So much happening in Maine, and I’ve been too sick with the flu to tell you about it all. Accept my apologies along with my promise to return to regular posts. I’m beginning with accommodations updates, including the loss of one inn-based restaurant and an especially intriguing renewal that promises a guest-only (at least for now) dining venue.
The Danforth and the Pomegranate Inn both in Portland, have been added to the growing boutique inn portfolio of Lark Hotels. Other Lark properties include the Captain Fairfield, on Kennebunkport, and inns in Rhode Island and on Cape Cod. Principle Rob Blood is the innkeeper who turned the Captain Fairfield from same-ole, same-ole New England florals and frump to a high-tech wonder with the addition of Wi-Fi and inroom flat-screen TVs long before other B&B owners realized this was the way of the future. At this point, it appears the much-lauded restaurant, Carmen at the Danforth, is a casualty.
UPDATE Rob Blood emailed me yesterday re Carmen at the Danforth: I just wanted to let you know that Carmen is not a casualty of our arraignment. We love what Carmen did at the Danforth! The bottom line is that there is a venting issue in the kitchen that is kind of stuck between the fire department and the historic district so until we are able to find some kind of compromise the property won’t be able to operate a full service restaurant.
The Norumbega has finally been sold and new owners promise to restore this landmark property to its former glory. It once was the luxury address in Maine, but it suffered from neglect in recent years. Here’s hoping this turreted stone castle-like mansion again lives up to its promise. In the meantime, the Welcome Back rates reflect the new owners’ desire to rebuild the biz. Worth noting: The innkeepers plan to serve dinner to guests. He’s a classically trained chef who previously instructed at the Culinary Institute of America and who claims a victory on the Food Network’s Chopped.
Also under new ownership is the East Wind Inn. Tim Watts, who took on the monumental chore of restoring the early 19th-century sail loft-turned-inn in the early 1970s, after it had been closed for two decades, passed away in 2012. New owner is former summer resident Randy Deutsch, a retired San Francisco lawyer. No major changes announced. The inn allows small pets.
ISLE AU HAUT:
The Keeper’s House, Maine’s only light-station inn, has reopened, once again providing the only full-service (including all meals) inn accommodations on the remote island. New owner is Marshall Chapman, a college geology professor and summer islander.
The Yellow House, one of the two former Inns at the Ullikana in Bar Harbor, has been sold to Pat and Chris Coston—he’s an island native with a pedigree stretching back a few generations. Innkeepers extraordinaire Roy Kasindorf and Helene Harton still own and operate the sister property, the Ullikana. Roy and Helene converted the Yellow House, a former summer cottage, to a boutique B&B back in the 1990s.
Harbor House on Sawyer Cove in Jonesport, one of my favorite Down East B&Bs, has closed as the owners have retired. With this closure, there are no more inns in the Jonesport-Beals area, although cottage rentals—some of which offer inn-like amenities—remain. Of note, there are no full restaurants here anymore, either, just take-out places.