For more than 25 years, the maritime enthusiasts at The Lighthouse Preservation Society have worked to maintain the endangered lighthouses of the United States, some more than 200 years old. Their efforts have sponsored National Lighthouse Day, helped create the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act and the National Lighthouse Museum, and raised nearly $6 million toward more than 160 lighthouse-restoration projects. Day to day, they lead lighthouse tours and present lighthouse-related presentations, gather historic documents and artifacts, and manufacture replica replacement parts.
They also ignite lighthouse-centered enthusiasm through special events and private dining at the Newburyport Lighthouse. Lauded by Yankee Magazine, the intimate multicourse meals pair sea- and land-focused dishes with views of the town harbor and historic waterfront buildings. The small circular room, nestled at the top of the lighthouse, surrounds diners with padded benches and panoramic windows.
With a combined 70 years of culinary experience, the chefs at Capri Seaside Italian Grille & Bar craft a dinner menu filled with authentic Italian cuisine made from locally-sourced seafood, prime meats, and other fresh ingredients. Homemade bread is baked on-site daily and showcases its family-recipe-fueled talent in dishes such as the steak tip crostini, a medley of grilled meat, arugula, sweet and spicy peppers, and aged balsamic perched atop toasted focaccia ($9). Like a crab's panic room, delicate lobster and ricotta ravioli ($12 or $17) safely harbor a crustacean and arrive bedecked in lemon tarragon beurre blanc. Pan-seared scallops, risotto-mascarpone cake, grilled corn, and cilantro vinaigrette run amok in the scallop risotto ($20) while diners on the outdoor patio slice into the braccioletini ($17), a roasted chicken breast stuffed like a succulent teddy bear with prosciutto, mozzarella, and pecorino romano cheese.
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.
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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.
The chefs at Acapulcos Mexican Family Restaurant & Cantina aim to cook authentic Mexican dishes unaltered by any Tex-Mex influence. Their recipes reach back generations within the owners' family and several miles into their underground tortilla vaults. Spanish-speaking servers deliver simple combinations of protein or veggies, topped with vibrant sauces: carne asada steak dressed in green pepper and guacamole, tender pork loin in tomatillo sauce, chicken in chocolate mole. The chefs' adherence to tradition doesn't preclude experimentation. Case in point: the dessert burrito, a lightly fried tortilla wrapped around apple-cinnamon or creamy cheesecake filling.
Both the menu and the decor change slightly from location to location—a painting of Mexico here, a tiled mosaic there. Each one, however, has a full bar where bartenders mix margaritas and flat-screen TVs broadcasting sports overhead.
Floor-to-ceiling windows frame crashing ocean waves on the Hampton Beach sands at Breakers Restaurant & Bar. Local fishermen deliver 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 include a variety of favorites such as, Apple Braised Pork Osso Bucco, Grilled Statler Chicken Breast and Roasted Eggplant Roulade.
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 Restaurant is situated in the 1912 built, Ashworth by the Sea hotel and includes a large dance floor, which draws in large crowds each Friday and Saturday night when DJ’s spin classic tunes.