Article and photos by Linda Calder
During July of 2007, We enjoyed a stay at the York Harbor Inn, which can be found on the beautiful and scenic drive along Coastal Route 1, in York, Maine. The Dominguez family owns The Main Inn, as well as four other properties; the Yorkshire Building “The Carriage House”, the Harbor Hill Inn, the Harbor Cliffs Bed & Breakfast, and the 1730 Harbor Crest Inn.
During our visit, we were lucky enough to get a sneak peek at room #12, which was designed and decorated by LL Bean of Maine. I couldn’t wait to see the room once I heard it was photographed for one of LL Bean’s catalogs. Upon entering the room, we felt as if we were tucked away in a rural mountain cottage until, that is, we stepped out onto the deck and saw the glorious ocean view.
Then there is room #11, with its very unique door. Almost half the size of a normal door and angled to follow the slope of the ceiling, we were told that some guests refer to this room as the “gnome room”. The story of Alice in Wonderland flooded my thoughts as I tried to envision normal sized suitcases fitting through that tiny door.
Our home for the night was the 1730 Harbor Crest Inn. After stepping over the threshold of the front door, I was impressed by the elegance of the first floor décor and the size of the common rooms. In the front foyer, a mini internet area was tucked discreetly into a space that might have been a closet; or left behind from an old stairway.
To the right, a pleasant room with several tables and windows that are dressed in a cheery blue and yellow fabric; even on this gloomy day, the room created a feeling of vibrancy and happiness. On the left-hand side of the front hall, a blue and white sitting room; and to the rear of the foyer is another relaxing sitting room with a corner gas fireplace.
Looking out the windows, we could see private sitting areas just waiting to be enjoyed. With only seven guest rooms in the inn, we felt like we were alone in this grand home, and we were already making plans on where to sit later to enjoy a quiet moment.
We got to our room via a grand stairway in the rear portion of the home. As soon as we opened our door, we felt as if we were entering a private room in a home… and not that of an inn. The only touches that reminded me that we were staying at an inn was the telephone connected to The Main Inn, (which is 4/10ths of a mile down the street), two bottled waters placed on the bedside table, a full restaurant menu to whet our appetites, and of course the basket of bathroom niceties. Hidden behind a French door, made private by a white-on-white sheer-stripe fabric, the oversized bathroom was an extra special surprise. With a color theme of black, white, and apricot, the bathroom had elegant touches and a nice open feeling. Sure, the large two-person whirlpool with its five jets was great, but the icing on the cake for me, was having my own makeup vanity to sit at! That little touch of luxury made the stay even more special, and I felt like a princess.
Our dinner reservation (which is highly recommended) was for 7:00 pm at The Main Inn. We contemplated putting on our sneakers and shorts so that we could walk to the restaurant: but even though casual attire is welcome, we opted to make the short drive by car since I felt like getting dressed up and donning high heels for the evening.
When you arrive at The Main Inn and make your way to the restaurant, you pass through what is called the Cabin Room. “The Cabin Room”, says Anita Taggersell, Director of Sales for the inn, “was constructed on the Isles of Shoals in 1637 and was dismantled and moved (floated by barge) sometime well before 1700 (no specific year available) and reconstructed on our site. The beams have that ancient patina that can only be created by time, not by man.” There is also a large stone fireplace that now sits cool to the touch and is patiently waiting to warm guests on the next cold and chilly Autumn night.
A new bar, with beautiful wood paneling, was recently added and tucked into the left hand corner of the Cabin Room, and a pub with the same full menu as the 1637 Main Dining room can be found downstairs.
After being seated at our candlelit table, we proceeded to order our drinks and appetizers while enjoying the view of the ocean harbor. Our drinks for the night were Johnny Walker Black on the rocks for my husband and the house Pinot Grigio (Lagaria from Italy) for me. For the appetizer... we enjoyed the Ploughman’s Platter. This is the chef’s daily selection of cured meats that are created on the premises, local cheeses, warm bread, roasted red peppers, roasted garlic cloves, and olives ($13.95). This was just the right- sized portion to start off the evening. Following the appetizer, we had a small serving of sorbet to cleanse our palates which prepared us for the rest of the meal.
Wanting to eat light, I opted for their homemade French Onion Soup made with sweet onions, croutons, and topped with imported Swiss cheese ($6.25) and the 2 Olive Caesar Salad which was created with hearts of romaine blended with their own Caesar salad dressing ($7.95). My husband ordered the Baked Stuffed Haddock, and he said it was, “hands down”, the best stuffed haddock he has ever had. The North Atlantic Haddock was filled with a shrimp and crab stuffing and served over a delicious sherry-tomato cream sauce. ($23.95). Noted as “A Chef’s Favorite” we both agreed.
I wish I could tell you how the dessert was, but both of us were so full from this incredible meal that we decided to skip the dessert and opted to take a walk in the park across the street.
The Next Morning:
Well rested after a great night of sleep, we headed downstairs for a wonderful Continental Breakfast. We entered the well-appointed kitchen and saw the arrangement of muffins, pastries, bagels, and cereal boxes set out on the counter. The icing on the cake for my husband was when he saw his favorite newspaper laid out on the counter. For me, other than the princess vanity in our room, was breakfast on the porch… morning sunshine on my face… and sipping coffee in complete and total silence… Pure Bliss!
To make reservations you can contact the inn at 1-800-343-3869 or visit their informative Web site www.yorkharborinn.com
From Interstate 95 North or South (in Southern Maine); take “Yorks/Ogunquit” exit immediately before (heading North) or after (heading South) the York Toll Booth.
Take the exit ramp to 1st set of lights; then bear right onto Route 1 South. Turn left at first set of lights to York Street (Route 1A); follow the road for approximately 1 mile into York Village and bear right at the fork.
The York Harbor Inn is located on the left side in York Harbor, just minutes North on Coastal Route 1A.