Father’s Day can be a challenge.

How many grilling tools does one man need?

Sure, gift cards to his favorite restaurant are nice, but they can seem a little impersonal, and besides – haven’t you done that a million times before?

My own foodie father is approaching 90 years old, so I have been through five decades of Father’s Days and have done it all: restaurant gift certificates, beer brewing kits, bottles of good gin, lobsters flown in to Tennessee, where he lives, as a surprise. If your father appreciates good food and drink and lives in Maine, and you are struggling to come up with a gift, consult my list of ideas. If my own father lived here, these are the things he would want to do. (He loves beer, and he loves oysters. Easy peasy in a state crawling with breweries and bivalves.)

Whatever you do, do something. Your dad won’t be around forever; show him you love him now.



Even better, make your destination a surprise.

Point the station wagon toward Union and head north on U.S. Route 1 to the annual Father’s Day party jointly thrown by Sweetgrass Farm Winery & Distillery and Savage Oakes Vineyard & Winery.

Start at Savage Oakes, where you can grab a plate of farm-raised beef and pork barbecue and sample (and buy) artisan cheeses from State of Maine Cheese Co., Coppertail Farm, and the ME Water Buffalo Co.

Fiore Artisan Olive Oils and Vinegars will be there, and Stone Fox Creamery will be making ice cream. Savage Oakes will offer wine, local beer and signature cocktails. The Maine Antique Tractor Club will have lots of its equipment on display, sure to delight machinery-mad dads everywhere.

Next, drive 5 miles through the countryside to Sweetgrass Farm Winery, where Appleton Creamery will be sampling and selling its award-winning goat cheeses. Bring lawn chairs: At 2 p.m. Lauren Crosby will sing songs from her new album, “Back River Beauties.” (Back River also happens to be the name of Sweetgrass’ excellent gin.)

Goat cheese from Appleton Creamery.

On your way home, stop at Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro for a slice of pie. It’s right at the intersection of Route 1 and Route 220, the road to Union. How convenient!


WHERE: Savage Oakes Vineyard and Winery, 174 Barret Hill Road, and Sweetgrass Farm Winery, 347 Carroll Road, both in Union

WHEN: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday

HOW MUCH: At Savage Oakes, admission is free, but barbecue, drinks, beer and glasses of wine will be individually priced. The wine tasting costs $3. Admission is also free at Sweetgrass Farm. A $5 tasting fee (includes the glass) applies for wine and spirits tastings. The concert is free.

INFO: savageoakes.com; sweetgrasswinery.com


Does your father love food, but doesn’t know how to cook? Would it be helpful to have a chef in the kitchen to teach him (and maybe you)?


Patty Roche to the rescue. Roche, an instructor at the Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School in York, will be teaching a Father’s Day cooking class called “Man of the Hour” on Sunday. She’ll teach both of you how to prepare an elegant dinner menu, then you’ll get to eat it.

The menu starts with a watermelon, cucumber and feta salad. The entrée is beef Wellington with spinach, blue cheese and wild mushrooms. Sides are red bliss mashed potatoes with mascarpone and fresh herb butter, and roasted asparagus wrapped in prosciutto and served with grilled lemons. And for dessert? A Texas sheet cake sundae with whipped cream, dark chocolate sea salt caramel sauce and toasted pecans.

WHERE: Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School, York

WHEN: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

HOW MUCH: $65 per person

INFO: stonewallkitchen.com


If your father is interested in both food and world affairs, delay your Father’s Day celebration by two days and take him to the World Refugee Day Cooking Class and Dinner. Chef Lindsay Sterling and Parivash Rohani, a refugee from Iran, will lead the class, cooking chicken with pomegranate-walnut sauce with saffron rice and mint-cucumber salad.

“We all cook together,” Sterling said. “People really like participating, and it’s really fun socially. It’s a good way to meet other people.”

Afterward, the class sits down together for a candlelit dinner and a discussion about different ways to help refugees.

“I know I’m not the only one that feels completely heartbroken when I read the newspaper about what’s happening to people in so many countries around the world,” Sterling said. “This dinner was an opportunity for me to brainstorm with people and come prepared with information about ways people can help.”

If that class doesn’t fit your schedule, Sterling will teach at least one “Immigrant Kitchen” class a month through the fall, winter and spring. Buy a gift certificate at immigrantkitchens.com/store, and she will tuck it into a Father’s Day card and mail it to your father for you.

WHERE: Fork Food Lab, 72 Parris St., Portland


WHEN: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday

HOW MUCH: $43.75 per person

INFO: immigrantkitchens.com/events


If your dad loves oysters, drive him up the coast to oyster nirvana – the Damariscotta River, where millions of Maine’s delectable oysters are grown. Damariscotta River Cruises is offering a Father’s Day special: Fathers sail free when accompanied by a paying guest.

The cruise is the Oyster Farms & Seal Watching Tour, a two-hour excursion that will take you halfway down the river to view seven oyster farms. While you’re learning about the state’s oyster industry, you can buy dad local oysters from the on-board raw bar.


“The scenery is great, the setting’s great,” said Dana Morse, a Maine Sea Grant researcher who works on shellfish aquaculture at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center in Walpole. “The boat’s really comfortable, and the people that operate it – Chip and Olga – they’re just great hosts. They know a lot about the river. They know a lot about the oyster farming, for sure, and they make it fun. I’ve been on that tour a couple of times, and it’s a blast.”

If you want more oysters and fewer seals, plenty of other cruise options begin in July – just buy the tickets and put them in a Father’s Day card. The Oyster, Wine and Champagne Tasting Cruise costs $60 and comes with a wine expert on board. The company also runs an Oyster, Wine and Sake Tasting Cruise. A $55 Beer and Oyster Tasting Tour features Oxbow Brewing Co., and you’ll learn how to shuck oysters and pair them with beer.

WHERE: Damariscotta River Cruises, 47 Main St., Damariscotta

WHEN: Father’s Day cruise sails at 2 p.m. Sunday (Rain date: June 25)

HOW MUCH: Fathers sail free, other adults pay $30 and tickets for children under 12 are $15.

INFO: damariscottarivercruises.com



I know from personal experience (nephew, brother-in-law) plenty of men who love to don a lobsterman’s apron, pull up traps and become a lobsterman for a day. They can do so on a Lucky Catch cruise. Three daily cruises run in summer – one takes you to Portland Head Light, one to Halfway Rock to watch seals, and one to Whitehead Cliff – and all involve pulling lobster traps and learning about the crustaceans. During the one-and-a-half-hour cruise, you’ll learn how to pull up a trap, and band lobster claws without getting your fingers pinched off. You’ll be instructed on the state’s lobster regulations and then put that knowledge to the test, measuring the lobsters you catch and throwing back those that are too small to keep. Lucky Catch experts will teach you about the lobsters’ life cycle and by the time you’re back on land, you’ll be able to tell a male from a female.

Lucky Catch lobster cruise Capt. Dave Laliberte holds a freshly caught lobster in June 2016.

At the end of the cruise you can buy any lobster you caught at wholesale price and either take it home or have it cooked for you at the Portland Lobster Co.

Another fun part of this cruise, if you’re a local, is meeting tourists and seeing them enjoy the life and landscape we too often take for granted. There’s nothing like watching the reaction of a 5-year-old the first time he or she comes face to face with Maine’s favorite wiggly food – and dad may enjoy that pleasure as much as you.

WHERE: Long Wharf, 170 Commercial St., Portland

WHEN: Four to five tours each day, including Father’s Day


HOW MUCH: $35 for adults

INFO: luckycatch.com or at Long Wharf


Many local craft brewers offer tastings and tours of their facilities, and they always have plenty of swag for sale.

Say, for instance, your dad’s favorite brewery is Allagash. Sign him up for a free tour at the Portland brewery, followed by a free tasting. Allagash offers four 3-ounce pours to anyone who visits, and the beers change every day, including some you can only get at the brewery.

Since the brewery tours and tastings are free, save your money to spend on a cap or T-shirt. Allagash even sells their logo on bow ties, belt buckles, socks, soap (yes, soap made with beer), dog leashes, and a cookbook. If Dad is not into swag, buy him a few six packs.


If Allagash is not your dad’s favorite, drive up to Newcastle to visit Oxbow Brewing Co.’s brewery in the woods. Or challenge him to a game of corn hole at Rising Tide Brewing at 103 Fox St. in Portland, where you can take a tour, then treat him to lunch from the Fishin’ Ships food truck while you listen to live music from Native Isles.

WHERE: Most Maine breweries offer tours. The Allagash tour is at 50 Industrial Way, Portland

WHEN: Tours at Allagash are offered every day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. They last about an hour.

HOW MUCH: Tours and tastings are free at Allagash.

INFO: allagash.com or 800-330-5385



If your dad’s a free spirit who doesn’t like adhering to schedules, pack a picnic lunch and head out to one of Maine’s beautiful state parks. The parks are free on Father’s Day, starting at 9 a.m., for anyone with a Maine license plate.

William Wordsworth called picnics “rustic dinners on the cool green ground.” The nice thing about a picnic is it can be ultra casual, or you can dress it up with a few amenities from home – flowers, a tablecloth and real silverware. Since this is dad’s day, try to stock up on his favorite foods, or special items he loves but doesn’t buy for himself very often. Pay a visit to The Cheese Iron in Scarborough and pick out an array of fancy cheeses and charcuterie. Strawberries may be ready for picking this weekend, too. Or visit your favorite gourmet sandwich shop and let them do the sandwich prep.

Is your father the nostalgic sort? If he pines for the fried chicken his grandmother made, see if anyone in the family can give you instructions and surprise him with a taste of his childhood.

Don’t forget to bring along a frisbee, a backgammon board, or a good book.

WHERE: Maine’s state parks, although not all are participating – Baxter State Park and Scarborough Beach State Park are among a handful of parks that will still be charging fees.

WHEN: Sunday



INFO: maine.gov/dacf/parks


How about a leisurely Father’s Day walk through the Old Port, sampling and learning about whiskey from experts you meet at four stops along your route?

A whiskey and cocktail walk takes place in the Old Port on Sunday – or maybe take dad on a Sunset Wine Sail on Casco Bay.

On Sunday, Erica Archer of Wine Wise will lead a tasting and walking tour where you and dad will learn about rye, bourbon, Scotch and Irish whiskey. You’ll get tasting tips and learn how to read labels. Bartenders will teach you a few tricks and whip up a classic Manhattan or other whiskey-based cocktail – you’ll learn how to mix four drinks in all, and the cocktails will be paired with food.

If that class sells out, or your dad is more of a wine guy, Archer, who is a sommelier, is also leading a two-hour Sunset Wine Sail on emerging Spanish wines that leaves from the Maine State Pier Sunday at 6 p.m. You’ll sail on the 74-foot sailboat Frances and get gorgeous views of Casco Bay while simultaneously taking a wine class. Tickets cost $75 at winewiseevents.com


WHERE: Ticket holders for the Whiskey & the Cocktail Walk will be advised where to meet for the first stop of the tour.

WHEN: 2:45-5 p.m. Sunday


INFO: winewiseevents.com

Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MeredithGoad

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