Please promise me. Don’t even THINK about staying in a chain hotel when you’re in Maine or anywhere in New England for that matter. A Bed & Breakfast/Inn is so much a part of the whole atmosphere of the area. The breakfasts are generally wonderful, and you’re bound to meet such interesting people. I might make an exception if you’re traveling with several children, but if you’re traveling as a couple, with another couple or even as a single, give serious thought to trying an inn.
Several of you has asked for a look at our itinerary. The short version is that we flew in and out of Portland, Maine and planned to cover the coast from Kennebunkport to Bar Harbor with a short detour to Poland, Maine (about an hour from Portland) before flying home. As it turned out, we ended up going from York Beach at the southern tip of the state to Campobello Island in New Brunswick, Canada, where the term DOWNEAST truly comes from. New Brunswick is across a bridge from Lubec, Maine. Since we had not anticipated this side trip, we didn’t have our passports with us. But, we did have our drivers’ licenses and current passports “in the system.” Crossing into Maine, we were asked if we were carrying alcohol, tobacco or firearms and told to enjoy the scenery. Coming back into the US was a little more complicated. We had to show our ID and wait for passports to be verified. We were asked to show our rental car agreement, and the car trunk was searched. It was both disconcerting and reassuring at the same time. You know?
After landing, retrieving luggage, and collecting our rental car, we headed straight to Kennebunkport and found our inn for the first two nights – Captain Lord Mansion. It is a AAA Four Diamond property with spacious rooms, a great location for walking to town, wonderful breakfasts and gorgeous gardens. We were enchanted with the area and this inn.
On Day 3, we headed to Rockland, Maine by way of Boothbay Harbor. I had hoped we could stay in Camden, but I waited too long and the inns there were completely booked up. Lime Rock Inn in Rockland was comfortable, located well and hospitable. We got to spend a day in Camden, so all was well.
For Days 5 and 6, we headed further north and east to Bar Harbor. Our inn there was the Inn at Bay Ledge. Our room was very small (they have larger ones, but I didn’t book one of those in time), but the common areas were nice, the breakfasts were good, and the view of Frenchman Bay was spectacular. We used this as our launching pad for Acadia National Park and Canada. The town of Bar Harbor was okay, but on the particular day we were there, quite a few tour buses were in town, and two cruise ships had emptied themselves of hundreds of passengers for a day of shopping. So, it didn’t seem quite as “quaint” as we had anticipated.
For our last night in Maine, we drove down to Poland, Maine (mostly because our flight home wasn’t until late afternoon, and we knew we’d have most of the next day to get back to Portland and do more sightseeing) and checked into Wolf Cove Inn on Tripp Lake. Oh my. It was fabulous! The grounds and the inn itself were wonderful. This was the only place where we were actually given a menu for choosing our breakfast preference the next morning, and it was great.
In all four inns, the innkeepers were delightful and gracious, and our fellow travelers were full of interesting viewpoints and information. There are hundreds of inns along the coast of Maine. Just do your homework and read reviews carefully. I’ve included the websites for the ones we enjoyed, but there are many others I’d like to try.
Now you have 3 reasons to visit Maine, but stay tuned for a few more.