We enjoy short get-a-ways to some of Maine’s outstanding inns in stunning settings where we’re pampered, fed well, and untethered from our every-day lives, chores, phones, computers, and television. And while we search for new places to tell you about in this column, we don’t want to ignore our old favorites. This column is dedicated to all the inns we’ve loved before (with apologies to Willy Nelson).
Harraseeket Inn, Freeport.
With LL Bean’s signature store surrounded by dozens of factory outlets, this once-small quiet Maine town has blossomed into a tourist destination. Accommodations that can only be described as luxurious are found at this Main Street inn, with a variety of large and gorgeous rooms and suites, some with fireplaces, that make this a charming get-away spot and a long-time personal favorite. The staff is warm and welcoming, led by owner/manager Chip Gray, and always eager to assure that you enjoy a perfect stay. Many special packages are available and the inn hosts special events including weddings. Don’t miss the afternoon tea. The Maine Dining Room is upscale but not intimidating. Expect extraordinary breakfasts and five-star dinners featuring exceptional cuisine and personal service. One of our memorable meals here featured chateaubriand for two and bananas foster flambé. For lunch, experience the amazing buffet in the Inn’s Broad Arrow Tavern. It’s a very special treat with a dozen entrees and many desserts. 1-800-342-6423. www.harraseeketinn.com.
East Wind Inn, Tenants Harbor
An ocean-side summer favorite with beautiful grounds. Summer gardens are approachable and cheery, making a guest feel immediately at home. We take time to enjoy lounging on the rocks as the tide comes and goes while reading books in the ultimate Maine coastal setting. We enjoy meals in the Inn’s small dining room and have never forgotten one particular dish of chicken and sun-dried tomatoes. The Inn’s rooms are small and comfy and include a full breakfast. Some rooms have ocean views, some share baths, a few are suites, and all share a charming gathering room downstairs. Across the lawn is a larger building offering meeting space for up to 30 people. Opens May 1. 1-800-241-8439. www.eastwindinn.com.
Sudbury Inn, Bethel
A great place any time of year in a four-season destination community famous for its special events, this is a fall and winter favorite of ours with free shuttle service to Sunday River Ski Resort. We really enjoyed Bethel’s two-fly fishing tournament and fall harvest. Inn owners are extremely helpful with advice on all of the areas many attractions including fishing, hiking, skiing, and snowmobiling. While the rooms in this 1873 inn are nice, it’s the food that keeps us coming back. Great menu choices include homemade chowders and pastries and entrees to die for. Full cooked-to-order breakfast included in very reasonable room rates.1-800-395-7837. www.sudburyinn.com.
Craignair Inn, Spruce Head
Perched on a ledge this big old inn on an ocean inlet offers easy kayaking around nearby Clark Island, also accessible by a causeway. Simply stated: peaceful, end-of-the-road, and quiet. Views from the Adirondack chairs also let you soak up the sunshine, smells, and spectacular scenery. The Inn’s restaurant is well known in the area for fine dining. The atmosphere is “homey” and inviting – something we always look for in our special get-aways. 1-800-320-9997. www.craignair.com.
First Settlers Lodge, Danforth
We discovered this amazing place many years ago when the Board of Directors of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine held its annual planning retreat here. We have returned many times for weekend get-a-ways. The lodge’s huge comfortable rooms, fantastic views of Mt. Katahdin and East Grand Lake, and fabulous home-style food, are a major draw, but we also enjoy quietly snowshoeing through the woods from the lodge to the lake, catching salmon and bass in the lake, and having time to read, reflect, and relax. About 90 minutes north of Bangor, this trip is worth the ride. 207-448-3000, www.firstsettlerslodge.com
Inn on Peaks Island
This is our new favorite of 2010, the subject of our first travel column two months ago. The Inn and Island are perfect for a quiet retreat and weekend get-a-way. Peaks Island is part of the city of Portland, but it is a small village in a gorgeous ocean setting. The suites are large and comfortable, the food exceptional, the walk around the island stunning. We plan to return to the Inn on Peaks Island during the spring bird migration. It’s a top spot to see migrating birds. And we’re hankering to get back for the Inn’s monthly brunch. We’ve heard it’s one of Maine’s best. We’re calling this trip Birds and Brunch. 207-766-5100, www.innonpeaks.com. 207-766-5100