Dense forests, rugged coastline, and friendly small towns for exploring—plus all the lobster you can eat—it’s 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 doesn’t mean doing without updated luxuries.
On the Island
Chebeague Island Inn
On the map, Chebeague Island isn’t 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, you’ll feel so much farther away from reality.
The island—population 350—has 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 Inn’s chefs will transform the shellfish into a dinner feast. If you have a talent for lobstering, there will be enough for breakfast and the Inn’s popular lobster Benedict, too. Chebeague Island Inn
61 South Road, Chebeague Island, ME
Into the Woods
Pedaling a beach cruiser to Goose Rocks Beach, picking wild blueberries along a forest path, toasting s’mores over bonfire as the sun sets: It’s 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 s’mores and you’ve upgraded to the classic Hidden Pond experience.
Hidden Pond general manager Justin Grimes calls the honeymoon destination “camp for grown ups”—minus 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 Pond’s 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 couple’s paddle boarding lesson, and an excursion into classic Kennebunkport.
Just don’t miss the seasonal resort’s number one summer-camp-style amenity: the tree houses, connected by catwalks suspended above the forest floor. What’s the twist? The be-a-kid-again tree houses are home to the resort’s luxuriously grown-up new spa. Hidden Pond
354 Goose Rocks Road, Kennebunkport, ME
Camden Harbour Inn
From the outside, Camden Harbour Inn looks like a vintage Maine postcard: An 1874 Victorian mansion overlooking Penobscot Bay and quaint Camden town. Inside, though, it’s definitely 2013. There’s 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 inn’s 20 rooms—all named for the ports of call of the Dutch East Indian Company, a nod to the Dutch heritage of owners Raymond Brunyanski and Oscar Verest—offers different indulgences. Among honeymooners’ favorites: the blue- and gray-hued Curacao room. It’s 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 you’ll find popular destinations like Cellardoor Winery, the Farnsworth Art Museum with its Wyeth collection, and, of course, the state’s 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