Drive 90 minutes north of Boston to find a cluster of cozy cottages, restored barns and a more-than-150-year-old stately New England home. Welcome to Grace White Barn Inn & Spa. This historic 26-room inn has been carefully cared for over the years, resulting in a Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star time capsule in the beautiful seaside town of Kennebunk, Maine.
These are the five reasons you may never want to leave.
A candle-lit ambiance meets the rustic simplicity of coastal Maine cuisine at Five-Star The White Barn Inn Restaurant. Tables are decked out in white cloths, fresh flowers adorn the space and a pianist plays soothing background music — it’s an elegant and charming scene.
Dreamed up by chef Matthew Padilla, the weekly changing, four-course prix fixe menu features the best local and seasonal New England ingredients, including fresh seafood caught just a few blocks away.
Padilla, who most recently was the executive chef at Texas’ Five-Star The Inn at Dos Brisas restaurant, brings his own style to the storied establishment, but he has kept some of the eatery’s most cherished dishes, including the classic Kennebunkport lobster fettuccine with carrots, parsnips and cognac coral butter sauce.
For the ultimate indulgence, opt for the chef’s new truffle tasting menu and dine on dishes like seared scallops with black truffle vinaigrette and truffle foie gras torchon with banyuls jelly — and don’t skip the exquisite wine pairings.
A Serene Spa
Indulging in an afternoon of pampering is a special experience at the inn, where a long list of both Western and Eastern offerings makes selecting your serenity a tough choice.
The customizable Signature White Barn Inn Massage is a great place to start. It begins with a mineral-rich foot soak followed by a full-body rubdown using therapeutic and holistic massage techniques, pure aromatherapy oils and an infused hot-towel treatment.
Another tempting choice is the 90-minute Himalayan Salt Stone Massage, which incorporates thermal therapy along with the thorough bodywork.
You also could enjoy a romantic evening for two with the Spa Date Night package, which opens with a welcome beverage followed by a simultaneous 90-minute fireside massage. Afterward, you’ll head to the private couples’ suite, where you can relax in the infinity-edge soaking tub or under a raindrop shower. Linger a little longer with sparkling wine, the chef’s choice of canapés and chocolate-covered strawberries, plus a small gift for you to take home.
The hotel’s Stellar Cellar Series is an excellent way to enhance your stay and, for guests, it’s a complimentary perk to boot. On the first Saturday of every month, join the culinary team at 3 p.m. to try your hand at everything from making cheese to crafting the perfect cocktail. Upcoming topics include barbecue techniques, creating magnificent margaritas and learning to pickle vegetables.
Oenophiles might prefer the complimentary vino tastings that take place in the wine cellar every Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
Those who’d rather not imbibe can partake in the afternoon tea service. A part of your overnight stay, the daily spread includes freshly made sandwiches, scones, sweets and a variety of loose-leaf teas.
If you want to learn how to whip up the delicious dishes served at the restaurant, the chef offers private cooking classes. You won’t just be watching, though; you’ll be an active participant, assisting to prepare that night’s dinner. When the two-hour session concludes, you can take a seat in the restaurant to sample the meal you helped create.
Before you even arrive at the inn, the staff shows an interest in you. After your reservation is made, you’ll receive a form to fill out — you can opt for a phone call with the concierge instead — that lists bespoke in-room options (pillow types, room fragrances and even bathroom amenities) that you might like.
In addition, the inn provides a series of local experiences you can book. The lovely Sunrise Sentiments package, for instance, involves a staff member letting you know the expected time of sunrise, offering recommendations for the best nearby spots to see it and having a picnic basket with hot coffee and treats ready to go for your early morning excursion.
Adventurous types might like to head out with general manger Daniel Braun for Tour de bunks, a bicycling trek (ranging from 20 to 80 miles) for exploring coastal Maine, customized to your interests and abilities. You’ll need to bring or rent a bike, but the package includes an official Grace White Barn cycling jersey, a water bottle, snacks and, upon return, a 60-minute deep tissue massage.
Other suggested experiences are available or you can create your own. The expert staff knows all the best places to go in the area and loves to share the information.
The Grace White Barn Inn sits close to Boston but feels a world away. The quaint seaside town has all sorts of boutiques, galleries, antique shops, restaurants and bars to peruse as well as plenty of fun outdoor activities, including sailing, whale watching, hiking, canoeing, biking and, of course, enjoying the beautiful beaches on the Atlantic coast.
Just five miles away is the resort town of Kennebunkport, popularized as the summer home to the Bush family, which has a similar feel to Kennebunk and is just as charming to explore.