Yankee editors share some of their favorite picks for kicking back at a bed-and-breakfast, Maine coast–style.
By Yankee Staff
Jul 07 2022
Captain Fairfield Inn, KennebunkportPhoto Credit : Courtesy of Captain Fairfield Inn
Please note that many establishments throughout New England have modified their hours and/or operations in response to COVID-19. Always check for the latest information before making travel plans.
Dreaming of a romantic oceanside escape to a classic New England bed-and-breakfast? Maine coast innkeepers would argue that there’s no better place to make that dream come true than their famously beautiful home state, whose shoreline runs for an astonishing 3,478 miles (which is longer than California’s) past quiet fishing villages, bustling urban areas, and long stretches of scenic wilderness. And a look back at the past several years of Yankee’s Best of New England Editors’ Picks seems to confirm this: No other region of the state boasts as many award-winning lodging options as the coast, especially when it comes to bed-and-breakfasts.
Below are more than a dozen of our favorite places to overnight on the Maine coast, all of which have earned the distinction of being a Best of New England Editors’ Pick for Maine.
If you find yourself getting a little carried away by the Instagram feed for this B&B — with its lush gardens and mouthwatering homemade breakfast treats — it might have something to do with the fact that co-owner Doug Mindell has worked as a professional photographer. (In fact, he got his first look at the innkeeping business while photographing Yankee’s own “Best Inns of New England” series.) Add in Margie Mindell’s background in art and design, and it’s easy to see how they have made this classic Cape a picture-perfect getaway. Choose from five spacious guest rooms, whose perks range from skylights to private decks to a Jacuzzi tub. Open May–October.
With its high ceilings and strong Yankee lines, this 1813 sea captain’s mansion has always been one of the most classic lodging choices in Kennebunkport. It was recently modernized with clean-lined furniture, saturated colors, and a lively interplay of patterns. (Fun fact: The Vineyard Vines Suite pictured above was described by the Condé Nast Traveler website as one of the world’s preppiest hotel rooms.) A tapas-style breakfast of sweet and savory small plates will fortify you for the beach or for shopping around Dock Square, a five-minute stroll away. Open year-round.
Here’s proof that a light environmental footprint can go hand in hand with creature comforts. When you’re luxuriating on the comfortable mattresses or feasting at breakfast on the signature lobster eggs Benedict, you’d never give a thought to the Chadwick’s staunchly green philosophy. The B&B composts all organic materials, uses low-energy LEDs, avoids printed communications, and is equipped with low-flow toilets, showerheads, and sinks. The Gilchrist & Soames body products even help support honeybee research — proof that doing good can also feel good. Open year-round.
This coastal retreat is surrounded by gardens and tucked into a quiet corner of a working cove, handy to two lobster pounds and the sands at Reid State Park. Outfitted with Maine-made Cuddledown bedding and local artwork, the seven guest rooms and suites are divided between a century-old farmhouse and a matching shingled cottage; all have windows looking out on the water. Breakfast is a memorable affair, featuring homemade jams, fruit syrups, and bread alongside entrées created with fresh ingredients (seafood, cheese, vegetables, etc.) from local Maine producers, most of whom are certified organic. Open May–October.
Built in 1892 for Charles E. Littlefield, a notable politician who was Maine’s attorney general at the time, this magnificent Queen Anne mansion was saved from possible demolition or conversion into apartments by Kathy and Jerry Dougherty, a New Hampshire couple who vacationed in Rockland every summer. They bought it and converted it into Rockland’s first bed-and-breakfast. Now overseen by the Bonneau family, the LimeRock Inn has eight comfy, colorful rooms (including what we consider the height of Victorian romance, a turret room), a wraparound porch, and landscaped gardens. Breakfast encompasses everything from seasonal fruit and homemade pastries to cooked entrées, and the coffee is a special blend from Rockland’s own Rock City Roasters. Open year-round.
Located in a quiet neighborhood within walking distance of Rockland’s harbor and historic downtown, the Berry Manor Inn exudes Victorian elegance. In converting this 1898 mansion into a B&B, married owners Cheryl Michaelsen and Michael LaPosta made sure to preserve many original architectural features of the property, which is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. But what the Berry Manor Inn may be most famous for is its food: Not only do guests enjoy a gourmet breakfast, but they also have access to pantries that are kept stocked with Maine-made Gifford’s ice cream and homemade pies, such as mixed berry, apple, and to-die-for blueberry. Open year-round.
One of the jewels of Camden’s High Street Historic District, this 1890s Queen Anne has been polished to perfection by a succession of conscientious caretakers, including current owners Ted and Lisa Weiss. You’ll find plenty of quiet sitting spaces on the porch and in the garden, all tucked away from the bustle of Main Street; for even more relaxation, the Hawthorn offers in-room massages (among many possible add-ons). Among the plush rooms and suites — six in the main house and four in the carriage house — families will appreciate the Emma Knight Suite, two connecting rooms with a harbor view and a separate living area. Breakfast is served, weather permitting, outdoors in the garden or on the terrace. Open year-round.
Conjure up an image of the perfect New England inn, and likely it resembles this Federal-style manse decorated with antiques and surrounded by gardens and fruit trees. Built in 1835 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Blue Hill Inn retains many original features, including wide pumpkin-pine floorboards, six fireplaces, and nine-over-six windows. Guests are treated to complimentary multicourse breakfasts (the inn’s blueberry pancakes, made from a top-secret recipe, are a perennial favorite), afternoon sweets, and evening hors d’oeuvres. The inn has 13 guest rooms in all, including the standalone Cape House Suite and Cape House Studio, which can be reserved even in winter. Open year-round, but room availability and services vary in winter; see website for details.
Ed and Karen Curtis’s combination off-the-grid bed-and-breakfast and organic farm fronts onto Sullivan Harbor, which leads to Frenchman’s Bay and a vista that spans Cadillac Mountain to the Schoodic Peninsula. The 40-acre property is permanently protected through an easement with the Frenchman Bay Conservancy, and you can launch a kayak from the front lawn or walk or pedal the rail trail to the Tidal Falls lobster shack on another conservancy-owned property. There are just two guest rooms — each with its own entrance, bathroom, and sitting area — which underscores the sense of being in a private paradise on the wild Maine coast. Open year-round.
A cup of coffee from local favorite Crooked Porch Coffee Roasters and a hearty breakfast on the deck or, in colder months, by a crackling fireplace will get you ready for a day of Downeast exploring. Need advice on where to go? Your hosts, Matt and Kristi Losquadro, are former Virginia residents who bought the SaltAir (c. 1887) after falling in love with Bar Harbor during vacations here, and they’ll be happy to point you toward insider spots in and around their adopted hometown. As the sun sets, try to resist the lure of the Adirondack chairs positioned just so on the inn’s oceanfront lawn. Open year-round.
Wow, what a location! Gaze out to Mount Desert Island from this contemporary bed-and-breakfast, situated on 20 private oceanfront acres near the tip of Newbury Neck. There are four spacious guest rooms, all with views of the ocean and Acadia National Park (there’s also a charming one guesthouse that’s a weekly rental, breakfast not included). Guests have use of a charming gazebo and an oceanfront patio and fire pit, and there’s a dock where you can dangle your feet in the water and maybe spy some wildlife (porpoises, seals, loons, etc.). Kayaks also available to launch from the 1,000-foot private shoreline. B&B rooms available May–October; guesthouse available year-round. See website for details.
If you’re traveling to the ends of the earth — or in this case, the easternmost city in the U.S. — it’s good to know there’s a friendly face waiting for you. Since 1992, musician and retired teacher Greg Noyes has been welcoming guests to his cozy 1887 Victorian B&B, whose common areas and four guest rooms are filled with fine antiques and family treasures. It’s located just one block off the water and two blocks from downtown, and can be a handy base for day-trips to iconic attractions such as the candy cane–striped West Quoddy Head Light and Campobello Island, the Roosevelt family’s summer retreat. Note: Next to the main house is a carriage house available for long-term rental, breakfast not included. Open year-round.
This post was first published in 2019 and has been updated.