The spring temperatures have us all in a tizzy looking forward to warm weather weddings. An hour and a half from Portland on Pemaquid Point- one peninsula past Boothbay Harbor- is the darling gem, The Contented Sole. A cool, quaint, locals favorite and off the mainstream radar for weddings in Maine (er, until now!), we adore the desirability of this sought after spot by those in the know.
L&L: Tell us a little about you and the history of the Contented Sole.
SOLE: The restaurant and Colonial Pemaquid Park is a National Historic Landmark and one of the most significant 17th century settlements. The Contented Sole served as a cannery in the early 1900’s and many of the building’s original features still exist. Our other venue, The Bradley Inn, was built by a sea captain (Henry Bradley) at the turn-of-the century. The Inn has sixteen well appointed rooms & boasts one of Maine’s best dining rooms. Our weddings are “destination events” with all amenities on-site. Ceremonies take place at the lighthouse and also among the Inn’s magnificent gardens.
L&L: We love the look of all of the seafood on your menu! Where does this come from? Do you also provide vegetarian and meat entrees?
SOLE: Our seafood is locally sourced. We hop in our skiff at the Contented Sole dock, cruise across the harbor and pick up fresh lobster and clams from the Pemaquid co-op daily. Pemaquid oysters are farmed in the icy waters of the Damariscotta River. Our fresh fish is mostly a product of the gulf of Maine. We serve Maine halibut, cod, salmon, shrimp, haddock etc. A reception menu would likely include one these fresh fish matched with a local farm’s ribeye and a vegetarian risotto.
L&L: What are some of your favorite dishes? Have you ever had any strange or elaborate food requests?
SOLE: I love Maine halibut! Served on a creamy asparagus risotto with white truffle butter, it’s a mild meaty fish with outstanding flavor. All our menus are individually customized. We meet with our clients and get a good feel for their likes/dislikes, and everything shakes out of that. One event was highlighted by a raw bar on our dock that included Pemaquid oysters, rope-cultured mussels, shrimp and gazpacho “shots” all served out of our old wooden skiff.
One of my favorite’s desserts was a “milk shot” garnished with a Maine whoopie pie. We love playing up the Maine experience utilizing as much local product as possible.
L&L: How many guests can you accommodate? Do you offer both seated dinners and cocktail parties?
SOLE: The Contented Sole can accommodate up to 200 guests, The Bradley Inn 150. Both feature an option of plated, stations or passed heavy hors d’oeuvres.
L&L: We would love to learn a bit about your chef(s). Is there also an event coordinator on site, or one that you work with often?
SOLE: Warren Busteed serves as the “hands-on” executive chef and oversees both restaurants. He is available during the entire process from menu development to the final execution of your menu. Beth Polhemus brings 30 years of hospitality experience to the wedding coordinator position. She is in fact much more.. she can take a simple idea or plan and elevate it to a spectacular event. She is an accomplished baker, florist and designer.
L&L: How far in advance do you typically book? Do you require a retainer fee to reserve a date?
SOLE: Most dates “in-season” are booked at least one year in advance while some up to two years.
L&L: Do many of your couples marry at Pemaquid Point Lighthouse nearby? What are some of your other favorite ceremony sites in the area?
SOLE: The Lighthouse is probably the most popular ceremony site. Other great options include The Bradley Inn gardens, The Fort at Colonial Pemaquid and the charming Harrington Meeting House.
L&L: What “must-see” places do you suggest folks from out of town check out while visiting coastal Maine?
SOLE: Must see’s include Monhegan Island (Hardy Boat Ferry), Botanical Gardens of Boothbay, Pemaquid Lighthouse (of course), New Harbor, Pemaquid Harbor and Round Pond Harbor. Damariscotta village is charming and located at the top of the Pemaquid peninsula.