I spent a night at Freeport’s Harraseeket Inn earlier this week, dining in the Broad Arrow Tavern for lunch and the Maine Dining Room for dinner.
This is a classic country inn owned and operated by the Gray family, and they understand the biz. It’s got all the whistles and bells, but it neither shouts nor screams. Common areas include a living room, where afternoon tea is served—tea sandiwches, cookies, tea breads, cheese, and fresh fruit along with a selection of teas, and there’s no charge for guests. Nice.There also are a good-sized indoor lap pool and a tiny fitness room. And it’s only two blocks from Bean’s.
Guest rooms are furnished with comfortable Colonial repro pieces, and baths range from basic to fancy, with huge whirlpool tub and separate showers. Bath amenities are green—right down to the hollowed out soap (actually, I really liked that touch, the hole in the center acted as a handle).
There is one exception, and that’s a decorator-designed room with Thomas Moser furnishings. Way cool. It’s a large, corner room with a cork floor and a sandstone fireplace dominating one wall. A sofa and lounge chairs are grouped by the fireplace; quite inviting. The bathroom is combines a retro look with modern sizzle, and it works. Yeah, I could be quite comfy in this room.
Although listed room rates begin at $185, there are specials that can bring the rate down. If you’re inquiring within days, ask about the dinner package, which provides a room for $125 if you dine in the Maine Dining Room for dinner. Usually offered only in winter, it is being offered on a limited basis this summer, but you have to ask. And breakfast and afternoon tea are included, too.
I had the luncheon buffet ($16.95) at the Broad Arrow Tavern. Yes, it’s a bit pricey, but it’s quite a spread: fresh fruit, breads, soup, pizza, dips, an array of hot dishes including fish, mussels, chicken, beef, mussels, and lots more. And dessert.
The Maine Dining Room is no longer the formal fine dining place it was. The white tableclothes have been replaced by a rainbow of colors in muted shades. There’s even a small TV in the bar area. The prices are quite reasonable, with entrees beginning at $18 and topping out at $29 for whole poached lobster, and small plates ranging $7-$10. Service is spot on.
I began with a salad comprising fresh greens, roasted asparagus, prosciutto, and ash goat cheese, with a sage dressing. Off to a good start. Next we shared a few small plates: honey-glazed scallop with potato puree, frisee, pancetta, and rhubarb sauce; lobster spring roll, with micro greens, pickled onion, and herbed creme fraiche; and pea ravoioli with ricotta silata and rosemary cream. Frankly, I could have stopped right there. All that paired with the bread and flatbread that accompanied the meal, was plenty.
But if I had stopped, I wouldn’t have had the herb crusted halibut with spinach and pine nut dumplings and local onion cream sauce ($26). The fish was tender and moist, the dumplings were addictive.
What really stole the show was the lavender rubbed chicken ($23). Oh my. I took just a few tastes, but that was enough to know I’ll order this the next time I visit. I’m a huge fan of roasted chicken and I’m a sucker for the subtle flavors of lavender. The waitress had described the overall taste as soft, and I have to agree. It was gentle, and delicious.