Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Northern New England >
Apr 5, 2011 08:45 AM

Hound Honeymoon in New England?

I posted an inquiry on the General board asking for recommendations for where to spend a honeymoon. Fiance and I are looking anywhere on the East Coast (not including DC - which is home) for a B&B in a scenic spot with proximity to a week's worth of fantastic, Hound-approved dining. A couple people suggested Rockland, ME...Providence, RI...Hudson River Valley area....Woodstock, VT...

Since you're the locals, what do you recommend? Any pointers much appreciated! :)

PS - I have also posted this inquiry in the Southern NE board. Hope that's not incorrect!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Of course with a name like mine, I'm going to represent mid-coast Maine! Camden/Rockland. Plenty of great B&Bs to choose from:

    Limerock Inn (Rockland)
    Berry Manor Inn (Rockland)
    Hartstone Inn (Camden)
    Camden Maine Stay Inn (Camden)
    Inn at Sunrise Point (Camden)
    Camden Windward House (Camden)
    Camden Harbour Inn (Camden)
    Inn at Ocean's Edge (Lincolnville - not far from Camden).

    There are many more. On the above, Hartstone, Camden Harbour, and Inn at Ocean's Edge have great restaurants (I'm particularly partial to Inn at Ocean's Edge - LOVE the food and dining space).

    Plus you get the added bonus of dining at what I think is one of the best restaurants on the planet - Primo in Rockland.

    And you aren't too far from Acadia - good day trip. Take a ferry out to the islands (Vinalhaven, North Haven, Islesboro, Monhegan etc). Farnsworth Museum in Rockland. All the fantastic peninsulas to explore - head down to Port Clyde. Grab a lobster roll at any one of dozens of shacks.

    I may be partial, but I have lived in many places in New England...including Boston and Portland areas...but I think mid-coast has a great mix of scenery, dining, and fun. No matter what you decide, I would steer you away from Providence...highly overrated in my honest opinion...I think you'd run out of things to do in about a day.

    Have fun!

    Camden Harbour Inn
    83 Bayview St, Camden, ME 04843

    Maine Stay Inn
    22 High St, Camden, ME 04843

    Hartstone Inn
    41 Elm St, Camden, ME 04843

    2 Replies
    1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

      The Woodstocker Inn - Woodstock, VT - run by a charming British couple; great room decor and awesome breakfast. On the web...check them out. Some nice places to eat nearby, too. Inn keeper helped us with rec. & reservations.

      1. re: adiosoven

        I love that place...very interesting couple and charming place: breakfast next to their towering bookshelf full of cookbooks. The owners are avid foodies and members of the British Sausage Appreciation Society (or something like that)! And you can dine at Pane y Salute in downtown Woodstock, another favorite spot.

    2. Since it appears you are considering the entire East Coast excluding DC, can you provide some insight as far as preference i.e. beach, mountain, sophisticated, rustic, urban, isolated, etc for VT, NH, ME, RI and MA? I live in NH but have some favs that I would be happy to share with a little more direction.

      2 Replies
      1. re: whs

        Hi whs! Hm. We're leaning away from urban, just because we live and work so close to DC and want more of the "getting away from it all" vibe. Our two biggest priorities on this trip are 1) proximity to enough fantastic restaurants to have memorable dinners every night for a week and 2) pretty scenery. So mountains or rocky beach work equally well. I would love to go the super-isolated route, but think that'd make the fine dining much more difficult. Sophisticated/rustic are equally fine - my only major preference for B&B's is that they not be crammed full of knick-knacks (or "cute pretties" as my mother would call them), but that's neither here nor there. As long as the bed is comfortable, hot water is plentiful and breakfast is filling and delicious, we're good! :)

        1. re: Aravisea

          If your week includes driving, you may want to stay closer to CT or RI. The drive to ME will add a lot of time to your trip. In CT, the Mayflower Inn is a fine (and expensive) choice: Excellent dining. In RI, the Ocean House in Watch Hill occupies a spectacular setting in a beautiful old-fashioned resort town WH was where people who thought Newport was pretentious built shingle-style mansions, and it still retains small town charm. It's near Stonington Borough and Mystic CT, with many dining options. We love the Olympia Tea Room. (of course, there's always Newport, chock full of fine dining and inns.) If you don't mind traveling further, a really quirky spot is Monhegan Island, off the coast of Rockland ME. You take a ferry, and you've arrived on an island with no cars, no street lights, and the very nice Island Inn. To go out for dinner, the hotel provides flashlights. Two days max, and you might want to combine it with a visit to Camden, touristy but gorgeous. Despite what solargarlic says, the White Mountains of NH are a very special spot. I stand by my recs for the Notchland Inn and Sugar Hill Inn Both have terrific food and beautiful surroundings.

      2. I would stay away from NH as a food destination...sure there's great scenery and lots of outdoor things to do, but to me this is not the place to come to find the best food in New England. If you do decide to make a stop on your way through here, you would surely find some great spots (and especially along the coast add in the great coastline) but I wouldn't choose NH over other NE states.

        I like the idea of Maine, lots of activity plus a good food scene. I disagree that Providence is overrated; I think it may be a bit past its prime now, but there are still so many great options for food in a little city. You could spend some time there and then in Newport. Block Island would be an option also, and Boston is less than an hour away. (You'll get that info from the SNE board though).

        14 Replies
        1. re: solargarlic

          Solargarlic, Block Island does not have a decent restaurant on the entire island, and there are certainly places in New Hampshire equal to Maine or VT. The White Mountains are one of the great destinations on the East Coast. Jackson has the Inn at Thorn Hill, Crawford Notch has Notchland Inn, and Sugar Hill has the SH Inn. If the OP wants a meal equal to a locally sourced bistro in San Francisco, Republic in Manchester can hold its own. Have you tried any of them?

          1. re: whs

            I did not mean my BI suggestion as a destination for food, but rather as the possiblity of a nice day trip. I have not eaten at any of the Inns up north, I have only eaten at numerous other spots, and if I was taking a trip based around food, I would want to have more options other than what is available at the place I am staying. In my opinion, there is better food in Southern New England vs. Northern New England, and I just happen to be frustrated that I have not found many eateries in NH that deeply impress me. (Meaning, if I had one choice for the most memorable food experience, NH wouldn't make the top of the list) I understand that many people on here have had far better (and more numerous) experiences than I, and it's all so very subjective. I was nervous in stating my opinion that it would come off as harsh, but I just wanted to throw a different angle out there. Again, I was really meaning that NH overall would be the bottom of the list for me for a (possibly) one-time trip to NE.

            1. re: solargarlic

              Sorry to disagree, but the pan sauteed cod I had at Republic last week was as good as the sea bass I had at Canteen in San Francisco the week before. You really should try it--beats Wings your Way and the mac and cheese place by a mile ;)

          2. re: solargarlic

            I don't mean to denigrate any other locale...for the most part, each has it's own charm. Good times can be had in places like Providence or's just that you have to drive through billboard hell to get there. Given a choice between basing myself anywhere between York and Bar Harbor vs greater Providence or greater Hartford...i'd take the coast of Maine anyday. I guess I'm sort of basing my advice on not only food...but the beauty and diversity of the locale.

            I just took a road trip from Rockland ME to Tampa and back. I loved Savannah GA...not sure you want to spend any time in the summer there though...unless you like oppressive heat. Myrtle Beach is awful...sorry. I know I don't intend to denigrate...but it's t-shirt / strip club / chain restaurant hell. IMHO.

            1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

              MCM, we're on the same wavelength. We've pretty much ruled out going south of DC due to the oppressive heat - Fiance likes it but I wilt. I've been to the coast of Maine once before and loooooved it. We were based around Acadia and I don't remember there being a super fantastic dining scene there, but maybe we missed it? That's my only concern about doing the Maine coast - I will absolutely hit up road-side shacks for lobster rolls for lunch but we'd like the high class stuff for dinner. Where would we look for that?

              1. re: Aravisea

                Of course Portland has the most fine/creative/inventive dining establishments, but MidCoast Maine (Rockland/Rockport/Camden/Lincolnville) has a surprisingly high number as well. Including, but not limited to:

                In Good Company
                Lily Bistro
                Café Miranda
                Amalfi on the Water
                Francine Bistro
                Shepherd’s Pie same chef/owner as above
                Paolina’s Way
                Hartstone Inn
                The Edge
                40 Paper
                Youngtown Inn

                And then others perhaps a bit more casual (not saying coat & tie are required above – all places can be “casual”) OR with a loyal following:

                Home Kitchen Café
                Long Grain no website – but a fantastic Asian place
                Conte’s (thank you Mister Meatball).

                And I’ll throw in a winery:

                Cellardoor Winery

                Not an exhaustive list…but I think you can see that there are plenty of options.

                Hartstone Inn
                Camden, ME, Camden, ME

                Youngtown Inn & Restaurant
                RR 52, Lincolnville, ME 04849

                In Good Company
                415 Main St, Rockland, ME 04841

                Atlantica Restaurant
                1 Bayview Lndg, Camden, ME 04843

                Home Kitchen Cafe
                650 Main St, Rockland, ME 04841

                Lily Bistro
                421 Main St, Rockland, ME 04841

                1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                  Even as a dedicated Portland hound, I'm in agreement with MCM, simply because the midcoast area is lovely, lots of places to wander in beauty and then eat well. Given that you have an entire week, you can easily get to Mt. Desert, and there are some excellent eateries on the island. Personal favorite is Mache Bistro. Should you get as far as Ellsworth, lunch or dinner at Cleonice ( is great Mediterranean food: try the locally-sourced lamb burger on pita: spectacular! South of the Camden area in the mid-coast is a great day trip down onto the Pemaquid peninsula, including lunch in New Harbor or Round Pound, both of which have excellent lobster pounds, and which could end nicely with dinner at Damariscotta River Grill.
                  But wherever you go, you're obligated to provide us with a trip report!

                  112 Main St, Ellsworth, ME 04605

                  1. re: mainemal

                    Midcoast seems to be the frontrunner right now. And I will definitely write up a report afterwards - this whole trip is being built around Hound rec's! :)

                    1. re: Aravisea

                      The problem with Maine in the summer is all those tourists ;) You will be standing in lines and competing for the attention of a lot of worn-out waiters.

                      1. re: whs

                        Make your corner of the country less likable and we won't visit. :)

                        1. re: Aravisea

                          Right, and all the other places mentioned here (Providence, coastal RI, coastal CT, White Mts) will be devoid of tourists in the summer. (wink wink).

                          1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                            It sound like, for the best formal dining, we want to be within striking distance of both Portland and Rockland. I'm checking out some B&B's in Camden but can't really tell if that would make hitting Portland for dinner a bit of a trek?

                            1. re: Aravisea

                              1.5 hours if you hit NO traffic (unlikely in summer). If you're here for a week, you could always split it up...3 days Portland, 4 days midcoast (or vice versa). I don't think you'll get the "quaint" New England B&B thing in Portland, like you'd get in Camden/Rockland. Either location would have ample fine dining, trust me. It might just be a matter of where you'd prefer to stay...though I think splitting it up isn't necessarily a bad idea. Portland and Bar Harbor ARE easy day trips, though not sure how inclined you'd be to drive back to your Camden B&B after a late night dinner in either place.

                              BTW, for Camden B&B's, tripadvisor is pretty much right on...don't think you'd have a problem staying at any one of the top ones (I used to stay at the Hartstone before I moved here...they also have a good restaurant). I stayed one time in the "suite" at the Windward House..that was also nice...more sizeable room to boot.

                              1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                                In town Portland has some nice B&B's and small hotels as well as a couple out on the Casco islands, and if you split your trip between mid-coast and Portland you might well enjoy a couple of nights in town, its a very walkable place or good ferry service to Peak's Island, and it is awfully nice to be able to stroll "home" after a nice meal in the evening instead of having to drive.

          3. me personally...honeymoon was for my new wife and i to spend time together...(doing indoor activities)..among other things..
            yes we ate one good meal at the resort we were at...
            but most of the time was for us...snorkeling,jet ski,even just walking around the place we were at..
            food wasnt the first thing we were thinking about when we got up in the morning
            altho the cucumber water we had was very refreshing after the hour of a couples massage...

            but if food is what you are looking for...
            i could think of many great places to stay up and down the eastern seaboard...
   hampshire...cape cod..a b&b in the berkshires..niagra york city..
            the outer banks in north carolina..virginia beach..hilton head...myrtle beach...savannah,ga
            daytona beach all the way down to sobe....

            the east coast covers a lot of things....

            1. Living in Portland, I’m very partial to the idea of Maine being a great place for both natural beauty, romance, and food. Drive up the coast to Mount Desert Island - MDI (home of Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor). For pure romance and outstanding food, 1st stop has to be The White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport. Next day stop in Ogunquit for lunch before pulling into Portland. Several good B & B’s as well as some nice hotels (Portland Harbor Hotel is in a perfect location). I admit I’m partial but the only problem you will have in Portland is deciding where to eat. There are about a half dozen restaurants worthy of (and most have received) national recognition, plus about another 40 that are just really good to great, all within a 1 mile radius in a "city" of 60,000. For romance AND great food, Hugo;s is a must. You can’t go wrong with Fore St, Emilitsa, Bresca, 555, or Miyake for food that can stand up to anything, anywhere, every time.
              After leaving town, spend a night at the Chebeague Island Inn on, you guessed it, Chebeague Island. Once again, pure romance and a surprisingly very good restaurant (though some seasonal places can change greatly from one year to the next). I’ve stayed at the Hartstone Inn in Camden and yes it was very romantic – off season, just my wife and me in the dining room set up as a two top in front of the fire place – I still get major credit for that one. A visit to the midcoast for a foodie has to include a dinner at Primo - as good as it gets. After that, head up to MDI where you have a terrific national park and some great food options to work with. All along the coast there are lobster shacks that offer the basic Maine meals – lobster, chowda, steamers, corn on the cob, blueberry pie. Most are very good at cooking the basics.
              No, I do not work for the tourism bureau and I’m not even a native – I just really dig this state.

              The White Barn Inn
              37 Beach Avenue, Kennebunk Beach, ME 04043

              111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

              Hartstone Inn
              41 Elm St, Camden, ME 04843

              6 Replies
              1. re: bobbert

                Hm. Portland could be perfect. How big of a city is it? Think we could find a scenic place to stay outside the city but still close enough to drive in for dinner?

                1. re: Aravisea

                  Greater Portland has about a quarter million people, while the city itself is only about 65,000 but has a nice metro vibe. There are plenty of beautiful places just outside the city in Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, etc.

                  1. re: Aravisea

                    google Bon Appetit and Portland and read a good bit on why it was named the Foodiest Small City in America.

                    1. re: Aravisea

                      we loved a weekend gat-a-way on Peaks Island @ Peaks Island Inn. Just a 15min ferry ride from Portland. Best of both worlds (we fell in love w/ lil restaurant on the island called Cockeyed Gull).

                      Cockeyed Gull
                      78 Island Ave, Peaks Island, ME 04108

                      1. re: lexpatti

                        Camden is a great little town but you're not driving to Portland for dinner. I agree with the others about splitting the locals. I live in Portland but rented a place on Peaks Island for two weeks last summer. The Inn is very nice (owned by the owners of Shipyard Brewery), pricy to stay but, only a 20 minute ferry ride to Portland - you get on/off right in the Old Port where many/most of the better restaurants are located (several great ones also in the Arts District-a 15 minute walk from the ferry). Staying on an island in Maine is something everyone should do at least once. Restaurants on Peaks include the Shipyard at the Inn, The Cockeyed Gull (best on the Island), an ice cream place and another restaurant (the name eludes me). Also a good little bakery/coffee shop. There's also Sunday Regae at Jones Landing - it is a drunkfest but can be fun iif you're into that sort of thing. Many people live on Peaks and commute via ferry so it's very easy to hit the mainland for meals or more action.

                        1. re: bobbert

                          good to know that Cockeyed Gull is still doing great (i think we only spent two nights on Peaks Island but had 5 fabulous meals @ Cockeyed (THAT GOOD). We loved that Portland was right there but we needed some "decompression" time out after selling a small business. We walked the rocky beaches, finding beautiful sea glass.

                          Cockeyed Gull
                          78 Island Ave, Peaks Island, ME 04108