When you can marry history with modern comforts you’ve got an inn people will love, and we now love the Captain Jefferds Inn in Kennebunkport. Let’s start with some history.
In 1804, the building that now houses the inn was built by William and Sarah Jefferds as a two-story example of the Federal period. They had 11 children. No wonder the inn has so many rooms! In 1888, the house was remodeled in the Colonial Revival style. The third floor was added and the house was connected to the pre-existing barn. In 1944, the home was purchased by the Dougherty family that converted what are the present-day carriage house suites into apartments they rented out seasonally.
Mrs. Constance Willy, a rare-book collector and reportedly the wealthiest woman in Maine, bought the property in 1963 and lived alone until her death in 1980. At that time, two antique dealers from New York purchased the beautiful building and turned it into the Captain Jefferds Inn.
Erik and Sarah Lindblom, who had taken a course on innkeeping in the mid-1980s and been looking on and off ever since for the perfect inn on the coast of Maine, found it here. Sarah told us, “The moment we stepped through the front door we knew that we had finally found it. We purchased the inn on April 25, 2005.” They put electric candles in each window as the time honored tradition and signal that guests will find warmth and security within. And we sure did.
We talked with a Boston Marathon runner from the west coast who stayed here rather than in Boston and commuted to the race, a young couple with a 2-year-old celebrating Mom’s birthday, and other guests who came here on the recommendation of friends. One Massachusetts couple was headed to Portland, saw the Kennebunk sign on the turnpike, recognized it as a “nice place,” drove around Kennebunkport and selected the inn. Good choice!
What did I love here? In our room it was the luxurious two-headed shower, a gas fireplace you can see in the living area and bathroom, the comfortable couch where I did a bit of writing and a huge very comfortable bed with awesome sheets. Downstairs I loved the living room with a large fireplace and lots of books; the sunny back sitting room and its huge windows where guests gather to enjoy coffee and treats, read newspapers and visit; the amazing breakfast and the short walk to downtown Kennebunkport.
Eric and Sarah are personable hosts and the staff is very friendly. We also admired how the five historic inns of Kennebunkport work together. The innkeepers are actually close friends. The week after we were there, Eric and Sarah celebrated their 10th anniversary as innkeepers and all the other innkeepers attended the celebration.
Arriving back at the inn after a terrific dinner at the Village Tavern, the Captain Jefferds was all lit up and stunningly beautiful. Our only regret was that we could only stay one night.
Captain Jefferds Inn is a very special historic inn that won our hearts. I was taken by the details of the decorating here. Fresh flowers, quiet piped-in music and light wall colors give this inn a soothing atmosphere. Owners Sarah and Erik are extremely hospitable and help guests feel instantly at home.
Sarah is a strong supporter of Kennebunk’s historic inns and arranged for us to visit the three other inns we had not seen yet. What fun! We found each to have its own unique feel, but all are elegant with many amenities.
The Captain Jefferds has 16 rooms and five are children- and pet-friendly. Our newly refurbished room, the Monhegan Room, was huge. We entered to find pale yellow walls, hardwood floors adorned with scatter rugs and a sleigh bed. The large new bathroom was impressive with a clawfoot tub, pedestal sink and a walk-in shower. It featured dual shower heads and was so luxurious that you want to stay there for a very long time. When you get out, a plush robe awaits and the gas fireplace warms you up.
The historic inns pride themselves on offering a fabulous breakfast and the Jefferds is no exception. Their dining room can seat 20 and they offer two seating times. Many guests make their way to the sunroom prior to breakfast to enjoy coffee, conversation and newspapers.
We started with Strawberries Romanov: fresh strawberries served with an irresistible cream sauce. When I asked the cook what made the sauce so good she replied “Rum.” Ahhh. I’ve since looked online and Romanov recipes vary, but the one common thread is the extra something, be it vodka, brandy or Grand Marnier.
Next we were served impressive five-inch-tall popovers. I ate all of mine and half of George’s! The main dish that morning was an artichoke frittata. It also had potato, onion and red pepper in it and was served on salsa with tomato and sour cream. Sausages came on the side. It was a savory breakfast that the guests thoroughly enjoyed.
After that big breakfast we returned to the sunroom. This room was my favorite — tall windows wrapped around the room making it light and airy. Its bead board ceiling with wide board floors and oriental rugs made this room charming. They even set up an afternoon snack complete with a cookie tray, cheese and crackers. The bricked patio just outside the room is also an inviting place to spend some time.
One of the conversations taking place that morning was about their sheets. “I don’t know why they are so wonderful,” one guest remarked. Turns out these elegant sheets have a thread count of 600. They can be purchased there, and I bet many guests do that so they can bring a little piece of this perfect place home.
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