Plum Island Beachcoma reopened in 2011 after a seven-year hiatus to serve American favorites in a laid-back, beach-themed setting and continue a tradition as a local hangout that stretches back to the 1950s. Surrounded by bright yellow walls and beach paraphernalia, diners watch sports on flat-screen TVs and dig into lobster-salad sandwiches with sliced avocado and 8-ounce Angus-beef burgers. The beachy vibe is carried on in entrees such as fish tacos and coconut-crusted chicken, made with ingredients plucked from Hawaii's fabled coconut-chicken trees.
Warm lighting blankets the rustic interior of Riverside Lounge, creating a relaxing retreat for enjoying a draft beer, cocktail, or full meal. The flickering flames of the fireplace invite couples to cozy up beside it as they share portions of lightly battered calamari and lobster mac and cheese. The bar, meanwhile, blends chic woodwork with brick walls and an inviting atmosphere where patrons can relax and sip one of 17 draft beers, a seasonal wine, or a pitcher of white or red sangria. A collection of sports-showing TVs decorates the bar like wreaths on a door, while outside the view offers the natural splendor of the Powwow River Waterfall, which flows adjacent to the lounge’s canopied tables and violin-playing sparrows.
The American BBQ, which was featured on "The Phantom Gourmet," has its cooks dry-rub each cut of their meat with a house blend of spices and seasonings before placing them in a wood smoker for up to 16 hours. Sliced beef brisket, pulled pork, and pulled chicken fill sandwiches or rest on plates next to sides such as southern greens or homemade potato chips. Classic memphis-style pork ribs arrive at the table in a third rack, half rack, or full rack, which diners can fashion into makeshift xylophones after their meals. Inside both locations, rustic adornments dapple the walls, from vintage Coca-Cola signs to weathered road signs.
Winemaking began as a hobby for Sweet Baby Vineyard founder Lewis Eaton. In the summer, he and his family found themselves travelling to local farms to pick fresh strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and apples, which later made it into Lewis’ wines. Those creations later became the foundation for Sweet Baby Vineyard's now-expansive wine varieties. Today, the winery grows four grape varietals and the tasting room welcomes visitors for complimentary tastings of many of Sweet Baby’s creations, such as bartlett pear wine, the eternally embarrassed blush, and dry red.
The chefs at Off the Vine Tuscan Grille stretch the Italian border all the way to Massachusetts, encapsulating their warm eatery in the Mediterranean’s Old World flavors. Their menu devotes an entire section to flatbread pizzas crafted from housemade dough and sauces, including Nick's pie flecked with grilled shrimp and roasted garlic. While mouths water over penne ala bolognese, slow roasted osso buco, and dinner bells rung after psychological experimentation, eyes feast on games broadcast from TVs hung atop a full bar.
Ashworth by the Sea is a picturesque getaway spot, enhanced by views of the ocean and imbued with a relaxing, traditional New England vibe. Rooms can fit two city escapees or suburban fugitives, and may come with two queen or one king-sized bed, plus a balcony ideal for silent, romantic stargazing or pedantically pointing out made-up constellations. On the night of your arrival, you’ll receive a $20 voucher toward dinner for two in Breakers Restaurant, which features coast-appropriate fare such as the lobster roll ($18) or the Atlantic haddock beach special ($10.50); the next morning’s meal will come with a $10 voucher for a breakfast of $20 or more. You and your significant other, family member, or strange traveling companion with a handcuff bracelet can enjoy the heated waves of Ashworth’s indoor pool, or bask in the electric glow of the wireless Internet.
Floor-to-ceiling windows frame crashing ocean waves on the Hampton Beach sands at Breakers Restaurant & Bar. Local fishermen pluck many of the catches that end up in Executive Chef Derek Kucharski's kitchen from those waters, from the Maine lobster meat in his lobster rolls to the local haddock in his Sam Adams fish ‘n’ chips. Beyond seafood, his dinners may include slow-roasted barbecue pulled pork sandwiched in a buttermilk biscuit, and butternut ravioli flavored with dollops of maple-syrup cream.
Along with lunches and breakfast on select days of the week, dinnertime feasts unfold amid custom millwork, a raised stone-hearth fireplace, and a granite-topped bar that wraps around the entire dining area. The space—situated in the 1912-built Ashworth by the Sea hotel—also includes a recently enlarged dance floor, which fills with dancing masses each Friday and Saturday night when DJs spin classic tunes and rousing ol’ sea shanties.