by Christine Liu - 156 Reviews - 111 List
Proudly wearing the title of ?largest town in the state,? Brunswick, Maine, makes for a perfect Boston weekend getaway. Home to Bowdoin College, stellar beer and a staggering collection of eclectic small businesses up and down Maine Street (yep, that's the name), river-hugging Brunswick channels picturesque New England shtick with requisite collegiate quirk. Take a trip for a much-needed escape: The two-and-a-half-hour bus ride from Boston will have you feeling a million miles away.
(Photo: Frontier by Christine Liu)
Updated: August 24, 2010
The triumvirate of good eats seem to be all present: a bustling open kitchen, hyper-seasonal ingredients and an enormous sign propped in the window proudly declaring the preponderance of Korean tacos (made with locally farmed beef short rib, of course). With food-friendly wines and an eclectic menu, this relaxing hidden gem is a gastronome's dream.
Belly up to the tiny but mighty, all-bronze bar in the back, where it's all but natural to get comfy with a glass of wine, small plates of savory seafood and, quite possibly, your close-at-hand companion. A chalkboard sports daily desserts (creme brulee!), if you're still feeling peckish after a bistro steak.
This may be the best college bar ever. Twinkling lights, dozens of beers on draft (you want the Shipyard Chamberlain Pale Ale), Foosball, Big Buck Safari, pool tables and an endless supply of the most buttery and salty popcorn one could stomach. Spill out onto the patio for hazy nicotine and beer-fueled discourse.
Just a hop, skip and jump away from Brunswick (across a postcard-perfect bridge), the Sea Dog brewpub serves its eponymous beer and solid American classics with aplomb. Make a beeline for a seat on the patio, facing the rock-lined riverfront, day ($3 bloody marys during brunch) or night (award-winning Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter in hand).
The sprawling contents of the flea market are simultaneously unnecessary and irresistible, repulsive and transfixing: vintage dolls, battered books, mismatched glassware, refurbished gramophones, costume jewelry, comic books, war-era outerwear, retro electronics. Shopping is best with an open agenda, a sense of humor and a minimal case of compulsive hoarding.