Posts Tagged ‘lodging’

Maine bits and pieces: news and chatter

May 3, 2010

Here’s a quick round-up of interesting news bits that have come across my desk:

Chebeague Island Inn reopening under new ownership

A favorite destination for travelers and day-trippers since the 1880s, the inn, restored in 2003-04, will re-open May 14 under the new ownership of the Prentice family of Yarmouth, Maine. With the May re-launch, the Prentices will be adding a more stylish, up-to-date ambiance.

One notable change is the inn’s restaurant, now under the direction of Executive Chef Justin Rowe, a veteran of 555 and Fore Street. The contemporary American menu, rooted in Maine and New England, will focus on locally/regionally sourced foods and beverages.

Here’s wishing the new owners success. I’m hoping to visit soon to see what’s happening.

• Unveiling of the Calves

You’ve heard of the Running of the Bulls, well Aldemere Farm, a 136-acres saltwater farm in Rockport, offers a far gentler experience. This Saturday, May 8, is its ninth annual Calf Unveiling Day. From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. , you can  tour the Farm and visit with the newly born Belted Galloway calves (nicknamed the Oreo cookie cows for their distinctive white belt). Aldermere staff and volunteers will be on site speaking with visitors and providing information about the Farm and the herd.

Several other local farms will also be on site offering information regarding the goods they produce. These include:

• Sunnyside Farm with goats

• lueberry Farm and Blue Sky Farm with alpacas

• Ells Farm and Terra Optima will be selling meat

• Savage Oakes and Coastal Mountains Land Trust will have information about their operations

• Tanglewood 4-H Camp will present about their many agricultural offerings.

Other activities include the Rusty Hinges band performing (around 11 a.m.) and the Aldermere Achievers 4-H Club working throughout the day with their animals.

• Best Chef in the Northeast

Tonight, the James Beard Foundation will name the winner of the coveted Best Chef in the Northeast award. Chef/owners Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier, of Arrows Restaurant in Ogunquit, have been nominated seven times. Here’s hoping that these perennial bridesmaids finally win; they certainly deserve it.

No. 10 Water Street opens tonight

No. 10 Water Street, the new restaurant at Brunswick’s Capt. Daniel Stone Inn, opens tonight, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. Brunswick is getting to be an increasingly interesting food town, with a nice choice of inexpensive to moderate restaurants.

• Zip-line adventure park opening in Wiscasset

Monkey C Monkey Do, a Zipline family adventure park, is under construction on Route 1 in Wiscasset.

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A peek at the Limerock Inn

January 31, 2010

During Rockland’s Pies on Parade event earlier this month, I stayed at the Limerock Inn, a wonderful B&B (and member of the Historic Inns of Rockland) just a couple of blocks from Main Street. Now I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for this inn, as it was created by friends back in Rockland’s gray days, the era when it was  better known as a rough-and-tumble fishing community, rather than the arts, dining, and shopping destination it is today.

The house is a standout, an 1890’s Queen Anne painted lady, complete with wrap-around porch, listed on the National Historic Register. The woodwork alone is exquisite. Each of the eight rooms has its own distinctive flavor, from the turret room with a lovely wedding canopy bed to the Cottage Room, a private oasis with its own door opening to the backyard gardens. Some have whirlpool tubs and/or a fireplace, and there’s Wifi throughout. Currently no inroom TVs (although flat-screens are in the future), but there’s one concealed with the living room armoire.

The furnishings  are top of the line, reflecting two of the original four owners (two couples) business; they owned a furniture store. They bought quality, but made sure it was in keeping with the period and decor, and the emphasis is on comfort. Let me tell ya, those leather chairs with ottomans in the living room invite relaxation, perhaps with a selection from the library of good reads positioned within grasp.

Frank and PJ, the current owner/innkeepers, are naturals, and Frank is the creative cook who whips up more-than-filling breakfasts. If you’re really fortunate, there might be a serving of his Key Limerock pie available—trust me, he nailed it (and his granola crust seals the deal).The self-serve pantry assures that those who crave a midnight snack will find one.

These guys love Rockland, so they’re a wonderful source of info for first-timers to the region, and the inn provides enough privacy (including individual dining tables) that it’s a good choice for newbies to the B&B experience. One night here, and you’ll be booking again and again.

Camden in winter? Sure!

January 29, 2010

Read my Boston Globe story about some of the wonderful reasons to visit Camden in Winter.

Five (frozen and snowy) Lakes Lodge

January 17, 2010

You want remote? You want to cross-country ski or snowshoe without seeing anyone but a moose? Or maybe ride that snowmobile over groomed trails through Maine’s back country wilderness? Yeah, I’ve got just the ticket.

Five Lakes Lodge photo credit.

Five Lakes Lodge, seven miles south of Millinocket (about 75 miles north of Bangor), is just as its name indicates. The massive log lodge sits on a spit of land extending into one of the five lakes that nearly surround it. And the views? Down the lakes to Katahdin in the distance. Gorgeous country. We’re talking true wilderness here, folks.

The lodge especially appeals to snowmobilers, as its sited midway between ITS 86 and ITS83 on the Katahdin Loop Trail. Owners Rick and Debbie LeVasseur are avid enthusiasts and the lodge doubles as the home of the Jo Mary Riders Snowmobile Club. You want fresh tracks? Follow one of the two Bombadier trail groomers as it leaves the premises.

But it’s not just snowmobilers who will will enjoy it. Snowshoers and cross-country skiers can escape the vrooms and fumes on nearby groomed trails or with a trek to Ragged Mountain’s summit or in Baxter State Park.

Now don’t go thinking this place is old and creaky, far from it. It was purpose built, opening in 2004. Rooms vary, but most have king-size log beds, gas stove, and  inroom hot tubs. There’s a sauna on the premises, and a huge stone fireplace in the great room. Breakfasts are guaranteed to fuel you though a full morning of activity, and then some. Or just hang out and soak in those views.  I last stopped by a few summers ago, but I’m pining for a winter return.

Winter rates range $175-250 per night, including breakfast.

Lobster for Lovers

January 16, 2010

Not a bad deal. The Inn on the Harbor’s Lobster for Lovers weekend, Feb. 12 – 14 , is reason enough to visit Stonington in winter.

The inn, in downtown Stonington, hangs over the harbor. Pack your woolies, as many rooms are accessed directly from outside. But the views! Can’t beat ’em.

The package, offered only when Valentine’s Day package the 14th falls on a weekend, includes a three-course dinner, with fresh Stonington lobster as the headliner. Not a lobster lover? Not a problem, the inn’s winter room-service menu choices are available as alternatives.

The full package includes two nights lodging, contintental breakfasts, and the Valentine dinner. Rates range $190-280 for two, varying by room chosen. The two-bedroom with full kitchen American Eagle suite is $330 for two.

Now frankly, there’s not a heckuva lot to do in Stonington in the winter, but it’s Valentine’s Day weekend, I’m sure you’ll figure something out.

207: Pies on Parade

January 13, 2010

Frank makes pie at the Limerock Inn.

I’ve blogged previously about the upcoming Pies on Parade, but since it airs on 207 tonight, I thought I’d put all the necessary info in one place:

WHAT: Pies on Parade, Rockland, Maine

Pie sampling at more than a dozen venues–at last count 16 and growing–including the four inns, as well as restaurants and even a day spa. See list below. You can walk site to site or take a trolley.

WHEN: Sunday, Jan. 24, 1-5 pm

Rain, snow, ice, sleet, nothing stops this event from happening: Hundreds of pies have been baked

SPONSOR: Historic Inns of Rockland

Four fine inns in downtown Rockland—The Berry Manor, Captain Lindsey, Granite Inn, and Limerock Inn, all built between 1835 and 1898. These aren’t home-stay B&BS, all are historic homes turned into boutique inns, complete with all the whistles and bells: private rooms, private baths, common areas, Wifi, abundant breakfasts. Some have fireplaces and whirlpool tubs. One is especially kid and pet friendly

TIX: $25 adult, $10 children.

Yes. Tickets for the tour alone sell out quickly; $25 adults, $10 kid 10 and younger. To order tickets in advance, call 1-877-ROC-INNS (877-762-4667).

BENEFITS: Area Interfaith Outreach Food Pantry.

More than $20,000 has been raised to date.

Capt. Ken Barnes, pie-maker extraordinaire, shows a creation at the Capt. Lindsey House.

LODGING PACKAGES: at the Historic Inns or Rockland

Granite Inn, Berry Manor, Limerock Inn, Captain Lindsay. Packages  include:

  • Two guaranteed tickets to the usually sold-out Pies on Parade
  • Two “personal” pies upon check-in
  • A copy of INNdulgences, the Historic Inns of Rockland cookbook,
  • Commemorative Pies on Parade poster
  • $50 in Midcoast Money plus two dessert vouchers
  • Exclusive tour of Audubon’s Project Puffin Center featuring “Puff (ed) Pastry Pies”
  • Exclusive tour of Maine Lighthouse Museum featuring “Lite Pies”
  • Invitation to a “Wine and Pie” tasting at the Wine Seller

Two-Night Package prices range from $315 to $605 single or double occupancy.

THE PIES:

• Berry Manor Inn:  Raspberry pie; Blueberry Pie; Savory pies

• Captain Lindsey House: Seafood Pie

• LimeRock Inn:  Key LimeRock Pie; Pizza Rustica (Italian Meat) Pie

• Granite Inn:  Cheesy Breakfast Pie and Cranberry Apple Pie

• Pastry Garden: Lemon Meringue Tartlets and Spinach Ricotta Pie

• Amalfi on the Water: Seafood Pie; White Chocolate Mousse Pie

• Café Miranda: Signature Mojo Pizza Pie

• Lily’s Bistro:  Potato & Bacon; Peach Tart Tatan

• Bricks:  Pizza Pie

• Rheal Day Spa: (Healthy pies) Not-too-Sweet Potato Pie (gluten free); Lavender, Honey & Yogurt Pie (no refined sugar)

• Waterworks Restaurant:  Shepherds Pie

• Rustica:  Sweet and Savory Italian Gallettes

• Rockland Café: Mini Whoopie Pies

• Brown Bag: TBA

• Park Street Grille: Tex Mex Take On Pie

• Thorndike Creamery: Ice cream surprise

Meet Chuck Berry

January 3, 2010

No, not the rock n roll icon, but W. Chuck Berry, “the highly trained disciple of the all great weather prognosticator, Punxsutawney Phil.”

Chuck makes a personal appearance at the Berry Manor Inn, in Rockland, every February, giving the local twist on Ground Hog Day. While the Berry Manor is a fabulous escape anytime, this Ground Hog Day package includes

• lodging at the four-diamond historic B&B (it’s home of the Pie Moms, a reason alone worth visiting)

• an exclusive showing of the movie Ground Hog Day complete with all the trimmings (cider, popcorn, warm cookies

• a ground hog Beanie Baby

• ground hog trivia at breakfast (ground hog pancakes, of course)

• locally made ground hog candy

The package, available only Feb. 2, is $140-$200 per room.

Now let me tell you a bit about the inn and those rooms. This place is a gem, a ruby-colored mansion tucked on a side street in downtown Rockland, and an easy walk to shops, museums, and restaurants. It’s elegant and inviting and not at all stuffy. There are beaucoup areas to relax and unwind — enough so that it’s easy to escape other guests, should you desire.

Guest rooms are comfy, not frilly (varying from pretty to handsome), and even the smallest is quite spacious. Expect all the usual amenities and and quite a few unexpected ones (a B&B with chocolates and turndown? Nice!). Many rooms whirlpool tubs and/or fireplaces. There enticing enough that you might want to just hunker down and not come out except for breakfast and the always available sweets in the guest pantry. (They included blueberry pie while I was there; mmmmmm).

Innkeepers Michael and Cheryl are a hoot. If you’re the ultra serious type who doesn’t think listening to a toy hamster belt out a tune at breakfast is fun, or who doesn’t appreciate a rubber ducky in the tub, than this isn’t the place for you.

If ground hog day doesn’t fit your schedule, check it out another time. Winter rates are a steal, beginning at $115 per night. And there are other quite attractive packages, too, like the Sleep Inn/Dine Out ($190-$250, through May), including a dine-around at three area restaurants. If you’re coming from Boston, add $114 to include round trip air via Cape Air to Rockland and the inn. Not bad, eh?

Camden in the spring

January 2, 2010

We’re smack in the middle of a ful-blown Nor’eastah, a raging blizzard that one overzealous TV guy has said has the potential to be the storm of the century. I think it might be a wee bit too early in the century to title it, but the storm has me pining for sunshine and flowers. And I found a nice deal, for those able to book before the rooms are all taken.

During May and June, Cedarholm Garden Bay, a colony of secluded cottages on a gorgeous chunk of oceanfront property a few miles north of downtown Camden, is offering a third night free for stays of two nights or longer.

These aren’t your run of the mill cabins, these are luxurious and very private shingled cottages set on 16 acres landscaped with gorgeous gardens. The fanciest ones have fieldstone fireplaces and whirlpool tubs. Four are oceanfront, two others are set in the gardens, but have ocean views.

Rates include a continental breakfast: Think scratch-baked goodies, freshly squeezed orange juice, fresh fruit. Dine inside or take it out on the deck.

207 winter escapes

December 16, 2009

Looking to escape the holiday craziness? Want to chill and enjoy winter’s chill? Steal away to one of these inns I recommended on the WCSH-TV show 207. Quite a few have special packages, so be sure to check the web sites.

The Crocker Pond House, Bethel: Perfect for those who might want to do some early-season skiing at Sunday River. Lovely, owner/architect designed Shingle-style home in rural woods. Skate on the pond, cross-country ski on the trail by the river, snowshoe the trails from the backyard. Family friendly. $125 two nights, $150 one night, includes full breakfast.

Belfast Bay Inn & Suites, Belfast: Smack downtown, so it’s well situated for browsing Belfast’s boutiques and galleries and for strolling around to admire holiday decorations. Suites are elegantly furnished, and most have near-full kitchens that are well equipped. The owners have thought of everything; they even deliver a full, hot breakfast to your suite in the morning. $158-228

Inn on the Harbor, Stonington: Talk about away from it all! The inn is built over the island-dotted harbor, providing a front-row seat on any boating activity. Wonderful preserves for winter walking, artisans’s studios to visit. In winter, meals are available. $65-$110, $135 for a two-bedroom apartment with full kitchen; includes light breakfast.

West Quoddy Station, Lubec: It might not be the end of the world, but you can see it from here. A once-abandoned Coast Guard Lifesaving Station on West Quoddy Head that’s been renovated into efficiencies and a rental house. Walk the trails, stock up on Monica’s chocolates and Quoddy Mist sea salt. Studios and one-bedroom units: $80-95; four-bedroom house with full kitchen, $200.

Camden Harbour Inn, Camden: A hip, contemporary, luxurious oasis in Camden. Victorian on the outside, chic inside, without a hint of Victorian frou frou. Short stroll to downtown shops and restaurants. $175–$375, including a full champagne breakfast and all-day snacks.

Captain Lord for $149

November 23, 2009

Yup, you read that right. The Captain Lord Mansion, a posh B&B within easy walking distance to Kennebunkport’s Dock Square, has a midweek holiday package geared to shoppers (valid through Dec. 23).

The $149 Shopping Survival Getaway Package includes:

• King or queen room with fireplace

• Discount coupons to Kennebunkport’s boutiques and nearby factory outlets

• A “shopping assistance kit” comprising notepad, pen, and aspirin)

• A complimentary gift wrapping station stocked with everything necessary to tie up the perfect package

• Afternoon bubbly by the fire in the living room (to enjoy while wrapping presents)

The Captain Lord is a AAA four-diamond inn and was recently included on Conde Nast Traveler’s Top 30 Small Hotels for 2009.