The Maine Destination
By April White
Posted: Monday, Oct. 28, 2013
Dense forests, rugged coastline, and friendly small towns for exploringplus all the lobster you can eatits no wonder Maine has been known as Vacationland for more than 75 years. For nature-loving, summertime honeymooners, the state has long been a destination for quiet, quaint getaways, but as these modern resorts prove, that doesnt mean doing without updated luxuries.
On the Island
Chebeague Island InnOn the map, Chebeague Island isnt that remote, just 10 miles off the Maine coast, accessible via a scenic 1 1/2 hour island ferry from Portland or a quick 10-minute boat ride from Yarmouth. But once you arrive, youll feel so much farther away from reality.
The islandpopulation 350has a timeless feel and there are no phones or TVs in the guest rooms of the seasonal Chebeague Island Inn, which has stood on its western shore for almost 100 years. Why would you need the outside world when there is a wrap-around porch with well-seasoned wicker chairs and sweeping ocean views, plus 21 white-walled guest rooms filled with antiques and the works of Maine artists? There is internet access in the Great Room, but most honeymooners come to curl up in the oversized chairs fireside or challenge each other to a board game.
This is the perfect place to unwind after the whirlwind stress of a wedding weekend. Bike to the beach with a picnic and a bottle of wine, wave to passing cars, each older than the next, or stop and chat for a while with a lobsterman.
Turn that chat into an excursion on a lobster boat (the Inn will arrange such an outing) for a memorable Maine experience. When you return with your catch, the Inns chefs will transform the shellfish into a dinner feast. If you have a talent for lobstering, there will be enough for breakfast and the Inns popular lobster Benedict, too.
Chebeague Island Inn
61 South Road, Chebeague Island, ME
Into the Woods
Hidden PondPedaling a beach cruiser to Goose Rocks Beach, picking wild blueberries along a forest path, toasting smores over bonfire as the sun sets: Its the classic Maine summer camp experience. Add an elegant, private bungalow nestled among birch groves and balsam fir, a farm-to-table restaurant helmed by noted Boston chef Ken Oringer and a cocktail to go with those smores and youve upgraded to the classic Hidden Pond experience.
Hidden Pond general manager Justin Grimes calls the honeymoon destination camp for grown upsminus the camp counselors dictating your days.
Just a few minutes from downtown Kennebunkport, 60-acre Hidden Pond is the type of place where you can stay busy all day, doing absolutely nothing. You can spend hours lazing in the daybed on your screened porch before heading to the Tides Beach Club for a chaise lounge and lunch on the beach, followed by a leisurely tour through Hidden Ponds sustainable farm. (Tip: No one will mind if you pick a bouquet of flowers along the way.) If you are feeling slightly more ambitious, try a morning hike to nearby Clark Preserve, a couples paddle boarding lesson, and an excursion into classic Kennebunkport.
Just dont miss the seasonal resorts number one summer-camp-style amenity: the tree houses, connected by catwalks suspended above the forest floor. Whats the twist? The be-a-kid-again tree houses are home to the resorts luxuriously grown-up new spa.
354 Goose Rocks Road, Kennebunkport, ME
Camden Harbour InnFrom the outside, Camden Harbour Inn looks like a vintage Maine postcard: An 1874 Victorian mansion overlooking Penobscot Bay and quaint Camden town. Inside, though, its definitely 2013. Theres not a quilt or doily in sight at this modern boutique hotel, whose owners have replaced the dated image of the mom-and-pop Maine bed and breakfast with bold colors, minimalistic design, modern technology, and a glass of prosecco on your arrival.
Each of the year-round inns 20 roomsall named for the ports of call of the Dutch East Indian Company, a nod to the Dutch heritage of owners Raymond Brunyanski and Oscar Verestoffers different indulgences. Among honeymooners favorites: the blue- and gray-hued Curacao room. Its hard to know if you should be admiring the spa-like bathroom, the king-size feather bed, or the ocean view from the private deck.
If you can be convinced to part with your two fireplaces, Jacuzzi, and espresso machine (the recently renovated 800-square-foot Royal Dutch Suite is a new couples favorite, for reasons that need no further elaboration), the town of Camden, stocked with galleries, shops, and restaurants, is a two-minute walk away. And a little farther down the road youll find popular destinations like Cellardoor Winery, the Farnsworth Art Museum with its Wyeth collection, and, of course, the states iconic lighthouses.
But no visit to mid-coast Maine is complete, says owner Brunyanski, without boarding a schooner to see Vacationland from a whole new point of view. And bonus: from the water, you can gaze back at your enviable hotel room.
Camden Harbour Inn
83 Bayview St., Camden, ME