Travel Advisory – The Daniel and Brunswick, Maine
Fall has always been my favorite season. I love waking up on crisp, cool mornings, the air smelling of sunshine and falling leaves. Few things are better than hiking through the woods with colorful autumn foliage as a backdrop, or picking apples and pumpkins at a nearby farm. Fall’s mild days are also ideal for exploring new places, especially destinations where summer is the high season for visitors. You get the multiple advantages of gorgeous weather, greater hotel availability, shorter lines and fewer crowds.
One of my new favorite places to visit during the autumn months is Brunswick, Maine. Home to Bowdoin College and less than an hour drive from Portland, Brunswick offers visitors a large and walkable downtown that’s brimming with interesting shops and restaurants, a handful of small museums, live theater, and nearby opportunities for hiking, nature tours and canoeing.
Brunswick also is home to The Daniel, a recently renovated 24-room hotel located just a five-minute drive from both Bowdoin and downtown. The hotel offers comfortable and modern guest rooms and a daily complimentary breakfast that features freshly baked pastries, fresh fruit and hard-boiled eggs. Coffee can be taken to go.
The Daniel’s in-house restaurant, Coast Bar + Bistro, has an upscale, original menu featuring ingredients sourced from local farmers, fishermen and cheesemakers. Menu items are changed seasonally, but Maine staples, including lobster and other types of seafood, are always available in one form or another.
The restaurant also has a nice selection of microbrewed beers, wines and craft cocktails.
Popular with hotel guests and locals alike, Coast Bar + Bistro treats diners to live music on Thursday and Friday nights. Be sure not to miss happy hour (3 to 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. to close, daily) for great deals on drinks and appetizers.
During a recent visit to The Daniel, my daughter, Madelaine, and I stayed in a suite that included separate bedroom and living areas, and a large bathroom with a soaking tub and a walk-in shower. For an appetizer at Coast Bar + Bistro, we shared the kale chips (deep fried and sprinkled with sea salt). Though the dish was too large for us to finish, the chips were surprisingly good. For dinner, I had the shrimp and lobster pasta, delicious in a lemony butter sauce. Madelaine’s steak frites came to the table cooked just as she requested. There weren’t any leftovers.
In downtown Brunswick, we browsed the farmers market on the town green (Tuesdays and Fridays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Nov. 24) and visited a number of shops, including Bull Moose, a store that sells CDs, books, video games and movies. Thanks to Bowdoin’s students, no doubt, the store has a great selection of bargain-priced used books and CDs. We could have perused the racks for hours.
We also visited Cool As A Moose, a Maine-themed gift shop that has everything from T-shirts and sweatshirts to jewelry, shoes and handbags. Nest, an upscale home decor boutique, sells unique domestic items from furniture and dishware to rugs, wall hangings, books and stationery supplies. Many other downtown shops looked great, but we weren’t able to get to all of them before we ran out of time.
A stroll around Bowdoin’s picturesque campus is a relaxing afternoon activity any time of year. While you’re there, you can visit the Bowdoin College Museum of Art (free admission with suggested donation) or the school’s Peary MacMillan Arctic Museum & Arctic Studies Center, which was founded in honor of Bowdoin alumni, Admirals Robert E. Peary (1877) and Donald B. MacMillan (1898). Admission is free.
Brunswick Visitor Center: (207) 721-0999 / BrunswickDowntown.org
The Daniel ($119-$319): (207) 373-1824 / TheDanielHotel.com
Bowdoin College: (207) 725-3000 / Bowdoin.edu