A Machias Getaway

The Mavens are always a little skeptical when we read national travel articles singing the praises of a trip Down East. In general, the restaurant picks are horrifying, the hotel choices are questionable and the "Awwww, look at the locals and their little fishing boats" tone makes us roll our eyes and make gagging noises.

Sunday's Boston Globe article and slide show about a visit to Machias and Lubec in winter did none of that. OK, we didn't agree with everything, but anyone ballsy enough to write about visiting Machias when it's cold out deserves some props. Did it make us want to go to Machias? Hell, no. Did it feel real? Desolately so. Through the lens of talented Maine writer and photog Jonathan Levitt, Washington County looks gritty and cold and uninviting, which it is after the foliage fades.

We only have one beef with the story, and it has nothing to do with Levitt and everything to do with the season: If you're going to make the drive Down East, wait until spring and head straight to the Riverside Inn (pictured above) in East Machias. It's a B&B, overlooking the river, and if you can get past the Victorian decor, it is hands down the best place to stay in the area. It's also the best place to eat in the area — sorry, Helen's. For lunch, you can't beat the sandwiches at Fat Cat Cafe (50 Main St., Machias, 255-6777) and for dinner, the Artist's Cafe (3 Hill St., Machias, 255-8900) is another excellent choice.

And while you're waiting for spring to arrive, visit Jonathan Levitt's Web site and have a look at his stunning photos, which have recently been exhibited at CMCA in Rockland and Rabelais in Portland.


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