An old-school weekend in Maine

Courtesy damski/flickr

At Budget Travel, we're obsessed with being on the cutting edge of what's happening in the world of travel. Whether it's a cool new boutique hotel in London or a new dessert-truck trend in the U.S., we want to be the first to know so we can tell you all about it.

Sometimes, though, something is cool precisely because it's not new. I was reminded of that a couple of weekends ago when I went to a friend's wedding on Chebeague Island, in Maine.

Everything about Chebeague is old-school, from the boat that takes you across Casco Bay to get there—a navy, white, and red passenger ferry that looks like it's right out of a children's book about New England—to the tiny Doughty's general store, the only place to stock up on basic provisions (I bought an absurd number of whoopie pies, the celebrated Maine dessert made of two rounds of Devil's Food cake with a sweet cream filling).

The wedding festivities were spread between two places, and I can't decide which one I like best. For the rehearsal dinner, we all gathered for a lobster bake at Chebeague Orchard Inn, one of the coolest B&Bs; I've seen in a long time. The white-clapboard house is adorable, and the apple-tree-dotted grounds are beautiful, but it's the young owners, J Holt and Jenny Goff, that give the place its character. My favorite detail: a little corner room that they've transformed into a kind of mini-vintage shop. The closet and chests are full of sweaters, dresses, and costume jewelry, and the shelves are stocked with fabrics. I didn't see a single item marked over $5.

The wedding itself—and our homebase for the weekend—was the 1920s golden-yellow Chebeague Island Inn. When we weren't playing board games by the huge stone fireplace in the great room, we were sipping cocktails on the porch, which runs along the entire front of the inn and looks out onto the lobster boats bobbing in the water. The morning of the wedding, we took out the inn's free L.L. Bean bikes and tooled around the island, exploring a few beaches along the way and stopping at Calder's Clam Shack for lunch.

Is Chebeague Island new and exciting? Not even close. And that's exactly what makes it so cool.


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