There are days when you just can’t take it any more, and my husband and I had one of those last Saturday. We still had work to do over the weekend, but we decided that if we were going to have to spend the weekend working, we ought to at least have an incredible view. We decided to run away for the night to Phippsburg, ME, a tiny town on the “fingers” of the Maine coast, about an hour north of Portland. We tried the Popham Beach Bed & Breakfast first, but they were full. The recommended the Stonehouse Manor, and we couldn’t be more grateful.
Jane and Tim were the most magnificent hosts. We sipped hot tea while we worked on the sun porch overlooking the lake, and when our computers wouldn’t work with the Manor’s wireless, Jane even went so far as to loan us her own laptop to e-mail our assignments in before deadline. The only way it could have been better is if we could have skipped the working part and spent the afternoon walking on the beach, which is a five-minute, lovely walk away.
Our room, the Lake View Suite, couldn’t have been cozier. The bed was the perfect cushiness without being too soft. If it wouldn’t have made me what I imagine would be a very creepy guest, I would have stayed in the velvety robe and slippers all day. And the love seat and chair in front the huge windows made the perfect place to sip my morning’s first cup of coffee.
Jane recommended a fantastic restaurant – Solo Bistro in Bath- for dinner. Recommendations are even more important when your husband is vegetarian; it’s pretty easy to stumble around the countryside and find almost no restaurants with a few good vegetarian options, if you’re working blind. But Solo Bistro had several options, and even better was the customer service. First, Kevin ordered the Parmesan risotto. Unfortunately, he didn’t like it. I saw several other people happily eating it – and I tasted it myself – and I can assure you it was a matter of personal taste, not bad food. It was just heavy on what I think was oregano, and it wasn’t to Kevin’s taste. He asked if he could order the cavatappi pasta instead, and he insisted that they charge us for the risotto.
They quite graciously refused and returned with his pasta in a matter of minutes. The pasta, by the way was a splendid and rich grown-up mac and cheese, with fresh basil, pine nuts and swimming in cream and Gorgonzola. In the meantime, I had what was at least in the top five of my favorite burgers of all time. Perfectly cooked (medium-rare, in my opinion), topped with tangy city of ships cheese, a mound of tiny fried onions and a balsamic reduction, that burger will be on my mind for a while. Fortunately, Bath is a pretty short drive from Portland.
Back to Stonehouse Manor. The next morning, Jane greeted us with one of the most glorious breakfasts I’ve ever had at a B&B, and that includes the chef-rich B&Bs of Hyde Park, NY, home to the CIA. I had to use extraordinary restraint not to absolutely stuff myself on her omelets stuffed with ripe cherry tomatoes, spinach and herbed cheese; blueberry pancakes with maple syrup; homemade toasted bread with butter; and a plateful of delectable fruits. Jane is not a chef, by her own admission, but that does not get in her way. Her food is delightful. Oh, and the coffee was also fantastic, which, if you think about it, is a B&B must. If you’re a coffee person, that is.
After only one afternoon, a night and a morning, we begrudgingly left to go back to even more work, but not before taking a sadly abbreviated, but perfectly serene in a very chilly way, walk on Popham Beach. We would have loved to stay the entire week. I’m not sure I would ever tire of a life in Phippsburg at Stonehouse Manor.