Sophisticated Inn in Coastal Maine
“When I arrived in Camden five years ago and looked out at the harbor," recalls innkeeper Raymond Brunyanszki, "I instantly thought of the East India Trading Company. I imagined the old tall ships returning from a voyage, unloading their cargo from faraway lands.” So when it came time to design the Camden Harbour Inn, Raymond named each of the guest rooms after the East India Company’s exotic ports of call: Sumatra, Bonaire, Taiwan. “Of course,” Raymond smiles, “Camden is the final port of call.”
Raymond and co-owner Oscar Verest pay meticulous attention to detail, evinced by the 150 fresh red roses delivered weekly to add pizzazz to seemingly every shelf, table, and last-minute Valentine's gift in sight. After purchasing the property in 2007, the pair embarked on an exhaustive renovation, overhauling the interior with custom-made European furniture and eclectic light fixtures inspired by wide-ranging destinations, such as Indonesia and New Orleans.
After you polish off breakfast—an à la carte spread that includes charcuterie, smoked salmon, homemade pastries, and mimosas—feel free to plan your day over fresh-brewed coffee in the study, or curl up in the glow of the adjoining great room’s cavernous fireplace. Come cocktail hour, there’s a complimentary welcome flute of prosecco in the restaurant bar, which was custom-crafted from century-old wooden doors salvaged from a French convent.
Beyond a row of red-velvet barstools, waiters emerge from the kitchen of Natalie's, the inn's modern French eatery helmed by executive chef Geoffroy Deconinck. The à la carte and seasonal tasting menus are composed of dishes prepared almost entirely from locally sourced ingredients, such as Chef Deconinck's personal favorite, a roasted duck breast with black mission figs.
Camden, Maine: New England Coastal Charm
Camden's shingled cottages, rocky shorelines, and picturesque harbor embody a postage-stamp-worthy archetype of coastal New England charm. Coffee shops and boutiques line Main Street, and seafood restaurants dot side streets that overlook the water. After a fresh snowfall, the nearby Camden Snow Bowl comes alive with skiers and snowboarders. Tickets for the Camden Snow Bowl can be purchased at Camden Harbour Inn for half price.
In the tiny village of Rockport, 4 miles south of Camden, lobster fishermen ply their backbreaking trade throughout most of winter. These hard-working men and women are usually more than happy to share a few words with visitors or squint photogenically at the horizon. For a chance to see boat builders at work, The Apprenticeshop in Rockland, about a 15-minute drive from Camden, opens its workshop to the public, offering a porthole into the art of making wooden boats. On select weekends, families can craft their own sleds as part of the shop's two-day toboggan-building classes.