For our last Travelin’ Maine(rs) column, we decided to return to Rockland. With its wonderful art galleries and shops, nice inns and great restaurants, it’s been a favorite destination of ours for the entire seven years we’ve written this column.

We spent two days enjoying the city, and stayed at the LimeRock Inn, which is one of our favorite places in Maine.

The inn’s owners, Frank Isganitis and PJ Walter, are the friendliest and most hospitable hosts. Their historic inn is gorgeous (their Christmas decorations were amazing), their rooms are super comfortable, and I would travel a long distance to enjoy Frank’s tasty breakfasts. I don’t know another inn owner who, despite being very busy, would visit with his guests until 10 a.m.

We also like the fact that you can walk from the inn to Main Street, where we spent some time at the new art gallery — Center for Maine Contemporary Art — where their new display, “Materiality,” is fascinating. The friendly staff was helpful, and we were especially impressed with the Open Art room, in which kids can visit at any time to do art for free. Our grandson Vishal has enjoyed time there. They also offer art classes for kids and adults.

We also visited the Island Institute’s store, which offers interesting items, and one of our favorite bookstores, hello hello, where owner Lacy offers both used and news books. Lacy grew up in Readfield.

For our final travel column meal, we returned to Cafe Miranda, where Kerry Altiero and his staff have created a unique restaurant, with a long menu (Kerry only adds things and never takes anything off the menu). Lauren, who greeted us on arrival, said she’d worked in restaurants in other states, and noted “This is by far the best place I’ve ever worked,” speaking of everything from the food to the staff.

They offer an interesting beer list, with brews from all over the world including Sri Lanka and the Czech Republic, plus lots of Maine breweries. I almost always have the Reuben here, but I was determined to try something new. That turned out to be the Wee Mat Pies ($12), housemade fried corn empanadas stuffed with house brined and smoked pulled pork, potato, black bean and tomato, with salsa, avocado and sour cream. Yummy doesn’t begin to describe this, which I devoured with enthusiasm.


Visiting the LimeRock Inn around Christmas is really a treat. Frank and PJ have a collection of hundreds of nutcrackers, including an array of Santa nutcrackers in the dining room. The doors and stairways are rimmed in fresh greens. If this doesn’t put you in the Christmas spirit, nothing will.

The Island Cottage room at the LimeRock will likely lift your spirits the moment you step inside. Its pale yellow and blue colors with French doors opening to the backyard do indeed feel like a cottage. And though it was a winter scene outside, it felt like a summer getaway inside.

Frank prepared an elegant breakfast for us, including fresh fruit, warm croissants, carafes of orange juice and hot coffee, and a light fluffy bacon and Swiss cheese omelet. The food was as great as was the company. We enjoyed talking with Frank and guests from Freeport, which stretched into a leisurely morning.

Cafe Miranda is a special eatery. It was one of the first places we visited when we started this column, so it seems appropriate that it is the one we end with.

If you are looking for a wide choice of food options, this is your place. Kerry Altiero’s creative energy has inspired some unique dishes. We visited for lunch this trip, and I noted that the lunch menu alone is four pages long.

I asked for the lightest beer they have, and our server steered me toward Diver, an English Pale Ale by Lake St. George brewery in Liberty. I liked the fact that you could order a half-pint glass.

It is very hard for me to come here and not order the Reuben or the Fire Roasted Greens. But I searched for something new, something different. In the section of dips and spreads I found my answer. The wood-roasted Mushrooms and Gorgonzola plate came with a basket of the cafe’s incredible housemade focaccia bread. I also asked for a small order of hand-cut fries with a spicy ranch dipping sauce.

What a great lunch. Those crispy fries were just as amazing as I remembered (they add roasted garlic), and a small order was actually quite big. As I was enjoying my meal, the two women at the next table were over-the-moon happy with everything they ordered. They, too, were crazy about the fries, and the one who ordered the burger exclaimed, “This is by far the best burger I have ever eaten in my life!” As Kerry might say, “It’s just part of that Cafe Miranda magic.”

Going, going, gone

This is our final Travelin’ Maine(rs) column. We have lots of people to thank, including the newspaper, for giving us this wonderful opportunity that we have enjoyed for seven years. We also want to thank Sharon Wood, who did such a great job setting our column up in the paper each week. And we are so grateful for the wonderful response from readers.

We will occasionally post travel columns on my website,, and will continue to maintain the “Best of Maine” section there, where you can choose a town and get all the columns we’ve written about those places. We encourage you to continue to enjoy all that Maine has to offer, and to enjoy your travels in and outside our state. We certainly will!