September 2017 — Fall is in the air, farm stands have the last of the summer corn and the first of the season’s pumpkins on display, and the trees have touches of red and gold. It’s a great month to enjoy a farm-to-farm-table dinner, a contemporary art exhibition or a museum show with one of Maine’s greatest painters. Fall plans might include checking out two Maine eateries that made Bon Appétit’s Best New Restaurant list, booking an inn for prime October foliage viewing and taking to the woods one last time on a mountain bike.
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Stone Barn: Farm to Farm Table Dining
In the southern Maine village of Standish lies a remarkable dining venue, The Stone Barn at Sebago Lake, set on an 18-acre organic crop and livestock farm on Saint Joseph’s College’s 474-acre campus. It serves as the venue for a limited number of summer and fall farm table dinners created by Maine chefs Mary Paine and Scott Walsh. Seventy diners arrive at 6 p.m. to stroll through the surrounding gardens before sitting down to a six-course meal sourced from such farms as Baker Brook Creamery in Windham and Katahdin Gardens Farm in Patten. Two more dinners are scheduled for this fall. On September 24, the menu highlights a charcuterie table with cured meat and local cheese, tempura vegetables, a grilled seasoned half chicken with fennel gratin and a Maine wild berry trifle. On October 8, the dishes include an assorted local smoked meat and cheese table, braised elk ribs and grilled elk tenderloin, ending with chocolate beet cake with dark chocolate ganache and Chambord crème. Tickets are $100 per person and include dinner, drinks, tax and gratuity. Visit Stone Barn.
Linden Frederick: Night Stories at CMCA
The Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) will present the groundbreaking exhibition, Linden Frederick: Night Stories, from August 19 through November 5, 2017. The much-anticipated exhibition pairs 15 newly created paintings by the noted realist painter with 15 new works of fiction by some of America’s most acclaimed writers. Artist Linden Frederick wondered what would happen if the writer-illustrator relationship were reversed: the painting first, then the writing. The result is Night Stories and the collaborating writers include Anthony Doerr, Andre Dubus III, Louise Erdrich, Joshua Ferris, Tess Gerritsen, Lawrence Kasdan, Lily King, Dennis Lehane, Lois Lowry, Ann Patchett, Luanne Rice, Richard Russo, Elizabeth Strout, Ted Tally and Daniel Woodrell. Visit CMCA for more info.
Marsden Hartley’s Maine at Colby Museum of Art
After a highly acclaimed three month run at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Met Breuer Galleries in New York City, Marsden Hartley’s Maine is now home. The exhibition is on display at the Colby Museum of Art at Colby College through November 12, 2017, a landmark show that is inspiring visitors to experience Maine this fall and retrace Hartley’s footsteps for themselves. Hartley was one of Maine’s best-loved painters and the exhibition celebrates his lifelong artistic engagement with his home state of Maine. At VisitMaine.com, a map traces the locations throughout the state that inspired Hartley, along with suggested itineraries and sightseeing, lodging and dining recommendations.
Maine Shines on Bon Appétit Best List
When Bon Appétit magazine announced its Best New American Restaurants 2017, two Maine restaurants made the list. Nina June in Rockport is “where Maine meets the Mediterranean.” Overseen by New York chef Sara Jenkins, who runs Porsena and Porchetta in Manhattan, Nina June serves “tagliatelle with slow-cooked lamb neck ragù, risotto with Beth’s Farm Market asparagus (and) ravioli with herbs and ricotta.” Down in North Yarmouth, The Purple House Bakery was singled out, a place that serves a “homey breakfast and lunch in a tiny little house with a single wooden table inside. Everything here centers around the blazing hearth, where chef-owner Krista Kern Desjarlais fires up crackly Montreal-style bagels in the morning and rustic sandwiches and pizzas in the afternoon.”
Inns for Leaf Peepers
Spectacular Maine foliage is a great reason for a fall getaway, but choosing a classic inn can elevate the experience to another level. Take Blair Hill Inn, which has a commanding view over Moosehead Lake and is an ideal perch to see the dramatic colors in northern Maine. It has the area’s only destination spa, a restaurant famed for its creative cuisine, and some of the most luxuriously appointed rooms in the entire state. For a taste of old fashioned Maine lodging, there’s The Rangeley Inn and Tavern, set in the heart of the town of Rangeley, home base for exploring this wilderness region. It’s a place where an afternoon spent on an Adirondack chair on the porch is an option. The exterior is vintage but rooms have been modernized to 21st century standards and there’s a seasonal menu at the Tavern. In the western Maine town of Fryeburg, with spectacular views of the White Mountains, is The Oxford House Inn. Famed for its dining, it also has a handful of artfully updated rooms and is the perfect location for viewing this very rural part of the state. Finally, The Inn on Winter’s Hill in Kingfield is a good place to rest after a day of exploring the Carrabassett Valley area. The rooms still have the flair of the Victorian era and the dining room has a hearty menu on offer.
Maine’s Challenging Mountain Bike Trails
It’s safe to say that Maine has uncounted miles of mountain bike trails, from leisurely gravel paths to single-tracks that can challenge the best riders. The folks at Single Tracks have noted some of the state’s best mountain bike opportunities, including the Nordic Heritage Center in Presque Isle, the Carrabassett Valley Trail System and Libby Hill Forest Trails in Gray. Bradbury Mt. State Park is one of 15 state parks that permit mountain biking, while Sunday River Ski Resort offers lift-serviced mountain bike riding opportunities. There are also 17 rail trails in the state that welcome mountain bikers. Go to Visit Maine for more mountain bike info.