George

Linda is working fulltime in her hoop house, raised beds and other gardens, so I agreed to write a column about some of our favorite summer getaways. Let’s begin on the coast, which for us means way Down East. And we’ll focus on small inns and B&Bs in beautiful places.

Deer Isle is a real gem. The Pilgrim’s Inn offers great rooms and some apartments and includes a wonderful restaurant. Nearby in Stonington, we enjoyed perhaps the best meal of our five years of travel writing — the tasting menu at Stonington’s Aragosta restaurant. We enjoyed both the visit to the inn (2014) and the dinner at Aragosta (2015) with our friends Rusty and Sue Atwood, who recommended both places.

Regular readers will know we visit Lubec a couple of times each summer. My mom grew up there and my grandfather was the lighthouse keeper at West Quoddy for 32 years. I’ve been visiting this beautiful spot all my life and can’t get enough of it.

We often stay at Island Chalet on Campobello Island (don’t forget your passport), where two-bedroom cottages look out on the ocean. Nearby is the Roosevelt International Park, a stunning 2,000-acre reserve with remote beaches and great hikes. And don’t miss “Tea with Eleanor” at the Roosevelt compound. From the Lubec Library to the Water Street Tavern and Frank’s Dockside restaurants, to the south Lubec sandbar to the many conservation lands with easy hikes, this is the most relaxing place on Earth.

If you don’t want to drive that far, it’s hard to beat a stay at Berry Manor and LimeRock Inns, in Rockland: great hospitality and lots of great restaurants within walking distance. And yes, the ocean is right there, including the Tenants Harbor peninsula, where the Barstows of Monhegan Boat Line, out of Port Clyde, offer two great trips beginning in June: one to see the puffins on Egg Rock and another to enjoy local lighthouses.

And speaking of that, you’ll thank us for the recommendation if you get out to Monhegan Island, where we spent four days recently celebrating Mother’s Day and enjoying another birding adventure. We love Shining Sails, where John and Winnie Murdock are friendly hosts offering single rooms and apartments. During our annual visits in May, only the grocery store is open. If you want more, a later visit makes sense. The Murdocks have lots of rooms, apartments and cottages for rent from now through mid-October, something for everyone. And the Island Inn is a nice place to stay as well, with a fine restaurant. Again, Monhegan Boat Line will deliver you there and bring you back.

Inland

Let’s begin in western Maine and work our way east and north. Last year we enjoyed a visit to Mill Hill Inn in Bethel: great rooms, good food, wonderful hosts and close to our favorite Bethel restaurant, 22 Broad Street, where you’ll think you’re dining in Italy.

Drive northeast and you’ll find yourself in Rangeley, where the Rangeley Inn, including its restaurant, have been revived, restored and improved by new owner, Travis Ferland. If you want a smaller place, our visit last February to Loon Lodge on Rangeley Lake really impressed us, including its restaurant, which is open to the public.

Keep heading east and, before you know it, you’ll be in the Greenville region, where a lovely lakeside cottage awaits you at Rockwood Cottages. Imagine sitting there in a lakeside chair, staring across the water at the imposing Mount Kineo. Awesome! And terrific outdoor adventures can be experienced at two sporting camps, Gorman-Chairback and Little Lyford, both owned by the Appalachian Mountain Club and featuring great cabins and food, plus outdoor adventures throughout AMC’s 70,000 acres of conservation land.

From Greenville you can stay on the paved highway or take the shorter woods/Golden Road to Millinocket, where Matt Polstein’s Twin Pine Camps offer traditional sporting camps and modern, truly amazing houses. Imagine sitting in Matt’s River Driver’s restaurant, enjoying the stunning view across the lake toward Mount Katahdin, a tasty dish of food in front of you. Well, you don’t have to imagine it. Go now.

To help plan your summer getaways, we offer you access to all of our travel columns in the Best of Maine section of my website, www.georgesmithmaine.com. Select a town and you’ll get all of the columns we’ve written about inns, restaurants and events in that town.

At the recent annual conference of the Maine Woods Consortium, we were told that 90 percent of those of us who live in Maine also vacation here. There are many reasons for that. And the places in this column are some of those reasons. Make the most of your summer. Vacation in Maine!


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