George

It’s the perfect Maine vacation. We left home mid-morning so that we’d be in Milbridge for lunch at Vazquez, a fantastic Mexican takeout restaurant. We never drive by this place without stopping, and it’s nice to see our column about it posted next to the window where you pick up your delicious — and very inexpensive — food.

We divert from our route to Lubec by a few miles to pick up the freshest crabmeat you’ll ever get at Mrs. Griffins in Edmunds. Then it’s on to Lubec, where the bridge carries us to Campobello Island, Canada.

We settle in quickly at “our” cabin (No. 5) at An Island Chalet, where Rob and Diane Lahey offer great hospitality and wonderful cabins perched on the ocean. Each of the five cabins includes two bedrooms, plus a full kitchen and living room. But my favorite thing is the porch, where I could sit for days relaxing and enjoying the view. We’ve being staying here for 15 years.

From the comfortable lawn chairs surrounding an outdoor fireplace, to the daily housekeeping service from Faye, once you stay here, you’ll be returning a lot — just like us. And the cost of staying several nights here is comparable to a single night in a hotel on the southern Maine coast.

The next day, we spent the morning at West Quoddy Head Light in Lubec, where my great-grandfather was the keeper for 32 years. We hiked the bog and the spectacular shoreline and visited with volunteers who now staff the lighthouse.

That afternoon found us up the road from our cabin, enjoying the Roosevelt Campobello International Park: 2,800 acres of remote beaches, bogs and trails. Astonishingly, we were the only ones on two beaches and Liberty Point.

I took tons of great photos at Campobello and you can see them in the Travelin’ Mainers section at georgesmithmaine.com.

Then it was back to Lubec for a great dinner at our favorite restaurant, Frank’s Dockside. Our server Courtney, on the job only two days, was attentive and I enjoyed our conversation. Her Dad and my Mom both grew up in Lubec. I chowed down on two favorites: fish chowder ($7) and seafood Cobain ($24).

The chowder was stuffed with fish and the buttery broth was tasty. I’m stuck now on the Cobain: a trio of shrimp, scallops and crab sauteed with spinach and butter and then baked with cooper cheese. Sooo tasty!

I love everything about Frank’s, including the outside deck seating and the binoculars at the inside tables. You can pick those up to watch birds and seals in the rushing water that is right outside the restaurant. Frank is right inside the open kitchen window when you enter the restaurant, always ready with a funny comment or joke.

The next night, we returned to Frank’s for dinner with two friends, and I enjoyed the veal dish Linda raved about on Thursday night. Wow, it is fantastic. We’ll be back in Lubec in August, and I can’t wait to enjoy another dinner or two at Frank’s Dockside.

On Monday, as we prepared to return home, we lingered at An Island Chalet, enjoying the sun, the cool ocean breeze and the stunning scenery. On the way home, we stopped again for crabmeat and enjoyed another lunch at Vazquez. What a great vacation.

Linda

Staying at An Island Chalet on Campobello Island is like coming home again. The cabins have been updated with new log siding and shingles on the upper part. Rob has done a nice job on the cabins, and recently installed new heat pumps. (It was a bit chilly one day and we found that they worked well.) As always the cabins are comfortable and spotlessly clean.

At Frank’s Dockside, I love the menu, and everything I have tried has been great. I noted that veal is Frank’s specialty the last time I was here, and I was on a mission to try it this time. One could eat here a long time before making a decent dent in this menu — but I am trying.

I ordered the Veal Greg Terry because it had both veal and eggplant in it. When I asked Courtney about the name, she pointed to the other server and said, “It’s named after him. He loves the veal here.”

It turned out to be breaded cutlets of veal and thinly sliced eggplant layered with ham, Frank’s marinara and provolone cheese. It was served bubbling hot, and was absolutely fantastic. It came with potato and a vegetable and, knowing the portions here, I didn’t get an appetizer. I did however indulge in a slice of heavenly warm bread.

After one bite of my entree, George was already plotting to order my dish the next night when we were to dine here with friends. It really is that good of a restaurant that we were truly excited to come back and dine here the next night.

I decided on a side salad and boneless buffalo chicken wings for my evening meal that night. The small order is a half-pound ($8), and plenty for dinner. Smothered in hot sauce, it had a nice kick of heat. This comes with Frank’s housemade blue cheese dressing and celery.

The second night, we split an order of churros from the dessert specials. Four thin, crispy churros dredged in cinnamon sugar and warm chocolate sauce for dipping made a great finale. Yummy!

Visit George’s website — georgesmithmaine.com — for book reviews, outdoor news and all Travelin’ Maine(rs) columns, found listed by town in the “Best of Maine” section.