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We were making an autumnal writing swing through New England and the surrounding states, visiting some of the regions finest B&Bs and resorts. A week or so into our trip, we hit a nor’easter just outside Cape Elizabeth, Maine, the home of our next destination. We found that a few days in a storm can be great fun – if you happen to be staying at the inspirational Inn by the Sea.
A very different resort
The Inn by the Sea is an eco-luxury, pet friendly, beachy rustic resort, located on mile-long Crescent Beach, a short 7 miles from Portland, Maine.
As we drove up to the inn’s portico, the wind was lashing the entry plants to and fro, and the rain was bouncing off our rental car hood like miniature ping pong balls. We waited a few minutes, then made a dash for the front door.
The staff attitude at the Inn by the Sea was the first thing we noticed. Smiling faces everywhere, even on this dark and dreary day – how refreshing.
There are 61 diverse guestrooms, suites, and cottages to choose from in this luxurious Four Diamond property.
In a matter of minutes we were escorted to our second floor suite overlooking the ocean — we think, but it was raining so hard that we couldn’t see much of anything beyond the dense vegetation below our balcony.
We nestled-down in front of the fire and the chill quickly left our bones. We had arrived, and were happy to be dry and comfortably situated in our weekend retreat.
Time to work
Not so much. We could tell that the grounds were lovely, but the heavy rains were relentless, so we were only able to shoot a few photos in-between downpours.
It is not our usual practice to use stock images, but the sunny outside pictures in this article (like the one above) are all courtesy of the resort.
This is a hotel serious about being “green,” a “good citizen,” and “animal friendly.”
Named a top ten American green Hotel by MSNBC and Forbes Traveler, this socially conscious resort practices what it preaches. Like growing attractive and sustainable edibles just outside the back patio.
Here’s another example
Non-indigenous plants had overgrown and choked out local vegetation and wildlife in the brush area between the inn and the beach. The inn assumed responsibility for removing the offending species, and replacing them with indigenous plants.
The inn created a ‘Rabitat’ in the brush that soon had the bunnies hopping for joy – all to the delight of inn guests who now see them running about during their trek to the beach (the guests not the rabbits). That’s biodiversity in action!
The Inn by the Sea invites guests to bring their canine companions on vacation. The big news is that there is no extra charge for the doggie guests! Just tell the inn that you will be accompanied by a canine family member, and request a pet-friendly room.
Not only that, but Bowser and Bowsie are treated to water bowls, beach towels, cozy blankets – and treats at turndown. There are also grooming services, pet massages, gourmet pet menus, a dog walking service, and a doggie day care for additional fees. How about that pet fans!
This is fantastic
There’s also a Foster Dog Program where the inn works with the local animal refuge and keeps a foster dog at the inn until it is adopted. They currently have their 11th dog in house. What a great idea!
And for the humans
There’s a wonderful SPA to help you relax, refresh and rejuvenate. For tension relief, try the Deep Tissue Massage – one hour is just enough.
A superb restaurant
The Sea Glass Restaurant, and nearby lobby bar, have great views and memorable meals created by Chef Steve Sicinski. Chef Steve, who is classically trained by Cordon Bleu, believes food should be about taste and health – but also be playful and energetic. His attitude makes for some delightfully delicious combinations.
How about this hearty and delectable breakfast!
And this unusual and delicious salad of marinated Braised Beets, Feta Cheese, and Granola dust…
Or a succulent variation of the “Wedge,” with Romaine Lettuce, Apple Bacon crumbs, Cherry Tomatoes, and Blue Cheese with homemade Ranch Dressing.
Everything we ate left us satisfied and gratified.
Opps, almost forgot the dessert. Apple Galette with roasted Apple Gelato, crisp Apple Salad, and Cider Caramel. Yummy!
One unusual aspect of growing food for his tables is Chef Sicinski’s working partnership with Cultivation Works a social enterprise that teaches people with disabilities to grow fresh, healthy produce in a sustainable way.
The chef can handpick salad ingredients such as baby pea sprout tendrils, baby beet tops, cilantro, and other herbs and produce grown in 11” by 22” flats in the inn’s kitchen that were started by the Cultivation Works’ “Teenie Greenie” farmers.
“Challenged adults come to the Cultivation Works’ greenhouses to learn about good agricultural practices.” They grow their micro greens with non-GMO seeds and organic soil. The program helps develop practical skills for sustainable farming, and the producers gain confidence in their abilities. This is a wonderful program. Learn more about it here.
A great place to vacation
The remainder of our days at the Inn by the Sea were spent tasting great dishes at Sea Glass, chatting with the other guests, enjoying the fire in the hearth, listening to the rain, and catching up on some good books. It was soul-settling, and we so enjoyed the change of pace. We reckon there’s not a better place to spend rainy days in Maine.
The Inn by the Sea has been selected for recognition for Conde Nast’s Gold, and Travel & Leisure’s Best Hotels in the World. It is Maine’s premier beach destination, and for that, and all the other reasons mentioned, we recommend it highly.
For more information about the Inn by the Sea, click here.
For general tourist information about the area including the famous Portland Head Light, look here.
Pack up the kids and dogs and take a beautiful ride to Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
If you aren’t driving, Portland is serviced by major airlines and Amtrak.
You might pray for sun on your vacation, but even in the rain, you can have a wonderful time at the Inn by the Sea!
“Get out there, but be prepared.”
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The opinions expressed in our articles are the journalists’ alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any entity.
Copyright © 2015 Visit great vacation destinations with Wayne and Judy Bayliff.
Photos Unless otherwise noted – Copyright © 2015 Judy Bayliff – unauthorized use strictly prohibited.