Maine is a true winter playground, offering myriad ways to get out and explore the beautiful landscape, but also packs plenty of indoor ways to enjoy the season. The Inn at English Meadows is the perfect place to use as a base for your winter adventures, whether they involve sliding through wooded glades on cross-country skis or learning new cooking techniques in a cooking class. Afterwards, return to the Inn to relax by the fire with a mug of hot cocoa or a glass of wine. We have compiled a sampling of some of the many ways to enjoy Maine in the winter below:
Cross Country Skiing – In southern Maine you can cross-country ski alongside the ocean, across golf courses and through scented pine forests. Check out the trails at Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm or the lovely Bridal Path. L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools offer inexpensive “Walk-On Adventures” in cross-country skiing and snowshoeing right from their retail store in Freeport. Some other resources for cross-country skiing include:
- Harris Farm XC Ski Center – Dayton, (207) 499-2678, www.harrisfarm.com – This 1,000-acre center has 40 kilometers of trails for novice, intermediate and advanced skiers, with skating lanes. Snowshoeing also available. Amenities include a day lodge with wood stove, snack bar, rentals, and ski shop.
- Smiling Hill Farm – Westbrook, www.smilinghill.com – 34 kilometers of trails for novice, intermediate and advanced Nordic skiers and snowshoers, as well as marked nature trails. Amenities include rentals, a farm building with snack bar, wood stove, changing area, gift shop and dairy store.
- Five Fields Farm – Bridgton, (207) 647-2425, www.fivefieldsski.com – This 70-acre orchard offers 27 kilometers of trails for novice, intermediate and advanced skiers and snowshoers. Of special note is the unlimited backcountry terrain to the top of scenic Baldpate Mountain and the surrounding 450-acre land preserve. Other amenities include a warming house and rentals.
Ice Skating – Close by, the Park at Crow Hill in Kennebunkport offers a skating pond and in Kennebunk center there is the newly opened Waterhouse Center skating pavilion. West Brook Ice Rink in Biddeford is also a popular outdoor skating destination. When the conditions are right, the pond in the middle of the beautiful 52-acre Deering Oaks Park in Portland is considered by many to be one of the best ice skating spots in Maine. City crews make a special effort to keep the ice cleared and its surface well groomed for skating. Up for a bigger challenge? The ice goes on for miles at Sebago Lake and other lakes of the nearby Lakes Region.
Skiing – Some of the finest skiing in the east is to be had at Maine mountains. Located less than two hours away are Shawnee Peak in Bridgton and Lost Valley in Auburn. Sunday River in Bethel is close enough for a day trip, as are numerous ski areas in the White Mountains of New Hampshire like Cranmore Mountain Resort, Bretton Woods, Black Mountain, Wildcat and Attitash.
Snowmobiling – Northeast Snowmobile Rentals, with locations in Gorham and Fryeburg can set you up with everything you need for an adrenaline-filled adventure over miles snow-covered trails and open fields. (800) 458-1838 or www.northeastsnowmobile.com.
Go for a sleigh ride – Enjoy snow sprinkled pine trees and frost tipped fields while you glide leisurely in a horse-drawn sleigh. Rockin’ Horse Stables offers horse-drawn sleigh/carriage/wagon rides. 245 Arundel Road, Kennebunkport 207-967-4288.
Bowling – The classic indoor sport is a favorite of young and old alike! Vacationland in Saco is a quick drive away, offering candlepin lanes and a billiard room. At Bayside Bowl in Portland’s revitalized Bayside neighborhood, you can bowl in an intimate, upscale alley and enjoy excellent food served right at the lanes.
Catch a game – The Portland Pirates tear up the ice at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland – look for their home games all winter long as well as those of Maine’s D-league basketball team, The Maine Red Claws.
Relax in a spa – What better way to unwind in winter than by pampering yourself at a day spa. Treat yourself to massage, a facial and aromatherapy; it’s the perfect antidote to the mid-winter blahs. Cottage Breeze Day Spa is right around the corner and numerous other spas are mere minutes away.
Take in a cooking class – Schedule a personal cooking class at nearby 50 Local, an acclaimed restaurant in Kennebunk. Alternatively, at Stonewall Kitchen’s company headquarters in York, classes are held almost daily on such savory topics as bread making, holiday menus, ethnic specialties and seafood delights. 877.899.8363 or www.stonewallkitchen.com. Wine lovers can often find a tasting at Down East Wine Imports in Lower Village Kennebunk or at Browne Trading Company or LeRoux Kitchen in Portland’s Old Port.
New England is famous for its glorious foliage as billions of leaves change from green to a kaleidoscope of colors. The air is crisp and cool – perfect for hiking, biking or a classic drive along back roads, where farm stands are piled high with crunchy apples and orange pumpkins.
The leaves started turning colors in the northern regions of Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire around late September and will probably peak around mid-to late October. Along the coast of New Hampshire and southern Maine, color starts later and often lasts up until November.
Maine’s official tourism website has put together a particularly interesting driving route that begins in Kittery and loops up along the southern coast through York, Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Scarborough, CapeElizabeth, Portland, and Freeport. After checking out the iconic L.L. bean flagship store, the route heads west through the Sebago Lakes Region and includes a covered bridge and an historic Victorian village before looping back to Kittery. The route offers myriad vistas of woods, water, and mountains while pointing out great opportunities to take in some of the most interesting cultural, historic, and scenic spots in Southern Maine. To check out the route, click this link: Antiques and Boutiques.
For those more inclined to explore on foot some excellent spots to get in a quick hike are listed below:
- The Kennebunkport Conservation Trust preserves tracts of land that have helped maintain the scenic and idyllic charm ofKennebunkport Maine and the surrounding areas. The Trust maintains large parcels of land with excellent trails. In particular, the Smith Preserve is well known for its trees and unique wildlife.
- Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm features seven miles of easy to moderate trails that cover a variety of habitats and offer rich opportunities for discovery. Take the beach trail down to the ocean, passing trees and grasses reaching their peak of color.
- The North Loop Trail at Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport presents an exceptionally bright yellow display that normally peaks in mid-to-late October.
- Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal provides views of surrounding forests and Casco Bay’s Calendar Islands. The foliage color peaks usually occur in late September to mid-October.
Regardless where your interests lie, Maine in Autumn offers a beautiful destination rich with tradition and endless entertainment opportunities. We will gladly offers suggestions to help you tailor the perfect visit to Maine and Kennebunk / Kennebunkport.
September is a perfect time to visit Southern Coastal Maine. The beaches are less crowded and the weather tends to feature warm, sunny days and evenings with cool breezes. Ideal conditions for sitting by the ocean or exploring everything Kennebunk and Kennebunkport have to offer. September is also a great time to take advantage of fairs, festivals, and events. An upcoming special event that promises delicious food, distinctive cocktails, and an opportunity to mingle and dance in a picturesque setting will be held at On The Marsh Bistro on Saturday, September 15, 2012. On The Marsh will present “The Great Gatsby” to benefit The Food Pantries of York County tented in the meadow outside their restaurant. 6pm Cocktails and hearty Hors d’oeuvres will be followed by 7pm Dinner and dancing to the ever popular “Straight Lace Band.” Dress for Prohibition times, and be prepared for an evening of surprises! $110 per person all inclusive, Cash Bar. Limited seating. Reservations for the event have begun. The phone number for On The Marsh is 207-967-2299. Come for a weekend getaway at the Inn at English Meadows and remember the Roaring 20’s at a fun event that also supports a worthy cause.
Some other events of note:
SCHOOL AROUND US SUMMER CRAFT FAIR
School Around Us 37th Annual Summer Craft Fair is Saturday, September 1st, 2012 from 9am to 4pm, on the Green, Ocean Ave, Kennebunkport, Maine. Featuring 70 juried artists and artisans, live music and food. Rain date Sunday, September 2nd, Info: (207) 967-3143, www.schoolaroundus.org, firstname.lastname@example.org
ANNUAL CAPRICCIO & FESTIVAL OF KITES
A celebration of the Arts! in Ogunquit. Festival of Kites to take place on September 8, 2012. Rain date: September 9, 2012. Directly on Ogunquit Beach. Sponsored by Ogunquit Rotary Club and Ogunquit Performing Arts. Info: (207) 646-2261.
UNITED MAINE CRAFTSMEN’S FALL FESTIVAL OF ARTS & CRAFTS
A show and sale of unique handcrafted products, made by over 100 Maine Artisans, on the grounds of Smiling Hill Farm. Exhibitors will be selling, locally handcrafted Pottery, Fused & Stained Glass, Jewelry, Baskets, Folk & Fine Art, Wood Products, Specialty Foods, Fiber Arts, Soaps, Candles and much more. Ample Free Parking, Food Vendors, Rain or Shine.
Smiling Hill Farm
781 County Rd
Westbrook, ME 04092
September 8th, 2012
10am – 4pm
$2.00 at the gate. Children under 12 free.
Contact: Laurie Kelley
SHAKER HILL APPLE FESTIVAL
A beautiful old Shaker village in Alfred, Maine, comes alive on Sat. Sept. 22, & Sun. Sept. 23, 2012, from 10-4. Juried arts & craft fair, Shaker Museum exhibits & demonstrations, book & yard sales, silent auction, apple & pumpkin picking, wagon rides of Shaker village, live music, children’s activities, antique car rides, farm & food booths, Museum shop, continental breakfast, Giles Family Farm Store, pie sales, chili & chowder lunches, Bakery at Notre Dame, Brothers’ Apple Store, apple crisp. Free Parking & Free Admission. Proceeds benefit homeless children of York County Shelter Programs, Friends of the Alfred Shaker Museum, and Giles Family Farm.
York County Shelter Programs
Shaker Hill Road
Alfred, ME 04002
September 22nd, 2012 — September 23rd, 2012
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Free admission, free parking
Contact: Mary Doyle
CELLARDOOR WINERY VINFEST 2012
Vinfest 2012, our annual fall harvest celebration takes place Saturday, September 29th and includes a full day of family-friendly fun! Grape-stomping, food and wine pairings, BBQ, music, winery tours, demonstrations and much more. $10 per person. Check out our website for many more events, classes and tours. http://mainewine.com/events/special-events/
367 Youngtown Rd
Lincolnville, ME 04849
September 29th, 2012
10:00 A.M-5:00 P.M.
$10 per person
Contact: Jasie Costigan
CAMDEN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Located on the rugged coast of Maine, the Camden International Film Festival will return for its eighth season. Recognized as one of the top 25 film festivals in the world for documentary films and filmmakers, the festival highlights work that show dedication to craft and a unique and artistic approach to telling a darn good story. Films are selected because of their ability to arouse discussion on documentary film as an art form, a catalyst for change and as an outlet for the independent voice. For information on the festival, the purchase of passes, our film selection or the Points North Pitch forum, visit http://www.camdenfilmfest.org/
Theatres in Camden, Rockport and Rockland
September 27th, 2012 — September 30th, 2012
Contact: Lara Sitruk
Maine’s Blue Ribbon Classic! The largest agriculture fair in Maine! Eight days of entertainment and education for the whole family – A variety of livestock, draft show horses and ponies, pulling horses and oxen, a forestry research center, an agricultural exhibition center, crafts, a flower show, educational exhibitions and demonstrations, sheep dog trials and a huge parade on Saturday. A thrilling midway with amusement rides and delicious food. Live music all day, and nightly entertainment. The Fair attracts upwards of 300,000 visitors each year.
1154 Main St
Fryeburg, ME 04037
September 30th, 2012 — October 7th, 2012
Gates open at 7 – Buildings open 9-9
General Admission – $10 every day; Includes Night Shows; Children under 12 always free; 65 & over – Senior Citizen Tuesday – No Charge
Contact: Jane Lounsbury
We are proud to share the news that Select Registry announced that the Inn at English Meadows has joined its portfolio of celebrated B&Bs.
“Only 330 properties throughout North America have qualified for the Select Registry designation,” explains Will Carlson, the association’s executive director. “Each property must pass rigorous, unannounced inspections to attain and then maintain its membership. We set the bar extremely high. Our goal is to give guests the assurance that when they check into a Select Registry inn, they’re in for an exceptional experience.”
Select Registry properties combine the charm of B&Bs with modern comforts like free Wi-Fi, flat-screen televisions and complimentary breakfasts featuring contemporary gourmet cuisine, according to Carlson. He says the 22 new member inns offer a range of getaways, from adventure travel to romantic escapes. They are located in the countryside and in major cities, from Washington’s Cascade Mountains to Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks and Florida’s sunny shores. We are pleased to join this distinguished group of properties, offering a chic and relaxing getaway in Southern coastal Maine.
The fullness of summer is upon us and our gardens are in full bloom. Pockets of green with punches of color are sprinkled around our property creating mini oases that invite rest and relaxation. Some of our favorite blooms include the showy Lacecap hydrangeas, which love the soil in Maine, and the intensely yellow Asiatic lilies. We’ve created a pallet that mixes cool purples and blues with riotous reds, sunny yellows, and punchy fuschias. We invite guests to stretch out in these tranquil spots and experience the full beauty of late summer in Maine: warm, languid days punctuated with cool, star-filled nights.
It’s no secret that inns and hotels can be bastions of wastefulness, with the average guest discarding about two pounds of paper, plastic, cardboard and cans each day. Pat Maher, the green consultant for the American Hotel and Lodging Association, states “Right now, half a million of those little bath product bottles end up in landfills every day.” Most are only 1/4 to 1/2 used, which sends a shocking amount of unused chemicals into our groundwater supply.
Another item that contributes to the amount of waste generated by the lodging industry is bottled water. “Each year, people are drinking 30 billion throwaway bottles of water,” said the Sierra Club’s Ruth Caplan. “If you put them end to end, it would go around the world more than 150 times.” Four out of five plastic water bottles end up in landfills, but even before they get there, they’ve taken a toll on the environment.
In an effort to be more green and waste less, the Inn at English Meadows is implementing some new eco-friendly practices – water carafes have been added to each room, which cuts down on the number of plastic water bottles needing to be recycled.
To reduce the number of individually sized bath products that would contribute to the waste stream, the Inn is now using full-size pump bottles of (MALIN+GOETZ) rum hand (+ body) wash and neroli hand+body lotion. When guests leave, the pump bottles are refilled so nothing is thrown out. It is a wonderful marriage of offering luxury bath products while keeping an eye towards being good stewards of the environment.
Another green practice in which English Meadows participates is the soap recycling program managed by Partners In Development, Inc. Each year, a staggering number of children die from hygiene and sanitation related illnesses. Partners in Development works to prevent those deaths and improve community health, by recycling used hotel soap and turning it into new bars that are distributed to vulnerable populations in Haiti. With 4.6-million hotel/motel rooms in theUnited States, an estimated 2.6-million soap bars are discarded every day. By participating in the recycling program, tons of waste are diverted from the landfill. We feel that small steps can have a large impact.
Interior and fashion stylist Erin Gates, who writes the Elements of Style blog, joined us during the recent Kennebunkport Festival and took part in the Maine Home+Design dinner that we hosted. Erin put together a really nice piece, including some lovely photographs, about her experience here as well as some of the other events she attended and places she visited during her stay in Kennebunk – Kennebunkport. You can find the blog entry at the following link: A Kennebunkport Weekend. Below is one of the images she includes in the blog.
Seems that Erin took quite a liking to our English goldendoodle, stating that he has an “irresistible little face.” We might be biased, but we couldn’t agree more! Erin also enjoyed the “seriously amazing food” at the dinner created by guest Chef Dennis Franceschini, Executive Chef-partner of New York City’s Bar Italia.
We greatly enjoyed hosting Erin and hope that you will check out her Elements of Style blog!
We are very excited that the new web site for The Inn at English Meadows is almost ready to be launched! It’s taken longer than we hoped for but good things are worth waiting for. Our photographer Christian Giannelli and his wonderful wife Melissa did such a fabulous job with the pictures, they certainly exceeded my expectations. We had such a wonderful time working with them I know we will be friends for a long time to come. We also now have pictures of the Bungalow to share!
This week we had a few guests that had stayed at the inn with the previous owner and they couldn’t believe the magic we worked in such a short period of time. They visit the Kennebunk’s often so it was so nice that they enjoyed the changes we made. At the end of their stay they mentioned how much they loved my breakfast and the daily afternoon cookies I baked. They couldn’t wait to see what I would bake each day. Being an innkeeper is so rewarding when you have guests who truly appreciate the effort you put in to make their stay special. I must say we have had such great guests it’s been a lot of fun for us to meet and get know our guests. I do believe that quite a few will be returning.
I am starting to plan my breakfast and cookie menu for the July4th weekend – we only have 1 room left for 2 nights and I am certain it will be reserved shortly. It should be a great weekend to visit The Inn at English Meadows. This week we will be dining for the first time at The White Barn Inn, I can’t wait to tell you all about it!
The last update we need to share with you is that we just got our wine license! So now our guests can enjoy a relaxing glass or bottle of wine on our patio or in their room to add to the luxury experience at our inn. Our web site will have more details about the wines.
I want to share with everyone the before and after pictures of the renovation we did to the Inn over the last three and a half months. We started the first of January by taking getting ride of all the unusable furniture, gave it to Goodwill, then took down all the wall paper. Then the carpenters came in and did the demo on the kitchen and some of the bath rooms. We added new wiring where needed, new toilets in all the bath rooms, new bath room fixtures, Flat screen T.V.’s in all rooms and then all the rooms were painted and updated with new beds, new bedding, new furnishing, and new furniture. A huge under taking but as you can see well worth the time and effort.
We had a full house at The Inn at English Meadows for our first Memorial Day weekend and a lot of great memories were made thanks to all our wonderful guests! Thankfully the sun was shining and our guests were able to see what makes Kennebunkport so special. Everyone spent most of their time out and about, one guest who went golfing was lucky enough to have the pleasure of meeting President Bush at the golf club now that’s a memory that he will never forget. My breakfasts were a BIG hit and I had several requests for recipes which I am happy to share. Most guests needed to a take a walk to the beach after breakfast because they were so full, there were only crumbs left on the plates. We were delighted that our guests all enjoyed the upgrades we made to the inn the new decor was a HUGE hit some guest are asking for the paint colors so they can use them when they get home. Several guests enjoyed our Tea Forte tea’s and Frette robes so much they choose to purchase them to enjoy back at home. On Memorial Day we servedour breakfast a little bit earlier than usual so guests could go the parade. We were all hoping to see President Bush make his annual speech but this year he and Barbara were just enjoying the day like the rest of us. I also must thank again Bjorn & Christine who after check out went into town and brought us back a bottle of wine to thank us for making their stay so special – I can’t tell you how much that meant to us. If all our guests are as wonderful as the guests we had for Memorial Day weekend we will be very happy innkeepers.