December 13, 2012

TRAVELIN' MAINE(RS): INDULGENCE is a great gift for everyone on your list

Will you surprise the most important person in your life (and we hope that isn’t you!) with a romantic getaway, a lovely massage, mouth-watering chocolates, the theater or a memorable dinner at one of Maine’s finest restaurants? What’s under your Christmas tree this year?

George — For her

Two years of traveling the state for this column have demonstrated that Maine offers a lot of amazing restaurants, inns, events and adventures. Christmas is a great time to surprise your most-loved one with a gift certificate for some very special treats.

Start with a massage, a pedicure, a day at the spa. The Senator Inn has a wonderful health club and spa with professional massage therapists. A friend just spent her entire 70th birthday here and came out glowing.

Linda loves dark chocolate, making Kennebec Chocolates in Augusta a regular stop for me for birthdays, Christmas and other special events (or to make up for my many mistakes).

Now, I’ve added a second stop on my chocolate trail, Hallowell’s new candy store, Scrummy Afters candy store, where Kim and Hilary Davis offer chocolates from our favorite place — Monica’s Chocolates in Lubec.

If she loves the outdoors, a weekend at a northern Maine destination would be a superb gift. My choices would be New England Outdoor Adventures just west of Millinocket — with top-of-the-line service, accommodations and restaurants — and AMC’s Gorman-Chairback Camps east of Greenville, where you’ll enjoy “wilderness pampering.”

If she loves music, there’s no better place to enjoy it than Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownville. Make it an overnight adventure by booking a room at Noble House Inn nearby in Bridgeton. We’re doing just that in February.

You’ll make her very happy with a weekend getaway in Rockland at the Berry Manor Inn, an elegant Victorian with very friendly hosts, amazing breakfasts and high-end accommodations at very reasonable prices.

Rockland features many fine restaurants including Primo, Café Miranda, Rustica and In Good Company, along with some really nice shops, from Fiore Oils to Lyn Swan’s art gallery.
And guys, let’s hope I don’t have to tell you that appliances, cleaning equipment and work-related stuff is not what she is hoping to receive from you for Christmas!

George — For him

This will not be a revelation ladies, but men love to eat. And many of us enjoy a Maine microbrew on occasion. You cover both bases at Mainely Brews in Waterville, surprisingly good food and great beer. The Sea Dog in Topsham and Bangor also combine great food and beer and Geaghan’s Pub inBangor and the Liberal Cup in Hallowell are two of my favorites.

If your man doesn’t come through with the Rockland getaway, you can do it for him as long as you book the weekend of Rockland’s famous pie festival scheduled for Jan. 31. I’d call this a his and hers gift.

If he likes to fish, book a trip to a Maine sporting camp. Bradford Camps and Libby’s Camps, both in the North Woods, are amazing experiences.

And speaking of books, when we travel I carry lot of reading material. Retired game warden John Ford’s book, “Suddenly the Cider Didn’t Taste So Good,” and Paul Fournier’s “Tales from Misery Ridge” are really, really good. I also love a great mystery, and Paul Doiron’s three mystery novels featuring a Maine game warden would be at the top of my favorites list.

Linda — Him, her and the kids

Here is my list of indulgences that would make great Christmas gifts. Start with chocolates ... always the perfect size and most everyone loves them. Monica’s are incredible, and now we can get them in Hallowell! My favorites are the blueberry and raspberry truffles made with Maine wine. You can also order these online.

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