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Maine, USA - Natural Beauty and Cultural Charm PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen   
Nubble Light House, York, Maine - Photo by Luxury ExperienceIf you dream of vacationing on the southern coast of Maine, pack your luggage and look no further than the historic Black Point Inn in the exclusive community of Prouts Neck in Scarborough, where breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean beckon from its rocky coast that meld into stunning white sandy beaches. Prouts Neck is located in the town of Scarborough, Maine, settled in 1635, and incorporated on July 14, 1658. Prouts Neck, named for Timothy Prout, a Boston merchant who settled there in the late 18th century, is rich in history and charm, it is a place where you can relax and do nothing, partake of land or water sports, or explore the many natural, cultural, and nearby attractions to create a memorable vacation.

 

Where to Stay

We stayed at the historic Black Point Inn, which opened in 1878, and is a member of the Historic Hotels of America, in late June 2013 and found that luxury abounds at the 25-room and suite inn nestled on a peninsula in the exclusive section of Prouts Neck, Scarborough, Maine.

Black Point Inn, Prouts Neck, Maine - photo by Luxury Experience
Black Point Inn

Guests arriving during the week can look forward to the Manager's Cocktail Reception on Monday nights, on Tuesdays during the summer there is a Jazz trio playing on the deck, on Wednesday there is a complimentary wine tasting from 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm, and on Thursday mornings, there are yoga classes on the lawn.

We arrived on a Friday and weekends are as they should be, made for swimming and lounging by the geothermally heated outdoor pool, taking long walks on one of the white sandy beaches, fishing, borrowing one of the hotels bicycles or using one of the kayaks and exploring Prouts Neck by land or by sea, or by starting your day with a visit to the well-equipped Fitness Room.

Our spacious guestroom was sumptuously appointed with a highboy against one wall, and a king bed dressed with a pristine white striped duvet, a plethora of bed pillows to ensure sweet dreams, assorted decorative pillows, and a soft throw at the end of the bed. Two comfortable armchairs flanked a table, ruffled white sheers framed the two windows with views of the gardens and the ocean, and a desk and chair positioned between the windows and adorned with an attractive silver vase filled with daisies was the perfect place to write a note on the BPI stationery or a postcard.

Black Point Inn - guestroom - photo by Luxury Experience
Guestroom

Paintings graced the walls, well-positioned telephones, robes, an iron and ironing board, and a hairdryer in the closet, and full length mirrors on the closet and bathroom doors. The bathroom featured a combination tub, plush towels, large mirror over the vanity, and assorted toiletries.

The Inn has two excellent restaurants, The Point Restaurant, which serves dinner nightly and features a daily changing menu, and The Chart Room on Prouts Neck, which serves breakfast with continued meal service until 9:00 pm. Both restaurants are open to guests of the Black Point Inn as well as to the public. During our stay at the Inn, we had the pleasure of dining at both of the restaurants.

Chef Michael Wiechec and Executive Chef William Benner of Black Point Inn - photo by Luxury Experience
Chef de Cuisine Michael Wiechec and
Executive Chef William Benner
in The Chart Room

The Black Point Inn has many packages including a special Winslow Homer Studio Tour package, where guests have the opportunity to have an in-depth look at the iconic American artist's life and work.

The Black Point Inn and its restaurants are open seasonally from May until the end October.

Read more about the Black Point Inn in the Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants: The Point Restaurant,  Restaurants: The Chart Room at Prouts Neck, and Chefs' Recipes section for an interview with Chef William Benner who graciously provides a delicious taste of The Point Restaurant with his recipe for Lamb Tenderloin with Basil Mash, Olive Tapenade, and Tomato Fondue.

Black Point Inn, Prouts Neck, MaineBlack Point Inn
510 Black Point Road
Prouts Neck, Scarborough, Maine 04074
United States
Telephone:    +1-207-883-2500
Fax:                 +1-207-883-9976
Email:              This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website:        www.blackpointinn.com/
Facebook:     www.Facebook.com/BlackPointInn

What to Do

Prouts Neck

Sunset at Prouts Neck, Maine- - photo by Luxury Experience
Sunset at Prouts Neck

Take time to walk the beaches no matter what the weather to appreciate the natural beauty. Always changing as the tides ebb and flow, the beach provided us with endless hours of enjoyment of discovery during low tide when we had the opportunity to look for shells, and watch a resident digging for clams, or playing in the waves during high tide, and watching the kite surfers practice their sport.

Digging for Clams  - photo by Luxury Experience
Digging for Clams

We also experienced The Cliff Walk, a 1.75-mile nature walk encircling the ruggedly beautiful coast of Prouts Neck where we passed magnificent summer residences, discovered the diverse topography that changed as we walked around the end of the peninsula, and walked past Winslow Homer Studio where we could envision him inside at his easel painting.

Maine Rocky Coast  - photo by Luxury Experience
Maine's Rocky Coastline

Five years after the Black Point Inn opened in 1878, then known as "The Southgate," the renowned American artist Winslow Homer moved to Prouts Neck at the age of 48 at the invitation of his brother Charles and his new sister-in-law, and resided there until his death at home in his studio at the age of 74 in 1910.

Winslow Homer Studio - photo by Luxury Experience
Winslow Homer Studio

The Winslow Homer Studio, owned by the Portland Museum of Art, opened to the public in September 2012, is located a short stroll from the Black Point Inn, and for art lovers, it should be on your must-visit list. During our stay in Prouts Neck, we took a fascinating tour of the studio, which the artist liked to refer to as "the factory" and is where he painted many of his masterpieces.

Inside Winslow Homer Studio - photo by Luxury Experience
Inside the Winslow Homer Studio

Homer lived a fascinating life; born in Boston, he grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, apprenticed in a lithography shop, and later moved to New York where he worked as a freelance illustrator. He also worked as a Civil War correspondent sketching soldiers at the front. This early training and life experiences traveling throughout the world paved the way for his future paintings.

Winslow Homer and painting Gulf Stream
Winslow Homer and the painting Gulf Stream

Winslow moved to Maine in 1883 and spent the summer months painting, and traveling to warmer climates in the colder months. Standing inside the former carriage house, moved to its present location and transformed into an art studio, and gazing out the window with his name etched into the glass, or standing on what Winslow liked to refer to as his "piazza," overlooking the rocky coast and crashing waves, provided us with great insight into his daily inspiration.

Winslow Homer, Charlie Homer, and Sam the dog walking the coastline of Maine
Winslow Homer, Charlie Homer and Sam the dog
Walking the Maine Coastline
 

A few of the highlights of the tour included his seeing his furnishings, his illustrations in Harper's Weekly, examples of his paintings and sketches, a humorous sign with the words, "Snakes, Snakes, Mice" to keep uninvited visitors away, and Winslow's words of wisdom, many of which he wrote on the wood walls of the studio. We especially liked the following quotes, which demonstrate his philosophy.

Snakes and Mice sign - photo by Luxury Experience
Snakes and Mice Sign

"When you paint, try to put down exactly what you see. Whatever else you have to offer will come out anyway."

"The life I have chosen gives me hours of enjoyment for the balance of my life. The sun will not rise, or set, without my notice and thanks."

"Look at nature, work independently, and solve your own problems."

For information on touring the Winslow Homer Studio, please call: +1-207-775-6148 for days and times of tours, which vary by season.

Tours take place from April through December each year. Tours of the Studio depart from and return to the Portland Museum of Art located at 7 Congress Street, Portland, by van and are limited to 10 visitors. Children under 7 years of age are not permitted. Reservations are limited. Tickets are $55.00, $30 for Portland Museum of Art Members.

Portland Art Museum, Portland, Maine

Portland Art Museum 
7 Congress Square  
Portland, Maine 04101  
United States
Telephone:   +1-207-775-6148  
Fax:              +1-207-773-7324
Email:            This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it      
Website:       www.PortlandMuseum.org

Birders will appreciate the bird and nature sanctuaries along the Scarborough Salt Marsh, located at the beginning of the peninsula, which is Maine's largest tidal marsh encompassing approximately 3,100 acres.

Also of interest is Hunnewell House, circa 1684, believed to be the oldest dwelling in Scarborough, where we stopped to admire the tiny red cottage, and the impeccable gardens maintained by the Scarborough Garden Club.

Hunnewil House, Prouts Neck, Maine - photo by Luxury Experience
Hunnewell House

Although the area is so stunningly gorgeous and peaceful that you might find it hard to venture off the peninsula, there are so many wonderful discoveries to make in the area, so rise early, go to bed later, or add on an extra day or so for exploring.

Portland

The city of Portland is located 7 miles north of Scarborough and offers many wonderful options to discover.

We visited the Portland Art Museum where we had the opportunity to see Winslow Homer's oil painting, Weatherbeaten, which he painted in 1894. After visiting his studio in Prouts Neck, we could envision Winslow standing on his piazza watching the waves crash against the rocks, gathering inspiration, and it was an almost magical feeling. (There will be a special exhibition at the museum, Winslow Homer's Civil War, which will run from September 7 until December 8, 2013).

Winslow Homer's Weatherbeaten  - photo by Luxury Experience
Winslow Homer's Weatherbeaten

Also of interest was the exhibition, The William S. Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism (runs until September 8, 2013), featuring 61 works from the renowned William S. Paley Collection at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Works include those by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, Georges Braque, Joan Miró, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, André Derain, Edgar Degas, and more.

Renoir's Strawberries  - photo by Luxury Experience
Renior's Strawberries

A few of the many highlights of the collection included Renoir's Strawberries (1905), Degas' Two Dancers (1905), André Derain's Bridge over the Riou (1906)Picasso's Boy Leading a Horse, (1905-1906), and Picasso's The Guitar (1919).

Portland Art Museum, Portland, Maine - photo by Luxury Experience
Portland Art Museum

The Portland Art Museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm, and on Friday from 10:00 am until 9:00 pm. From Memorial Day until Columbus Day, the museum is open Mondays from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm.

Picasso's The Guitar  - photo by Luxury Experience
Picasso's The Guitar

Admission: Adults: $12.00, Seniors (65+) and Students with ID: $10.00, Youths Ages 13 - 17: $6.00, Children 12 and Under: Free. The museum is free on Fridays from 5:00 pm until 9:00 pm.

Portland Art Museum, Portland, Museum

Portland Art Museum
7 Congress Square 
Portland, Maine 04101 
United States
Telephone:   +1-207-775-6148 
Fax:                +1-207-773-7324
Email:            This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it     
Website:      
www.PortlandMuseum.org
 

Victoria Mansion, also known as the Morse-Libby House, built between 1858 and 1860 is a must-see jewel of a house museum that is architecturally stunning, and has an interesting and remarkable history reflecting the opulence of the era. 

Victoria Mansion, Portland, Maine - photo by Luxury Experience
Victoria Mansion

Located at the corner of Danforth Street, the house was designed and built by the well-known New Haven Connecticut architect Henry Austin as a summer residence for Mr. Ruggles Sylvester Morse (1814 - 1893) and his wife Olive Ring Merrill Morse (1820 - 1903), and is a stunning example of Italian villa style architecture. 

Victoria Mansion Interior- photo by Luxury Experience
Elegant Table Setting

Highlights include the flying staircase, arched doorways, opulent stained glass rectangular skylight, etched glass windows, ornately carved ivory fireplaces, trompe-l'oeil painting, and impressive furnishings original to the home.  

Victoria Mansion Green Room- photo by Luxury Experience
Green Room

The year following Mr. Morse's death in 1893, Mrs. Morse sold the home and most of the exquisite furnishings to Mr. J.R. Libby who resided there with his family until 1929. On the brink of demolition after a hurricane in 1938, Dr. William H. Holmes purchased the property in 1940 and with assistance from his sister Clara Holmes, named it Victoria Mansion after Queen Victoria, and opened it to the public as a museum in 1941. 

Victoria Mansion Bedroom - photo by Luxury Experience
Bedroom

Victoria Mansion is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm, and Sunday from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm. The mansion offers tours at quarter to and quarter after the hour. 

Admission is charged. Adults: $15.00, Senior Citizens (62 and over) and AAA Members: $13.50, Students ages 6-17: $5.00, Under 6: Free, Family Rate: $35.00 (2 Adults of same household and up to 5 children ages 6-17). 

Victoria Mansion, Portland, Maine

Victoria Mansion
109 Danforth Street
Portland, Maine 04101
United States
Telephone:   +1-207-772-4841
Website:      
www.VictoriaMansion.org
 

We also visited Maine Mead Works, founded by Ben Alexander in 2008, which continues the ancient craft of creating mead, one of the oldest alcoholic beverages in the world, made by fermenting honey and natural fruit, herbs, and spices. 

Maine Mead Works, Columns - photo by Luxury Experience
Maine Mead Works Distillation Columns

After an interesting tour, we had the opportunity to taste complimentary and very tasty samples of the Dry, Semi-Sweet, Lavender, Blueberry, Apple, Elderberry, Strawberry, Cranberry, and the Reserve Mead. 

Owner Ben Alexander and Team - photo by Luxury Experience
Owner Ben Alexander and team

Maine Mead Works is open for tasting and purchases May through December from Monday through Saturday from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm, and Sunday from 12:00 pm until 4:00 pm. From January through April, they are open Monday through Saturday from 12:00 pm until 5:00 pm. 

Maine Meade Works Bottles - photo by Luxury Experience
Maine Mead Works Bottles

Manie Meade Works - photo by Luxury ExperienceThere are free tours Monday through Saturday at 11:30 am and at 3:00 pm. 

Maine Mead Works
51 Washington Avenue
Portland, Maine 04101
United States
Telephone:  +1-207-773-6323
Website:      www.MaineMeadWorks.com   
 

Freeport 

Freeport is located 19 miles north of Portland, and our first stop was a visit to the Freeport Town Wharf to see the harbor and get a close-up look at "Maine gold," the lobsters. We especially enjoyed speaking with a lobsterman as he loaded his traps with porgies wrapped in mesh bags as bait onto his boat. 

Lobster Boat, Freeport, Maine- photo by Luxury Experience
Freeport - Lobster Boat

Continuing our gustatory exploration of Maine, we visited Maine Distillers, LLC founded in 2005, to experience Cold River - The Spirit of Maine line of products. During the tour, we learned that Cold River Vodka, Cold River Blueberry Vodka, and Cold River Gin are made from 100% Maine grown potatoes. They state, "It is the only "ground-to-glass" distillery in the nation, where we control every aspect of our small-batch production - from the planting of their Maine potatoes, to their triple-distillation process, to the final bottling of their gluten-free, all-natural, super-premium vodkas and gin." 

Maine Distilleries Copper Columns - photo by Luxury Experience
Maine Distilleries - Dual Copper Stills

Maine Distilleries, LLC is open daily with free 30-minute tours typically offered from 12:00 pm until 5:00 pm.   

Maine Distilleries, LLC - Cold River Vodka- photo by Luxury Experience
Maine Distilleries - Cold River Vodka

Maine Distilleries, LLC
Maine Distilleries, LLC
437 US Route 1
Freeport, Maine 04032
United States
Telephone:   +1-207-865-4828 
Email:             This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it       
Website:     
www.ColdRiverVodka.com
 

South of Portland along the Maine Coast   

Perhaps the most endearing fixtures of the rugged Maine coast are its lighthouses. The most iconic of them is the Cape Neddick Lighthouse, "Nubble Light" located on Nubble Island in Cape Neddick in York, Maine. 

Nubble Light House Island - photo by Luxury Experience
Nubble Light

Built in 1879 and automated in 1987, Nubble Light attracts local as well as international visitors who come to Sohier Park to relax, to fish, enjoy the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean crashing against the rocks, and to photograph the most famous of the Maine lighthouses. In 1977, Nubble Light was photographed from space by the NASA spacecraft Voyager II, and movie buffs may recall seeing it in the 2012 movie, Hope Springs. 

On weekdays and on Saturdays, visitors to Sohier Park will also have the opportunity to watch and chat with the scuba divers entering and exiting the pristine, but cold waters. The Nubble Light will always be special to Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta aka The Adventure Kids, as we spent many happy hours diving here throughout the years.  

Debra and Edward at Nubble LIght - photo by Luxury Experience
Debra and Edward at Nubble Light

There is a restaurant located in Sohier Park, or you may opt to bring a picnic lunch and dine al fresco and soak up the peaceful ambience. We opted for purchasing ice cream, which we enjoyed along with the incredible views. 

During our visit, we met historian and artist Bill Thompson, one of the Nubble Light volunteers positioned in front of the Nubble Light Gift Shop, who provided us with insight into this historic area. We also purchased one of Bill's prints to help support the restoration and upkeep of the Nubble Light. 

Artist Bill Thompson at Nubble Light - photo by Luxury Experience
Artist Bill Thompson

The Nubble Light Gift Shop is open daily from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm from mid April through mid May, and daily from 9:00 am - 7:00 pm from mid May through late October. 

Nubble Light, Cape Neddick Lighthouse, York, MaineCape Neddick Light "Nubble Light"
Sohier Park Road
York, Maine 03909
United States
Email:            This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website:       www.NubbleLight.org
Facebook:     www.Facebook.com/CapeNeddick
 

Where to Dine   

We had an excellent fine dining experience at The Point Restaurant at the Black Point Inn in Prouts Neck, Scarborough Maine with its old-world elegance, gracious hospitality, stunning ocean views, and inspired cuisine by Chef William Benner. 

Black Point Inn, Proust Neck, Maine - photo by Luxury Experience
Black Point Inn - The Point Restaurant

A few of the many highlights included Prince Edward Island (PEI) mussels; iced Damariscotta Oysters served with champagne mignonette, Tabasco, and lemon; seared Gulf of Maine scallops presented with frisee, spinach, toasted hazelnuts, orange supremes, and potato crisps; and strip steak decadently topped with bleu cheese, and accompanied with a mélange of roasted green, orange, and red pepper strips and roasted red bliss potatoes. 

Oysters at The Point Restaurant, Black Point Inn, Prouts Neck, Maine- photo by Luxury Experience
Oysters for Two

The Point Restaurant serves dinner nightly from 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm, features a daily changing menu, and is open to guests of the Inn as well as to the public. The restaurant is open seasonally from May until the end of October. 

Strawberry Rhubarb at Black Point Inn, Prouts Neck, Maine - photo by Luxury Experience
Strawberry Rhubarb

Read the Chefs' Recipes section for the interview with Chef William Benner who graciously provides a delicious taste of The Point Restaurant with his recipe for Lamb Tenderloin with Basil Mash, Olive Tapenade, and Tomato Fondue. 

Black Point Inn, Prouts Neck, MaineThe Point Restaurant
Black Point Inn
510 Black Point Road
Prouts Neck, Scarborough, Maine 04074
United States
Telephone:   +1-207-883-2500
Fax:                +1-207-883-9976
Email:            This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website:      
www.BlackPointInn.com
Facebook:    www.Facebook.com/BlackPointInn
 

We also enjoyed wonderful casual breakfasts and lunches at The Chart Room on Prouts Neck at the Black Point Inn in Prouts Neck, Scarborough Maine which is perfect for dining al fresco on the deck overlooking the Atlantic Ocean or sitting indoors at a table near the fireplace on cooler days or nights. 

Blueberry Pancakes - The Chart Room, Black Point Inn, Prouts Neck, Maine - photo by Luxury Experience
Blueberry Pancakes

Two of the many breakfast highlights we included Traditional Eggs Benedict served on an English muffin with a Maine twist instead of ham it featured succulent lump crab, fresh Hollandaise sauce, and a generous amount of home fried potatoes; and Traditional Buttermilk Pancakes made with Maine blueberries, and served with whipped butter and Maine Maple Syrup, which was a delicious celebration of Maine products. 

Eggs Benedict with Crab, The Chart Room, Black Point Inn, Prouts Neck, Maine - photo by Luxury Experience
Eggs Benedict with Crab

Lunch highlights included hearty New England Clam Chowder made with chopped surf clams, bacon, and light cream, and accompanied by a bag of Westminster Oyster Crackers; the Grilled Crab Melt made with lump crabmeat and dill havarti cheese on sourdough bread, accompanied by house made potato salad and a pickle; and the Lobster Roll - A Maine Tradition, made with a touch of mayonnaise, shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato, and lobster meat on a buttered and grilled New England Style Roll, accompanied by shoestring sweet potato fries, and a pickle. 

Lobster Roll, The Chart Room, Black Point Inn, Prouts Neck, Maine- photo by Luxury Experience
Lobster Roll

The Chart Room on Prouts Neck serves breakfast from 8:00 am until 10:00 am, with continued meal service from 11:30 am until 9:00 pm, and is open to guests of the Inn as well as to the public. The restaurant is open seasonally from May until the end of October. 

Black Point Inn, Prouts Neck, MaineThe Chart Room on Prouts Neck
Black Point Inn
510 Black Point Road
Prouts Neck, Scarborough, Maine 04074
United States
Telephone:    +1-207-883-2500
Fax:                 +1-207-883-9976
Email:             This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website:       
www.BlackPointInn.com
Facebook:     www.Facebook.com/BlackPointInn
 

Whether your vacation style is relaxing on a beach reading a good book, enjoying sports adventures and nature, or making cultural or culinary discoveries, Prouts Neck and the Southern Coast of Maine is waiting to enchant you. 

Sandy Beaches of Prouts Neck, Maine - photo by Luxury Experience
Draw your own memory in the sands of Maine

Read more about the Black Point Inn in the Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants: The Point Restaurant,  Restaurants: The Chart Room at Prouts Neck, and Chefs' Recipes section for an interview with Chef William Benner who graciously provides a delicious taste of The Point Restaurant with his recipe for Lamb Tenderloin with Basil Mash, Olive Tapenade, and Tomato Fondue. 

Follow Luxury Experience on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LuxuryExperience to see more photos of Maine. 

© July 2013. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com. All rights reserved.

 
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