Brewster House Bed & Breakfast (Freeport, Maine Coast)

Category Archives: vacation

Planning Your Maine Getaway

May 6, 2010 by Scott Gile

Lupine, near Freeport MaineSpring is a glorious time to be in Maine! The flowers are in bloom and the azaleas are budding. Can the lupine be far behind?

As you think about your Maine getaway, consider how many days you want to spend here, and also whether you prefer to be on the move, changing locations every day or two, or make one or two locations your “base of operations”, taking day trips from those spots.

It seems that most people who visit Freeport Maine either spend a night here, then travel on to their destination (to the north or south), or spend two or three days here, before going on to their next destination. Freeport is two hours drive north of Boston, and about three hours south of Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Once in a while a group will spend their entire getaway here in Freeport. For those with only one day (almost all of whom leave wishing they had spent more time here!), we have to set priorities and limit ourselves to one or two activities, whether shopping, lighthouses, beaches, hiking, or whatever. Our “Only One Day for Freeport” article explores those possibilities.

If you have more than a day, we have suggested itineraries for you, with ideas for up to four days of activities based in Freeport. Nevertheless, we have had several groups stay as many as eight days, then leave saying there was so much to do here, that they would just have to return to do the things they missed.

Portland Head lighthouse, MaineTaking a hypothetical one week getaway, as you can see, we could suggest activities around the area that would keep you busy the entire time. However, if you want to see more of Maine, we would suggest spending three or four days in Freeport, and then another three or four days either in the northern parts of Maine (such as the Bar Harbor or Downeast Acadia area) or the western part of the state, where there are lakes and mountains (and a good chance of seeing moose in the wild). To see what the other areas in Maine have to offer, you may want to visit the State of Maine’s website, or read through our series on the different regions of Maine.

In either case, while in the Freeport area, we suggest visits to several of the area lighthouses – Portland Head lighthouse, Pemaquid Point lighthouse, Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse (Two Lights), Goat Island lighthouse at Cape Porpoise, Cape Neddick Lighthouse (the Nubble), Owls Head lighthouse and Marshall Point lighthouse are all easy to visit and provide beautiful views. Reid State Park and Popham Beach State Park each have lovely beaches and natural beauty. Wolf Neck State Park and Bradbury Mountain State Park offer hiking trails and wonderful vistas. Lest we forget, there are many art galleries and museums, antique shops, lobster shacks and wonderful villages, all worth spending a few hours exploring.

Now is the time to firm up those summer holiday and vacation plans! The traditionally busy weekends are either full or filling fast, but many (Independence Day holidays – July 2-5, and Labor Day Weekend – September 3-6, for instance) still have rooms available. Book online or contact us by email or phone.

No doilies or wallpaper, and only en suite bathrooms, here!

April 27, 2010 by Scott Gile

Brewster House Bed & Breakfast dining roomWhat is that title about? At Brewster House Bed & Breakfast in Freeport, Maine, we’re advocating truth in advertising!

A week or two ago the California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns (CABBI) released the results of a study, asking travelers their perception of staying at bed and breakfast inns. The results revealed some interesting myths about staying in B&Bs. This link is an article listing the findings, and the myth-busting replies.

The list includes decor, shared bathrooms, breakfast seating arrangements, curfews, and whether or not children or pets are allowed. But are these really problems? We know some guests who prefer separate tables for each group of guests, and others who love the interaction of a single dining table. Some like a more modern style of decor, while others revel in the historic accuracy of period decor.

Stepping back a bit from the results, it really looks like the concern isn’t so much what the travelers say about the B&Bs, but what they don’t say. That is, they seem to be concerned that they just don’t know what they are going to get when they choose a bed and breakfast.

In truth, our experience indicates that bed and breakfast inns are as varied as their locations and the personalities of their owners. Some are themed around the surrounding area or its history, like one we know in an old bordello, or railroad cars, and others are very formal, in keeping with the mansions in which they are located. Some are quite casual, reflecting the attitude of the innkeepers, and some are less so.

Brewster House Bed & Breakfast, Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Room FourIn these days when the internet provides the opportunity for inns of all kinds to put their best foot forward, showing accurately what the guest can expect when they stay at that property. In fact, there really is no excuse for not showing the prospective guests exactly what they can expect, whether it is wallpaper or paint, doilies or not, separate dining or family style, etc.

With all that in mind, we want to make it clear what you will find when you come visit Brewster House. We invite you to look through our web site, explore the photos of the rooms, look at the virtual tours, and really see what we have to offer. Here’s what you’ll find:

  • No doilies or wallpaper, and no patchwork quilts. Our rooms are painted (we have no wallpaper) with soothing colors – some relatively bold, some softer, with coordinating paint in the baths. Most of the beds have rich, designer, comforters, though a few have designer quilts. We do have antiques in the house, mixed with more modern furnishings, as well.
  • We have no shared bathrooms. All our rooms have baths in the rooms (that is, the bathroom is entered from inside your guest room, and not shared with other guests). In our two bedroom suites the bath is a pass-through between the two bedrooms, so it is shared by members of your own party, not with other guests.
  • You do not have to sit with strangers at breakfast, and dietary restrictions can be accommodated. We think our dining room has the best of both worlds. It has individual tables (most are for two, one is for four), so you sit with your own party, but the other guests are not far away, in case you would like to have a friendly conversation with them. We serve a set breakfast each morning, usually alternating between a sweet dish one day and a savory dish the next. We routinely ask about dietary restrictions, and can nearly always select something from our repertoire of breakfast dishes that will meet your needs.
  • We have no curfews. Each guest is given a room key which opens their guest room, but also opens the guest entrance to the house. Thus, while our check-in time is from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (and we can make arrangements for late arrivals, if needed), guests who have checked-in have no curfew and can come and go at any time using their room key for access to the house.
  • Not only for couples. It is true that most (by a good measure) of our guests are couples. However, with our two bedroom suites, we also often have either a group of four traveling together or a family, staying with us. Maine does not allow lodging properties to refuse accommodation on the basis that the guest is accompanied by children. In compliance with this requirement, we welcome well-behaved guests of any age. We do ask that guests with children be considerate of other guests, and supervise their children at all times, being aware that most of our guests are here to enjoy a quiet, romantic, getaway, often as a time away from their own children.

Each bed and breakfast makes its own decision whether or not to allow pets. At Brewster House we have a number of guests who are allergic to animal fur and are very sensitive to the presence of animals. Consequently we do not allow pets. However, there are excellent boarding facilities nearby, as well as other properties who do allow pets.

Whether you are traveling to Freeport, Maine, or anywhere else, you can almost certainly find a bed and breakfast where you will be welcomed like an old friend, with comfortable surroundings, a wonderful breakfast, appropriate levels of privacy and all the help you need for recommendations of restaurants, activities and directions. Look for a B&B for your next getaway!

On the Road Again

March 10, 2010 by Scott Gile

Texas highwayAs many of our guests and readers know, we’ve been making a number of changes at Brewster House, including redecorating Room Five, painting the hallways and stairways, new carpet on the third floor (the second floor got new carpet last winter), repainting Room Six, and a few other details. We still have some more nice changes in the works, for April/May, but it was also time for a break.

This month (March), we are attending the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) conference in Austin, Texas. This annual conference for innkeepers includes keynote speakers on marketing, food presentation and preparation, technology issues, and more, as well as a trade show where we can meet the vendors we work with, meet new vendors, establish (or rekindle) friendships with innkeepers throughout the country (or the world), etc. Scott is also presenting sessions on choosing reservation software and on reputation management.

We drove to Austin, stopping for a few days in Virginia to visit some dear friends, and are currently enjoying the Innkeeping conference. From Austin we drive to Tucson, Arizona, then to the Grand Canyon, and on to San Jose, California, where we’ll visit friends and family. The next stops will be Salem, Oregon, Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington, for more family visits. We’ll be turning for home after that, with stops at Mount Rushmore, in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Jackson, Michigan to visit still more family, and finally a return near the end of March.

Once we’re back in Freeport, we’ll be preparing for the Flavors of Freeport festival which takes place April 9-11. If you haven’t booked your rooms for Flavors of Freeport, we still have rooms available (and we do have our reservation book with us!).

Visit Maine Like A Mainer! Plan Your Trip – Optional Additions

September 8, 2009 by Scott Gile

As we conclude the “Plan Your Trip” mini-series, within the Visit Maine Like A Mainer! series, we have some side trips to suggest, if they tickle your fancy.

Kennebunk and Kennebunkport

Starting near the southern part of the state, one of the popular side trips (or a destination, in itself, of course) is the Kennebunks. Aside from being beautiful old New England towns, filled with lovely older homes, they are charming and quaint, with a wonderful drive along Route 35 connecting the two towns. There is also Walker Point, the home of former President George H.W. Bush, and Cape Porpoise, home of both a nice lighthouse and a good lobster shack. There are also a good collection of antique shops along the outlying roads.

Babbs Bridge

If you enjoy the old covered bridges, Babbs Bridge is one with an interesting history. Built in 1864, it was burned by vandals in 1973 and rebuilt, then reopened in 1976. It is one of the nine remaining covered bridges in Maine.

Boothbay Harbor

Just north of Wiscasset on US-1 is a turn marked “Boothbay Region”, where Route 27 heads out toward Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor. In Boothbay you’ll find the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden, with its dramatic ocean views and lovely gardens, and in Boothbay Harbor there are interesting local shops, ice cream parlors, restaurants, lobster places, and boat tours of the area.

Penobscot Narrows Bridge, and environs

Near Bucksport is the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, which opened in 2007, replacing the much older bridge nearby. The new bridge has an elevator taking you 420 feet in the air, then two more flights of stairs to the observatory, providing a 360 degree view, with identification panels showing how to locate nearby mountains, lakes and towns.

Nearby is Fort Knox, a defensive fortress defending the area from water attack.

Not much farther north on US-1 is Searsport, home to many antique stores – so much so that it could take days to explore them all.

The Northern Coast

There are a number of quaint and beautiful locations along the northern coast of Maine to stop and explore. One which we like is West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, the easternmost point in the US. The small towns and villages along the coast are sparsely populated and picturesque.

Wherever you travel in Maine, we hope you fall in love with it, as we have! Let us know your favorite places in the comments!

Visit Maine Like A Mainer! Plan Your Trip (Part 2)!

September 1, 2009 by Scott Gile

Portland Head LighthouseWe’re wrapping up our Visit Maine Like A Mainer! series with suggested itineraries, to help plan your trip to Maine.

Last time we proposed a wilderness itinerary, heading up through the wooded mountains and lakes of Maine. This time we’ll proceed north along the coastal route, and our final installment will give several optional side trips and extensions to find even more of the areas that make this state a true “Vacationland” (as it says on our car license plates).

Days 1 and 2: The Maine Beaches

Crossing the Piscataqua River from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Kittery on US-1 (we’re not going to be on the Interstates, except when necessary), you may catch sight of Whaleback Ledge lighthouse, in the mouth of the river, between the two states. Coming north (after the Kittery outlet shopping) you’ll reach Cape Neddick, home of Nubble Lighthouse, on an island known as “the Nubble”, just offshore. Spend the night in Kennebunkport, and enjoy the fine dining, Cape Porpoise (and Goat Island Lighthouse and Nunan’s Lobster Hut), the beach, Walker Point, and all the beautiful old homes along Route 35 between Kennebunk and Kennebunkport.

Days 3, 4 and 5: Freeport, Portland, and surrounding area

We’ll stay in Freeport for our next stop (OK, so we’re a bit prejudiced…). Not only are there nearly 200 shops, outlets and restaurants in Freeport, but it is also the home of L.L. Bean, and its several stores. Plan either a day, or parts of multiple days, for shopping. For one day, we’ll go to Portland, visiting Portland Head Lighthouse (commissioned by George Washington) and Cape Elizabeth (Two Lights) Lighthouse, and catching sight of Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse, Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse, and Portland Breakwater Lighthouse. Walk along Commercial Street in the Old Port, enjoying the eclectic shops, restaurants, and art galleries. The Longfellow House and Museum are also very interesting, as is the Portland Museum of Art.

Spend a couple of hours on one of Portland Schooner Co.’s antique schooners, touring Casco Bay, and possibly viewing some of the lighthouses from the water.

Another day will give time for a drive out Orrs Island and Bailey Island, north of Freeport, where you can drive to Land’s End over the world’s only cribstone bridge. Farther north on US-1 is Bath, whose Maritime Museum gives the rich heritage of shipbuilding in the region. Out the peninsula south of the Kennebec River (from Bath) is Popham Beach State Park and Civil War Fort Popham. On the other side of the river, driving out Georgetown Island, is Reid State Park, its rocks and beaches, and Five Islands, with its wonderful views and lobster shack.

Farther north on US-1 is Wiscassett, home of Red’s Eats, another famous lobster shack, and also home of numerous antique shops. A bit farther on is Boothbay Harbor, a wonderful working Maine harbor.

Pemaquid Point LighthouseReturning to US-1 and going north, exit at Damariscotta, noting the picture postcard view as you exit US-1, then pass through town, out the Pemaquid Peninsula, to visit Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, commissioned by John Adams. Returning, take Route 32 through New Harbor to Waldoboro, stopping for blueberry pie at Moody’s Diner. In Thomaston, don’t miss the Maine State Prison Store, where there are great buys on goods made by the prisoners. Turning off US-1 you can find your way to Port Clyde, and Marshall Point Lighthouse.

On the way back toward US-1, head for Owl’s Head, where you can visit the Owl’s Head Transportation Museum, and Owl’s Head Lighthouse, with its commanding views of Penobscot Bay. In nearby Rockland, visit the Farnsworth Art Museum, home to many Wyeth works.

Days 6, 7, 8: Camden, Mount Desert Island

After spending the evening in Camden (eat in one of the many fine restaurants there) with its shops, enjoy the views from the town park overlooking Camden harbor, or on the way out of town, visit Camden Hills State Park, where you climb up above the town for an even more impressive view. Later stop in Belfast for a quaint town with a beautiful harbor. Travel on the Mount Desert Island, staying in nearly any of the towns or villages there, including Bar Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Southwest Harbor, Somesville, or Bass Harbor. Enjoy the magnificent views all around the island, but don’t miss a sunrise (or sunset for those who are not morning people) at the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. Enjoy tea and popovers at Jordan Pond.

Be sure to visit the Schoodic Peninsula, just north of Mount Desert Island (for that matter, also the Blue Hill Peninsula, just south of Mount Desert Island, as well). Its isolated beauty harkens back to a Maine of days gone by.

We’ll add a few extensions and side trips in our next (and final) post in this series. Get ready to make your plans to visit Maine!

Visit Maine Like A Mainer! Plan Your Trip!

August 25, 2009 by Scott Gile

Stream, Rangeley, MaineOur Visit Maine Like A Mainer! series will conclude with a series of posts containing suggestions to help you plan your trip to Maine.

In each of the preceding posts in this series, we have provided links to the State of Maine tourism site, as well as the Maine Tourism site, and the regional sites for the region discussed in the post. We have also provided selected links to some of the attractions in the regions. These all provide a good starting point for gathering information. Now let’s put it together in a trip.

Of course, your own interests will dictate whether you try to see a bit of each region of Maine, or whether you focus on particular areas, or just one area. In addition, the time you can allocate will also determine how much you can see. We’ll provide two sample itineraries by type of region, as well as samples of differing duration. You should be able to mix-‘n-match the parts you like and the time you have available. Since the largest number of our visitors come from the south, we’ll begin there. Of course, if you’re coming from the north or west, you can change the starting point and carry on from there.

We’ll begin this series-within-a-series with a wilderness trip plan.

Days 1 and 2: Rangeley, Maine

Moose, Rangeley, MaineArrive by road, either from Boston (about 5 hours), Manchester, NH (4.5 hours), Portland, Maine (3 hours). Canoe or kayak on Rangeley Lake, or any of the rivers and streams nearby. Drive out State Route 16 at dawn or dusk to see moose grazing along the road. Hike at Rangeley Lake State Park.

Days 3 and 4: Moosehead Lake, Maine

Drive to Moosehead Lake (about 5 or 5.5 hours). Enjoy the magnificent scenery, along the way. If you start by dawn, you may even see more moose.

Canoe or kayak on Moosehead Lake. Try fly fishing for trout. Hike, camp, canoe, and generally relax!

Days 5 and 6: Baxter State Park, Maine

Enjoy the drive (about 3-4 hours) and the views! If you’re up to it, climb Mount Katahdin, at almost a mile above sea level, Maine’s highest peak.

Days 7 and 8: Aroostook County, Maine

Drive south to Millinocket, then work your way to the tip of Maine, Aroostook County. Visit Caribou, Fort Kent, Presque Isle, and other small towns along the Canadian border.

Enjoy the trip! We’ll have another itinerary in our post next week.

Visit Maine Like A Mainer! Aroostook County

August 4, 2009 by Scott Gile


Maine’s largest and most northern county, Aroostook, is the topic of this week’s installment in the Visit Maine Like A Mainer! series. A listing of all the regions and sub-regions covered is at the end of the first post.

There are not a large number of people in Aroostook County, despite it’s making up more than 20% of the state of Maine. In fact, there are only about 11 people per square mile. Contrast that with Maine’s average density of about 41 people per square mile, and Massachusetts’ 809 people per square mile or New Hampshire’s 137. In addition to those few people, “The County” (as the rest of Maine refers to it) is blessed with a sizable proportion of Maine’s 35,000 moose population, as well as deer and bear. It is truly an outdoor paradise.

From bicycling to 4-wheeling, from hunting, fishing, or golf, to hiking, camping, bird watching, and other outdoor activities, there is much to do or see, though it isn’t always appreciated by those who have never been to The County. For a great tale of a visit, and the bemused reaction of others in Southern Maine to the plans to visit Aroostook, take a look at the Visit Aroostook site.

Being such a large county, Aroostook can be divided into smaller regions, each with its own temptations and attractions. Ranging from towns like Fort Kent and Madawaska, along the Canadian border, to the North Maine Woods, to Southern Aroostook, there are scenic drives, and unfathomable beauty at every turn.

The region has many hunting camps, and guide services, as well as B&Bs, hotels, housekeeping cottages and other forms of accommodations. Loads of information for planning your trip to the County is available on the Visit Aroostook site.

Visit Maine Like A Mainer! Greater Portland and Casco Bay (Part 1)

June 16, 2009 by Scott Gile

Babb's Bridge, South Windham, Maine
The region known as Greater Portland and Casco Bay includes not only Portland and its neighboring communities, but also several surrounding areas that are popular with visitors, and stretches north on US-1 as far as Freeport, which deserves a separate description of its own. Because there is so much that is fun to do in this region, we’ll discuss Portland and its immediate neighbors in this post, and the next post in this series will look at Freeport and some of the other neighboring areas.

A metro area population of 230,000 and a Portland city population of 64,000, make Portland and its metro area Maine’s most populous. For the visitor from larger cities, such as Boston, New York, London, Paris, Chicago, Tokyo, etc., Portland can be an amazing destination.

Small, compared to these other cities, it is easy to find your way around Portland, and it is not far from the busy downtown streets to the bay or to the open countryside. Yet it has the feel of a much larger city, and many of the amenities, as well.

A favorite thing to do in Portland is eat. There are many fine restaurants (often far more than you would expect for a city of this size), with chefs who have departed the hustle and bustle of New York or Boston for the more relaxing atmosphere of Maine’s famous port city. Many can be found (with reviews) on the Food in Portland website.

A stroll along the Old Port district takes you to shops, art galleries, museums, restaurants and historical landmarks – even a section of the Berlin Wall on display. You can take a sail on an antique schooner, a sightseeing tour of Casco Bay and Portland, walking tours, or even a tour on a lobster boat – pulling your own lobster traps!

Portland Head Lighthouse, Cape Elizabeth, MaineVisit the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow house and museum, or see a bit of Victorian America at the Victoria Mansion.

If you are looking for something a bit more rural and unusual, a 30 minute drive west and north will bring you to South Windham, where, on Covered Bridge Road, you can see one of Maine’s historic covered bridges, the Babb’s Bridge, built in 1864 (and rebuilt in 1976 after vandals destroyed it in a 1973 fire).

Of course, no visit to Portland is complete without a visit to Cape Elizabeth’s Fort Williams Park, and Portland Head Lighthouse. The park is maintained free of any entrance fee by the citizens of Cape Elizabeth as a gift to visitors to the area. There is a small fee to enter the museum at the lighthouse. The park also includes remnants of military forts, an old mansion, a playground and a small beach. It is a great location to spend most of a day.

Of course, in a short article like this, it is impossible to discuss every activity in an area, and there are many, many, more adventures to be had in and around Portland.

There’s more to Maine!

BBC Spot on Tourism in Maine – Brewster House Mentioned

June 11, 2009 by Scott Gile

BBC News video of Maine Tourism and Brewster House B&B
We posted this on our Facebook page and on Twitter when we learned about it, so apologies to our friends there who have already seen it. However, we didn’t want to omit our friends on the blog, so we’re providing the information (and a bit more detail) here, as well.

The short version of the stoy is that BBC News did a short spot on tourism in Maine. Much of it was filmed at Brewster House, and Scott appears, talking about the coming season. The video can be seen on the BBC web site.

There is, of course, a bit more background.

We were contacted by Greg Dugal of Maine Innkeepers Association, who is interviewed on the segment, asking if we would like to talk with BBC News about such a story. Of course we were interested, and spoke with the producer by phone. They also asked how we were attempting to increase interest and attract guests, and we told them about our packages with Portland Schooner Co. They loved that idea, so they also contacted them about the video.

A few days later the BBC News crew arrived, cameraman, producer and on-air personality Philippa Thomas (we’re not related, as far as we know). They were all delightful and professional.

First they filmed an interview on our guest porch with Greg Dugal, who gave them quite a lot of information on Maine and the outlook for tourism. Unfortunately, they only used a small portion of that interview. Then they came inside, and filmed Scott with Philippa Thomas walking through the ground floor rooms and discussing the house, the business climate, etc. Again, only a small amount was used in the clip. Next they were off to Camden to film the harbor (seen in the opening shots), and the next day to film at Portland Schooner.

Part of the BBC News objective was to report on the outlook for tourism in the face of a weak economy, so much of the clip sounds discouraging. However, all three of us (Greg Dugal, Scott, and Scott Reischman of Portland Schooner) feel that things are better than portrayed and attempted to say so. Unfortunately not many of those comments made it on the air.

The clip aired on Monday evening, June 8, 2009, but unfortunately they forgot to notify us (as they had planned to do), so we didn’t see the clip until the next day when they informed us of the location on the BBC web site.

We hope to obtain a DVD of the full interviews, so we can see how the entire thing came out.

Visit Maine Like a Mainer! The Maine Beaches

June 9, 2009 by Scott Gile

For many in the eastern United States the area of Maine that is most familar is the southern Maine region known as the Maine Beaches.

Nubble Lighthouse, Cape Neddick, MaineThe sandy beaches stretching across 30 miles of coastline have made this jewel of Maine a favorite of vacation visitors for many decades. Beginning only little more than an hour’s drive north from Boston, or an hour east of Manchester, New Hampshire, the region encompasses the outlet malls of Kittery, the beaches and coves of York and York Beach, Wells, Kennebunk and Kennebunkport, Ogunquit and Old Orchard Beach.

Detailed information on lodging, restaurants and activities can be found at the Maine Beaches Association website, the Maine Tourism website, or the State of Maine’s tourism website.

Among the well-known attractions are the Ogunquit Playhouse, celebrating 75 years of Broadway at the beach, and the Seashore Trolley Museum.

The Yorks are home to Cape Neddick Lighthouse (the Nubble) and When Pigs Fly, bakers of exquisite breads.

US-1 is a two-lane highway that runs from the Southern border of Maine, directly up through the towns of the Maine Beaches region. All along it you’ll find antique shops, outlet centers and one-of-a-kind shops, as well as restaurants, including the historic Maine Diner, Bed & Breakfasts, hotels and motels, and many other things.

Lodging recommendations can be found at the Maine Innkeepers website, the Maine tourism sites mentioned above, or the Chamber of Commerce sites of any of the towns mentioned – all linked in the regional site.

Even for the experienced visitor, there’s more to Maine!

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