Monday, September 21, 2015

Second National Fall Foliage Week

Welcome to the second, official year of National Fall Foliage Week, which will be held every year on the last Sunday of each September, and lasting a week. I didn't create this Holiday for marketing purposes or even to sell anything. The sole premise behind this observation is to get families together and enjoy nature at its' most beautiful.

Dedicating not only a time in September when families came together for the harvest of the winter crop, but starting on the allocated day of rest, frolic and beauty that was, and is, Sunday. Even during the 17th and 18th centuries, the people of New England put down their items of labor, went to church and spent the remainder of Sundays in repose. Those sunset tinged leaves that blanket the country side are the perfect setting for family chatter as you trapse through the countryside or simply down any tree-lined street. It was a time to relax and find out about your sons or daughters love interests or the gossip spreading through town.

You can smell the cleansing of the air as the atmosphere briskly changes from a sweater to a coat. But above all, the autumnal colors reinvigorated family togetherness, much as it does today. Keeping this splendid time of year alive through a National Holiday/Observance means keeping our past alive and our families together. It is a day when we should all take a walk among those crimson and gold leaves, above us and below, smile and talk to your kids, loved ones or simply to rid yourself of stress. Better yet, gather the family and go apple picking. This is the perfect time of year for some freshly picked apples for baking, canning("putting up" as we say here in New England)or simply eating.

As every generation goes by, we find ourselves with less and less time to do these amazingly simple things. So maybe, just maybe, a little "kick in the pants"(much like my Dad humorously did to me as we walked in the colorful woods if I slowed my pace down)is what we need in order to observe what is truly important in our lives. Beauty, nature and family.

So take at least one day out of this week to take a walk on that path you trod as a child or under the vivid hues of the leafy umbrella that once beckoned our ancestors time of harvest. But don't forget to put that roast in the oven, along with a pie or two in order to keep that amazing, comforting feeling with you as long as possible.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

In A Nutshell

Probably the briefest post I have ever written. Here is the link to all the reviews I finally just finished from my trip to Boothbay Harbor a week ago. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and only hope I am able to attend the Boothbay Harbor Fest for many more years to come.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Welcome Home to Boothbay Harbor

This is the first of many posts and articles I will be writing over the next couple of weeks about a region of Maine that will leave you with an everlasting impression, Boothbay Harbor!

I have been blessed with opportunities that come from my 'kitchen' in ways that the first and second Yankee Chefs(my grandfather and father respectively) were not privy to. Because of my first cookbook, The Yankee Chef, my site and blog, as well as the large and flattering audience that is reached by my online and hard copy presence, I have been sought after as a judge throughout the United States at many festivals and cooking competitions.

I travel extensively with appearances in one genre or another, but nothing is more special than coming home.

One of my greatest pleasures is paying it forward..If there is anything I can do to promote a cause(above and beyond breast cancer awareness), I am more than happy to oblige free of charge, especially when it comes to New England cuisine. I am always available and everyone knows that.

So when the Boothbay Harbor Festival contacts me each year, it really is a "no brainah" that I am on board. And with that unintended pun of a lead-in, let me tell you about a little blip on the map here in Maine that is fast becoming a port of adoration, Boothbay Harbor.

I have literally met thousands of people from just as many backgrounds all over America. But the most genuinely pleasureable and most 'open-armed' are those that stroll the ocean-tinged walkways of this peninsula.

For 2 years, I have yet to find someone who isn't quick on the smile, followed by a sincere greeting.

I have now visited every restaurant in a 5 mile span of the foot bridge that crosses the harbor, connecting East with West. Even in an unofficial capacity and without my pink chefs coat, I was welcomed just as kindly as if I had been there as a food reviewer or judge.

I have shopped, both window and physically, at almost all the shops and store fronts on both sides of this bridge and am constantly floored by the amicable nature of everyone, and I do mean everyone. No exageration needed when one talks of Boothbay Harbor.

No matter the weather, the season or if they woke up on the wrong side of the bed, their shining personalities peek through every cloud.

The Boothbay Harbor Fest is just the emulsion(pardon a kitchen reference here and there by the way)of all goodness and decency that human nature has to offer, all mixed up in a bowl and served hot.(Okay, I will stop with the poetics and puns).

This year, not only did I sample dozens of food items from just as many restaurants, but I was privileged to have been able to see the imagination and obvious knowledge that the local bartenders have when confronted with creating original drinks using Maine alcohol, namely Cold Rivers Blueberry Vodka. This was the most amazing tasting blueberry vodka I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. And when combined with the flair of Maine bartenders in Boothbay Harbor........'Nuff said!

I base most of my opinions on certain towns and the favorability levels on how children are accepted and greeted. This place was beyond words. Although my children will be accompanying me next year, I didn't bring them along this year. But I saw multitudes of youngsters enjoying themselves as much as their parents. And when it comes to feeding the little ones? I didn't come across any restaurant that didn't extend, let alone cater to, all ages. The food was unpretentious, super affordable, simply prepared yet ranking among the finest menus found in any upscale establishment.

The Boothbay Harbor Fest is at the top of my list of events to attend every single year, regardless of my capacity of involvement.
Lori and Steve, my hosts AND the coordinators of this fun event were truly and thoroughly involved(not to mention accessible by all those who needed guidance)and it is with a huge thank you that I extend to them, as well as everyone in this coastal Eden.

So to sum this region and festival up, let me review this in a nutshell.

1. The best food for seafarers and landlubbers alike is found at every turn of the corner, and all within walking distance to each other and shopping.

2. The friendliest and most appreciative people, shop owners and employees found anywhere, hands down!

3. Although it would be very easy for these world class chefs to be pretentious and serve food that is higher priced as well as having unintelligible 10-word names usually found in "la-tee-dah" restaurants, they all cook and present food that is simply prepared, explosive in flavor, admired by adults and relished by children and all priced so that you can still do some shopping.

4. The variety of shops found downtown is varied and are equally as non-pretentious. Believe it or not, I even found a part for my vehicle on a Sunday at the local marina.

5. The Scenery. Every single business is either on the water or within a few dozen foot steps. The smell of the ocean literally follows you from store front to shop. Fabulous!


In closing? I could go on and on but I would only be repeating what I have already said, but in more flattering terms.

If you are in Maine during Labor Day every year........

Come home to Boothbay Harbor
It's Just That Simple!