Merriland Farm's par 3 course winds through fields of blueberry and raspberry, adding color and character to the 200-year-old working farm. At just 841 yards, the short course presents holes that range in distance from the 63-yard seventh up to the 119-yard third. Farm owner and course designer Jim Morrison makes up for the lack of overall distance by punishing errant shots with such hidden hazards as a brush-filled gully on hole two and a pond on hole eight, which players must avoid by selecting the right club or waiting for the next drought. The bucolic landscape also features a driving range with flagstick markers for golfers to warm up at.
Lauded by Yankee Magazine and featured on the Food Network, the on-site café got its start as a roadside stand from which Julie Morrison sold her delicious pies and jams. Visitors relax amid the comfy environs of the dining room or breathe in the fresh farm air on the outdoor patio.
Course at a Glance:
"Food is love" is one of the mottos of Leanne Cusimano, who bustles around the eatery, forging a menu designed to convey that warmth. The scents of breakfasts snapping against skillets drift from Amore Breakfast’s sand-hued cottage exterior, which conceals the gleefully mismatched tables and checkerboard accents of a '50s diner. Servers tote thick slices of french toast stuffed with cream cheese or topped with berries and fluffy omelets enfolding veggies, meats, and cheeses. Wreaths of steam from cups of the house blend coffee encircle them as they bear trays to the dining area, where patrons marvel at spotting a toaster’s face in slices of toast.
Tia’s Topside—sister to Tia's Boston—is a waterfront restaurant overlooking Lower Village. Dine al fresco on the deck with views of the harbor. Tia's offers innovative New England cuisine, a firepit, porches, as well as Brunch and Happy Hour specials. The drink selection includes plenty of mixed drinks and specialty ales, and Tia's caters to formal seated dinner parties as well as casual lunches out with the kids.
Snagging its name from one of the schooners built in Kennebunk's adjacent 19th-century shipyards, Federal Jack's makes its own mark by pairing creative pub fare with flavorful ales brewed in-house. Taste buds set sail on their own toothsome odyssey with an appetizer of fried calamari ($8.95) and house favorites such as the Fiery Volcano burger, whose fearsome flow of hellfire relish is capped with a ground beef, turkey, or veggie burger and a sunny-side-up egg ($9.95). Smooth seas await restricted dieters—including vegetarians, gluten-avoiders, and the sugar-suspicious—with several modifiable options and menu staples, such as the hummus sandwich ($7.95) and the spinach, ricotta, and red-pepper-layered eggplant milanese ($13.95). Diners can quickly win a stare-down or guess the poker hand of the hot open-faced turkey, an autumnal treat served atop stuffing bread and dressed with cranberry sauce ($9.95).
The Landing Restaurant wines and dines patrons with an extensive menu of seaworthy fare and gull's-eye views of the riverside and port. A bowl of homemade New England clam chowder is an ideal starting gate for a Landing experience ($7.50 at lunch), as is a cup of creamy lobster stew ($10.50 at lunch). Terra-firma-dwelling dishes conjured by the kitchen mystics offer a variety of 12-ounce steak options ($24+), including many that pair with saltwater teammates to round out the surf-and-turf lineup (prices vary with market price). The Landing’s deepwater marquee stars a collection of shellfish that includes native Maine shrimp ($22) along with finned fish such as haddock ($20–$21). The lobster list presents the clawed cavalier of the sea served boiled, pre-cracked, or smuggled into a lobster pie using a clam shovel and a claw file.
Alisson's patrons engage in casual dining with a menu of lunch and dinner dishes culled from the sea's tummy-rumbling depths and the meadow's succulent stretches. Seafoodies get their lunch fix with Alisson's signature lobster roll, packed with mounds of Maine lobster with a dollop of mayonnaise, served on a grilled roll chaperoned by fries or coleslaw ($17.95).
Back Street Grill says it’s “where the locals go to eat,” and the claim is easy to believe. Standing amid weathered Victorian houses on a street just off downtown Sanford’s main drag, the two-story brick building with tin awnings looks like a classic corner tap. Inside there are plenty of flat-screen TVs and boneless wings slathered in housemade buffalo sauce, but there’s also a full menu that brings to mind an upscale steakhouse as much as the more casual spot its surroundings suggest. Rather than train cute children to steal ingredients for him, chef Matt works carefully and continually with his food distributors to identify the best sources for his hearty American menu. The Choice and Angus beef is hand-cut in house before being paired with buttered lobster; seafood fra diavolo adds kick to haddock, shrimp, and mussels; and the 10 dressings gracing a selection of salads are all made fresh.
From behind a bar adorned with flat-screen televisions, bartenders help diners wash down each bite with a full stock of liquors, wines, and six draft beers and microbrews. Live musicians fill the pub with the tapping of toes each Thursday night, and a sidewalk patio lets guests keep an eye on the rest of Sanford’s nightlife.