The Whitehall is one of the oldest inns in Camden, located on High Street within walking distance of downtown. Two years ago, it was refurbished by Lark Hotels. They kept all the beautiful architectural features of the building and added bright bold colors and modern furniture to update the style of this inn.

I loved the main lobby, a sprawling open space with many sitting areas. The bright artwork and design is well done. I enjoyed the variety of seating, as each piece was different. While savoring my early-morning coffee, I sat in several of the chairs and was pleased to find an ultra-modern one that was extremely comfortable.

Our two-room suite was a large space with a comfortable sitting room and full-size couch, sleek wooden rocker, unique tables and a large flatscreen TV. Gray walls and white trim were the perfect backdrop for the bold colors used in the rooms. Comfort is at the forefront here, with an incredibly cozy mattress and luxurious linens on the king-size bed.

The Pig and Poet is the public restaurant located at the Whitehall. The bar was made of rows of old wood molding of different styles and colors that, along with the lighting, was an eye-catching focal point of the room. Wrought iron pipes ending in filament lights squiggle along the ceiling and are as much artwork as they are lighting.

I began my dinner with the roasted asparagus salad plate ($12). Fresh baby greens were topped with chilled roasted asparagus, pickled mushrooms, citrus-roasted carrots, a deviled egg and dressed with tarragon vinaigrette. It was a nice combination of textures, and you could taste the tarragon as well as a light citrus flavor. It was a great way to begin a summer meal.

The food here is described as “modern American,” using local fresh ingredients. The chef’s creativity shines as one reads through each selection. George’s appetizer of heirloom tomato toast ($12) was a great example, combining avocado, lemon aioli and cucumber with those tomatoes. Yum!

My entree of shrimp and braised pork ($19) was extraordinary. Cheddar grits were the base of this plate, and they were the creamiest grits I’d ever tasted. The well seasoned shrimp were packed with flavor and so tender. Shredded braised pork added a hint of sweetness and made this famous combination shrimp and grits a standout. Thinly sliced watermelon radishes made it all look like a piece of artwork. Not many Maine restaurants offer grits, but when they are cooked well, I think they put the comfort foods of mac and cheese or potato au gratin to shame.

This was a memorable meal, indeed.


I love history, and sitting at the piano where Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay was first discovered in 1912 was a real privilege and pleasure. I appreciate the effort that was made to retain the historic features here, while adding modern comforts.

Jessica at the front desk was friendly and welcoming, and we enjoyed visiting with her throughout our stay.

From the beautiful gardens, to the outside seating, to the lawn games, it’s all good. While inside, the Pig and Poet offers a real dining adventure.

Let’s begin with breakfast. I was surprised when we entered the restaurant at 8 a.m. to find the bar covered with choices, almost all of which were bite-sized, and I appreciated that because it gave me an opportunity to try almost all of them.

My favorite was the tiny eggs with lobster on top. But everything was good, from the yogurt topped with blueberries to the strawberry smoothie. It was a great start to our day.

Dinner here is special, too, from the raw bar with two oyster dishes, to the hand foods — small meals and plates. When I saw the porcini gnocchi ($24) on the list of plates, it called my name. The dish included locally cultivated mushrooms, English peas, shaved pecorino romano and morel butter creme. The sweet peas and the earthy mushrooms made for a great combination.

We shared dessert, the chocolate pot de creme: a huge dollop of chocolate surrounded by strawberries. I was delighted when Linda was too full to eat more than a couple of scoops. Our server, Merritt, a Camden native and recent college graduate, was terrific, and we can only hope she finds that graphic design job she seeks so she can stay in the area she loves.

After dinner, we sat outside, relaxing in comfortable seats and enjoying a fire. I could almost hear Edna St. Vincent Millay playing the piano.

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

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