January 30, 2011

Tradition and Enchantment at Clay Hill Farm!

There is a state welcome sign that you will see when entering Maine that says,
 "Welcome to Maine.....the way life should be!"
 We have found this to be true, more and more.
Last July we discovered yet another treasure that is on our "favorites list!"

A Maine House Mosaic

 A few miles outside of  the downtown Ogunquit village, we found a place to leave the stress of life behind, and...relax. We celebrated last July 4th by having dinner at Clay Hill Farm! The setting of Clay Hill Farm rests on eleven acres of rolling lawns, colorful gardens and their tree farm's protected woodlands. It is indeed a  tranquil retreat for those who enjoy beautiful and delectable food, while enjoying the natural beauty of Maine. We quickly learned that there is much more to Clay Hill Farm than the quaint New England restaurant!

While strolling the grounds, we came across a beautiful fish pond in the center of this woodland sanctuary, which was surrounded by nature trails and hundreds of  birdhouses. Many of the birdhouses were built by local residents as old as 93 and even children as young as five, and several were memorial dedications. We followed a brick path along the colorful cottage- look gardens and summer green front lawn up onto a generous front cocktail deck ... all the way to the garden gazebo. I head read about their fairy houses scattered among the gardens and it truly was fun to be surprised by finding them tucked away in amongst all the wild plantings of honeysuckle, blueberry plants and burning bush.

 A working farm built in 1780, (I am still constantly amazed by the historical dates we find throughout our New England travels) their restaurant is part of the original farmhouse, which still features the original farm's big red barn. Clay Hill Farm has been family owned and operated since 1986. Where else could you find an award-winning, environmentally friendly restaurant, tree farm and wedding venue that offers children's programs, environmental initiatives,  and participation in the community that show their commitment to traditional values and modern day concerns? 

In 1991, Clay Hill Farm became the first and only restaurant in the country to be nationally certified as a wildlife habitat and bird sanctuary. A long history of eco-friendly land care and respect for Maine's natural resources, earned Clay Hill Farm recognition from the state in the Environmental Leadership program.

I had ordered the Shrimp Scampi and let me just say....deliciosio!

Clay Hill Farm Shrimp Scampi
1 1/4 lbs lobsters or 4 ounces cooked lobster meat
8 large shrimp, peeled & deveined
10 scallops
1/2 lb lemon-pepper linguine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups white wine
1/2 fresh lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup salted butter

If using a whole lobster, cook it in simmering water for 20 minutes. Let cool and pick out lobster meat.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. When boiling, add pasta, stirring occasionally.
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan.  Add the shrimp and scallops to sauté pan. Stir immediately to coat the seafood with the oil.  Let cook a minute or two, until the shrimp turn pink.  Add the white wine and bring to a simmer. Let simmer until the liquid is reduced a little. Add the lemon juice, chopped parsley, garlic and lobster meat. Turn off the heat on the stove and add the butter to the pan. Let it slowly melt into the sauce as you swirl the pan. Drain the pasta, add to the sauté pan and toss.

You can tell from listening to co-owner, Gordon Lewis, as he takes you through a tour of the gardens at Clay Hill Farm, that he has a true love and sentiment of this little farm and he fully intends to leave the world a better place for us all to enjoy for many years!

"Have you ever observed a humming-bird moving about
 in an aerial dance among the flowers -
 a living prismatic gem....
it is a creature of such fairy-like loveliness
as to mock all description."
 ~W.H. Hudson, Green Mansions

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