You’d expect Rockland, Maine to be all about graceful schooners like the stately Jenny Norman sailing the craggy coast and blunt-talking lobstermen like Captain Jack, full of sea faring tales and lobster traps
But the big surprise in this new England town are its elegant historic inns and their charismatic inn keepers like Cheryl Michaelsen, the vivacious owner of the stately Victorian gem, the Berry Manor. Its rich colors, period pieces and carefully designed twelve guest rooms reflect the warmth and generosity of the host and her husband, Mike.
A few blocks away, down streets flush with quality shops and an abundance of genuine creativity, the whimsical LimeRock is a turreted Victorian Mansion with a sweeping porch, sun soaked backyard and gracious parlors. Owners and innkeepers, Frank and PJ are justly proud of their gourmet breakfasts and the touches they bring to their eight guestrooms, like Egyptian cotton linens and towels. Look for their new guest, a slight, very pretty pigeon, Mrs. Littlefield, who hovers about the inn and sidles fearlessly up to guests.
The nearby Captain Lindsey House is a real sea captains home turned boutique inn. Run by Captains Ken and Ellen Barnes, real sea captains of the windjammer, Stephen Taber, they have woven tales of the sea into their nine classy rooms with colorful breakfasts and a charming garden, combining antiques and Persian rugs with modern amenities
The cuisine of Rockland is beyond clam chowder and lobster though they do that well too.
Restaurants like In Good Company, Primo and Café Miranda serve signature dishes and world-class cuisine in beautifully crafted dining rooms in Victorian homes or store front, chic former bank spaces.
Deserts like Vanilla bean Crème Brulee scented with Lemon Verbena Limoncello over Semolina baby cake and fresh strawberries are typical of Primo and the dizzing, 80 item menu at local hangout Café Miranda includes surprises like Sauteed Chicken, Chevre, Sour cream and Demi Sauce with Tarragon.
The classy, understated In Good Company has a terrific Blue Cheese and Walnut Butter-topped Beef Tenderloin and unique nibbles.
Rockland is authentic Maine with majestic coasts and New England scenery.
The town, restaurants and historic inns may be Down East real, but with an impressive touch of sophistication.