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Maine is famed for more than lobster rolls and an epic moose population; it's also the largest producer of wild blueberries in the world. Here, our guide to the ultimate blueberry road trip along Maine's rocky coast, from Kennebunkport to Acadia, pancakes to cocktails.
Maine is famed for more than lobster rolls and an epic moose population; it's also the largest producer of wild blueberries in the world. Here, our guide to the ultimate blueberry road trip along Maine's rocky coast, from Kennebunkport to Acadia National Park, featuring incredible pies, buckles, ice creams and cocktails.
The Spot: Mabel's Lobster Claw, Kennebunkport
The Dish: Blueberry pie
Located in idyllic Kennebunkport, Mabel's is a Maine institution. While dishes like scallop-stuffed baked lobster and über-local lobster rolls are the main draw, the real speciality is blueberry pie, on the menu since Mabel first opened her doors in 1952. The restaurant serves over 1,200 pies every summer to locals (Kennebunkport resident George H. W. Bush is a regular) and visitors alike. The secret to their slices? Mabel's jam-packs each pie with an extra helping of local blueberries so that they overflow with juicy berry filling.
The Spot: 50 Local, Kennebunk
The Dish: Blueberry chutney
The menu at 50 Local changes daily, but fresh local blueberries, picked from bushes in chef de cuisine Brendan Levin's own yard, are almost always on there in summer. The blueberry chutney, made with fresh berries, champagne vinegar, honey and lemon, is stellar with local pork loin, kale and snow peas, but it pops up all over, from a cheese plate to scallops to chocolate cremeux.
The Spot: Vena's Fizz House, Portland
The Drink: Blueberry margarita
Vena's Fizz House in Portland specializes in hand-crafted, nonalcoholic tonics and bubbles, including a blueberry lime rickey and a blueberry cream fizz. But they also have stiffer options like an outstanding summer blueberry margarita made with house-made blueberry-infused tequila, dry curaçao, lime juice and—for a triple hit of blueberry—blueberry bitters from Sweetgrass Farm in Union, Maine.
The Spot: Salt Water Farm Cafe & Market, Rockport
The Dish: Blueberry buckle
Annemarie Ahearn, founder of Salt Water Farm Cooking School, spent her childhood summers on a Maine blueberry farm, so it's no wonder blueberries find their way onto the menu at her Rockport restaurant. While the menu constantly changes to reflect what's in season, blueberry buckle is a constant, made with low-bush wild berries harvested from local farms and nearby mountaintops.
The Spot: Jordan's Restaurant, Bar Harbor
The Dish: Blueberry pancakes with wild blueberry syrup
Everything at Jordan's Restaurant has blueberries on it, from the wooden sign out front to the thick white coffee mugs. They have blueberry Belgian waffles and blueberry muffins, but are most renowned for their wild blueberry pancakes, which have been made from the same recipe for 39 years and are available at any hour of the day. If the blueberries in the pancakes aren't enough, try topping them with a locally made wild blueberry syrup.
The Spot: Mount Desert Island Ice Cream, Mount Desert Island
The Dish: Blueberry sour cream ice cream
Named by Food & Wine as one of the best ice cream spots in the U.S., this destination ice creamery mixes up nontraditional flavors like Indian Pudding and Blackstrap Banana on Mount Desert Island, with two locations in the small island town of Bar Harbor. Also on the menu is the perfect finish for a blueberry road trip: a scoop of sweet blueberry-sour cream ice cream. (President Obama once stopped in, but he opted for coconut.)