Maine embraces June, a welcome month when spring dovetails into early summer, offering some of the most sublime weather of the year. It’s a good time for a road trip to three outstanding small museums to see the works of some of Maine’s most venerated artists.
June also offers the perfect opportunity to visit some of the new restaurants and cafes that have popped up like spring mushrooms across the state. For those who are keen to explore the fishing possibilities of the coast, two words come to mind: stripers and bluefish. Later this summer, there’s a festival for bread lovers and a variety of authentic Maine farm dinners to look forward to. For writers, editors and bloggers looking for short-lead news, you’ll find immediate details under Happening Now. Those in search of longer lead news can scroll down to the Looking Ahead section.
Maine Artists on View This Summer
Maine has long provided inspiration for its homegrown artists and for those from away who came and settled in the state. This summer, visitors have a great opportunity to see some of their best work at three of Maine’s outstanding small art museums. “On a Mountain in Maine” is currently on view at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland through October 7. It features works by Fitz Henry Lane, John Joseph Enneking, Marsden Hartley, James Fitzgerald, Andrew Winter and Carl Sprinchorn. At the Colby College Museum of Art, “Modern Wonder: The John Marin Collection” is on view from June 5-August 18, showing a wide range of watercolors of one of Maine’s most beloved artists. “Made in Maine” at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art shows works created in the first half of the 20th century by such lauded figures as Winslow Homer, George Bellows, Marsden Hartley, Rockwell Kent, Andrew Wyeth and Marguerite Zorach.
What’s new on the Maine dining scene? The last few months have seen the debut of Elda on Main Street in Biddeford, a new fine-dining restaurant by Chef Bowman Brown. Brown most recently cooked at Forage in Salt Lake City and was nominated for Best Chef: Southwest by the James Beard Foundation six times. You might find seaweed and brown rice crackers with clam dip, grilled squid with green onions and roasted chicken vinaigrette, or spinach and pea tendril salad with seaweed and buttermilk. Rover Wood Fired Bagels & Pizza is also in Biddeford, where a morning stop can yield freshly baked Everything or Anadama bagels and the afternoon yields goodies like a mushroom pizza with mozzarella, fontina and shallots. The Highroller Lobster Co., which started as food truck, now has a brick and mortar location in Portland, serving lobster rolls, lobster tacos and crab rolls. Further up the coast, Chef Marc Provencher has returned to Brunswick with his new Greek restaurant, Taverna Khione, which serves authentic tavern-style classics.
For those eager to get into the sport of saltwater fly fishing, the Maine coast offers incredible opportunities for both striped bass and bluefish. But learning how and where to fish for these species takes local knowledge and effort. The easiest way to get on the water is by hiring a Registered Maine Guide who specializes in saltwater fishing. Some of these outfitters focus on sight-fishing Casco Bay’s tidal flats, while others offer small boat excursions that get anglers on tidal rivers. A day with a guide can seriously raise the level of both casting and fishing technique.
2018 Kneading Conference
It’s all about bread (and so much more) in Skowhegan. On July 27 and 28, the Maine Grain Alliance presents the 2018 Kneading Conference gathering of farmers, millers, bakers, maltsters and grain enthusiasts from all over the world for hands-on intensive baking workshops, live demonstrations, lectures and panel discussions, including wood-fired oven building workshops and lectures on grain growing. During the Conference, the Maine Artisan Bread Fair, on the Skowhegan Fair Grounds on July 28, is a great way for the public to taste pastries, bread, wood-fired pizza and other creations from 60-plus artisan bakers, along with an interactive baking area just for kids. Visit the Kneading Conference for more details.
Maine Farm-Field-to-Farm-Table Dinners
Farm-field-to-farm-table dinners were born in Maine more than a half century ago at back-to-the-land pioneers Helen and Scott Nearing’s landmark Harborside Farm on the coast. The movement has recently blossomed across the state. 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, serves as the venue for a limited number of summer and fall farm-table dinners created by Maine chefs Mary Paine and Scott Walsh. Flanagan’s Table, at The Barn at Flanagan Farm, Buxton, is a monthly dinner held to benefit the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. Nebo Lodge, on North Haven Island in Penobscot Bay, hosts monthly barn suppers at nearby Turner Farm, which provides all of the lodge’s produce. Close to Portland are Wolfe’s Neck Farm in Freeport, a working organic farm, and The Well at Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth. Then there’s Graze Dinners at Pineland Farms, New Gloucester, a working dairy farm that hosts dinners on Wednesdays from late June through early October. Go to Visit Maine for more farms participating in this movement.