I was going to start this post by apologizing for the delay since my last post, but I’m sure no one has even noticed. It’s not like I left you at a cliffhanger… Will the Maid make it to Bar Harbor? Will Mr. Maid singlehandedly deplete Maine’s lobster and IPA resources? If you have noticed the delay, I’m humbled… but honestly, you need to find a hobby.
Anyway, my saga left off just as we finished our trek up the coast of Maine and arrived in Bar Harbor. As I explained in Part 4, our trip occurred during the off-season, so there were some good prices on lodging. We ended up booking a suite at The Manor House Inn. The house was built in 1887 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. I couldn’t believe that we could stay there for less than what some of the hotels would have cost us. It also offers off street parking and is just a short walk from Bar Harbor’s main drag for shopping and dining. I hadn’t planned to spend an entire post talking about The Manor House Inn, but it is such a lovely place, I’d like to tell you about our experience there. (No, they are not paying me for this endorsement!)
This prospect of staying at a Bed & Breakfast was exciting for me, as we had never stayed in one. Being fans of vrbo.com, we’ve stayed in plenty of cabins, condos, and other rental properties over the years. We prefer these privately owned options to hotels. They generally offer much more space and comfort than hotel rooms, often for a better price. It was also more convenient when we travelled with our dearly departed dog, Daisy. Elsewhere on our travels, if we were just staying for a night or two, we’d usually just book a conveniently located hotel like we did in Portland.
I always thought it would be neat to spend time in an old, stately home, surrounded by antiques and Victorian style décor. Mr. Maid – not so much. I’m not sure what he expected. Did he think he’d be called upon to drink tea out of delicate china cups with his pinky in the air and discuss the effect of the current weather on the hydrangeas? Did he fear being thrust into a sitcom version of a B&B from shows like Newhart, or the episode of the Sopranos when Vito is on the lam in New Hampshire? Whatever the reasons, the world of B&Bs was unexplored territory for us.
Once I convinced him that we wouldn’t be sharing a bathroom with strangers (I’m not sure what old movies he’d been watching), he agreed it looked like the perfect place to stay. I actually shared a bit of his discomfort. We both have a strong sense of privacy and neither of us feels entirely comfortable mingling with complete strangers. We’re not antisocial or socially awkward, but we are both shy and have a hard time making small talk. I have always been in awe of those people who can strike up conversations with anyone and everyone – cracking jokes and telling interesting tales of their adventures. Mr. Maid and I are not those people. But it’s a Bed & Breakfast, not a season of Big Brother – no one is expecting us to become BFFs with our fellow B&Bers.
And so it was that we came to stay in Suite A (dubbed the honeymoon suite – oo-la-la!) at The Manor House Inn. We actually hadn’t planned on anything as grand as the honeymoon suite, but it fit both our needs and budget. It was one of three rooms in the Chauffeur’s Cottage rather than in the main house. This helped allay Mr. Maid’s fear of not having enough privacy. Taking up the entire second floor it was absolutely perfect. It was extremely comfortable and beautifully decorated with antiques. Besides the bedroom and bathroom, it had a separate sitting room with a fireplace, wet bar, and fridge, as well as French doors leading out to our own private deck.
We quickly fell into the B&B routine – breakfast in the main house, followed by sipping our coffee on its expansive porch. If we were back from our days’ adventures between 3:00 and 5:00, we could enjoy tea or lemonade along with some freshly baked cakes, pies, or cookies. In the evening, we could help ourselves to glassware from the cupboard in the butler’s pantry so we could sip our wine and beer in the gazebo or on our deck.
The owners and staff at The Manor House was the perfect blend of helpful accessibility and unobtrusiveness. Everyone was helpful with information, but no one invaded our space.
The woman who cooked breakfast each day is a culinary goddess! It was served buffet style and each day she created an incredible “entrée” – an egg-bake with asparagus and Swiss cheese; French toast with homemade blueberry syrup; a bacon and onion quiche. Every day was more delicious than the last. In addition to these, there was always a bowl of local fruit, cut up to be layered in a parfait with yogurt and granola, oatmeal with a half-dozen condiments to add it, cold cereal, and some type of homemade bread – one day apple, one day banana, one day peach, one day blueberry.
Not only the food at those breakfasts, but the experience of sitting in that beautiful Victorian era dining room while discussing what we were going to do that day, was so much better than an impersonal hotel breakfast or cooking for ourselves in a rental cabin.
In my lifetime, I’ve stayed in tents, motorhomes, mountain cabins, roadside motels, and a few luxury hotels. Now I can add Bed & Breakfasts to the list. There was something special about staying in a historical home surrounded by the past. I knew my choice had been a success when I heard Mr. Maid extolling The Manor House’s virtues to friends upon our return. We both look forward to doing it again.