Sometimes you need an escape from the mundane — and sometimes that escape can bring you back to another decade. The Black Point Inn is the perfect New England getaway when you're feeling nostalgic for the 1930s. Fathom contributing editor Christina Ohly shows us why this little-known Maine town is the perfect chill spot for any age.
PROUT'S NECK, Maine – I was in Prout's Neck, a scenic part of coastal Maine, for a brief summer getaway from NYC, and it might just be my new New England favorite spot. First and foremost is ease of use: Prout's Neck is exactly eleven miles — a twenty-minute drive — from the manageable Portland JetPort (PWM) which is served by Delta and JetBlue, among other airlines. While Maine is, by definition, "wicked far" from virtually anywhere, this bucolic area is easily accessible and feels an entire, old-school world away.
Black Point Inn is a throwback to another era — one when dark and stormy cocktails were savored on sweeping porches overlooking a rugged Atlantic coastline. Time has stopped here — in the best possible way — and the historical 25-room inn still feels like someone's grand guesthouse — albeit one straight of out an Edith Wharton or Henry James novel.
The shingled beachside escape was built in the 1870s and continues to be a central meeting point for locals and visitors alike. It is now owned by a consortium of the town's residents and is overseen by the Migis Hotel Group, a local Maine management company, and balances a classic, intimate atmosphere with a few state-of-the-art updates (WiFi, flat-screen TVs, and an unexpectedly well-equipped gym). The rooms and suites are spacious, and many have breathtaking views of the beaches on three sides of the property, as well as the lushly landscaped gardens. The shingle-style hotel has been lovingly restored, right down to the sun porch, where guests gather for afternoon tea (with freshly baked cookies), traditional board games, and The New York Times. This is the quintessential Down East inn, and one where kind and attentive service make for a truly delightful stay.
Claim to Fame
The Inn has several claims to fame, but chief among them are the spectacular sunsets overlooking Sand Dollar Beach. From a perch at one of the outside tables at the Chart Room, you can sip local Shipyard Summer Ale or a glass of rosè and feast on twin lobsters and plates of Damiriscotta oysters and watch the brilliant orange and red hues yield to a starry night sky.
Another special touch that Black Point Inn affords is access — to everything. Kind concierges will arrange a round of golf at the nearby Prout's Neck Country Club or a morning of tennis — on clay, natch. Guests at the Inn have unique access to Winslow Homer's studio just up the road. A stay here makes one feel like a well-connected insider.
Breakfast on the porch overlooking the sea is a total highlight, and the helpful servers are happy to provide everything: real oatmeal with brown sugar, blueberry pancakes, healthy egg white omelets. Delicious, red bliss potato hash browns and thick-cut bacon make this feel like a total holiday. The warm sun at your back only adds to the overall idyllic effect.
Dinner in The Chart Room is casual, with offerings like wedge salads, shrimp cocktail, and perfect burgers, or slightly more formal in The Point Restaurant. I love a restaurant with traditional white tablecloths, fresh seafood chowder, and just-picked corn and tomatoes that serves supper between six and eight p.m. nightly. You're so relaxed, that's bedtime anyway.
Room with a View
There are 25 rooms in various categories located in the historic shingle-style building, many with ocean or bay views, terraces, and sweet wicker furniture. Inter-connecting rooms work well for families, while Spinnaker Suites and Commodore's Chambers offer enormous, well-appointed bathrooms and separate sitting areas. The furnishing are Ye Olde New England — a mix of antiques and replicas — that are comfortable and in keeping with the overall aesthetic. This is not a minimalist's dream scenario, but it makes for a cosseting stay. Room 215 was particularly lovely and featured an enormous living room, a bedroom with two queen beds, and unparalleled views of July 4th fireworks in the distance.
This Place Is Perfect For
A huge dose of New England charm. It's also perfect for anyone who can't tolerate long car rides, but wants to feel transported to another, more quaint place and time. For anyone who likes to play Scrabble, read by a roaring fire, and eat oyster crackers, the Black Point Inn is pretty much your Nirvana.
But Not So Perfect For
Modernists, minimalists, or anyone that doesn't appreciate a bit of old-school, chintzy cool. Black Point Inn could be construed as fusty, but I prefer to think of it as old-world glamorous.
Prout's Neck is comprised primarily of the beautiful weekend homes of Boston, Philadelphia, and New York contingents, so it feels quiet and insular, but in a good way. Children ride their bikes to the Yacht Club for Opti sailing lessons, and everyone knows each other at the sweet post office and the general store. Be sure to take one of the Inn's complimentary bikes for a cruise around the larger area of Scarborough and the lilac- and hydrangea-lined lanes.
What to Do Nearby
Don't miss the one-and-a-half-mile Cliff Walk that starts just steps away from the inn and takes you along the dramatic, craggy rocks that were painted by area resident, Winslow Homer. The walk culminates at the simple studio where he lived and painted most of his life and from which you can see the changing colors of the blue-green sea.
Nearby Portland is a happening town, and the Old Port District is worth a detour for the cute shops and galleries that line the cobblestone streets. The world-class Portland Museum of Art houses many of Homer's great works, and the historic Wadsworth-Longfellow House makes for a great afternoon as well.
Foodies will be in heaven at the Eventide Oyster Co., where exquisite lobster rolls with brown butter vinaigrette and a clam bake-for-one (steamers, mussels, lobster tail, salt pork, and hard-boiled egg served within seaweed) are pure bliss.
Good to Know
Make time for both the saltwater pool (restorative) and sea kayaking. In-room massages are another plus. The upscale sandwiches at the General Store just down Black Point Road make for a refined picnic.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
How to Get Here
Fly: Prout's Neck is a twenty-minute drive from the Portland International JetPort (PWM), which is served by Delta and JetBlue, among others.