldrovich, or Opus Ten’s David Turin. We have our eyes on the Maine Lobster Chef of the Year Competition. Of course. Tickets start at $45. Buy now, or go hungry!
Adrien Glover is deputy digital editor at Travel + Leisure and a proud Maine native.