It has been a couple of years since we stayed at the Berry Manor Inn, in Rockland, but it always feels like going home. The staff here is warm and welcoming and Cheryl Michaelsen personifies what it means to be an innkeeper. She is engaging and cheerful and her attention to detail shows from the decor to her breakfast plates.

We visited while the stunning Christmas decorations were up, which is indeed a sight to see. Stair railings and doorways are decked out in greenery, ribbons, cones, antique items and berries. A stunningly perfect Christmas tree with a Victorian theme sits in the parlor.

Owners Mike and Cheryl do everything with a wink and a nod. Their playful sense of humor is there to see if you just look for it. On the second floor, an upside-down Christmas tree hangs from the light in the middle of the sitting room. On the third floor, we found a sparse tree loaded with maroon pears and gold tassels with a white partridge sitting at the top.

Antique chairs and couches are sprinkled throughout the inn. I’ve found that most old chairs are hard and stiff, pretty to look at but not to sit in. They’ve chosen seating that you sink into, close your eyes and smile. It’s comfortable elegance that begs you to rest and relax.

Guests do seem to spend time in the living spaces more than we see at other inns. Maybe it’s the subliminal message one gets due to the hospitality here. You feel like making yourself at home.

The inn always has a variety of pies (berry, of course) available for guests to help themselves. Out on the counter in the kitchen or in the gathering room of the Carriage House, you will find two or three varieties of fruit pies. The pies are uncut, so you can let your conscience be the guide of how big a slice you want to cut. Unfortunately for George, I was the one who wielded the knife. I appeased his complaints by reminding him that there was ice cream in the freezer to go with his pie.

This visit we stayed in the Children’s Room on the third floor. There are eight rooms in the main inn and four in the Carriage House, all furnished Victorian style. Each room has a sign signifying how the room was used when the Berry family owned it in the 1800s. This home has been an inn for over a century, and there are not too many places that can say that.

The breakfasts here are something to look forward to. The next day’s menu is on a table in the hallway when you enter. When I woke up the first morning, I could smell the cinnamon and sugar of the morning’s offerings. A choice of juices, coffee and a fruit cup were brought right out by our server, Jordan.

We dug into our fruit and George had already eaten part of his muffin before I realized we had not taken a picture. So we tried to recreate our fruit dish when Cheryl noticed. “You forgot the presentation,” she said with a smile, as she pointed out the fresh mint leaves we’d removed. We retook the picture but missed the placement of blueberries in the middle of the mint. Remember that attention to detail I mentioned earlier?

My raspberry muffin was quite possibly the best muffin I have ever eaten. Its crunchy top gave way to a soft interior filled with luscious raspberries. I could not eat it all, but guarded it carefully so I could save it to finish later.

Cheryl’s brown sugar-topped cinnamon French toast must have been what I smelled when I woke up. It resembled a bread pudding in texture and from the ohhh’s and ahhh’s around the room, it too was a hit. It certainly was with us!


For 16 years, in this beautiful historic Victorian inn in a quiet Rockland neighborhood, Cheryl Michaelsen and Mike LaPosta have offered a high level of comfort, hospitality with a great sense of humor, and a real interest in making sure guests enjoy all that this region of the coast can provide.

And I have not mentioned the pies. Blueberry, raspberry and cherry were available, at all times, in the downstairs dining room during our late-December visit — with a dollop of ice cream. And yes, we indulged, both nights, although as Linda reported, she cut the slices which were very modest.

I hope to do better when we stop at the inn during the Jan. 29 Pies on Parade 11th annual fundraiser for the local food bank and fuel assistance program. About three dozen inns, restaurants and businesses offer sweet and savory pies that afternoon. But we’ll start our adventure at Berry Manor Inn for a piece of berry pie before we get filled up!

The inn includes several small and large common rooms, where you can relax and linger, as well as a dining room. All the inn’s guest rooms are special. Most are here, but we also like the rooms in the adjacent Carriage House. There is a sense of elegance in all the rooms, from the imaginative art to the seating. We enjoyed our gas fireplace both nights.

But it was when we went upstairs after enjoying our pie on the first night that I was really impressed. In our room, someone had turned on a few lights, turned down the bed, closed the curtains, started some music, replaced the towels and left us chocolates. Alas, I was too full to eat them!

Breakfasts are special occasions, with wonderful food and lots of humor. We were blessed by the appearance of Cheryl’s mom, Ally Taylor. She’s a real entertainer and presented a skit, “Bird Calls,” that was hilarious and a bit ribald. Around the room, guests visited with each other. It’s just that kind of place.

We’d had a wonderful conversation with two couples the night before, in the living room after we returned from dinner at our favorite Rockland restaurant, Cafe Miranda. The ladies were working on a puzzle and Linda joined right in.

On our first morning, I dropped downstairs to ask Cheryl a question and noticed the assistant innkeeper, Alyssa, a college student, offering a gathering of guests tips on what to do in the area that day. Cheryl made so many suggestions for places for us to visit that day that I told her we might need to stay the entire week to get to them all!

Here are the two favorites we visited that day. We were wowed by the Shaker exhibit at the Farnsworth Art Museum and also enjoyed the paintings of Andrew Wyeth. The Farnsworth is a must-see whenever you are in Rockland.

We were very impressed with the new Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, a project of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It’s a work in progress, but open on weekdays now, and in addition to offering lots of information about Maine’s federal wildlife refuges and projects, the displays are amazing.

Back at the inn after dinner at 3Crow on our second night, we had a nice visit with Cheryl, who told us how important elopement weddings are to their business. There was a wedding scheduled the next afternoon.

At breakfast the next morning, I noticed this on my Berry Manor Inn coffee cup: “Experience a return to graciousness and grandeur.” This inn is certainly that, and more.

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

Cooking with Kerry

A few weeks ago, we told you about Chef Kerry Altiero’s new cookbook, “Adventures in Comfort Food.” And now you have a chance to cook with Kerry, the chef/owner of Rockland’s awesome Cafe Miranda.

As I write this, Linda is getting a head start on the event, making Kerry’s awesome focaccia bread. And I can’t wait for it to come out of the oven! We also can’t wait for the Jan. 26 event at Cellardoor Winery in Lincolnville, “An Evening with Chef Altiero.”

Kerry promises a “culinary adventure,” with a hands-on cocktail hour, wine, appetizers and a three-course dinner. And when you purchase your ticket ($100 each), you can submit a dish for Kerry to cook that night. When you arrive, you’ll also get a signed copy of the cookbook, which I can tell you hardly ever leaves our kitchen counter now. Linda loves it. And I love the food she’s cooking.

Call Cellardoor Winery at 763-4478 immediately to get one of the final few tickets still available for this wonderful experience.

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