Romance, Holiday Magic and Comfort
By Elizabeth Margolis-Pineo © Maine Sunday Telegram / Portland Press Herald 2009
I imagined a romantic getaway … lightly falling snow, twinkling lights, pine boughs, and the warm glow of a cozy fire. A friend suggested the award-winning Captain Lord Mansion in Kennebunkport, overlooking the Kennebunk River across a sloping village green.
We found the inn decorated inside and out for Christmas Prelude, with sophisticated touches reminiscent of a European country home. The décor is anything but stuffy, with smiling antique Santas, a sparkling lighted spruce, and a Christmas garland of feathers — yes, feathers—draping an archway.
The magic starts with innkeepers Bev Davis and Rick Litchfield. “When you travel, you want a find to find a place that restores you,” they said. “We hope that’s what we have created, that place of peace and tranquility.” At Captain Lord, serenity rules, and winter is called “serenity season.”
Kennebunkport’s 10-day holiday celebration features unique events including a lobster-trap tree lighting, candlelight caroling in the Franciscan Monastery, and the arrival of Santa by lobster boat with “lobster” elves. There are trolley rides, art exhibits, craft shows, musical performances, holiday meals and tastings. A Historic Inn-to-Inn Tour raises money for the local food pantry—this is Maine hospitality with a heart.
Dock Square offers festive holiday shopping during Prelude. Homemade cookies are served and shops are decked out for the season. Horse-drawn sleighs carry revelers around town. While I browsed my favorite shop, The Daytrip Society, my husband enjoyed a beer at Federal Jack’s—he says a brewery tour is also a fine way to spend a winter afternoon.
Serene season in Kennebunkport also offers romantic walks on deserted Kennebunk and Goose Rocks beaches, plus sledding, skiing and snowshoeing through beautiful fields and woods. And there is always hot cocoa and a book by a cozy fire, more my style.
We enjoyed Old Vines winebar with its extensive selection of wines and tasty small plates. We wondered why everyone had the herbed olives until we tasted them—all spice and citrus—perfect with a robust wine. We spent the evening on Cape Porpoise’s working waterfront savoring steamed clams and crab cakes at The Ramp. We were surprised to run into an old friend, but hey, this little fishing village is a friendly place. I should know, it’s where my grandmother was born and raised.
History and Elegance
All 16 rooms at Captain Lord have soft linens and down comforters. We loved the “Lincoln Room” with antique wooden ship in a glass case, overstuffed chairs, and dangerously high four-poster bed. Unless you’re in the mood for a running jump, better use the bedside steps. The 21st century marble bathroom had heated floors and glass shower, but an antique oval window reflected the inn’s elegant past.
We enjoyed lively conversation over breakfast of savory sausage soufflés, muffins, sticky buns, and yogurt with juicy fresh berries, all served family-style in the combination hi-tech / old-fashioned kitchen. One of the guests turned out to be a Red Sox medic, much to my husband’s delight—his enormous team ring was a dead giveaway.
The historic Captain Lord inn offers the weary holiday traveler, reveler or shopper a much-needed recharge during a hectic season. We left rested, restored and full of the holiday spirit. •
The Mansion is offers a number of special packages for the holidays. (www.captainlordmansion.com). Captain Lord Mansion was recently included in Condé Nast Traveler’s list of the top 30 small hotels in North America.