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Monday December 18, 2017
Posted: May 04, 2015

Historic Maine inns figure out how to work together

Travel Talk

The five Historic Inns of Kennebunkport are stunning and unique.

One recent weekend, Linda and I stayed at two of the five Historic Inns of Kennebunkport, while visiting the other three inns. Each inn is unique, and all offer wonderful hospitality in historic buildings. We will also have a travel column for you on our stay at the Captain Lord Mansion and Lord Jeffords Inn. But let me tell you now about all five inns.

Captain Jefferds Inn

On Nov. 20, 1803, Daniel Walker gave his son-in-law, Captain William Jefferds Jr., “80 square rods of land, with love and affection” on the lane leading to Walker’s Wharf. In 1804 the building that now houses the inn was built as a two-story example of the Federal Period. William and his wife Sarah had 11 children, and all but one lived to adulthood. No wonder the inn has so many rooms!

Eric and Sarah, the current owners, after taking their first inn-keeping course in 1981, started looking on and off for the perfect inn on the coast of Maine. The moment they stepped through the front door of the Captain Jefferds, reported Sarah, they knew that they had finally found it. They purchased the Inn on April 25, 2005. Candles in the window are used as a time honored tradition as a signal guests will find warmth and security within. And we certainly did.

Eric and Sarah are very personable hosts. We loved a lot of things here, from the amazing breakfast to the sitting room out back where guests gathered to enjoy coffee and treats, read newspapers, and visit. Our only regret was that we could only stay one night.

1802 House

When Linda asked innkeeper Teri Walker when the inn was built, we all laughed. “Well, in 1802,” Terri said. Of course! The inn is alongside the historic Cape Arundel golf course, and you can sit outside and watch President George Herbert Walker Bush playing there in the summer. Teri’s husband is English, and they returned to Maine after 20 years in England to purchase the inn. They actually stayed at one of our favorite inns, Berry Manor in Rockland, as they searched along the coast for an inn to purchase.

The 1802 House has been completely remodeled by Terri and her husband, from carpets to window treatments. We toured several rooms, all of them elegantly decorated, and were especially impressed with a multi-room suite upstairs. Terri said this year’s business, from January through March, was up 30 percent. They are doing a lot right!

Maine Stay Inn & Cottages

We were amazed by the cottages here. Gathered around a courtyard, from the outside they look like roadside accommodations from an earlier era. But inside, holy mackerel! Judy, who owns the Inn and Cottages with her husband, gave us a tour of two cottages.

The main house has six guest rooms, but if and when we return for a stay, we’ll want one of those cottages, ranging from romantic suites with fireplaces and Jacuzzi tubs to family suites with full kitchens. Judy is especially proud of the 2 acres of grounds featuring beautiful gardens and sitting areas. All the guests here get a gourmet breakfast, and if they want, it will be delivered to their room or cottage, just one of many amenities that keep guests returning.

The Inn at English Meadows

The inn has new owners, and we couldn’t see any of the rooms because the inn was full, a pretty good sign, in April, that this is a popular place. While the other five historic inns are in Kennebunkport, this one is in Kennebunk’s lower village. But it’s only a short walk to Dock Square in Kennebunkport.

The inn was recently renovated, but has been welcoming guests from all over the world for more than 75 years. We did get to see the gathering rooms, beautiful spaces, and we took note that some gorgeous gardens were already starting to sprout colorful flowers.

The inn has nine guest rooms plus a bungalow, with all the amenities you expect in a fine establishment. Each guest enjoys a specially-prepared three-course breakfast each morning.

Captain Lord Mansion

Kennebunkport’s Captain Lord Mansion combines history, elegance, and art with comfortable and intriguing features that bring guests back year after year. In fact, one couple has stayed here more than 100 times. And don’t we wish we could!

Owners Bev Davis and Rick Litchfield, who have owned and cherished the inn for 37 years, have filled it with art and collectibles while maintaining all the historic features, including antique furniture and fixtures.

Linda noted: “There are 16 rooms in the main inn and four more in the Garden Cottage. Both buildings have many unusual antiques and artifacts. Bev and Rick have had a hand in virtually everything. Kitchen makeover, enhancing the decor, painting or wallpapering? They do it all. Bev also made all the curtains for this inn and the Captain Jefferd’s Inn across the street. They are ‘Rock Stars’ in this business according to Sue, one of the inn’s chefs.”

Conclusion

These five inns smartly figured out that by working together, they can grow their market, something we’ve not seen a lot of in the tourism business. While each inn is different from the other five, they are all historic, with superb service and accommodations, perfect places for special celebrations or just a weekend get-a-way, with lots of great restaurants and shops, beaches and conservation lands, hiking and biking and birding, in the area. For sure, we’ll be returning.

 

 

 

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