Grace White Barn Inn & Spa is one of America’s finest country house hotels, a rustic and intimate inn (and now, a cottage compound) down by the waterfront in the Atlantic coast town of Kennebunkport, Maine. This is a town perhaps best known outside of the Northeast as a presidential summer home, but long before the elder Bush first arrived, it was a popular hideout for the Yankee aristocracy.
And even the name is a bit of classic Northeast understatement — it sounds a bit more rough-edged and rustic than it actually is, although the restaurant (more on that later) is, truthfully, a 140-year old white clapboard barn. The hotel’s look is more English manor house than Pilgrim settlement, though it’s not a strict period piece: rooms in the new addition come with flat-screen TVs, and many rooms and suites feature other welcome (if anachronistic) details, such as granite and marble bathrooms with oversized whirlpool tubs.
Kennebunk Beach is less than a quarter mile away, but Parson’s and Goose Rocks beaches are more private, and well worth the trek. The town is full of antique dealers, book shops, art galleries and museums, and there are a number of fine restaurants, but truthfully they pale next to the White Barn — the restaurant is the hotel’s focal point, and is internationally known, possibly New England’s finest. The list of awards the White Barn has won is truly exhaustive, and would be exhausting to read; suffice to say your dinner will be one you will not soon forget.
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