Thanks to improper equipment and a lack of professional training, Nanci Grenier Boutet endured four years of splashes and bruises before she could reliably stand up on her surfboard. Nanci founded Aquaholics to save others from a similarly waterlogged fate, and it was not long before she began to make waves in Maine’s dedicated surfing community. Nestled in a space that once housed a church, her surf shop has earned local renown for its selection of quality wetsuits and beach gear available to rent or buy.
When Nanci and her staff aren’t outfitting wave riders with professional equipment, they take to the ocean themselves during year-round surf and paddleboard lessons. CPR-certified instructors coach boarders of all skill levels in private surf sessions or group classes capped at three students per instructor. Large parties can opt for abbreviated surf lessons with a less-structured approach that lends itself to mild mayhem. Alternatively, standup paddleboard lessons impart various techniques for mounting boards and steering clear of siren rap battles during guided tours of Maine’s waterways.
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American Sailor Clothing gussies up seaside trendsetters of all ages with sporty designer duds and breezy, seafaring accessories. Bedeck sun-soaked beach bods in stylish apparel from top wonder-weavers such as Tommy Bahama, OluKai, Sperry Top-Siders, and more, some of who are locally exclusive to American Sailor's elegant aisles. Mini mariners and their dapper progenitors can cavort in the brisk coastal zephyrs in T-shirts ($14.95+) and shore-striding sandals ($35+), and sweatshirts ($49.95+) warm up late-night beachcombers seeking the gentle echo of a passive-aggressive kumbaya sing-off around the campfire. Resort shirts add a style-stirring spark to commonplace clubhouses ($74+), and visitors can illuminate outfits with a bevy of accessories that include hats, towels, handbags ($8+), and Smith Optic sunglasses.
On The Marsh executive chef Jeffrey Savage has presented menus at the James Beard House in New York City, showcasing his flair for fresh takes on New England cuisine. On The Marsh's ever-evolving dinner menu teems with local, seasonal produce and the delicious denizens of land and sea, which come together in plates such as seared sea scallops and lobster risotto posing coyly beneath a veil of black-truffle vinaigrette ($33). A roasted half duck finds a happy habitat in celeriac foie-gras mash, local mushrooms, and cipollini onions ($28), and a host of starters, including a clutch of mussels pan-roasted with garlic ($9), stand ready to accompany main courses as harmoniously as dueling banjos. Desserts cosset the indecisive with tastings of crème brûlée in assorted flavors ($8) and house-made sorbets ($8).
Like a zoo for alcoholic beverages, Tully's Beer & Wine gathers thousands of exotic specimens from around the world in one convenient spot. Specialty beers crowd shelves, and a 40-foot 16-door cooler chills imports and craft beers alike. The rainbow of suds ranges from the chaff-brown of Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Porter with smoked malt and applewood bacon to the sunny hue of Ommegang’s witte, a Belgian-style ale in which citric notes and coriander gleam.
In addition to the selection of more than 700 beers, 1,000 wines from around the world are arranged by region or varietal for quick perusal. The ranks of colorful labels hint at grapes from Italy, California, and France. The Argyle Nuthouse pinot noir, for example, seems to spill fistfuls of fruit that have consistently earned it rankings in the 90s from _Wine Spectator. The shop also stocks beer glasses, bottle openers, and T-shirts, and inside five cigar humidors, guests experience what it was like to sniff Winston Churchill's hair.
The bolts of fabric that line the walls and end tables that display books, patterns, and finished pieces all contribute to the inspiring atmosphere at Sanford Sewing Machines. Behind the counter, craft gurus sell professional sewing machines and sergers from brands such as Bernina and Baby Lock, ensuring customers can quilt, embroider, and sew anatomical charts into pillowcases or tote bags at will. Sanford’s factory-certified technicians also brandish 25 years of tinkering expertise to repair all makes and models of commercial and home machines. Additionally, classes crop up regularly in specific craft concentrations such as the making of fleece socks, pillows, or purses.