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Insiders Guide Recommended Country Inns

The Pentagoet is an 1894 Victorian charmer on the shore of beautiful Penobscot Bay, complete with turret, gables, and a wraparound porch with wicker chairs and a swing. The window boxes overflow with flowers. Fresh flowers are also for sale, but typical of the warmth here, you buy on the honor system, depositing your money in a box on the porch.

As you come in the door of the main inn, there is a sitting room to the left with a wood-burning stove and a window in the turret looking down on the harbor. To the right is a pub with a small, cozy oak bar; wingback chairs; and Empire-style sofas. The walls are filled with an eclectic floor-to-ceiling mix of vintage photos, paintings, and memorabilia from the innkeepers’ travels abroad.

The guest rooms are lovely. Some have little alcoves with views of the town and harbor. Some are small and have odd shapes, but this goes well with a country inn. Seven rooms have king-size beds.

The building next door, Ten Perkins Street, is also part of the inn and is more than 200 years old. I stayed in the suite here, and it’s a gem with a working fireplace. Wood is supplied so that you can light yourself a fire if there’s a chill in the air.

The breakfast is hearty, often with Maine blueberries picked fresh at a local farm that morning. All the baking is done by the owner, Julie, who had an acclaimed pastry shop in Philadelphia for twenty years. Coffee is set outside your door in the morning, a very nice way to start the day.

Good food is served in an intimate dining room, in the pub, or on the porch. The inn offers nightly suppers featuring local seafood and New England specialties. The lobster pie and saffron-scented Spanish seafood stew are two favorites.

Castine is the Maine of you imagination.  It was founded as a French trading colony in 1613, nine years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth.  The town square is lined with stately elms and classic New England buildings straight from a Norman Rockwell drawing.  Five times a day you can hear the whistle from the steamboat Laurie Ellen that serves the town, and the sound of bell buoys lulls you to sleep.

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