There are two reasons the LimeRock Inn has been the choice of Down East magazine’s readers for Best B&B two years in a row: Frank and PJ.

George

At opposite ends of the dining room sat unacquainted couples from London, England, when Frank came out of the kitchen (where he was preparing our breakfast) to introduce them to each other. Before long, the couples were seated together, engaged in eager conversation — not unlike the conversation Linda and I were enjoying with a couple from Rhode Island who we first met hanging out in the kitchen the day before.

They have become regular guests here, after becoming fast friends with the LimeRock’s owners, Frank and PJ, on their very first trip five years ago. Frank invited us to sit with his Rhode Island friends for breakfast on the second morning of our visit, and now we have new friends in Rhode Island!

This has got to be the friendliest B&B in the state. This was our second visit, and Frank and PJ greeted us on the wonderful wraparound porch (Yankee Magazine Editor’s Choice for Best Wraparound Porch in 2011), and we spent 20 minutes catching up on each other’s news. This inn is elegant and historic, very comfortable and quiet, but it’s the innkeepers that make it so very special.

You would never guess you are just two blocks from the hustle and bustle of one of our favorite downtowns. We walked to Rockland’s Main Street, full of wonderful art galleries (including the Farnsworth Museum), shops and restaurants. We bought olive oil at Fiore’s (a long-time favorite), and I autographed copies of my books in the Reading Corner Bookstore. Linda, as she always does, shopped at Good Tern Natural Food’s Co-Op. Then we drove the short distance to Owls Head Lighthouse to enjoy the stunning ocean scenery.

We had planned to have lunch at our favorite restaurant, Cafe Miranda, but Frank’s breakfast was so filling that we weren’t hungry. The last time we stayed here, we left before sunrise to catch a ferry to Monhegan and missed breakfast. Boy, what a mistake that was. We made up for it this trip by enjoying two spectacular breakfasts at the inn.

We slept late on our first morning, and Lin slipped out to the pantry to make coffee in the Keurig machine. But Frank was already busy at work, and gave Lin two hot cups of coffee, telling her, “It’s better than Keurig.” And it was!

Our “Island Cottage” room, on the first floor at the back of the inn, included a private deck with stairs to the beautiful grounds out back. We enjoyed the coffee on the deck, admiring PJ’s gorgeous flower gardens, watching cardinals, cedar waxwings and goldfinches when Linda said, “Now this is a civilized morning — no newspapers.”

“Well, I was just going to ask Frank or PJ if they have today’s newspaper,” I responded. We didn’t get a paper. But not to worry, the inn has WiFi so, eventually, I was able to read my Kennebec Journal online.

The backyard is nicely screened by trees, and the inn’s next-door neighbors match Frank and PJ in keeping beautiful lawns. Turns out that Parker and Anne Beverage of Waterville are taking care of his deceased parents’ house next door.

Linda

We last stayed at the LimeRock Inn in 2011, and have been itching to return ever since. We’d arranged our first trip around an Audubon birding adventure on Monhegan Island in the spring. Both the inn and trip were great, but due to the early morning boat ride to the island, we didn’t get to spend much time at this beautiful inn.

We remedied that on this trip by staying two nights and spending all of our time in the Rockland/Thomaston area. This gave us a chance to really enjoy the LimeRock and all it has to offer.

Frank and PJ met us on the porch where we talked so long that we made Frank late for his city council meeting. These two are meant for the hospitality business and can put guests at ease immediately. When they led us to the Island Cottage Room on the first floor, I instantly recognized it as the one we saw (and fell in love with) when we stopped in here for the Pies on Parade fundraiser two winters ago.

With its blue and light yellow color scheme and white woodwork, one feels the cheeriness of the room right away. Wicker chairs, a bead-board bed frame, a section of shingled wall and double French doors leading to the deck and backyard make you feel like you are indeed in a cottage. The bath included a whirlpool tub.

The very comfortable king-size bed with Egyptian cotton bedding and hypoallergenic pillows had us sleeping until 7:30 a.m. — unheard of for us! The coffee was already brewed and waiting for us in the pantry as Frank busily worked on a spectacular breakfast.

Our small porch beckoned, where enjoying coffee in comfy cushioned chairs overlooking the peaceful backyard starts one’s day off right. The flower garden was in full bloom and large trees surrounding the yard provided an oasis that birds took advantage of.

At my recommendation, two friends of mine stayed at the LimeRock this summer, one while taking an education course in Rockland and another on vacation, and when they told me about their trips, the first thing they said was, “Aren’t their breakfasts wonderful?!” Indeed.

PJ sets you up with a carafe of orange juice and brings coffee in beautiful mugs with the inn painted on them. Their special Rock City coffee blend is superb. Fresh fruit served in martini glasses comes next: strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream one morning, melon and blueberries the next.

Frank gets up early to bake delectable creations. The light airy biscuits had guests swooning, as did the tiny banana pecan mini muffins. Most B&Bs would stop there, but this inn provides a full breakfast. They vary the entrees by altering sweet and savory. Frank’s lemon blueberry pancakes the first morning were awesome — not overly sweet — and the frittata with sausage the second morning was delicious. You will find that you won’t be eating much else until dinner!

Frank said he tries to offer “affordable luxury and comfortable elegance.” The fact that both tourists and Mainers stay here, often at the recommendation of friends — and 50 percent of their guests are repeat customers — tells you that the things they are doing at the LimeRock Inn are working.

Conclusion

This beautiful historic home became an inn 20 years ago, and Frank and PJ are celebrating their 10th year here in 2014. LimeRock has won TripAdvisor’s Five-Star Rating and Certificate of Excellent every year since 2009. The inn is recommended by Fodor’s, Frommer’s, Lonely Planet, Moon Guide, Coastal Living, the New York Times and the Travelin Maine(rs)!

Visit George’s website — georgesmithmaine.com — for book reviews, outdoor news and all Travelin’ Maine(rs) columns, found listed in the “Best of Maine” section.

Dinner at Calzolaio

With little time for dinner before getting up to Carthage for (and this is sad) the final evening of music at Skye Theater, the decision to eat at Calzolaio Pasta Company in Wilton was easy. It was on the way to Skye Theater, and has been a favorite of ours since well before we started writing this column.

Linda and I shared their amazing and colorful antipasto plate and a Bruschetta pizza. Calzolaio is the first place we experienced Bruschetta pizza, and while quite a few places offer it now, Calzolaio’s is the best in the state. We enjoyed the meal with glasses of the house wine, a really good Chianti, and our attentive and friendly server, Courtney, made sure we got served quickly and left in time to get to the theater.

If you haven’t experienced Calzolaio, do so soon!