Long, gray winters can make even the most cheerful of us a little cranky. Here in Maine a good respite is a trip to one of the little cafes or diners that stay open all year round. I like Harborside Cafe in the tiny fishing village of South Bristol, where you can enjoy breakfast fit for a stalwart fisherman or a lunch of shrimp stew or chicken pot pie — dishes that are just-like-mom-used-to-make delicious. And of course this somewhat isolated village at the end of a 12-mile peninsula is home to lots of residents whose families have lived here forever and have retained very cool coastal Maine accents. Pour your own coffee, flip open a newspaper, and settle in.
And of course there’s the iconic Moody’s Diner on Route 1 in Waldoboro, which celebrates its 85th anniversary this year. In 1927 P.B. Moody built 3 cabins, charging $1 a night for overnight guests. By 1934 he had 18 cabins and a small takeout cart and present-day Moody’s Diner had been launched. Moody’s is open very early for breakfast, one of the best times to be here. But it’s also fun at lunch and supper (and it’s definitely supper, not “dinner”!). Watch for the daily specials, with a focus on comfort food like hot turkey sandwiches and pot pies, and the dessert pies that are deservedly famous. Thirty-one members of the Moody family still work at the diner. It’s truly a Maine institution and fun to visit at any time of year — especially on a dreary day when you’re feeling a little, um, moody.