Just because Washington County, Maine is sparsely populated, doesn’t mean that you can’t find specialty items. One such store is the fabulous Whole Life Natural Market and the tiny Saltwater Cafe located inside the store.
Located at 4 Colonial Way in downtown Machias, they are open six days per week (closed Sundays). They carry most of the natural foods products that you may be familiar with at your local natural food store, but they also carry many, many local items (it’s my go-to place to purchase little local gifts for friends and family members). They also have a table with lots of local resources and a lending library. And… perhaps best of all… they have a good selection of local and organic wines.
The cafe is open for lunch and has sandwiches, soups and yummy desserts. Follow their Facebook page – they post their menu daily.
I, personally, own two vacation rental properties in Down East Maine… both in Machiasport. I love being a host and love to make our guests’ stay special. Whenever I can, I leave a little welcome gift for my guests. Most often, whenever available, it’s locally roasted Bold Coast Coffee.
The local coffee company is a family affair, with the beans roasted in the family patriarch’s garage turned roaster. I was lucky enough to have a tour of it a few years back and the spotlessly clean little ‘factory’ smelled just heavenly. The beans are sourced in Costa Rica, on a farm owned by the coffee company where the beans are picked by hand — so there is a direct link straight from the plant to the coffee cup.
The coffee is available in several roasts — from decaf to espresso and everything in between.
It is available for purchase at several stores in Maine (listed below) and also from the website.
Have you seen the giant blueberry in downeast Maine? Giant blueberry? Yup.
Wild Blueberry Land Gift Shop and Mini Golf is in Columbia Falls, Maine.
As you drive up Route 1 between Ellsworth and Machias, you suddenly come up a large blueberry, which is actually a bakery and gift shop for…. wait for it… all things blueberry, of course.
The first thing that will draw you into the store is the aroma wafting through the screen door. The store sells blueberry pies and blueberry scones, always freshly baked.
Although it looks like a throwback to the tourist traps of the 1950’s, the giant fruit is much younger — built in 2001. Besides the bakery, they also stock jams, jellies, honey, vinegar and other food items. It’s your one-stop shopping for gifts, both food and the traditional t-shirts, magnets, coffee mugs, and other cool Maine-themed items.
The owners, “Farmer Dell and Chef Marie” Emerson, stress the difference between blueberries and WILD blueberries. They describe wild blueberries as:
The Wild Blueberry is one of only three fruits native to North America. The other two are the cranberry and the wild grape. Wild Blueberries are grown on a two year cycle, harvesting every other year. These rare gems grow on the glacial soils that provide perfect conditions to prosper in this Northeast corridor of America. In the fall we burn our fields to control the competition and prepare for the harvest in the following year. This trick was taught to the settlers by the Native Americans, who held the Wild Blueberry in high esteem. The Wild Blueberry has been proven to provide many health benefits, can be used to preserve meats and other foods, and is absolutely delicious. Maine has been blessed with this completely natural, wild, wonderful treasure.
Wild Blueberry Land is open seven days a week in summer and weekends in autumn.
Visit their website for nutritional tips like this one:
According to Talking “Superfoods” with Nutrition Expert Regan Jones “Wild Blueberries and other “superfoods” may help you lose weight, boost your mood, lower your cholesterol, and they’re real foods, not overly processed foods meant to mimic the nutrient that they’re promoting. Foods like eggs for protein, beans for fiber, sweet potato for vitamin A, salmon for omega-3s and of course, wild blueberries for antioxidants are the “superfoods” that people should be eating. Wild Blueberries are great cooked down into a sauce with a bit of water and balsamic vinegar as a topping over roasted pork. They can also be used to make chia blueberry seed jam to spread on toast. Mix them into yogurt and granola or throw them into a smoothie. Some fruits are better if they are frozen. In the case of Wild Blueberries, since they’re picked and frozen at the peak of freshness, all the nutrients are locked in. Fresh may be picked at the right time but often loses nutrients during travel time and while sitting on store shelves. When choosing fresh, look for as local as possible.”
YES. There are wineries in Maine. In fact, there is an entire Wine Trail in Maine. The wine trail tagline is ‘worth the trip’ and we agree – well worth the trip.
Currently, there are over twenty different wineries all over Maine as part of the Wine Trail. These are spread out, of course, across all of the state of Maine – it would be some task to visit them all. (And I’m not saying not to do it… I know that I’d be up for the task!).
Several of the wineries are in the DownEast region. These include:
BARTLETT MAINE ESTATE WINERY & SPIRITS OF MAINE DISTILLERY
Our tasting room is a beautiful destination in its own right. Located in Gouldsboro on the Schoodic Peninsula, halfway between Ellsworth and the Petit Manon Wildlife Refuge, we’re housed in a unique, handwrought stone building. We’re just a short drive from picturesque Maine villages and spectacular coastal views and beaches. So come experience a whole new generation of fruit wines and bring home a delicious memory to savor—in more ways than one.
Wine tastings occur all day long during the season. For $5 you may choose up to 6 samples from our wine list. White grapes, red grapes, and specialty wines are the categories including the Ice Wine, which is a smaller sample. You may keep track of the wines you try and when you finish you have a list to take with you to choose the wines you would like to purchase. Purchasing 3 bottles saves you $3.00 and you get to take home a carrier with Sweet Pea’s likeness on it. After the tasting, you will be offered a Cider House hard apple cider sample using 7 Maine apples from New Glouster. It is done in the English style which is to the dry side. It is available in “Howler”-sized jugs which should be drunk within 5 days. Remember wine always makes a great gift as do our sundry items.
We are located high on a ridge with beautiful views surrounding the farm. To the east the sun rises over our East Orchard and the Schoodic mountains; to the south stretches Frenchman’s Bay and the mountains of Mount Desert; to the west, the sun sets behind our West Orchard and the hills of Dedham & Bangor. We are located about 35 minutes from Bar Harbor and the Nova Scotia ferry, within sight are several beautiful lakes to enjoy water recreation and fishing. Nearby enjoy our lovely woods, or trails to hike the Schoodic Mountains. In the winter, there are ponds for ice-skating, snowmobile trails nearby, and bountiful opportunities for cross-country skiing.
It was a dreary downeast day in November of 2010. Almost by accident we stumbled upon an abandoned , weathered farmstead. Seemingly forgotten by time, and in serious need of intervention, this deserted, neglected place whispered to us. The barn in particular, held fast by post and beam and peg, seemed a fine space in which to launch our small winery. Paired with a local ghostly legend, we had the impetus for creating Catherine Hill Winery. The project was set in motion, and following a thorough conversion of the barn to wine making facility, we crushed our first grapes in this new world. We opened with six wines in the spring 2012, and are extremely proud to currently offer more than 15 uniquely crafted wines.
Most of the wineries offer tours and tasting rooms. Some are open only seasonally, so make sure you contact them or check on their website before you head out.
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. I am ALWAYS the person to try out a new bakery and make it my mission in life to try to stop at every bakery that I pass on every roadtrip that I take. There are so many wonderful little shops that have tasty goodies, it’s hard to pin down just one. Luckily, we don’t have to, do we? We can just narrow it down to area or town.
So what is my favorite bakery in DownEast Maine? I would have to say Moose Island Bakery in Eastport. Located right on the main street – Water Street – you’ll see it in one of the historic old buildings. Walk in and you’ll think you died and went to sugar heaven — the windowed counter is fully of sweet confections . They have breads and cakes and cupcakes and scones. Settle in with the local newspaper or the free wifi, some coffee and enjoy a breakfast pastry or savory croissant. On clear days, enjoy the waterfront deck and views to Campobello Island and maybe even a whale or two!
Just see if you can resist sweet confections called Snowballs, Chocoholic’s Choice, French Creme Puffs and, of course, the Maine traditional Whoopie Pie. Their motto is “Life is short; eat dessert first.”
When you visit the website, make sure to make note of their webcam — check out the weather, the views, the birds out over the ocean.
The drive to Eastport is about an hour drive from Machias and 90 minutes from Milbridge. They are Monday through Saturday from 6:30am to 4pm and Sunday from 8am to 2pm. They are closed for inclement weather.
Some Google reviews are:
I go here a lot. Very friendly. I especially love drinking coffee on their deck on a summer day. My husband says they have the best cinammon rolls he’s ever eaten. Believe me, he’s eaten lots of them!
Some of the yummiest macaroons, peanut butter brownies I have had in a long time
Great customer service and great selection. Highly recommend this place!
Delicious baked goods, but go early in the day as things do sell out.
We always stop for cafe and treat… It has become a tradition for its great bakery. And a plus if you are sitting out and you spot a whale!
Skywalkers Bar and Grill is a small local bar with good food, good drinks and friendly people. It’s sort of the Machias version of Cheers — walk in the first time a stranger, then every subsequent visit, you become a regular and everyone really will know your name.
Besides eat and drink, Skywalkers offers entertainment on most nights — everything from local musicians, to non-alcoholic nights for teens to touring acts (coming in February — a male revue!).
Skywalkers is located at 86 Maine Street in Machias.
Helen’s Restaurant in Machias Maine is already known for their amazing pies. But their newest addition to the menu is a truly memorable burger.
I am pretty adventurous when it comes to food. I figure that all strange combinations need to be tasted — either they are awful or they are delicious. In this case… delicious. Blueberries, bacon, and goat cheese make the perfect sweet/salty combination.
The French Cellar in Machias is super excited to announce our next wine tasting event. On Friday, November 17th from 5-7pm, they will be welcoming local author and success coach Lanette Pottle for an extra-special tasting and exclusive book signing event.
There will be a fantastic list of wines, a bubbly celebratory toast, fine cheeses and hors d’oeuvres. They will also have Lanette Pottle signing her newest collaboration, the Amazon International Best-Selling book, Success University for Women in Leadership.
The French Cellar is located at 4 Colonial Way in Machias. Their number is – 207-255-4977