Perfect Maine foliage escape: Waterford Inne

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Seeking the perfect country inn? Maine's Waterford Inne is it. ©Hilary Nangle img_9374
The early 19th-century Waterford Inne is set on 25 country acres in western Maine’s mountains. ©Hilary Nangle
Plan a country getaway to Maine's Waterford Inne. ©Hilary Nangle img_9381-1
Seeking the perfect classic country inn? Find it at Maine’s Waterford Inne. ©Hilary Nangle

Updated Sept. 2017

I don’t think one could find a more classic country inn in a more perfect location for leaf peeping than the Waterford Inne. This gently updated, early 19th-century farmhouse is sited on a country lane and surrounded by 25 acres of rolling woods and fields. Honestly, I half expected Bob Newhart to reprise his innkeeper role and walk through the door, that’s how authentic this lovely inn is.

You'll find plenty of places to relax inside Maine's Waterford Inne. ©Hilary Nangle img_9402
One of the public rooms at the Waterford Inne in Waterford, Maine. ©Hilary Nangle

Innkeeper Barbara Vanderzanden is one of Maine’s longest-running innkeepers, and her experience shows. This antiques-filled inn is not only warm and welcoming, but also spotless. Public rooms include a great room with hearth, a parlor room, a dining room, a screened porch, and a cozy TV lounge. That TV is the only one in the inn. While I’m talking tech, don’t expect much of a cell signal or Internet, although Barbara is working with the cable company to bring the latter in).

Some guest rooms have working fireplaces at the Waterford Inne, in Waterford Maine. ©Hilary Nangle img_9381
No two guest rooms at the Waterford Inne are alike in decor, but all are comfy. ©Hilary Nangle

Guest rooms are bright, airy, spacious, and furnished for comfort, with some ideal for families. One has a woodstove and private porch. Even dogs are welcome in some rooms ($25/night). Outside the rambling early 19th-century farmhouse is a huge red barn, which used to be twice its current size (ask Barbara about that), a pond, and fields edged by woods.

Four-season escape

Even if you're not staying at the Waterford Inne, you can reserved dinner here. ©Hilary Nangle img_9368
Be sure to reserve at least one dinner at the Waterford Inne, a four-course indulgence. ©Hilary Nangle

While you can easily head to Norway, Bridgton, Naples, or even North Conway for dinner, plan on at least one meal at the inn. Barbara prepares a scrumptious four-course dinner, by advance reservation, for $48 pp.

The rolling, lake-splashed countryside around Waterford is perfect for gazing at brilliant foliage without the crowds, poking around small villages, hiking and paddling, apple-picking, and just breathing in all that is wonderful about autumn in New England. Truthfully, it’s equally lovely in summer (when I visited), winter (skiing, snowshoeing), and spring.

The Waterford Inne’s western Maine location is well off the beaten path, despite being less than an hour from North Conway and fewer than 90 minutes from Portland, but sssh! don’t tell too many people about this hidden pocket.

Slip away to western Maine's mountains at the Waterford Inne, in Waterford. ©Hilary Nangle img_9379
Children and pets are welcome at the Waterford Inne, where there’s plenty of outdoor space. ©Hilary Nangle