Grand Harbor Inn: Romantic Escape for Two
Elegant suites, sparkling flavors and stunning water views
It’s another messy, bone-chilling winter and I am my usual post-holiday puffy self. At this time of year, I’m always in need of a relaxing, stress-busting, pampering experience. Camden’s Grand Harbor Inn and its sister property, the Lord Camden Inn, offer attractive specials that make Camden irresistible to anyone suffering the mid-winter blues.
Innkeeper Erick Anderson has transformed this charming inn into a cosmopolitan boutique hotel on the harbor. A tranquil seaside oasis of comfort and style, the inn focuses on pampering and relaxation. Each distinctive suite has stunning views of blue sky, endless ocean and Maine islands dotted with dark green spruce.
As darkness falls, guests settle into plush sofas overlooking lovely Camden Harbor. Each well-appointed suite boasts a fireplace, outdoor deck and stunning water views – lovely, tranquil and private. And if that’s not enough to relax you, in-room massage and yoga are available. I had the in-room hot stone massage in front of our fireplace. It doesn’t get much better.
Sip and Savor
Cellardoor Vineyard in Lincolnville is just one of the many attractions within a short drive. Free wine tastings and tours are a great way to spend an hour or an afternoon. Events include chocolate tastings, wine and cheese pairings, “Demystifying the Wine Experience” classes and more. Sample local favorites Queen Anne’s Lace, Vino DiVine or Ned Said Red.
If you want more than just a taste, try Ephemere, a local wine bar and café known for a generous pour. The combination of a lush California Pinot Noir and our attentive and chatty host, André, made for a very special evening.
For robust refreshment, try Zoot coffeehouse where the java is rich and smooth and served in a hand-thrown mug. These guys make legendary smoothies, too – try the Maine blueberry and banana.
A small but dangerously fabulous bistro, Francine, appears unassuming – but the flavors are anything but. The short menu more than satisfies by coaxing big flavors from the freshest of local produce, meats and seafood. The steak frites were was the best I’ve tasted this side of Paris, and the fish was perfectly prepared, deliciously fresh. With an enormous local following, Francine’s can get a little noisy, so sit outside in the warmer months.
If you can still get into for your yoga pants and you’re ready for more culinary mastery, try Paolina’s Way, an authentic farm-to-table restaurant just a few steps from the Grand Harbor Inn. Polina’s handmade pasta, pizza and fresh sauces are made from vegetables and herbs picked daily from the owner’s organic farm. This creative take on traditional Italian fare is local, organic, and dedicated to environmentally sustainable practices. Sit by the wood-fired oven and savor the aromas!
Indulge and Pamper
Beauty Mark Spa in Camden can provide a further escape from winter blues – I tried a Signature Beauty Mark Spa Facial, and as promised, received the “royal treatment.” I also had their exfoliating Spa Pedicure. I left feeling wonderful, with a small bag of personalized products for my face … and very pretty feet. It was a thoroughly relaxing and soul-nourishing afternoon, most highly recommended.
Relaxing at the Farnsworth
I don’t know about you, but I find art museums are the ultimate relaxer. Good for the brain, gentle on the spirit. My favorite small Maine museum is the Farnsworth in Rockland, home to an impressive collection of Maine artists, and the artistic dynasty that is the Wyeths. A great place to spend a bleak winter afternoon, the Farnsworth is colorful and welcoming Maine treasure. Don’t miss the upcoming “Mind to Hand” exhibition of drawings, January through April.