Traveling During COVID-19 – Freeport, Maine

Upon landing in Portland, Maine, we headed to Freeport, Maine, often our first stop during our Maine trips due to close proximity to the airport, just a short drive up 295. It’s a great little town to head to after a long day of flying. We have stayed there four out of the five times we have been to Maine since 2013.

As we headed to Freeport, we were looking forward to the warmth and coziness of the Harraseeket Inn. We have stayed here at least 3 times and dined on 2 other trips when we didn’t stay here. It is my husband’s favorite inn in Maine. They always have a roaring fire going in several fireplaces – the lobby fireplace, the living room and both restaurants. On this especially dreary, cool and rainy day, we are so happy to be in Maine and gratefully pulled into the parking lot, thinking of those warm welcoming fires. I went to check in alone, leaving hubby in the car. It was strangely quiet compared to past visits when the lobby was bustling with other guests, This time no one lingering in the lobby or heading out to the shops. Even the afternoon tea which is included if you book with the inn directly, had been cancelled. After I got my room key, I headed down the hall to the Broad Arrow Tavern where we had a reservation for dinner. We had eaten little that day so were quite hungry. I was able to change our reservation to 1.5 hours earlier. I was assured that they had received my request for a gluten free pasta entrée and ready to make it.

Beautiful Fall Floral Arrangement for our Anniversary

Upon entering our lovely good sized room with a view over the back lawn and parking area, I was touched to see that the staff had thoughtfully given us a beautiful fall flower arrangement to mark our 25th wedding anniversary. The flowers came from the lovely gardens that surround the inn. Despite the rain and travel weariness, we headed out to the shops. The room was incredibly clean which it always is at this inn even without a pandemic. If a guest needed something like extra towels or toilet paper, to limit staff entering the room, items could be picked up out of a large antique wooden truck in the lobby.

There is a lot to recommend a stop in Freeport. With lots of famous brand outlet stores, the biggest draw is the LL Bean flagship store. Once known for being opening 24 hours, the pandemic has caused reduced hours, roped off areas, closed coffee bar, mask wearing and social distancing. An employee was at the door to monitor the number of people entering and leaving and checking masks. The store was not busy this fall afternoon. We looked around for a bit. I love to check out their clearance section as I have been able to find some bargains on past trips. I was not lucky this time, so I just did my return and we went on to LL Bean Outlet across the street. It was quite a bit busier there. I also did my must stop at the Talbots outlet. It was sad to observe that a lot of other stores and eateries were closed (including Wicked Whoopies) when normally it would having been teeming with shoppers.

The rain was falling hard now and even with umbrellas, we were getting soaked so headed back to the hotel. After a change of clothes, we went down to the Broad Arrow for dinner. A lot of tables had been removed, making for a lot of space between tables. The meal was wonderful – I started with a Baby Lettuce Wedge Salad. The tomatoes in this salad were bursting with incredible flavor. For my entrée, the chef prepared a gluten free version of their Lobster Fettuccine in Lemon cream sauce especially for me. It is a rare treat to eat pasta in a restaurant as I can’t eat regular wheat pasta. This dish contained more of those marvelous tomatoes as well as plenty of sweet Maine lobster. As if I couldn’t be any happier, their featured gluten free pie that evening was my favorite – pumpkin! It came with vanilla ice cream.

We retreated to our room for a little reading and to watch Jeopardy! followed by a good night’s rest. Another change due to the pandemic, was the inn no longer did their famous breakfast buffet. Selections were very limited. I couldn’t even get a bowl of oatmeal that I like to eat on a cool fall day. I had to settle for scrambled eggs and bacon as I did not care for their daily special which I think were chocolate chip pancakes which were not gluten free. I also missed not being able to have some of their wonderful pumpkin bread.

After photographing the wonderful fall flowers and plants around the inn, it was time to get on the road to other adventures awaiting us in Maine.

About J. Matlock, Director of Fantasies

Jeanette's wanderlust started as an Air Force brat crisscrossing the US visiting almost every state. Writing has always been a part of her life. While earning a BA in Journalism from the University of Central Florida, Jeanette found photography was the perfect compliment to writing. She is always on the outlook for what she calls "Right Time, Right Place" photographs that capture a once-in-a- lifetime moment. Her adult travels have taken her to Scotland, England, France, Switzerland and all over the US and she continues to crave going to places to experience adventure, great food and lifestyles. She has written travel journals for the web site IGOUGO.com to share her experiences to guide and encourage other travelers. Her descriptive writing style makes one feel as if they are there sharing the experience. Her love of writing is based on this simple truth: "When I am writing, I know that I am doing the thing I was born to do." (Anne Sexton).
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