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Ideas for Adventure Vacations in Maine

June 12th, 2014 by englishmeadows

Are you itching to pack your bags and explore the great outdoors? You’re in luck.

June is Great Outdoors Month, which makes it the ideal time to hit the open road and explore some of this country’s natural wonders. Maine is filled with stunning landscapes and terrains for every level of outdoor explorer, including mountains, rivers, and ocean with miles of coastline. You could even decide to hike it on foot, sail by boat, or hitch a plane ride and jump out to soak in an aerial view!

appalachian-trail-hiker-and-foot-traffic-sign

Hiking

Whether you’re a novice or advanced, the Pine Tree State offers thousands of miles of trails, and many of them are open all year long.

Climb the mountain peaks and scramble over pink granite cliffs and ledges along the coastline of Acadia National Park for a beautiful view of Mt. Desert Island and the Atlantic Ocean. Peregrine falcons and eagles can be seen flying over ahead, and sometimes whales and seals can be spotted offshore. Running from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail and its 267-mile portion that cuts through this state extends from the Mahoosuc Mountains to Mt. Katahdin’s summit. It’s geared towards advanced level hikers due to its extremely rugged landscape. Try the Barren-Chairback and Whitecap Ranges or explore easier and less-traveled stretches near the Carry Ponds, Sabbathday Pond, and the Piscataquis River in Horseshoe Canyon.

Each of these locations is about three hours from the inn.

Rock Climbing

Would you rather climb with the sea at your back or amongst a wooded landscape? In Maine, you can do both! There are more 400 rock climbing routes located throughout the state, including Mount Katahdin, Shagg Crag, and Acadia National Park.

whitewater-Kayak-99-ppi-1006-wideWhitewater Kayaking

In Maine, you could grab a kayak and gently glide over the state’s abundant lakes, or strap yourself in for a wild ride down one of the country’s “Big Three” whitewater rivers.

The Penobscot River offers 12 miles of rapids that begin at the Exterminator Rapid at the head of Ripogenus Gorge, continues through the Staircase Rapid and the Cribworks above the calm of Big Eddy. Twelve-foot falls at Nesowadnehunk and the rapids of Big Ambejackmockamus, Abol, and Pockwockamus, await downriver. Intense waves at Big Mama and Whitewasher lead to an exciting plunge through Magic Falls at Kennebec River. “Playboater,” or freestyle kayakers, will find space to showboat between the dam at Harris Station and the village of West Forks. The Dead River provides 16 miles of whitewater that starts with the mild Spencer Rips, and then moves on to the turbulent waves at Humpty Dumpty and Elephant Rock. The trip ends with a flourish at Big Poplar Falls.

Whale Watching Trips

Beginning each April, whales make their long voyage to the waters of Maine to feast on sand eels, copepods, plankton, and fish. They feed and play about 20 miles off the coastline which makes for the perfect whale watching trip. These majestic mammals can be spotted breaching the ocean surface, spouting water, and nursing their young. Humpback whales, pilot whales, minke whales, and the massive finback whale, which can grow up to 80 feet in length, are frequent visitors.

Whale watching cruises offer a front row seat to all of the action. Kennebunk’s Nick’s Chance Whale Watch Tour provides plenty of room on their observation deck to snap photos, along with breakfast and lunch fare in the gallery. Cap’n Fish’s Whale Watch in Boothbay Harbor is located about 1.5 hours away from the inn. Their main salon boasts cushioned seating and 360 degree viewing, while the upper deck allows free roaming for better vantage points.

horseback-beach-high-five-on-the-beachHorseback Riding

Instead of walking or hiking to view Maine’s breathtaking beauty, why not try going by horse? Many of Maine’s state parks and multi-use trails welcome horseback riding, whether you’re an experienced equestrian or a newcomer. Riverhurst Farm in Kennebunk offers lessons in a variety of disciplines, including Western, English (Basic Balance Seat), Dressage (up to first level), and Jumping. You can even opt for a romantic horseback ride along the beach. You can find a full list of stables around the state here.

Moose and Bird Watching

The moose population in Maine is estimated to be close 75,000, the second largest populations of moose in the U.S behind Alaska. Moose can be seen throughout the state, but their population is greatest in the Western Lakes and Mountains, the Kennebec & Moose River Valleys, the Maine Highlands, and Aroostook County. One of the best ways of spotting a moose is to set off on a moose watching tour, otherwise known as a moose safari. A day trip to Greenville to take one of Northeast Whitewater’s moose tours or safaris will get you close to these magnificent creatures.

With its vast amounts of forest, isolated islands, and numerous wetlands, Maine is home to a large number of migratory and non-migratory bird species. The variety of birds grows in the summer months to include the ruby-throated hummingbird, the common loon, and the iconic bald eagle. You can sign up for a tour by checking out the Maine Birding Trail or with organizations such as Down East Nature Tour in Bar Harbor.

skydive-4164_1Skydiving

You’ve heard the saying, “One if by land, two if by sea.” What about adding “Three if by air?” Satisfy your inner-dare devil, and see the state’s striking beauty from 10,000 feet in the sky on a skydiving excursion. You can observe the landscape from the soaring mountain peaks all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. Lebanon’s Skydive New England, located 40 minutes from the inn, offers programs for tandem (jumping with an instructor), accelerated freefall, and experienced jumpers. Vacationland Skydiving in Pittsfield, about 1.5 hours from the inn, offers similar programs along with video services to capture the jump.

Hot Air Ballooning

If you’d prefer a more leisurely air ride, a hot air balloon excursion might be for you. You’ll still get the 360-degree views, but this time at a much slower pace! Kennebunk Balloon Rides and Balloons Over New England located near Kennebunkport will carry you 1,500 feet in the air above the gorgeous scenery below.

Whichever activity you choose, an adventure awaits you in Maine!

6 Reasons to Visit Maine this Summer

May 15th, 2014 by englishmeadows

What’s summer like in Maine? In one word: spectacular! From the picturesque coastline to pristine parks, Maine offers countless opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. But if indoor fun is on your agenda, you’re in luck. You can spend time savoring delicious meals at some of the state’s award-winning restaurants or touring historic lighthouses.

Here are 6 reasons to make your way to Maine this summer:

acadia_national_park

1. Maine’s natural beauty is breathtaking. If you’re up for a day trip while staying at the inn, Acadia National Park is located 3 hours away in Bar Harbor. It’s 47,000 total acres are home to some 40 different species of wildlife, 120 miles of hiking trails, 27 miles of biking trails, and two beaches. Only 1.5 hours away, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay offers trails, vernal ponds and forest over 248 acres. Want to stay local? The Rachel Carson National Wildlife Rescue is only minutes from the inn and stretches along 50 miles of coastline.

goat42. The lighthouses will still catch your eye. There’s a reason why Maine is sometimes called ‘The Lighthouse State’. There are 65 lighthouses dotting the state’s vast coastline, and the most prominent can be viewed while driving along Route 1. One of the closest to the inn is Goat Island Light, originally built in 1892 and rebuilt in 1859, located right up the road at the entrance of Cape Porpoise Harbor.

3. You can soak in Maine and its sunsets on the sea. Riding the waves along the rocky coastline on a windjammer or schooner is an adventurous and scenic way to see the state’s beauty. You can take a day tour or book a week-long adventure and end each day with a sunset cruise.

4. Summer brings fun and festivals. From June 1st – 8th, the Kennebunkport Festival brings together delicious foods, wines, and art, with the backdrop of some of the area’s most historic homes. If you’re a fan of the blues, the North Atlantic Blues Festival is being held from July 12th – 13th at the Public Landing in Rockland (about 2 hours from the inn). And, the annual Maine Lobster Festival featuring 20,000 pounds of the tasty crustacean is also being held in Rockland from July 30th – August 3rd at Harbor Park.

RP-lobster5. The food is fabulous. Everyone knows Maine for its lobsters, of course. You can stop by any number of lobster shacks, including The Clam Shack overlooking the Kennebunk River. But that’s not all. Portland, only 30 minutes from the inn, has become one of the best small foodie towns in the country thanks to a bevy of top-tier, nationally recognized restaurants such as Hugo’s and Fore Street. Foodie tours are very popular in the region (buying tickets in advance is highly recommended). Stay close to the inn and set out on the Kennebunkport Culinary Walking Tour for a taste of what the area is serving up.

6. Come visit us at the inn! We love welcoming our guests and providing each one a bit of R&R. From the daily, gourmet breakfasts cooked up by Liz, to the modern, luxurious touches of the guest rooms, we strive to give our guests a truly unforgettable experience. Our specials and packages are created with our guests’ happiness in mind.

We hope to see you this summer!

Springtime in Kennebunkport

March 21st, 2014 by englishmeadows

sailing

Spring is an interesting time in Maine. It’s the season where you can still enjoy downhill skiing while watching the early spring bulbs begin to peak through the soil. With the anticipation of the summer season, restaurants and a variety of warm weather attractions begin to open offering a sneak peak at what’s to come.

foodieCULINARY
Celebrate Maine’s culinary staple cuisine at the annual Gulf of Maine Seafood Celebration taking place in April. Local chefs and the Culinary Partners of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute will be providing an array of ocean delicacies for your tasting pleasure. The Inn at English Meadows has also partnered with Epitourean.com for an out of this world culinary package for food enthusiasts. The special includes a five-star dining experience at the premier White Barn Inn Restaurant and a hands-on cooking class with Chef Ross, where you will learn the intricacies of creating New England culinary masterpieces.

skiOUTDOORS
Combine your love of skiing and reggae for a spring jam at the Sugarloaf ski resort. Now in its 26th year, the annual Bud Light sponsored event, brings together music lovers and skiers for a weekend of fun on the slopes.

kayakingOur beautiful lakes, rivers and ocean can be enjoyed in a variety of water activities that the entire family will love. Coastal Maine Kayak offers fabulous guided kayaking tours to nearby Cape Porpise Lighthouse, the Kennebunk River, Mousam River and Casco Bay. Enjoy the sites of coastal Maine landmarks including numerous historic buildings, open salt marshes and rich woodlands. Take a ride on the Casco Bay Ferry or set sail on a Portland Schooner for a scenic view of the Casco Bay Islands. Explore the marine life by chartering a fishing boat or take a whale watching tour off Maine’s beautiful coast. For a more thrilling outdoor excursion, take a day trip to West Forks, ME and enjoy a whitewater rafting adventures on the Kennebec River.

Beat the crowds and visit Kennebunkport this spring for a sea-side getaway full of adventure.

Recipe: Gluten-Free Fudgy Chocolate-Walnut Cookies

February 28th, 2014 by englishmeadows

Fudgy Chocolate-Walnut Cookies

If you’ve stayed at the Inn at English Meadows, then may have tasted my Gluten-Free Fudgy Chocolate-Walnut Cookies.  Bring the memories of your getaway from our inn to your kitchen by making these tasty treats:

Gluten-Free Fudgy Chocolate-Walnut Cookies

Ingredients:

2 ¾ cups of walnut halves (9 ounces)
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Position 2 racks in the upper and lower thirds of the over. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Spread the walnut halves on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 9 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant. Cool slightly, then finely chop them.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar with the cocoa powder and salt. Whisk in the chopped walnuts. Add the egg whites and vanilla extract and beat until the batter is moistened. (Do not over beat or it will stiffen). Spoon the batter onto the baking sheets in 12 evenly spaced mounds.
4. Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, until the tops of the cookies are glossy and lightly cracked and feel firm to the touch.
5. Slide the parchment paper (with the cookies) onto 2 wire racks to cool completely before serving.

This recipe makes 12 cookies that will stay fresh for up to 3 days in air tight sealed container.  For more information on this recipe check out Food & Wine magazine.

Soothe Your Mind, Body & Spirit in Kennebunkport

February 24th, 2014 by englishmeadows

zen

Are you looking for ways to clear your mind? Body tense from stress?  Spirit uneasy with worry? Peace and happiness is just a click away here at English Meadows in Kennebunkport. Our charming village offers several ways to soothe your mind, body and spirit.  Take a holistic getaway and work on getting back your inner peace during a weekend stay at the Inn at English Meadows.

spa-4

Revitalize your body at the White Barn Inn Spa for a day of treatments, decadent hors d’oeuvres, massages and complimentary product samples at the March 8th Spa Wellness Event, exclusive only to Inn at English Meadows guests.  Known for its unique services, this spa boasts bathrooms with rain showers and treatment rooms with soaker tubs. For a personal touch, you’ll be assigned a concierge to help tailor your pampering session. The special treatment does not have to end at the Spa Wellness Event; guests also receive a 15% discount on any spa treatment at The White Barn Spa throughout the year.

yoga

Let the worries of the world roll off your shoulders during a Kripalu yoga session at the Village Yoga of the Kennebunks.  This session offers a holistic practice of yoga that is not just reduced to physical activity, but helps you to understand the unity of the body and mind.  You’ll leave this class with a feeling of control over your life.

massage

Lastly, free your spirit during a Reiki treatment at Holistically Yours.  Reiki is a hands-on healing practice and focuses on the energy flow through the body to enhance your health and well-being.  This is the perfect way to release the bad energy you may have pent up inside.  You’ll feel like a new person after a treatment with Jayleen Hayden.

A holistic experience is not complete without rest. Your body will enjoy a sweet slumber on our Vera Wang hyper allergenic mattresses with down duvets and pillows.  The warmth from your room’s gas fireplace will create a cozy atmosphere to relax in. Feed your soul with our gourmet breakfasts that will keep you energized for a weekend of self-reflection and pampering.

So pack your bags and escape the madness for a getaway filled with tranquility.

14 Fun Ideas for Valentine’s Day in Kennebunkport

January 30th, 2014 by englishmeadows

frozen_heart

Some may call him mischievous, but we call him romantic. Cupid is busy this time of year, and he has his arrows pointed right at Kennebunkport. With its picturesque views, delicious food and quaint atmosphere, it’s the perfect place for a romantic getaway. Plus, Valentine’s Day falls on the Friday of President’s Day weekend, so you could come visit us for a three-day affair!

Here are 14 Cupid-approved Valentine’s Day weekend activities in and around Kennebunkport:

1) Find a special gift for your sweetheart at Dock Square in Kennebunkport. Head there for an afternoon of shopping and sight-seeing.

snowboarding2) Start up some friendly competition at Sugarloaf during an afternoon of downhill skiing and snowboarding on Maine’s Western Mountains.

3) Declare you love for one another in the pristine sand of Goose Rocks Beach during a quiet stroll.

4) Reenact a scene on the very same pond Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington skated on in the movie, “The Preacher’s Wife,” during an afternoon of ice skating at Portland’s Deering Oaks Park Pond.

Champagne5) Enjoy a Valentine’s Day rendezvous with our Be My Valentine special. Turn your room into an enchanted cove filled with scattered rose petals, a bottle of champagne and homemade chocolate truffles. Enjoy a three-course gourmet breakfast accompanied by two Bellinis or Mimosas.

6) Have a divine dining experience for Valentine’s Day dinner at The White Barn Inn’s AAA Five Diamond restaurant located inside a rustic, renovated barn.

7) See and be seen at David’s KPT for a nice causal meal at the newest trendy waterfront social hub in Kennebunkport.

8) Enjoy an evening reception of cocktails and tasting plates and learn more about Kennebunkport’s history at the First Families Kennebunkport Museum for the “Love Stories Exhibition”.

9) Set the mood right with a burlesque show at Geno’s Rock Club in Portland.

10) Board a horse-drawn sleigh at Rockin’ Horse Stables for a cozy ride around Kennebunkport.

11) Walk off your Valentine’s dinner with a guided moonlit snowshoe walk on the Wells Reserve at Landholm in Wells.

12) Dance the night away at Kennebunk’s Family Valentine’s Day at the Town Hall auditorium.

chocolate-heart13) Savor a beer and chocolate pairing at Portland’s Novares Res Bier Café.

14) Treat your sweetheart to in-room Rejuvenating Massages or a Lollia Luxury Bath Package in your room’s whirlpool.

Take advantage of all of the special events and attractions taking place in Kennebunkport and the surrounding areas this Valentine’s Day. With the help of Cupid’s arrow, you will fall in love all over again!

What to Do in Kennebunkport and Beyond this Winter

January 14th, 2014 by englishmeadows

When you think of Maine, you probably envision warm summer days strolling the docks, visiting countless lobster shacks, and walking the sandy coastline while soaking in the stunning sunsets. But did you know the Pine Tree State is also a winter wonderland of fun? Not only will cold-weather enthusiasts enjoy the endless opportunities for skiing, snowshoeing, or ice skating, but there are also plenty of indoor adventures to be had for those looking to escape the chill.

OUTDOOR

cross_country_skiingWells Reserve at Laudholm Farm in Wells, Maine, offers seven miles of trails for hiking, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. If you’re looking for a more intense cross-country skiing experience, Harris Farm in Dayton, Maine, offers 40 kilometers of trails over 500 acres, ranging from beginners’ level loops to advanced adventures. The day lodge has a wood stove, and the large sunroom is the perfect spot to warm up while sipping a hot beverage!

A day trip will get you to some of the best downhill skiing in the region, including Shawnee Peak located in Bridgton, Maine. It’s the closest ski area to the inn (about 1.5 hours away), and the drive will take you through the picturesque Sebago Lakes region. A bit further out and about 2.5 hours away, you can enjoy verticals of 2,340 feet at Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, Maine, and also some of the best resorts in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, including Bretton Woods, Black Mountain, and Attitash.
ice_skating
A former Mobil gas station lot on Main Street in downtown Kennebunk transforms into an ice skating rink in the winters, while the Park at Crow Hill in Kennebunkport offers a skating pond. Biddeford’s West Brook Ice Rink is popular, along with the frozen pond in the center of the 52-acre Deering Oaks Park in Portland, considered one of the best spots in the state for ice skating.

Rockin’ Horse Stables offers family-friendly rides in authentic sleighs pulled by draft horses. Each ride lasts around 30 minutes and leaves from a 100-year old barn. Afterwards, you can thaw out while savoring a mug of hot chocolate next to a cracking fireplace in the reception area.

INDOOR

massageWith all the physical outdoor activity, you may need to soothe some of your sore and tired muscles. You can book a 60 or 90 minute massage here at the inn (available in the suites only), or at nearby Cottage Breeze Day Spa.

Want to raise a toast without ever having to leave the comforts of the inn? You can purchase a delicious varietal right on-site! But, if hitting the town for an evening wine tasting is on your menu, try Down East Wine Imports in Lower Village. Do you harbor aspirations of being the next Julia Childs or Mario Batali? Like you, they both started somewhere. You can schedule a personal cooking class at the inn or at Stonewall Kitchen’s location in York, and learn the foundations for becoming more proficient in the kitchen.

Mast Cove Galleries in Kennebunkport features over 80 artists and is Maine’s largest privately-owned group gallery. But they don’t just features paintings; they host a music series featuring jazz and blues. The Chris Becker Gallery also in Kennebunkport features the artist’s own works of fine art and documentary photography.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith

July 4th, 2013 by englishmeadows

Morning Dawn RoomIf someone mentions Mr. & Mrs. Smith, you may think of the 2005 movie starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie or perhaps your neighbors down the street, but savvy travelers know that Mr. & Mrs. Smith signifies a gateway to premier vacation destinations throughout the world. The Mr. & Mrs. Smith website takes you on a tour of the world’s most stylish and unique hotels, from New York to New Zealand, London to Los Angeles and everywhere in between, including Kennebunk Maine. The Inn at English Meadows is proud to announce that we are now part of the Mr. & Mrs. Smith collection.

Winner of Condé Nast Traveler’s 2012 “Favorite Travel Website” award, Mr. & Mrs. Smith hand-picks the best boutique hotels, luxury hotels and stylish vacation rentals to ensure you find the perfect spot for your getaway. Every boutique hotel in the Mr. & Mrs. Smith collection has been visited by the Smith team before being reviewed anonymously (and thoroughly) by a discriminating, travel-seasoned couple, who provide their own evocative first-person tale. Travelers can trust that at each Smith destination, vetted reviewers have personally tested the beds, surveyed the views and sampled the cuisine to make sure that each property really is best in class.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith is much more than just another travel website. Thanks to their exhaustive research, anonymous hotel reviews, and their dedicated 24-hour Travel Team that is just a phone call away, your special stay – whether romantic, family or anything else – is in safe hands. They guarantee the best room rates available and, because they give you a free BlackSmith membership when you first book with them, you’ll get money back and added extras, too.

You might wonder why they’re called Mr & Mrs Smith . . . In their own words: “Well, we’ve been around a lot longer than Brad and Angelina, though we have to admit we like their style. Really, it’s because we’re all about romantic escapes with your other half; a wink to couples everywhere, who might fancy checking into a fabulous hotel under this classic pseudonym used by everyone from spies to celebrities.”

So grab your other half and get the inside track on the most unique and stylish travel destinations out there, including The Inn at English Meadows. No secret spy identity necessary.

WGME 13 Show Road Trippin’ Features The Inn at English Meadows

June 13th, 2013 by englishmeadows

Delicious breakfast tartPortland CBS television station WGME 13′s Road Trippin’ show recently featured The Inn at English Meadows. Road Trippin’ highlights the best that northern New England has to offer in places to stay, places to eat, and things to do and see. Host Dave Eid visited Kennebunk and Kennebunkport to interview Liz and showcase the lovely accommodations and deliciously creative breakfasts found at The Inn at English Meadows. Watch the video on WGME 13′s Vimeo channel.

Seek Serenity

April 30th, 2013 by englishmeadows

The Serenity SuiteWe are excited to unveil our newest room – the Serenity Suite. Over the winter we added an addition to the Inn to house a new apartment for us and simultaneously renovated the previous living space into a lovely suite. The Serenity Suite is unique because it is the only suite in the Inn with two rooms and two bathrooms. The bedroom features a King size bed dressed in luxurious FRETTE sheets, a cozy gas fireplace and a bathroom with a double sink vanity and an over-sized shower.

Serenity Suite sitting roomThe sitting room has a queen size pull out sofa and a second bathroom with a radiant heated floor and an indulgent soaking tub. Other amenities include: flat screen TVs in both rooms, a refrigerator stocked with soft drinks and bottled water, and a Nespresso machine. We have carried our signature chic, modern style through the furnishings and decorations, pairing clean lines with finishes and fabrics that are delightfully soft and comfortable. The Serenity Suite is located on the second floor of the main house and has a private entrance, promising a peaceful oasis for a romantic getaway. We invite you to come seek serenity on the beautiful coast of Maine.

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