Friday, November 30, 2018

Hill’s Seafood Co. and an Iconic Ice Cream Stand – Rockland ME

The seventh day of our summer time New England/northeastern USA adventure was coming to a close.  Time to select a restaurant for dinner.  I had selected 4 restaurants in Rockland as dinner possibilities but given where we were, we decided to focus on seafood…

This is Hill’s Seafood Co. Restaurant and Bar.  This popular seasonal restaurant is located just a couple of blocks from the center of town. 

The bar was busy when we arrived.  I started with my usual Miller Lite ($4.00) but Laurie sampled a Geary’s Riverside IPA. ($5.45)

The inside dining areas were fairly busy when we arrived…

Hill’s Seafood Company’s deck/outside dining area seems to be really popular.  I like the fact that it’s totally covered shielding customers from inclement weather but just as importantly, from the glare of the sun. Plus, this is where we dined!

We both started out with a cup of Hill’s Clam Chowder. ($5.00/$8.00 bowl) It wasn’t the best ever but it was very good with lots of clams in the creamy broth.
Another ‘soup’ option was the Lobster Stew. ($9.00 cup/$16.00 bowl) 

We were tempted to order an appetizer too, but for once common sense took hold.  Appealing options included: Not-Your-Typical Calamari (spicy) ($9.00); Finley’s Flatbread with Alfredo sauce, shrimp, lobster, garlic and mozzarella ($14.00), and Crabby Crab Dip ($9.00).

For my entrée, I went for this sizable and lovely bowl of Seafood Pasta Alfredo. ($26.00) It wasn’t inexpensive but it was loaded with fresh scallops, lobster and shrimp with the Alfredo sauce tossed with penne pasta.  It was excellent!

Laurie continued with her lobster themed dining objective for this trip.  However, she did opt for a sandwich, one that you just don’t see in East Tennessee.  This was her Lobster Grilled Cheese! ($20.00) She thought that it was very good…but she now knows that she prefers an unadorned old fashioned lobster roll. 

We definitely enjoyed our first dinner on the Maine coast!  Hills Seafood Co. Restaurant and Bar is located at 266 Main Street in Rockland.  This restaurant is currently closed for the season.  Phone: 207-593-8400.  Their website with their expansive menu can be found at   

Since we usually stay at Hampton Inns where possible or practical, I don’t usually show any photos of them or even talk about them.  In this case however, location is everything!  Our hotel was in Thomaston which adjoins Rockland.  The reason that this is a great location is readily apparent in the next photo…

This is Dorman’s Dairy Dream…a local icon serving legendary ice cream. Plus, directly across the street from our Hampton Inn! I know that it’s hard to believe after seeing our dinners, but we both had an excellent Dorman’s Milk Shake to top off our day! 

Dorman’s is a family run business that’s been around since 1951…67 years!  Five generations of the family have worked here.  Every evening, even after dark and in rainy weather too, there was a line outside Dorman’s.  We would highly recommend this fun and tasty stop for young and old!  

Dorman’s Dairy Dream is at 189 New County Road in Thomaston Maine.  Phone: 207-390-0121.  You can check out Dorman’s is on-line on Facebook at  Despite it being late fall when I wrote this post, Dorman’s was still open daily (except Sunday) from 12 Noon until 9 PM.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for some fresh seafood and quality ice cream!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Friends, Family and Birds…

Switching my focus away from our summer time adventures, I thought that I’d just recap a few happenings and miscellaneous items from the last 2 + months…

This was daughter-in-law Amy’s photo of her two boys (our grandsons) when they got all dressed up for their school’s homecoming celebration.  Emmett Lee just turned 15 in November and David III will be 18 in December.  Smart and in our opinion, good looking too!

In October, Laurie’s sister Bonnie with her husband Bill, came to visit us here in East Tennessee.  Laurie took this photo of them by our front door.

We were lucky enough to have another chance to go for a boat ride on Tellico Lake.  Several communities border the lake including Tellico Village, Foothills Pointe, Rarity Bay and Wind River.  That equals a lot of docks and marinas along various sections of the 351 mile shoreline.

The captain of our vessel was Norm and his first mate was his better half, Linda.  They are our frequent dining buddies!  Norm had just had his pontoon boat refurbished and we were on the ‘maiden’ voyage.

Several golf courses also border Tellico Lake.   They make for beautiful views, whether from the courses or from the water. 

This humongous mansion in Rarity Bay sits high on a hill overlooking the lake.  Rarity Bay is a gated boating, golf and horse owner’s development.

This has to be the biggest houseboat that I’ve ever seen on either Tellico or Ft. Loudoun Lake.  Those 2 lakes are connected via a canal that was cut between them when Tellico Lake was completed.  

We stopped for an early dinner at Tanasi Grill which has docks on Tellico Lake.  Tanasi Grill is part of Tellico Village, an open community, so it’s easily accessed by the general public.  As night approached, it certainly was a beautiful ride back to the dock at the end of our boating experience…

Laurie captured a nice photo of this turkey in our front house.  It seemed to be telling her that this was personal property!

Another year with our hummingbirds…not easy to photograph though!  It drives Laurie crazy when they fight with each other over control of the feeder.

Another special feathered visitor at our feeder was this rose breasted grosbeak.  He hung around for several weeks in early to mid-fall, fueling up for his move south.

…and then our earlier visitor brought back a few friends!  We have a flock wandering our area that has numbered as many as 3 dozen of these big birds.

Another big event was the big 70th birthday party for Charlie.  Friends Charlie and his wife Karen were one of the couples we met first when we retired and moved to East Tennessee.

The party featured a top notch live band!  Charlie and Karen’s sons, Brad and Steve, had been under contract with Disneyworld at the Epcot Center for several years, performing as the “British Revolution”.  For this event, the boys teamed up with some musician friends that they’d played with before and came up from Florida for their dad’s big birthday.  What nice sons!

They decided to call this group the ‘Re-Union Jacks’…cute, don’t you think?!  In the photo Brad is at the far left and and Steve is at front at the right.

Everyone was taking photos.  Charlie had asked someone at each table to take photos of the couples at the table and many of us took lots of additional pictures too… However, there was an actual ‘official’ professional photographer at work too, Karen and Charlie’s son Brad’s wife, Courtney. 

The party was held in the lower level of the Tellico Village Yacht Club and the Yacht Club’s food service operation provided a nice buffet dinner for the crowd.  FYI, the Yacht Club features an upscale restaurant with great views that is open to the public.  Learn more about The Blue Heron Restaurant at   

Despite the fact that most residents of Tellico Village and the majority of the folks at Charlie’s big birthday party are retired, this photo proves that they are a lively active group!  They especially liked the old-time rock and roll music!

This is local legend, DJ Lou!  He’s a retired postal employee from Maine who has spent the last 9 years performing as a DJ on Friday nights at the Yacht Club as well as for a plethora of local parties and other events.  As one of Charlie’s friends, Lou served as the emcee for the evening.  Lou is a high energy guy, that’s for sure!   

One of the couples sitting with us for the party took this photo of Laurie and yours truly.  I actually smiled a little!  It was a fun time and we loved the music!  Happy Birthday Charlie and thanks for the invite! 

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by to see what’s been going on!

Take Care, Big Daddy 

Monday, November 26, 2018

To the Maine Coast!

Following our stop at the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray Maine, I was ready to ‘sprint’ along back roads to the Maine coast for our 5 night stay along the shore. 

However, fate in the form of my better half intervened...slowing me down a little…

Laurie spotted the Barn on 26 Antiques on ME Hwy. 26 shortly after we left the wildlife park… Given how attractive and inviting the building and grounds were, plus the fact that a field of horses was right next door, there was no way that we weren’t stopping to take a look!  The owners were lovely people, Laurie got her horse fix and she made a small purchase.

The Barn on 26 Antiques is located at 361 Shaker Road (ME 26) in Gray Maine.  Phone: 207-657-3470.  Check out their website and some of their offerings at 

…and then we were back on the road again!

I pulled off US Hwy. 1 at Bath Maine to take this photo of the old Carlton Bridge (1927) and the new Sagadahoc Bridge (2000), both which cross the Kennebec River.  In 2000, vehicular traffic was transferred to the Sagadahoc Bridge with the Carlton Lift Bridge continuing to be used by the Maine Eastern Railroad.  US Hwy. 1 used to cross the river on the upper deck of the old bridge.  The new bridge is high enough, (75 feet clearance), that boats can pass underneath unobstructed.  Its 2,972 feet long…


·         Abenaki Indians called this area Sagadahoc, meaning “mouth of big river”.

·         Settlement at Sagadahoc (Bath) took place ca. 1660 when the land was taken from an Indian ‘sagamore’ (paramount chief) known as Robinhood.

·         Most of Bath was settled by immigrants from Bath England.

·         Bath is renowned for shipbuilding.  It began in 1743 with the construction of 2 ships.  Since then, about 5,000 vessels have been launched in the area.  At one time there were more than 200 shipbuilding firms operating here…

What the heck!!??  Now that’s an attention getter!  You know that you’re in Maine when you pass a restaurant with a gigantic lobster on the roof… We didn’t stop but Laurie decided then and there what she was having for dinner!

FYI, the Taste of Maine Restaurant has been owned and operated by the same family since 1978…40 years!  They are located at just a little east of Bath at 161 Main Street in Woolwich Maine.  Phone: 207-443-4554.  Website:

This is a view of US Hwy. 1 through downtown Wiscasset Maine.  That long bridge in the photo crosses the tidal Sheepscot River.  Wiscasset was first settled in 1663 but it was abandoned during the French and Indian Wars and King Philip’s (aka. Massasiot) War in 1675.  The town was resettled ca. 1730.


·         King Philip’s War was a deadly affair for both sides.  In little more than a year, 12 of the region’s towns were destroyed and many others were damaged.  The economy of Plymouth and Rhode Island Colonies was ruined and their population was decimated.  More than half of New England’s towns were attacked by Indians.  While roughly 1,000 settlers were killed or injured, 3,000 Indians suffered the same fate. 

As we neared the Donald E. Davey Bridge over the Sheepscot River, we couldn’t miss Ed’s Eats, a take-out restaurant with a line that seemed to go on forever!  As it turns out, this restaurant has been featured in more than 20 magazines and newspapers and it’s been the subject of several television newscasts, including Sunday Morning with Bill Geist.

What we didn’t know, other than that it was obviously very popular, was that it bills itself as the World’s Best Lobster Shack!  This family run business serves more than lobster rolls but I thought that I’d just describe their version of this New England specialty.

Ed’s Eats serves their lobster rolls without mayonnaise, but does offer a side of butter or mayonnaise if requested.  Each roll contains the meat from 2 claws and a whole split lobster tail over the top! 

The website doesn’t provide prices.  We didn’t get back here because a little further down the road in another town, traffic in August was horrendous and we didn’t want to backtrack. 

Ed’s Eats is located at 42 Water Street in Wiscasset Maine.  They are currently closed for the season.  Phone: 207-882-6128.  Website:

If my research is correct, these 2 vessels are standard United State Coast Guard 47-foot motor lifeboats.  These boats are based at the Coast Guard Station in the harbor at Rockland Maine.  The 47-foot motor lifeboats are first response rescue vessels designed for high seas, wind, surf and heavy weather conditions.

These boats will withstand the worst possible conditions at sea and can effect a rescue in the most challenging sea based environment.  These vessels, built by Textron Marine and Land Systems in Slidell Louisiana, are self-bailing, self-righting and almost unsinkable.  They can also cruise for long distances despite their size.  If the information is current, 227 of these boats, each with a 4 person crew, are now in service with the Coast Guard.

To learn more about these amazing motor lifeboats, you can go to  For a short video of these amazing boats in action, you can go to:

Rockland has a very busy harbor.  The town is located around Rockland Harbor on Penobscot Bay.  Abenaki Indians called this place “Catawamteak” meaning “great landing place”.  The Harbor is protected from Penobscot Bay and the Gulf of Maine by a long breakwater that’s tipped with a lighthouse.

The town’s working waterfront remains.  There are plenty of fishermen and workboat captains still using the wharfs near downtown.  In addition there are several marinas that cater to all types of pleasure craft.  Among other events, Rockland’s public landing hosts the Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors Show as well as the Maine Lobster Festival.  Lobster is the town’s major export…

No…this isn’t our chartered yacht!  The Freedom is apparently based in Newport Rhode Island but the name is too common to easily learn more.  I did find a yacht that looked like this that is available for lease.  It was a 120 foot long Broward yacht that can serve 9 guests.  If this is the same yacht, you could rent her at a starting rate of “only” $49,500 a week!

Rockland is also the departure point for the Maine State Ferry Service to the Islands of Penobscot Bay.  It’s a fairly busy ferry terminal with regular service to Vinalhaven, North Haven and Matinicus. 

The ferry in the photo is the Captain E. Frank Thompson, and along with the Captain Charles Philbrook, she makes the run from Rockland to Vinalhaven and back.  The Thompson is the newest of the 4 ferry boats based in Rockland, having replaced an older boat back in 2012.  The Thompson is 154 feet long, weighs 494 tons and she can carry 22 vehicles plus 250 passengers.  She was built in Mobil Alabama…

The ferry ride to Vinalhaven covers 15 miles and it takes 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Rockland to North Haven is 12.5 miles and it takes 1 hour and 10 minutes.  The longest and least frequent trip is to Matinicus.  It’s 23 miles one way and it takes 2 hours and 15 minutes.  I had another boat ride in mind and with only 4 full days in the area, there was too much else to do so we skipped this adventure.

The other ship of note in Rockland’s harbor was the Independence, one of the small cruise ships operated by American Cruise Lines.  The Cruise Line operates 11 small ships on routes including New England, the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, Southeast USA, the Mississippi River and a number of themed cruises. 

The Independence is an American registered 104 passenger coastal cruise ship.  She offers several cruises during the year including Chesapeake Bay, East Coast Inland Passage, Historic South and Golden Isles, Hudson River, Maine Coast and Harbors, Mid-Atlantic Inland Passage and a New England Islands Cruise.
This ship was built in 2010 by the Chesapeake Shipbuilding Company based in Salisbury Maryland.  The Independence is 194 feet long with a draft of only 11.3 feet.  She has 52 staterooms, 40 of which have balconies.  The ship’s crew consists of 27 personnel.  

For much more information about cruises on this ship including costs involved, you can go to:

That’s all for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, November 23, 2018

Smokey’s Pizza – Maryville Tennessee

…another break from our summertime New England adventures.

We’d gone over to Maryville in order for our Hyundai dealer to correct an issue that was covered by Hyundai.  When they were done fixing the car, it was time for lunch.  Where to eat?

Our friends Norm and Linda have tried more restaurants in the greater Knoxville area than anyone else we know…including ourselves!  We were confident that they hadn’t ever dined at Smokey’s Pizza though… Linda doesn’t like to eat in restaurants that are attached to gas stations!

The kitchen at Smokey’s is pretty much a basic bare bones operation.  Counter space to build the pizzas, storage for ingredients, a pizza oven…and stacks of pizza boxes ready to go along with some insulated delivery bags.

The posted specials show some real advantages in ordering for a crowd or a hungry family.  It’s hard to beat 5 large 1-topping pizzas for only $30.00!
The menu revealed other bargains.  For example, on Mondays you can get $2.00 off any burger.  When you consider that an 8 oz. burger with fries is only $7.99 in the first place, this is a great deal.  Similar deals for sub sandwiches, spaghetti dinners, Stromboli/Calzone and large beverages are offered every weekday…

Like the kitchen, the dining area is pretty basic.  The chairs match and there is lots of natural light but the décor is non-existent as befits a low cost operation that can afford to offer deals to its customers…

We decided that we’d order an appetizer so we chose this basket of 10 Sweet Chili Chicken Wings. ($11.99) They looked good…and these nice big wings were very good!

We decided to order a large pizza and take some home for lunch or dinner the next day.  We chose this 14” beauty with pepperoni and Italian sausage. ($12.99) The crust was thin enough to make Laurie happy and the meat had plenty of flavor.  We were very pleased and we will return.

It turned out that we were served by the owner’s son.  He told us that his dad owns 3 Smokey’s locations in Maryville but that this was the first one he’d opened.  FYI, in addition to the items already mentioned, the menu also includes salads, gyros, quesadillas, pasta, appetizers and desserts.

This Smokey’s Pizza location can be found at 2106 West Lamar Alexander Parkway in Maryville Tennessee.  Phone: 865-983-4244.  Smokey’s website is at 

I thought that pizza would provide readers with an appropriate break from turkey, cranberry sauce, yams, mashed potatoes, gravy and pumpkin pie… We hope that you had a great Thanksgiving!

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for lunch!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave