Best 18th-Century Inns: 7 Runners-Up
When you travel many hundreds of miles in search of the best old inns in New England, it’s hard to narrow the list down to only ten. Here’s our list of the seven runners-up.
Blue Skye Farm
In this gem of a house, the two-story central stairwell is patterned in a green-and-red pineapple design, said to be stenciled in the early 1800s by Moses Eaton. The entire remaining interior is painted white, unexpectedly highlighting the 18th-century paneling.
“We had the luxury of living in empty rooms for four months, waiting for our furniture to come from England,” Jan Davidson explains. “I loved the glow of the light on walls and realized that I didn’t want these rooms to be busy. I wanted to create a restful, peaceful place in which people would look out the window and see the marsh.” Small-paned windows are thinly veiled in European-style lace café curtains.
Peter and Jan Davidson spent a year restoring the house, which dates from 1775 and is set in 100 acres of marshland, meadows, and woods. Original detailing includes Indian shutters and a scalloped cupboard as well as paneling and mantels. Rooms (including five guestrooms) are tastefully, comfortably furnished in antiques, and tempting, well-thumbed books line the walls in between.
On an unseasonably cold September night, my room quickly warmed when I raised the thermostat; there was no need to light the hearth, one of the house’s four working fireplaces. It was one of the inn’s three large, square guestrooms; a smaller downstairs guestroom overlooks the marsh, and a room tucked under the eaves includes a child’s sleeping loft as well as two double beds.
Guests have access to the inn’s kitchen, except in the morning, when Jan arrives early to create a full breakfast. She can also prepare a candlelight lobster dinner, especially popular when the house is reserved by a group of friends — a frequent occurrence in winter, when guests tend to come from nearby Portland or Boston for a weekend of hiking or cross-country skiing. “This house hums in winter, when all the fireplaces are lit,” Jan notes.
1708 Friendship Road, Waldoboro, ME; 207-832-0300; blueskyefarm.com
$95-$165, including full breakfast
Deer Isle, Maine
Maine’s only full-service inn to retain its 18th-century detailing and character also happens to be one of the state’s most pleasant three-season places to stay and to dine (closed November through April). Four floors high, hip-roofed and painted oxblood red, Pilgrim’s Inn is on the water, both front and back.
No longer technically an island, Deer Isle is linked to the Blue Hill peninsula by a half-mile-long vintage suspension bridge and to Little Deer Isle by a winding causeway. Deer Isle Village is a 40-minute ride south of Route 1. The local landscape features an intermingling of land and water that is heart-stoppingly beautiful in spring, summer, and fall.