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Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: November 19, 2014

Dining Guide: 5 restaurants worth the drive from Portland for Thanksgiving

Those who don’t want to cook and serve the holiday feast at home have plenty of options in and around Portland. If you want to make more of a day of it, however, consider heading out of town to one of these coastal or mountain destinations. And if you’d rather not drive home afterwards, they also have guest rooms.

Written by: Susan Axelrod

For more Maine restaurants open for the holiday, see our Thanksgiving Guide.

The Lucerne Inn

The dining room at Lucerne Inn overlooks Phillips Lake. Courtesy photo

The dining room at Lucerne Inn overlooks Phillips Lake. Courtesy photo

217 Main Rd., Dedham | 207-843-5123 | | $25.95 per person/$12.95 kids 10 and under
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Lucerne Inn has welcomed travelers for nearly 200 years. Overlooking Phillips Lake and the mountains, the inn is halfway between Ellsworth and Bangor, a 2 hour and 10-minute drive from Portland. On Thanksgiving, a buffet menu will be offered, with seatings at 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. In addition to roast turkey with all the trimmings, offerings include a salad bar with shrimp cocktail, soups, lasagna and baked stuffed haddock with lobster cream sauce.

Hartstone Inn

The Hartstone Inn. Courtesy photo

The Hartstone Inn. Courtesy photo

41 Elm St., Camden | 207-236-4259 | | $55 per person
In the center of charming Camden village, the Victorian-era Hartstone Inn is a romantic getaway, an hour and 45 minutes from Portland. Owner and chef Michael Salmon is well known both for what he serves in the inn’s dining room and his weekend cooking school. His five-course Thanksgiving menu begins with Maine lobster and portabello mushroom tartlet and finishes with pumpkin souffle. There are two seatings: 2 and 5 p.m. The inn also offers a Thanksgiving package with two nights accommodations, breakfast, Champagne and housemade chocolates.

Bethel Inn & Resort

The Bethel Inn Resort. Courtesy photo

The Bethel Inn & Resort. Courtesy photo

21 Broad St., Bethel | 207-824-2175 | | $37.95 per person/$19.95 children 5-12/ free for kids under 4
Now in its 100th year, The Bethel Inn is a full-scale resort set on 200 acres in the White Mountains, housing Sunday River skiers in the winter, golfers and hikers in the summer.  Sunday River will be open for Thanksgiving Weekend, so expect the inn to be busy with families. A buffet Thanksgiving feast is offered in the main dining room from 1 to 5 p.m., with roast turkey, roast steamship round of beef, and Maine crabmeat stuffed sole, chilled seafood, a variety of salads and sides, and desserts. Overnight packages start at $99. The inn is about an hour and 35 minutes from Portland.

The Brunswick Hotel & Tavern

The Tavern at The Brunswick Hotel. Courtesy photo

The Tavern at The Brunswick Hotel. Courtesy photo

4 Noble St., Brunswick | 837-6565 | | $32 per person/seniors $24/kids 12 and under $14/ free for kids 5 and under
Just 30 minutes from Portland, this contemporary yet cozy inn sits across the street from the campus of Bowdoin College. From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. chef David Pendexter is offering an all-you-can-eat menu, served family-style, as well as a single-serving dinner. Entree choices are roast turkey, ham with pineapple glaze or tofurky, accompanied by traditional sides such as mashed potatoes and green bean casserole. The single-serving option is $24 per person, $20 for seniors, $14 for kids 12 and under.

York Harbor Inn

The pub at York Harbor Inn. Courtesy photo

The pub at York Harbor Inn. Courtesy photo

480 York St., York Harbor | 363-5119 | | $35 per person/ 1/2 price for children under 12
Spend Thanksgiving with a view of the ocean at one of Southern Maine’s oldest hostelries. About 50 minutes from Portland, York Harbor was once a grand summer resort on the scale of Bar Harbor; the inn recalls the gracious charms of that era. Chef Gerald Bonsey oversees two options for Thanksgiving: a buffet in the 1637 dining room and York Ballroom from 11:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., or a 3-course meal with dessert buffet from noon to 6 p.m. in the cozy Ships Cellar Pub ($29.95 per person). At the buffet, prime rib, baked stuffed haddock and seafood Newburg are among the dishes served alongside roast turkey; the selection of sides includes oyster dressing and cranberry-nut salad with maple-mustard vinaigrette.

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