Boothbay Harbor, Maine

Photo: Spruce Point Inn Resort & Spa

This summer looked like it was going to be a bust. For months, you could barely venture outside, much less make travel plans. Those already in the works were quickly canceled. New ones seemed futile. It looked like you’d be spending the hottest months of the year indoors and your vacation days would go to waste. Then relief, in the form of decreasing COVID-19 cases, arrived.

As soon as Maine began allowing visitors from your state—thanks to improved public health metrics—you started planning your first New England getaway since the beginning of the pandemic. Maine is known as America’s Summer Playground, so you try to plan a midcoast trip every July or August. You go for the rugged coastline, the cute fishing villages, and the fresh seafood. You spend your days playing on the beach, taking scenic drives, and picking blueberries. And you always stay somewhere with an ocean view.

Boothbay Harbor has become one of your favorite towns over the years. The working fishing community lies about an hour Downeast of Portland. That certainly sounds like you’re heading south, but it’s actually north to a specific part of the coast. Boothbay Harbor was first settled as a seasonal camp after the English bought the Boothbay Peninsula from the Algonquins. The settlement didn’t last through two Northeast wars—King Philip’s and King William’s—but its deep, protected harbor was eventually revived as a fishing center. It’s now home to the extensive Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, the Maine State Aquarium, the restored Pythian Opera House, and an adorable downtown.

Photo: Spruce Point Inn Resort & Spa

Your favorite spot in Boothbay Harbor sits near the tip of the peninsula that juts into the harbor. It’s Spruce Point Inn Resort & Spa. Similar to the town, this resort has a lot of history. In 1892, a private fishing and hunting camp was built on the 57-acre property. The secluded spot was mostly wooded before dropping into “Boothbay’s pool.” That would be the Atlantic Ocean. The camp became a teahouse in 1902, and then an inn 10 years later. In the last 100-plus years, that inn has undergone major renovations, welcomed high-profile guests, and perfected the classic Maine experience.

Little has changed in the resort’s main house over the years. It still has hardwood floors, cozy chairs, and windows open to catch the sea breeze. Cottages, lodges, and townhouses have been added to the property over time. Your preferred room is still right upstairs, though. The Captain’s Quarters has a king-size bed and a corner writing desk. Historical photos of the inn are on the walls. Poland Spring water and Green Mountain Coffee are among the amenities. While French doors open onto the porch, where green Adirondack chairs sit. You look forward to having a cup of coffee and a warm blueberry muffin there in the morning as you dream about the yachts on the sparkling water below.

Your deck is also a great spot to plan your Maine adventures. A cruise and oyster tasting along the Damariscotta River. A clambake on Cabbage Island. A day trip to hike on little Monhegan Island. A harbor cruise on The Novelty, which doubles as the Squirrel Island Ferry. A lighthouse tour by sea kayak. A lobster dish with every meal. A s’mores station out by the campfire. It finally feels like summer.

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