Down East 2013 ©
* This 1,680-seat, year-round venue in downtown Portland consistently brings in the best musical acts — and is a pillar in the city’s thriving music scene.
609 Congress St., Portland.
Portland Ballet Company
* A multi-faceted dance organization that includes educational outreach in addition to its prestigious professional dance company.
517 Forest Ave., Portland.
Gifts at 136
* An eclectic gallery and gift shop featuring Maine-made art, pottery, jewelry, furniture, chocolate, and more.
136 Main St., Damariscotta.
Portland Museum of Art
* Best known for its Winslow Homer collection, Maine’s largest and oldest public art institution showcases works by some of the finest Maine and American artists, including Marsden Hartley, Rockwell Kent, Louise Nevelson, and Andrew Wyeth.
7 Congress Sq., Portland.
Portland Symphony Orchestra
* The PSO is Maine’s largest performing arts organization, with most concerts, including the very popular Magic of Christmas, taking place at Portland’s Merrill Auditorium.
50 Monument Sq., 2nd floor, Portland.
Theater Venue & Theater Group
The Public Theatre
* Now in its seventeenth season, this central Maine theater company casts professional Equity actors in some of the best Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, as well as in new works, making it a destination for theater lovers across the state.
31 Maple St., Lewiston.
The Hinckley Company
* High-end yachts have been the staple of this company since its founding in Southwest Harbor in 1928.
130 Shore Rd., Southwest Harbor.
* We certainly won’t argue with you about selecting this picturesque harbor, where the mountains (Mount Battie, to be specific) meet the sea.
* Across Johns Bay from Pemaquid Point Light, this full-service shipyard has built some of Maine’s most well-known vessels, including the Mary Day and the Appledore II.
6 Garage Drive, South Bristol.
* With five convenient locations across the state, Hamilton Marine is the go-to source for all things boating.
Portland, Rockland, Searsport, Southwest Harbor, and Jonesport.
* One of Maine’s three “Little Ivies,” Bates has a reputation for close student-faculty relationships that endure long after graduation and for active service-learning programs that engage students in the community.
2 Andrews Rd., Lewiston.
Kents Hill School
* This college-preparatory school’s impressive 6:1 student-faculty ratio and rigorous academic program attract students from around the world.
1614 Main St., Kents Hill.
TV Sports Anchor
* The sports director at WCSH-TV, Goldberg has reported on some of New England’s biggest sports stories, including five Super Bowls and two World Series.
* After only three years in Maine weather reporting for WCSH-Channel 6 (Portland) and WLBZ-Channel 2 (Bangor), Carson is stealing some thunder from the veteran TV meteorologists.
* The master of horror and suspense has sold 350 million books worldwide — he could, in other words, live anywhere, but he chooses Maine. He sets many of his stories here, too.
* The Hollywood star has done a lot of good for his native state: he established the Patrick Dempsey Center, a cancer center at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, as well as the annual Dempsey Challenge, a running, walking, and bicycling event in which he regularly rides.
* Maine life — our “long wintah” and going “upta camp” — provides much of Marley’s comic fodder.
* Mainers live vicariously through Bill Green, who travels the state for WCSH-Channel 6 in search of interesting people and places and tells their stories on Bill Green’s Maine and The Green Outdoors.
Best local tv program
* Kathleen Shannon and Rob Caldwell, hosts of WCSH’s immensely popular nightly news magazine, are in your living room so often, they feel like part of the family.
* Upbeat blogger Erica Beck Spencer challenges followers to the 365 Everyday Outside Challenge: spend thirty minutes outdoors every day. She provides the inspiration by doing it herself.
Portland Press Herald
During the past year, the Portland Press Herald (and its sister, the Maine Sunday Telegram) hired away some of its competitors’ best reporters, resulting in a far more robust news organization.
Perennial favorite Bill Nemitz, columnist for the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram, pulls no punches, whether he’s lambasting the governor or describing the heroic deeds of Mainers at the Boston Marathon bombing.
Radio Morning Show
Airing from 6 to 8:30 a.m. on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, National Public Radio’s Morning Edition delivers national news without hype. MPBN host Irwin Gratz does the local rundown.
Portland-area residents get their Maine Public Broadcasting Network fix via WMEA, 90.1, one of seven MPBN radio stations in Maine.
WCSH - Channel 6
The NBC affiliate in Portland, WCSH distinguishes itself with strong local news programs and the immensely popular news magazine 207.
Owls Head General Store
It’s called the Seven Napkin Burger for a reason: it’s big, juicy, and finger-licking good. Food Network Magazine deemed it Maine’s best burger in 2009.
2 South Shore Dr., Owls Head.
Candy Shop & Chocolate
Wilbur’s of Maine
Wilbur’s wins Down East readers’ hearts in two categories. Why? Blueberry creams made with wild blueberries, turtles all chewy and gooey with caramel, chocolate-covered cranberries … need we say more?
Freeport and Brunswick.
* Kelly recently received her second James Beard Foundation Award (Best Chef, Northeast). Her restaurant, Primo in Rockland, grows most of its own produce and raises pigs, chickens, guinea hens, and ducks.
Primo Restaurant, 2 South Main St., Rockland.
* Grace dispenses inventive cocktails whose names — Holier Than Thou, Cardinal Rule, and Redemption — are inspired by the magnificent dining room in a former Methodist church.
15 Chestnut St., Portland.
Coffee by Design
* A pioneer in Maine’s coffee renaissance, Coffee by Design has been energizing Portlanders with its handcrafted micro-roasted brews since 1994.
Portland and Freeport.
The Gelato Fiasco
* Taking their cue from Italian gelato masters, Joshua Davis and Bruno Tropeano make whole milk ice cream in more than 1,000 luscious flavors. In addition to its two ice cream parlors, Gelato Fiasco sells pints at a number of New England stores.
Brunswick and Portland
* Sometimes simple is best, and Red’s huge lobster roll is about as simple as it gets: fresh meat from a one-pound lobster served in a grilled bun with your choice of mayonnaise or melted butter.
41 Water St., Wiscasset.
Shipyard Brewing Company
* One of the largest craft breweries in the country, Shipyard has been making beer for nearly twenty years and has received scores of awards for its brews.
86 Newbury St., Portland.
Pineland Farms Creamery
* The chief ingredient for Pineland Farms Creamery’s delightfully tangy cheddars and cheese curds comes from right next door: the dairy barns that house Pineland’s grass-fed Holstein cows.
92 Creamery Ln., New Gloucester.
* OTTO offers nearly two-dozen delicious and decidedly not classic varieties, from butternut squash, ricotta, and cranberry to spicy pulled pork with scallion and herb. There are two locations on Congress Street, and a third will soon open in South Portland.
225 and 576 Congress St., Portland.
* Two distinctive experiences under one roof: the intimate and formal parlors downstairs and the lively maze of little rooms upstairs. And then there are the amazing Italian dishes created by James Beard Foundation Award–winning chef Melissa Kelly.
2 South Main St., Rockland.
Harbor Fish Market
* In addition to fish and lobsters caught off the Maine coast, Harbor Fish boasts Maine’s largest selection of fresh fish imported from all over the world.
9 Custom House Wharf, Portland.
* This charming shop near Rockport Harbor stocks hundreds of varieties of wines from around the world, and owner Jason Haynes offers friendly, knowledgeable advice. 67 Pascal Ave., Rockport. 207-230-7009. rayrwine.com
* Located in a beautiful renovated barn with the vineyard right out back, Cellardoor offers a fantastic selection of reds and whites. The complimentary tastings are relaxing, fun, and informative. There also is a shop on Route 1 in Rockport.
367 Youngtown Rd., Lincolnville.
Architect and Builder
* A winner in two categories, Knickerbocker Group is known for designing and building high-performing buildings and fine details.
P.O. Box 142, 3 Builders Sq., Boothbay
Home Improvement Store
* The national chain home improvement store, with eleven Maine stores, offers just about everything for the home, even the kitchen sink.
Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Brewer, Brunswick, Portland, Presque Isle, Sanford, Scarborough, Thomaston, Windham
Margo Moore Interiors
* Margo Moore specializes in fabrics and wallpapers in playful colors and prints, cozy furniture, and crisp, fresh-looking accessories.
74 Elm St., Camden. 207-236-4596
* A fifth-generation family business, Skillins is best known for its large selection of perennials, annuals, trees and shrubs, and herb and vegetable seedlings, but it also has a landscaping and floral business. The Falmouth store is the original; there also are shops in Brunswick and Cumberland. 89 Foreside Rd., Falmouth.
Bed & Breakfast
* Tucked on a tree-lined street just two blocks from downtown Rockland, LimeRock Inn is housed in an 1892 Victorian house lovingly preserved and filled with period furnishings by Frank Isganitis and PJ Walter. Isganitis’s breakfasts have won attention from numerous travel magazines.
96 Limerock St., Rockland.
* Recently renovated, the 230-room Samoset Resort has a restaurant, golf course, and a pool with a breathtaking panoramic ocean view.
220 Warrenton St., Rockport.
* Just two blocks from L.L. Bean’s flagship store, Harraseeket Inn has luxurious rooms, beautiful gardens, and two noteworthy restaurants — the formal Maine Dining Room and, a local favorite, the casual Broad Arrow Tavern.
162 Main St., Freeport.
* An anchor of fifteen downtowns scattered through the state, Renys is beloved for its great prices on brands like Carhartt, Woolrich, and Columbia, and for its close-out merchandise.
Bath, Belfast, Bridgton, Camden, Damariscotta, Dexter, Ellsworth, Farmington, Gardiner, Madison, Pittsfield, Portland, Saco, Topsham, Wells.
Sherman’s Books and Stationery
* Founded in Bar Harbor in 1886, Sherman’s offers the largest selection of Maine books available, as well as toys and souvenirs.
Camden, Bar Harbor, Boothbay Harbor, Freeport. 800-371-8128. shermans.com
Men’s Clothing Store & Women’s Boutique
* The Readers’ Choice in two categories, Mexicali Blues specializes in comfortable bohemian and hippie fashions imported from India, Nepal, Thailand, Mexico, Bali, Peru, Guatemala, and Indonesia — tie-dye tee-shirts, batik sun dresses, Baja hoodies, Java patch pants, and the like.
Portland, Freeport, Raymond, Newcastle, Bangor. 866-329-0639. mexicaliblues.com
New Car Dealer
Lee Auto Malls
* Lee Auto Malls boasts that it sells more cars than any other dealer in Maine. And no wonder: The company sells nine makes of cars at twenty dealerships, stretching from Saco to Presque Isle.
Outdoor Store & Sporting Goods Store
* L.L. Bean has branched into casual clothing, home furnishings, and even luggage, but Down East readers rate it best for the products on which it was founded: outdoor gear and sporting goods. Besides the flagship store in Freeport, L.L. Bean has outlets in Ellsworth and Bangor.
95 Main St., Freeport.
* An independent toy store with toys for kids aged 1 week to 100 years. The toys are fun, high quality, and designed to encourage natural curiosity and a sense of discovery — puzzles, games, craft kits, construction sets, science kits, dolls, trains, and books.
Used Car Dealer
Norm’s Used Cars
* Norm’s enormous car-filled parking lot makes it a Route 1 landmark. The dealership specializes in used Subarus and has a large variety of other imported and domestic automobiles and trucks.
744 Bath Rd., Wiscasset.
* In a sea of serve-yourself shoe stores, Lamey Wellehan stands out thanks to its well-trained sales staff, who know a thing or two about fitting shoes. The store has a large selection of quality brands.
Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Brunswick, Falmouth, Scarborough.
* Inexpensive (usually) flights to New York, extra legroom, and free DIRECTV at every seat — JetBlue makes flying tolerable.
Portland International Jetport
* Recently expanded, the Jetport is looking pretty impressive these days, but it still has a personable, small-town attitude that feels great when you come home.
1001 Westbrook St., Portland.
AAA Northern New England
* Why spend hours on the Internet booking hotels, cars, flights, and cruises, when AAA travel agents can do it for you?
Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Biddeford, Brunswick, Ellsworth, Portland, South Portland, Waterville.