Historical AAA Four-Diamond Inn with Award-Winning Restaurant
Boston Globe correspondent Hilary Nangle summed it up best: "One doesn’t go hungry at the Hartstone Inn." Well-fed guests can thank chef and co-innkeeper Michael Salmon, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. Salmon spent more than 25 years crafting gourmet fare for restaurants around the globe—including an award-winning stint in Aruba—before returning to the States. While vacationing with his wife, Mary Jo, the pair fell in love with the coastal town of Camden, and decided to open an inn and restaurant in a 19th-century Victorian mansion near the harbor.
Backed by Michael's culinary know-how, the Hartstone Inn's intimate restaurant soon garnered attention from local and national media, including Martha Stewart Living and Bon Appetit. Appropriately, the inn's activities revolve around its gourmet eats. At 3 p.m., guests snack on homemade cookies and freshly brewed tea. A few hours later, the terrace transforms into a cocktail party with complimentary hors d'oeuvres. Each night, Michael prepares a five-course prix fixe dinner of contemporary New England fare using locally sourced ingredients ($48.50/person). The menu rotates, but recent plates have included pan-seared duck breast and roasted lamb chops with mustard-rosemary bordelaise, a variation of the meal Julia Child once ordered on her trip to the Hartstone Inn. Everything is paired with the award-winning wine list.
Built in 1835, the Hartstone estate overlooks English-style gardens. Three historic homes dot the property, and the Hartstone building houses 14 individually decorated guest rooms, many furnished with gas fireplaces and jacuzzi tubs. The innkeepers have updated the classic French country decor with homey touches, such as original artwork, fresh flowers, and framed report cards. If you don’t mind waking up early, walk down to the harbor for a spectacular sunrise over the Fox Islands. You’ll have plenty of time to catch the Hartstone’s multicourse breakfast, which often includes berry crepes, smoked-salmon frittatas, and lobster-and-asparagus quiche.
Camden, Maine: Coastal New England Village near Mount Battie
Located about 80 miles from Portland to the southwest and Acadia National Park to the northeast, Camden, Maine, is a charming coastal community. The inn is close to Camden Harbor, where a historical fleet of windjammers sits moored to the dock. You can sign up for a cruise on one of the vessels, or opt to explore the bay via kayak.
The windjammers typically start their season in May, but if you arrive before then, there are still plenty of local activities. Less than 2 miles north of the inn, Camden Hills State Park offers a network of hiking trails—and cross-country ski trails if there’s still snow on the ground—along the hilly coastline. You can either hike or drive to the top of Mount Battie, which offers bird's-eye views of the harbor and the best sunset perspective in Camden. Another scenic option is to drive from Camden south to Damariscotta, following the coastline to pass by six lighthouses.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.