September 19, 2011

TRAVELIN' MAINE(RS): BRUNSWICK STATION: This gamble definitely paid off

Kennebec Journal Staff

The Travelin Maine(rs), George and Linda Smith of Mount Vernon, have spent their lifetimes enjoying all that Maine has to offer. Now they’ll tell you all about it — their favorite inns, restaurants, trips, activities, experiences, and travel books and websites — in their own personal style. They’ll be offering anecdotes, tips and all the details you need. So join them in exploring, experiencing and enjoying the great state of Maine.

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IF YOU GO . . .

WHERE: 4 Noble Street, Brunswick
PHONE: 837-6565
Brunswick is an amazing place, with more than 40 restaurants, many unique and fine shops, Bowdoin college with its art museum, the summer music theater and lots more.


This beautiful new 52-room hotel opened this summer and if you find yourself in the area (perhaps a late night at the Music Theater or just enjoying one of the many fine restaurants), you should give it a try. Its location is ideal -- near Bowdoin College, the Train Station and Brunswick's vibrant downtown.

A lot of thought was put into the design and decorating. I was taken with the color palette they chose: taupe, black and white with lots of natural wood. It has a very classy and modern feel. Living in a very old house, I could fully appreciate how new (and straight) everything was. Luxury linens, queen or king beds, flat-screen TVs and wireless service make this a very comfy stay. There are a few suites as well.

But the best surprise was just how fine their restaurant is! The Tavern is accented with barn board and its black tables continue that modern feel. Though many tables were full the night we were there, it was very quiet.

Dinner was extraordinary. And after a brief visit with the chef, we understood why. He is very picky about his ingredients, buying only the freshest crab and other seafood, local veggies when possible, and top-of-the-line meats.

The Maine Crab Cakes were the best I've ever had -- just fresh crab held together with the tiniest bit of mayonnaise and coated with a nicely seasoned panko crust. Served with spring mixed greens and topped with a Cajun remoulade, this is perfection. All the other appetizers sounded great as well, but I doubt I will ever get to try them, because really, how can you top perfection?

Dinner entrees included seafood and a filet mignon, but I went with the Roasted Vegetable Risotto. Creamy and delicious -- comfort food at its finest. ($15)

Breakfast out on their patio in the sunshine made for a great start to our day. Our cheery server Emilie explained what's special about their coffee. Brunswick's own Wicked Joe's came up with a special blend for them. The Egg's Benedict is great due to the chef's wonderful hollandaise sauce. ($9) George had his over crab cakes (of course!).


One of the things we love about Maine is that it is a small community. We were reminded of this when the manager of the inn, Rick Martin, introduced himself as a graduate of Maranacook High School.

And then the Sales Director, Brandon Hussey, reported that he'd played basketball at Camden High School during the period when Maranacook and Camden enjoyed a fierce rivalry. And Brandon got an introduction to the hospitality/restaurant business from Nancy Wood at Amalfi, one of our favorite Rockland restaurants.

The community connections didn't stop there. While dining at the Tavern, we heard a familiar voice behind us at a corner booth. It was our friends, former Governor Angus King and his wife Mary Herman. We visited with them as they exited on their way to the Music Theater.

Later that night, when we returned to our room, there was a note from Angus under our door, reporting that the theater's performance was outstanding and we should see it.

I doubt there is another state in this country where this kind of thing could happen. And it happens often here. Small world, small state.

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