I am going to let you in on a secret:
There are many great perks for working at Q4Launch, but the best is visiting the best B&Bs and Inns in America. This is truly when your ordinary grind becomes extraordinary.
Arriving at a beautiful property that is impeccably maintained.
As you check in, every piece of furniture you pass represents a story that may even have a famous name attached to it.
Your bathroom is so well-appointed that it might as well be called a mini-spa.
Now, picture sleeping in a canopy bed where the sheets are so soft, both your body and your soul feel rested.
After a night of deep sleep, you wake up to a delicious breakfast of:
- raised waffles
- homemade jam
- artisan bread
Oh, and the eggs are so fresh you could swear the chicken is sitting outside.
Sound like a dream?
Indeed, it’s not.
A Five Day North East Road Trip
I recently took a 5-day trip to New York and New England to visit existing customers and meet a few new faces. To say that I was impressed is an understatement. If you haven’t had the opportunity to stay at a bed and breakfast or inn during your travels, you should remedy that immediately.
Day 1: Brooklyn, NY
When you think of New York City, you envision Manhattan, right? That is fairly typical, but you are missing something: Brooklyn, the spirit of New York. Its history stretches back to the first Dutch settlement in the 1600s (Breukelen) to the present collection of neighborhoods that resemble multicolored shells left on the shores by waves of immigration. If Manhattan legends are all about finance, commerce, and power, Brooklyn is a story about humanity looking for a better future.
At Home in Brooklyn
At Home In Brooklyn is a rear flacon where that spirit resides. This bed and breakfast is located in front of Prospect Park that was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park. This posh B&B is surrounded by the same kind of stately brownstones you find in the Upper West Side.
The owners, Don and Marco deliver an excellent and graceful experience for guests from all over the world. Each room is different and furnished with taste, art, and an attention to detail that we usually crave when staying in a bland hotel. Marco is also adding to the spirit of Brooklyn his own way: his paintings adorn the walls. And, discussing art with the artist is one of life’s free luxuries that you will find within At Home In Brooklyn.
The Loralei Bed and Breakfast
Before leaving the Big Apple, I went to visit another B&B with a name that evokes the legends of the Rhine River. The Loralei Bed & Breakfast is tucked away on a quiet street. It is another place where the Brooklyn of yesteryear lives on.
The Loralei features antique furniture and accessories that have been lovingly curated by innkeepers Rob and Lance (including a working gramophone in the living room). The staircase leads to comfy, tastefully appointed bedrooms and bathrooms with the same amenities you would find in modern hotels. This Victorian home takes its place in historic Ditmas Park (Flatbush) Brooklyn which was once farmland owned by Dutch settlers.
Day 2: Onwards to Cape Cod
Captain Stannard House Bed & Breakfast
While I could have stayed in Brooklyn for several more days, I was also excited to reach my next stop located in Westbrook CT, the reputed Captain Stannard House Bed & Breakfast . Upon my arrival, Jim, owner and innkeeper, took me on a wonderful tour.
The inn is a peaceful oasis that is a short walk from the Westbrook Beach. The inside is decorated with pictures of schooners and antique helms to remind us that the home once belonged to Elbert Stannard, a famous sea captain. In the music room, pictures of silent movie stars and a baby grand piano evoke the roaring 1920s.
The large porch is inviting and the decor incorporates driftwood found on the local shoreline. The breakfast room is a great place to start the day before heading to the beach or any of the local hiking trails.
Chatham Gables Inn
My second stop of the day was at the Chatham Gables Inn in Chatham, MA. Like a ship parts waves in the sea, Chatham Gables Inn appeared to be parting waves of blooming hydrangea. The flowers were leaning towards me as I drove in, certainly to welcome me and also to whisper that it was a very special place. I have never met a hydrangea who did not tell me the truth, and Andrea and David were perfect hosts. My lovely room overlooked the garden and was appointed with comfy linens. The private bath featured amenities that are on par with what you would find in accommodations on the shore of a Swiss lake.
After a copious seafood meal in town (a 3-minute drive), I went to bed and enjoyed a luxurious night’s sleep. It was the perfect end to an incredible day on Cape Cod.
The next morning, my breakfast included fresh bagels, salmon, cream cheese and capers, and fresh fruit from the garden. I then bid my hosts and the hydrangea farewell and began my drive up to the Pine Tree State.
Before getting on the highway I made a short stop to another Cape Cod B&B institution.
The Captain’s Manor Inn
Located in Falmouth, across from Martha’s Vineyard. The Captain’s Manor Inn is the starting point to discover the 12 beaches of Falmouth and much more. Trish and Kevin, the innkeepers were enjoying a busy summer making their guests happy and tending to their manicured lawn.
Day 3: The Beach-Area and Mid-Coast of Maine
Rhapsody in Maine Blue
Dockside Guest Quarters
After an easy trip up the coast. My next destination was Dockside Guest Quarters in York, ME. Blue is the sea, blue is the sky; and this rhapsody would play every sunny day I was there. While the property owner Eric Lusty showed me around, he told me about Dockside’s long history and his dedication to the property’s multi-generation clientele. All of the rooms have clean, crisp white bedding that contrasts with the blue colors that can be seen through every window. We watched as several sailboats and cruisers hovered around under the vigilance of the lighthouse.
Dockside also has a delicious onsite restaurant that features wonderful food and stunning views. While I did not have time to taste the restaurant specialty, Drunken Lobster Saute, this time, the tempting dish alone is a very logical reason to plan a return trip soon.
Linekin Bay Resort
If the Dockside Guest Quarters in York was the first movement of the Rhapsody, Linekin Bay Resort in BoothBay Harbor is the part when the tempo accelerates.
The only thing better than admiring the natural beauty of Maine is to experience it during an active vacation. Linekin Bay Resort boasts an excellent sailing academy as well as boats to rent or charter for a day trip. I was immediately lured by the sea water and heated swimming pool. I also learned about the bikes and trails and other many other sports to keep you far away from your computer and phone screen.
I checked into my waterview wood cabin with view of the bay, changed and went for a swim in the saltwater pool. I later went to The Deck Bar and Grill for a cold beverage and the bartender was kind enough to introduce me to other guests. The conversation and the lobster roll were both excellent and I eventually retired to my cabin for a restful night.
Day 4: Maine, Continued
Newagen Seaside Inn
The next morning, I was greeted by a wild turkey who ventured away from the thick woods around my cabin to ask me about breakfast. It was served buffet style, offering the type of food sailors stack up on in case they get lost at sea. Still, I made sure to save room for lunch later that day at Linekin’s sister property, Newagen Seaside Inn, which is just a short drive away.
Although my visit to Newagen Seaside Inn was brief, it was well worth the 15-minute drive from downtown Boothbay Harbor. I had lunch at The Pub, the restaurant on the property. I ate a wonderful Newagen Poutine just one of the many locally sourced, farm to table options on the menu.
Before leaving Boothbay Harbor, I had to hear the most serene movement of the Rhapsody in Blue and there was no better place for that than the Topside Inn.
Its location is hard to beat. Topside Inn is situated at the top of McKown Hill in the middle of town where it overlooks the harbor, the blue sea, and the islands. The inn is a unique property that has collected so many awards and so much recognition, and it’s clear why.
Mark and Buzz are, the affable owners. Mark welcomed me with the relaxed and confident attitude of someone on top of his game. Nautical furniture and decor blend in harmony with the vistas from every room. as I stood alone in the garden to take pictures I thought to myself: This is the place I’d like to stay with my wife for a romantic weekend away from our busy lives.
After such a lovely introduction to this hilltop getaway, it was time for me to hit the road once more. As I drove north, my route included beautiful views as I meandered from one cove to another until I reached Camden. This small town has a cosmopolitan side to it with plenty of ways to experience art and culture. But it is also a beautiful seaport backed by a mountain where sweeping views await trekkers.
Soon, I reached yet another special place on the Maine Coast: Camden and its fabled Hawthorn Inn.
The Hawthorn Inn, a grand Victorian mansion, blends effortlessly into its beautiful and natural surroundings. It’s also a short stroll from downtown where guests can enjoy events, dining and more.
Lisa and Ted, the owners, have painstakingly created the essence of Camden where the charm of yesteryear meets modern conveniences for today’s travelers. After a quick tour, I had to leave my hosts and set out for Kennebunkport, the final movement of my Maine Rhapsody.
Kennebunkport is where shipbuilding prospered for over a century before wealthy families adopted the place for their summer retreat. These days, the town is bustling with visitors roaming the streets in search of the best ice cream parlor and a delicious treat to mark the end of another perfect day of vacation.
The Captain Jefferds Inn
Kennebunkport is also home to The Captain Jefferds Inn. This historic captain’s mansion is owned by Sara and Erik Lindblom who have woven a unique blend of European flair and Old Maine traditions into an exclusive lodging experience that exudes quiet luxury. The next morning, breakfast was served at a communal table where international travelers get to know each other and exchange pleasantries and tips on how to make the most of the day. Homemade raspberry muffins and a generous portion of quiche were all I needed to embark on the final leg of my journey.
Day 5: The Berkshires of Massachusetts and Connecticut
As I was driving out of Maine and into New Hampshire, the dramatic views of the midcoast were replaced by green mountains and rolling meadows.
Picturesque villages and craggy creeks lined my road until I arrived in Western Massachusetts. This is where I found the Centennial House in Northfield. Joan and Steve showed me in the wood paneled and beamed ceiling living room where guests were preparing for their bike randonnee. Each room is different and decorated with treasures from years of antiquing, like this giant Japanese fan so stunning, it would certainly send experts from the “Antique Roadshow” into rapture.
Very well situated on the road to Deerfield and the Pioneer Valley, The Centennial House is the perfect place to embark on an exploration of the Berkshires, which I did right after a lunch stop on the road.
Manor House Inn
Having once owned a weekend place in the Berkshires, I know my way around. I entered the the quiet side of the Berkshires in Connecticut where my first stop was in Norfolk to visit the Manor House Inn.
Norfolk is also the place where the hills are alive with the sound of music. It is the site of the Yale Summer School of Music and the Chamber Music Festival. Infinity Hall, in town, hosts an opera house and concert hall.
Bu it was not music that inspired me on my visit to the Manor House Inn. The castle like property operated by new owners Kristen and Adam, has undeniable cinematic qualities.
As I was welcomed by the owners, I glanced at the hall centerpiece, a magnificent mahogany staircase and was expecting to hear Orson Welles shout “Action!” It felt as though I had been transported to the stage of the classic movie, “The Magnificent Ambersons.” Walking up to the first floor, I visited large and handsome rooms with tiled fireplaces, some with views of an immaculate lawn and swaying tree line in the background.
The antique stained glass adorning the top of the bay windows reinforced the feeling that I was in a different time. Meanwhile guests sat on leather sofas in the living room as they sampled wine and cheese before going to the concert. Kristen and Adam acquired the place only 4 months ago after very successful careers in marketing and finance. Their project is to restore the reputation and allure the Manor House Inn enjoyed at the turn of the 20th century. I bet they will… Infatuated, I left the place whistling the opening score from the “Third Man.”
Blackberry River Inn
It is always rare to stay in a place that is on the National Register of Historic Places, so I was excited to check in on my fifth and final evening to the Blackberry River Inn. It’s located just off Route 44 and close to town.
T.W, the innkeeper escorted me to my well-appointed room in the carriage house. After a quiet night, I enjoyed a haute breakfast of raised waffles and sausage. It was served by a friendly and attentive staff who indulged me in local maple syrup and fresh brewed coffee.
My New England trip draw to a close
As I realized my Northeast road trip was coming to an end, I grew a bit nostalgic as I gazed through the large panoramic windows of the dining room. The sun was up, my suitcase was already in the trunk of the car, and then there was this sensation. The feeling that I spent time that week visiting long-lost family I never knew I had. As a guest, I found myself immersed in all the destinations I visited. This immersion, facilitated by the disponibility and care of every innkeeper and owner is what made the difference between staying in modern hotels versus these beautiful places that are knit into the human and cultural fabric of their region.
Director of Sales