Southwest Harbor, Maine is located about 10 minutes southwest of the better known Bar Harbor (bah ha-bah to New Englanders) on Mt. Desert Island. This New England community is considered the quiet side of the island compared to the touristy stop Bar Harbor. About three blocks long, the downtown area boasts several shops, restaurants and Sawyer’s Specialties.

But don’t be fooled by the sparsity of storefronts or the quiet reputation. This community has charm and sophistication. The Moody Mermaid offers women’s clothing from lines like Free People, Billabong, QuikSilver, Lucky and even Patagonia.

Sawyer’s Specialties offers a wine tasting just about every Saturday during season. Yesterday we sampled six whites and six reds – 12 wines – for free. Among the list of wines ranging in price from $10 to $35 was a Red Bordeaux blend by the only American female winemaker in Bordeaux. Michele D’Aprix even signed the 2008 Château Beauséjour “Pentimento”, Montagne – Saint Emilion bottle for us. The blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc is balanced and smooth.

Cheers to enjoying the quiet side!