Looking for some high seas adventure with a decidedly gourmet food and wine focus? Then check out the Schooner Stephen Taber for a uniquely tactile and visual experience. This gorgeous century-old tall ship takes you from Rockland, Maine on a stunning tour of the untouched islands of Maine’s rocky coast. Think lush green inlets and islands, lighthouses, old farmhouses, seals and dolphins…and of course the ever-present lobster traps.
Captain Noah and Jane Barnes’ hospitality and gourmet galley fare fulfill any fantasy you might have of beautiful sunsets, inspiring sunrises and intriguing exploration. There are several types of 3 to 7 day “voyages” to choose from. The one I just returned from was the wine cruise. For about $700 you can have 3 days of pure indulgence in a camping kind of atmosphere. Think about 22 guests or so, gourmet foods and premium wines with a splash of bunks, decks, and sails.
We had two nights of paired foods and wines at dinner. Food is cooked on a wood stove. Professional Chef Aimee LePaige has amazing credentials and understands the appetites of seafaring foodies. Jane Barnes chose the wine for these special at-sea dinners. Jane shared with me that each wine cruise is different, so return clients are always surprised. The experience is a true delight for both the wine novice and the wine aficionado. We had several beer lovers on board who may just have converted to wine lovers after two professionally lead tastings. We also had several wine geeks who were impressed by Jane’s choices and enthusiasm.
If you’re so inclined there are plenty of opportunities to become part of the crew by hauling lines, hoisting up sails, and weighing anchor. If you have some serious sailing time behind you, Captain Noah may just let you sail the ship for a few minutes. He did this for my husband and it – along with the lobster bake - was his personal “wow” moment “ on the cruise. I think mine was sipping a seriously delightful 2005 Varaldo Dolcetto d’Alba while toasting a pinked tinged sunset.
So for those of you who’ve “been there, done that” on their wine vacations, think Rockland Maine and The Stephan Taber Schooner. You can thank me later.