If B.W. Hinckley returned from his grave today to visit his old home in the center of Blue Hill village, he’d find it a welcoming place. The original Dutchman’s Pipe vine still graces the front door of his 1823 double-chimney cape house, and the colonial detail of the place has not changed. But Mr. Hinckley might be surprised at the number of guests dining in his parlor. He would find these guests enjoying an astonishing array of foods. Upon closer examination he would discover that much of the dinner fare is grown locally; harvested from the gardens of peninsula farmers and from the waters of the nearby coast, though these familiar foods have been prepared in a manner that would no doubt astound his tastes. Arborvine, the restaurant now occupying the original Hinckley household, would surpass his wildest imagination.
To say that John and Beth Hikade start on the ground floor when they open a new restaurant is true, but it’s only part of the story. Actually they start in the basement, restoring it beam-by-beam, plank-by-plank. Both at Firepond, the famous Blue Hill restaurant they founded in the late 1970’s, and now at Arborvine, John and Beth followed the same thorough process. They took over a venerable but crumbling 19th-century architectural landmark in the village of Blue Hill and rebuilt it — literally from soup to nuts.
They do this with such love and thorough good taste that when diners enter Arborvine for a meal they feel transported into the best of the last century. From the extraordinary food and superlative service to the crackling fireplaces and antique décor, Arborvine truly offers an ideal escape from the everyday.
Today, John Hikade is the chef at the restaurant, and he brings his 25 years as a chef as well as his boundless creativity to putting together an eclectic and always special menu. Beth Hikade has put her impeccable eye for detail into the decoration of the restaurant’s interior, utilizing period pieces such as antique linens, shaker furniture and half-hull models to convey a sense of transportation to the last century that is magnified by the warmth of the restaurant’s myriad working fireplaces. Flower and herb gardens grace the grounds. The Hikade’s employ the unrivaled services of their two charming and very handsome sons, Timothy and Andrew, to create an unparalleled dining experience. Given a chance to see his old homestead bustling with activity, alive with good company and awash in fine wine and sumptuous food, we can only hope that Mr. Hinckley would approve.
Arborvine is open all year, with a Summer schedule of Tuesday to Sunday 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. and a shorter Fall-Winter-Spring schedule. Please call to confirm our current hours. Reservations are recommended.
Telephone: (207) 374-2119.