Travelin’ Maine(rs): Lodging Reviews

Maine lodging reviews form the Travelin’ Maine(rs).

Texas is awesome!

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 George

                Glacier National Park, in far northern Montana, was our favorite national park for decades, until we first visited Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas in 2012. This high mountain desert is stunningly beautiful and loaded with birds we Mainers never see. This year was our third visit here in five years.

                On our second visit, we discovered Cynta de Narvaez’s three wonderful rental houses, varying in size, in Terlingua, and settled into her smallest house, a one room everything-you-need-is-in-it place, and also everything-you-need-is-outside-it too, including a sink, shower, tables and chairs, and even a bed. Yes, these folks live life outside! The large house can take 10 or more people if you are traveling with a group. And the view of the mountains from Cynta’s houses is – well, amazing doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Arizona is amazing in April

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                 Our three-week spring birding adventure began with a week in the Tucson, Arizona area, surrounded by stunning mountains, amazing migrating birds, and awesome Mexican restaurants. Dr. Brint and Alice Darlington hosted us in Saddlebrooke, a town just northwest of Tucson. Dr. Darlington practiced in the Augusta area, and they purchased their Arizona home 16 years ago as a winter place and now live there fulltime. It’s easy to understand why, from the mountain views to the warm climate.

                We got birding advice from a half dozen Maine friends before we left and hit all the places they suggested. Don Mairs suggested Melody Kehl as a birding guide, and we spent one day traveling up Mt. Lemon in the Santa Catalina Mountains with Melody, having such a good time that we booked a trip with her the next day to Madera Canyon. We saw 100 species of birds in those two days, many for the first time ever.

Elegant Press Hotel holds onto its printing past

City or Town: 
Portland
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 George

                Walking into Portland’s Press Hotel for the first time was an awesome experience. I’d read a lot about the conversion of the Guy Gannett Building, which housed the Portland Press Herald, into a beautiful and luxurious downtown hotel, but seeing it was a special treat. They have managed to create a gorgeous and modern hotel, with tons of amenities, while keeping its history very much alive, starting with a wall of old typewriters just to the right of check-in desk.

                I loved the large and beautiful writing desk in our room, where I sat to write this column, and the famous sayings posted everywhere, including this one, on the desk, from Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” The staff must read this one every day, because they are super friendly and helpful.

Don’t drive by Bath!

City or Town: 
Bath
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 George

                A great get-a-way awaits you in Bath. That’s right, Bath. Perhaps you’ve driven by the city many times on Route 1 and never stopped. What a pity. With a vibrant downtown, great restaurants, one of our favorite inns, and the fascinating Maritime Museum  – well, we just love this place.

                And love it we did, for two days at the end of February, staying at the Inn at Bath where owner Elizabeth Knowlton knows how to pamper her guests, including providing ceramic cups, heated on a tray, for your early morning coffee. This was our second stay here and Elizabeth greeted us like long lost friends, which we now are.

Loon Lodge offers an historic, beautiful, and tasty get-a-way

City or Town: 
Rangeley
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 Linda 

                "Sometimes you just need to get away," says a quote on Loon Lodge’s website. And this is certainly the place to do that.

                Ariale’s friendly greeting when we arrived got us off to a great start, and as she gave us a tour, I was transported back in time. Enormous round logs are support beams and brace the ceiling in the Great Room, anchored by a huge fireplace with a stone chimney. The "Old Hickory" couches and chairs have log frames with deep cushioned seats. George and I spent a lot of time in this room that emits a feeling of an era gone by, rustic but at the same time elegant. Large windows open to a deck that affords a stunning view of Rangeley Lake.

An elegant get-a-way awaits you at the Hartstone Inn

City or Town: 
Camden
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Linda

                 From the mini cooking whip on your key chain to photos of stunning plates of food on a IPad on your dining table, it is clear that the Hartstone Inn attracts people who appreciate fine food. We had recommendations from several friends that a stay at the Hartstone is a must. And they were so right. The rooms are stunning and everyone is focused on making your stay here memorable.  

                The main inn is an historic building once owned by a Camden doctor. Owners Mary Jo Brink and Michael Salmon took over the inn in 1998 and later purchased two nearby buildings which now provide suites for their guests.

The Travelin' Maine(rs) love Geaghan's in Bangor

City or Town: 
Bangor
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 George

                We sure know how to pick ‘em. The day we were planning to have dinner at Geaghan’s Pub in Bangor, Greg Dugal of the Maine Restaurant Association showed up at the restaurant in the morning to surprise the Geaghans with an award as the 2016 Restauranteurs of the Year. Given the large number of wonderful restaurants in our state, this is quite an honor. But not a surprise to us.

                Geaghan’s has been a favorite of ours since we began writing this column five years ago. I spoke to the Bangor Rotary on January 5, so we decided to stay overnight at our Bangor home, also known as the Fireside Inn and Suites, and enjoy dinner at Geaghan’s, conveniently located in the same building across the street from the Cross Insurance Bangor Auditorium.

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