Lodging in Maine: 12 Places to Stay
By Wayne Curtis and Christina Tree
The Tidewater Motel, Vinalhaven
Finding a motel on an island an hour’s ferry ride offshore is an odd thing. Weren’t motels designed for cars, and islands for boats? Anyway, there it is, and what makes it even more appealing, and unusual, is that the name “Tidewater” is no flight of fancy. In fact, it’s pretty literal: The Tidewater is built on the pilings of an old bridge that once crossed an inlet to the harbor. The tides come and go, twice a day. So you’re not imagining the harbor’s dark waters swirling and eddying beneath your balcony — they are.
The rooms are basic; they won’t be appearing anytime soon in your favorite home decor magazine. But in the still of the night you can hear the restless tides slurping and sloshing as they build to a strong flow, then back around and set off in the other direction. And then there are the other harbor sounds come morning: gulls and lobster boats and lobstermen shouting ribaldries at one another in the dawn light.
The Maine Windjammer Fleet, Rockland and Camden
Aboard one of these schooners based in Maine — and Penobscot Bay is the Grand Central Terminal of the fleet — you hear this: the creaking of the hull, the whistling of the wind in the rigging, the clang of the pots and pans as the day begins. It’s a centuries-old symphony of the sea, and it’s a small marvel that you can still find it alive and well and performed every summer day.
The Maine Windjammer Fleet consists of 12 ships, and while all are different, they all follow the same schedule, one dictated by the tides and the breezes. Once you pull away from the dock, it’s up to the captain, the wind, and the weather to set your destination.
Accommodations vary from ship to ship — from nearly luxurious and private to a youth-hostel-like spareness. But the operative word among all is “cozy”; you awaken as if in a cocoon, rocked by the sea. And it doesn’t take long before you’re unmoored from everyday time and place.