Kennebunkport, Maine

Photo: Hidden Pond

Forget a long lunch. During the summer, you prefer a deep dinner. The meal should begin when the sun starts to set. Cocktails and appetizers are served as the midday heat disappears. Open flames and popping corks signal the arrival of entrées and wine. Your usual coffee is replaced with one more drink. Then twinkling lights and dancing fireflies announce a final sweet bite. All that’s left is a good night’s sleep.

Tonight’s dinner certainly fits the bill. Earth’s setting, amidst a birch forest, is beautiful. Gravel paths weave between flower beds, herb gardens, and little wooden tables. Hurricane lanterns flicker atop the latter. Their light reflects off the still pond behind them. While laughter and clanking dishes tumble from the dining shed ahead. You step into the restaurant, constructed from cleared wood, to find cement floors, sturdy furniture, and potted plants. A stunning, preserved apple-tree chandelier hangs upside down overhead. The open space smells like a delicious mixture of seafood, garlic, and fresh-from-the-garden vegetables.

The cocktail menu is the first thing you grab on the table. You select a Spring Spritzer made with strawberry, rhubarb, elderflower, and Prosecco. They should pair well with Browne’s Point oysters and their hibiscus mignonette. Your husband starts drooling over all of the beers from Portland (Austin Street, Bunker, Foundation, Liquid Riot). A lobster pizza—covered with sherry cream, braised leeks, and Fresno Chili peppers—should sop up the hops. Garden pea soup, wood-fired carrots, a seafood stew, and tempura fiddlehead ferns are all possibilities, as well. You haven’t even made it to the wine list when the spritzer and the beer arrive.

Photo: Hidden Pond

You end up ordering all of the above, save for the hard-to-share soup, instead of making difficult decisions. It’s not easy to turn down something that was made by hand, picked from the garden, or caught by local fishermen earlier in the day. Knowing that there’s a James Beard Award-winning chef, Ken Oringer, behind the farm-to-fork menu doesn’t hurt either. The only thing you end up passing on is dessert. That’s only because s’mores are being served outside by the stone fire pit. Two Adirondack chairs sit empty as if they were reserved just for you.

Thank goodness you’ll be just steps from your room at Hidden Pond when you finally finish stuffing yourself. You’ll slowly follow the footpaths by the Tree Spa, hand-painted wooden signs, and the adults-only Serenity pool to find your bungalow. The cozy retreat features a vaulted ceiling, a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, and a screened porch. There’s a marble bathroom inside and a rain shower outside. The king-size bed is topped with a fluffy, down-filled duvet. Plus a canvas bag—containing a thermos of coffee, a baguette, and Stonewall Kitchen jam—will be delivered early tomorrow morning.

By then, you’ll be ready to join a morning pilates or yoga class. You’ll decide whether to ride beach-cruiser bikes or the complimentary shuttle to the Tides Beach Club, the resort’s sister property on nearby Goose Rocks Beach. You’ll plan to watch Judith (the resident artist) paint with watercolors, borrow shears to cut fresh flowers at the farm, and book an Herbal Garden Body Exfoliation at the spa, whose treatment rooms are suspended eight feet above the ground and connected by catwalks. You have a full day ahead of you before your next deep dinner. But first, that good night’s sleep.

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