B&B at Former Sea Captain’s Home near Dock Square
When longtime Bostonians Judi and Walter Hauer decided to become innkeepers, they had only one requirement: the inn had to be in New England. Before long, the couple stumbled on the Maine Stay Inn and Cottages, a restored 19th-century property that once belonged to a merchant sea captain. Located just a block from the water and a five-minute walk from Dock Square in Kennebunkport, the bed and breakfast met the Hauers’ requirement and then some. In fact, it’s hard to improve on Kennebunkport when it comes to New England charm. “It’s a bed-and-breakfast town,” Judi says. “There are no chain stores. No hotel chains. That’s why people come here.”
The main house, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is set on 2 acres of manicured grounds dotted with 11 cottage suites. Inside the house, you’ll see Queen Anne touches including a spiral staircase, ornate mantels, and bay windows. Outside, the wraparound porch overlooks a quiet, tree-lined street. On warmer mornings, this is where lodgers enjoy the gourmet breakfast.
That’s where Judi really shines. At the beginning of each week, she plans out meals based on the dietary restrictions of guests. There’s always fresh fruit, coffee, tea, and a hot entree that changes with the seasons. If you’re lucky, you might get to try the most recent hit: carrot-cake pancakes.
The main-house rooms and carriage-house suites are similar, though the carriage-house suites are larger and more private. Captain Walker’s suite room 16 in the main house features wallpaper in warm peach tones, a massive mahogany bed, and a gas fireplace. Photos and descriptions of available room types can be found here.
Kennebunkport, Maine: Seaside Village on Maine’s Sandy Southern Coast
The historic fishing village of Kennebunkport lies about 90 miles north of Boston. Settled in the 1600s, it became a center for shipbuilding during the age of schooners and five-mast ships. The town’s many mansions—such as the one housing the Maine Stay Inn—got their starts as homes for wealthy sea captains. In more recent decades, Kennebunkport has become a popular vacation destination for well-heeled East Coasters. Forty-first president George H.W. Bush has a summer home here.
Located along the southern coast of Maine, the town has sandy beaches rather than the rocky shorelines you’ll find farther north. The beaches are a haven for sunbathers in the summer, but even in the fall and winter they remain open. “The beach in winter is glorious,” Judi Hauer says.
Dock Square, the commercial center of town, is a five-minute walk from the inn. There you’ll find antique shops, excellent seafood restaurants, and fish markets. If you’re visiting in the winter, consider taking a horse-drawn-sleigh ride through the historic district.