After an exhilarating afternoon of sailing on Penobscot Bay or a drive up US 1, this is the first sight that greets you as you pull up to the front of the inn you are spending the night at. Some might be daunted by all the stairs. Instead, marvel at the beauty of the symmetry of all those lovely pumpkins leading to the front porch entrance of the Camden Harbour Inn. A friendly employee meets you half way up, welcoming you by name (they do that lovely sort of thing at small inns) and takes the heaviest of your bags, making you feel at home.
As you check in, you are gifted with a petite box of chocolates and a stuffed animal that is one of four sea creatures. Receiving a cute green seal, he got named Oscar, before realizing that is the first name of one of the Maison de Hotels (owner/managers).
This luxury Victorian inn is a Relais et Chateaux property, a collection of boutique hotels/inns located around the world that are coupled with a gourmet restaurant as part of the property. At the Camden Harbor Inn, that is the award winning Natalie’s (but more about that later in this post).
Perched on a hill up Bayview Street overlooking Camden Harbor, this inn has only 20 rooms, but what exquisite rooms and suites they are. Most are decorated to the hilt in modern European style, some featuring fireplaces and soaking tubs. Of course, this kind of opulence doesn’t come cheap. (Tip: If your travel plans are flexible, check their web site for last minute special rates or sign up for email specials.)
If you’re budget conscious, but desire a little taste of this cozy inn, book the Macassar – a functional room that features a king bed with luxury linens including a Cuddledown pillow top mattress cover that will make you feel like you are sleeping on a cloud (great comfort after a day of hiking). The best feature of this room is the great views of Camden Harbor from the windows. Wake up early enough to see a magical view of the sleepy little harbor with many sailboats and windjammers docked there, shrouded in early morning mist.
An incredibly delicious gourmet breakfast is included in the room rate and is served in the dining area of Natalie’s. Enjoy the best Lobster Benedict in Maine, along with selections of fresh baked pastries and other breakfast items served with wonderful coffee and fresh squeezed juice in a beautiful setting. When the weather is nice, breakfast can be enjoyed out on the porch.
Natalie’s is also open for dinner and features creative dishes utilizing Maine’s bounty of seafood and other locally sourced ingredients. If you love lobster, definitely order their Lobster tasting menu for a variety of ways that lobster can be prepared.