Blue, the Inn on the Beach-Newburyport?
Thanks all for your thoughts-they were really helpful. I did see the Costa review and agree it is hard to tell from those things what you are really going to find when you get there. It sounds charming and am going to look into slightly off season rates as the inn looks above my budget- though if it had spa services....my budget could be adjusted! Thanks again!
You must have seen Billy Costa's Plum Island review on TVDiner.
Blue is is gorgeous, deluxe, comfortable, and gets a "10" for location. However, there are no spa or dining facilities. The location and the high-end appointments in the rooms/hotel is what makes it special. It is also very pricey.
We spend every summer in Plum Island. There is really only one restaurant on Plum Island (two if you count the food at the Beach Coma bar). Mad Martha's is a breakfast/lunch place - and the Thursday night BYO dinner is nice, but it is not really what I would call a restaurant. There are three picnic benches on their 6X6 front patio. But breakfast at MM's is reallllly great. The hash is excellent. Fluffy pancakes, banana french toast, omelets, all really good.
Despite many negative reports here on Chowhound about the PIG (Plum Island Grille) we have always found it to be solid. Excellent, very fresh seafood, grilled and served with a salsa or sauce. Fresh produce from nearby Tendercrop Farm makes for delicious salads. The scallop, corn, and clam chowder is rich and delicious. I've eaten everything on the menu ten times over. I've never had a bad meal.
Plum Island is absolutely gorgeous - it is unspoiled and a throwback to the 70s (at the latest). The beach is never crowded. On the hottest day this summer there might have been 100 people. That said, I thought Costa's report made Plum Island out to be this resort destination. It really isn't. The only commercial lodging on the Island is Blue, and in season the room rate is $400-$700 per night. There are three tiny parking lots near the beach for $10 on weekend, $3 during the week - each lot has about 20 spaces - the big lot has maybe 100. Parking on the street is prohibited. The Island is all family cottages and cottages that are rented. I think I sound like I am telling people to stay away (I am not - LOL - we open our doors to everyone each summer) - but the show made it seem more destination-y than it really is. That said, come on up and see what we've been loving our whole lives. You will not be disappointed. Weekly rentals run $1000-$4000 during the high season. Cheaper than a stay at Blue! :)