Last weekend, Bailey and I braved the one degree and drove up north to Belfast. Going through Augusta and past frozen ponds with ice houses reminded us how Maine is such a wonderful place to just go for a drive. We arrived in Belfast after breakfast sandwiches at East End favorite Katie Made and a nearly two hour drive. Once we did, we immediately ran inside of Chase’s Daily to escape from the cold. Service was super friendly and the food yummy: we split a peach tart and bruschetta made with beans and olives. We mentioned we were going to Suzuki sushi for dinner, and one of the waitresses was so excited for us. I’m used to people being friendly in Portland, but the people we spoke with in Belfast were even friendlier.
We walked around the town for a while, popping into nearly every shop that was open, including a game shop, in order to stay warm. I realized how when I travel I very infrequently go into shops, and when I explore a neighborhood, it usually means I go exactly where I’d planned to go and then move onto the next place (I had a similar realization when in Hongdae last March). In any case, there are a lot of great shops to check out in town: Old Professor’s Bookshop, The Green Store, and Epoch, a good vintage store. In visiting theses places, I could see what Bailey had said previously about Belfast: while Rockland is more of a working class town and Camden stuffy, Belfast is a better kept secret, an artsier community focused more on local products and living. It’s a pleasant town to walk around, and it vaguely reminded me of a cover from a Richard Russo book.
We continued down to Rockland and looked around Hello Hello Books for a while before going to Suzuki for dinner. All of the staff greeted us with an accented “irashaimase,” and we were seated in the back room. Dinner here is a splurge, but we went for it knowing it’s the best place for sushi in Maine, and we split their omakase sushi selection. Though they serve classic maki, sashimi, and nigiri, they also include some Maine local fish like a monkfish pate. The sushi here was definitely the best I’ve had since returning from Japan, though we did somewhat spoil it with their not as great toasted black sesame ice cream afterwards.
Overall, the towns of Penobscot Bay are always full of treats. I realized that I’ll definitely need to revisit Belfast when it’s above freezing.