Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Little Gem in a Little Big Town

It is so interesting to me to watch a small city or town reinvent itself. I'm speaking now of Rockland, Maine. Once just a commercial fishing city perched on the edge of Penobscot Bay, Main Street now glistens with streetlamps, dimly lit restaurants, and sparkling galleries. People drove through Rockland, quickly, to get to Camden or other more scenic parts of Midcoast Maine. Or, they ignored it altogether and took the "short cut" from Warren to Rockport on Route 90. Not anymore. Rockland has become a destination. Convenient flights from Boston make Rockland a hop-skip-and-jump and a perfect destination for a weekend getaway or a desirable retreat any time of year.

Bursting at the seams with amazing dining, galleries, museums, shops and boutiques, Rockland satisfies a cosmopolitan desire combined with small-town appeal and the allure of the sea and working waterfront. Catching up with this renaissance of sorts is Rockland's South End. Still known for the development left behind by MBNA, the South End may have, until very recently, merely been a drive through to more desirable Owls Head and the Saint George peninsula. Today, however, visitors and residence alike enjoy a variety of new businesses and homefronts. The trend is now to "buy and fix up" in Rockland's South End.

One story follows Sandi Dillon, a big city gal who fell in love with a diamond in the rough in the South End. Once a boarding house of sorts, Ripples Inn at the Harbor now beckons guests to explore the new Rockland. Simple, Comfortable, Seaside Chic, Rockland. Ripples isn't a big inn, in fact, there are five rooms. A perfect size for a harborside B&B. Re-designed with comfort and the sea in mind, Sandi welcomes guests into cozy and well-planned living areas. A gourmet kitchen opens to the dining and living rooms ensuring a traditional bed & breakfast experience. Allow Sandi to show you to your rooms...breezy curtains, good use of space, and artistic and comfortable furnishings guarantee a comfortable stay. Special touches make each room unique, each representing a different theme. Poets, artists, relaxation... Situated just a block from Rockland's harborfront, you will enjoy the sounds of the harbor from your open windows as light curtains billow in the seabreeze.

Enjoy a most convenient locatio
n, you can walk to anything. The train to Brunswick and beyond, the Farnsworth Museum, many fine galleries, restaurants and shops. Take a sail, take a ferry, have lunch on an island! Then, retire to a cozy retreat to enjoy a nightcap with thoughts of tomorrow left to ponder.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Breakwater Inn & Spa, Kennebunkport

There is something really charming about Kennebunkport in the fall. Something about the lay of the land, alternating fingers of brightly colored foliage and bright blue coastal waters and rivers. It really is a glorious little town! I had the pleasure of staying at the Breakwater Inn & Spa for a recent business trip.

Built in the 1880's and completely refurbished to a contemporary chic , the Breakwater is unique in bo
th history and design. Neutral colors in the spa guest rooms are accented by rich white fluffy towels and robes. Views of the river (with that lovely foliage all around) are a focal point. More traditional, nautically themed Inn rooms are also available. My suite was just down the ship-shaped hall from the spa and fitness center. It had everything I desired; a big bed adorned with many pillows. A big TV, an amazing view, and a specialized vanity area with separate bath. The suite was well-sized with a comfortable sitting area with a large window overlooking the river activities and the ocean beyond. A bottle of wine and welcome note from the hotel manager were purposefully placed for our enjoyment.

While at the Breakwater Inn & Spa, be prepared to be pampered! Start off enjoying the large screen TV and salt water fish tank in the ultra s
wanky lounge. A guest pantry is well stocked with beverages, snacks, and sherry. The fitness center is a great place to burn some energy, knowing that a generous menu of spa treatments is waiting for you at the other end.

Spa treatments include specialty manicures, pedicures, massage and aromatic baths. My favorite; "Thai on the Table" massage! Follow up with a stroll through the Port's magical shops and galleries and dinner at Stripers, the Breakwater Inn's sister restaurant.

You will not be disappointed with the atmosphere, simple and casually elegant with more amazing water views. I suggest the Tuna Carpaccio for starters, pair it with a Tanqueray and tonic! Follow soon with the clam chowder. After my seafood fix, I enjoyed the half-roasted chicken served with fingerling potatoes and carrots. Delightful! Although Stripers boasts some of the finest seafood dishes in the area, I really enjoyed the chicken complimented by the Belleruche Cotes du Rhone. Menu choices change regularly, but I am certain that any visit to Stripers will deliver.

This was a weekend getaway for me, and I can assure you that I enjoyed every moment. From breakfast until I watched the sun set from Kennebunk Beach. Winding down with a glass of tawny port en suite. If you are looking for a special fall weekend, you must consider the Breakwater Inn & Spa, Kennebunkport.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Camden's Windjammer Weekend

I love going to bed at night when the temps start to cool. It's still warm enough to have a window cracked open in my bedroom, but cool enough to snuggle up under the down comforter. Recently, I had the pleasure of family company from P.A. As I snuggled in for the night, moonshine outside my window, I was drifting off with thoughts of the glorious day ahead.

I knew the weather would be fine, and I was truly looking forward to taking my family to lunch...and then to the Camden Windjammer Festival. Centered around the Camden Harbor waterfront, the town is bustling with just enough visitors to keep things exciting, but we still found a place to park (within a few blocks of the harbor). As we wound our way down to the waterfront, sounds of sea
shanties filled the air, and the tall masts decorated with colorful sails and flags came into view.
It couldn't have been a more stellar backdrop. Clear blue skies, hot sun, and a cool seabreeze beckoned us to climb aboard these magnificent ships. The Nathanial Bowditch, the Appledor, Olad, and a host of other beauties welcomed travelers aboard for an in-depth look around. Up and down we went, in and out of bunks, galleys, decks, one boat to the next. The smell of the coal and wood stoves lingers in the galleys, one can just imagine a brisk night to see up top and coming down for a nightcap and a warm-up by the stove. LUXURY! I was like a kid in a candy store! I vowed, again, to one day set sail aboard one of these fine sailing ships to experience bedtime at sea. I am certain that I will return a changed woman.

On land, we enjoyed demonstrations of the maritime trade, old and new. After we got our feel for the history of it all, we meandered up the quaint streets of town to browse the shops and galleries. A perfect day in Maine. A luxury rich in history and strength is found on these fine boats. If you have a chance to enjoy them someday, I strongly suggest that you not miss the opportunity.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Coming Soon! Fall Guide - Maine Sporting Camps - And Great Dining!

In just a
few days, I will begin my Fall / Winter Travel Reviews! Autumn in Maine is a spectacular time of year to visit. Crisp days, fireside nights, and the amazing foliage make this time of year a personal favorite. Join me in savoring the Flavor of Fall this year in Maine as I present you with some of my favorite haunts this harvest season!

From the mountains to the sea, winding roads, antiques, and the excellent restaurants that feature Maine's fall flavors, I can show you some of Maine's best fall travel opportunities.