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Romantic Inns Of Bar Harbor

by Kathryn Lemmon, Wedding Zone Staff Writer

Growing up, my grandparents owned a small hotel on a lake. I recall many contented hours playing in and around that old, rambling building. Yellowbanks Hotel is a memory now, but my fascination with all types of lodging remains, thirty years later. Historic inns are my favorite. They have the distinctive character and individuality modern, cookie-cutter hotels lack.

In Bar Harbor, Maine, you can have your pick of suitable accommodations, but I'd choose an historic inn. Two such inns, the Ledgelawn and the Balance Rock were both originally private homes. There's something naturally romantic about a family home turned into an inn. Perhaps it's knowing real human drama was played out within the walls. If the walls could talk, as the saying goes, they would speak of the entire range of human emotions from sorrow to great happiness.

If you're considering Maine for your honeymoon, put Bar Harbor at the top of the list. As the gateway to Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor has been a summer resort for over one hundred years. The note-worthy and famous have trod these streets, J. P. Morgan, the Fords and the Rockefellers found the area to their liking. When other eastern cities are stifling with summer heat, Bar Harbor gets a cooling breeze off the water. It's small enough to feel cozy, but has enough attractions and activities to keep everyone happy.

The Ledgelawn Inn, was originally built as a summer "cottage" for a wealthy Boston family. The home, in Colonial Revival style, was finished in time for the 1904 summer season. This version of a cottage is much bigger than our contemporary idea of a summer home-away-from-home.

I felt the Ledgelawn had a true "make yourself at home" atmosphere. It was as if my rich uncle had invited me for a visit...except for the fact I don't have any uncles, rich or otherwise.

In the lobby area, the large, winding stairway draws the eyes upward toward the balcony, offering a fine first impression. The meticulous attention to detail will make you feel completely pampered, while the staff is attentive but inconspicuous.

The Ledgelawn consists of two structures, the original home and the restored carriage house. As befitting a nearly 100 year old structure, a benevolent spirit is said to walk the halls of the Ledgelawn. Soon, the Ledgelawn will have seen a hundred summers come and go, yet she's still going strong.

From the Ledgelawn, downtown Bar Harbor is an easy three minute walk. The Inn has 34 guest rooms and suites. It has been awarded a AAA three-diamond rating.

Balance Rock Inn has the added advantage of sitting on Frenchman's Bay. The home was built as a seaside retreat for Scotsman, Alexander Maitlin, who helped develop the railroad to Key West. He choose his location well.

From the secluded back veranda, you're only two blocks from downtown, but you'd never realize it, looking out toward the water. The inn has a relaxed, yet exclusive feel. Similar to the Ledgelawn, you feel as if you're visiting the home of old friends.

Surrounding the heated pool are lovely gardens and plenty of green space. From the Balance Rock, allow time for a walk on the historic shore path, which makes it way past many of Bar Harbor's most opulent mansions.

Afternoon tea at the Balance Rock is a rare treat. Cakes, scones, cookies and a variety of fresh baked goodies will tempt you. You only have one honeymoon, so go for it, calorie counting can wait!

You'd be hard-pressed to find an amenity lacking at this inn. My room even had a private sauna, in addition to a bay view, fireplace, and whirlpool bath. The only thing I missed was having more time to enjoy the luxuries. This world-class inn was featured in Country Inns magazine in 1998.

For an overview of Acadia National Park, we took the narrated bus tour, which boarded downtown. Both the Ledgelawn and the Balance Rock are within walking distance from where the bus departs and returns. The park , covering 54 square miles, has primeval forests, rocky coastline and unusual geological formations. Unique to the nation, the park was a gift to our country from early summer residents. The late John D. Rockefeller Jr. gave more than a third of the park's acreage.

You can make your honeymoon "international" by driving or walking aboard the car ferry which travels from Bar Harbor to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The journey takes just under three hours. Click on www.catferry.com. For more general information contact: www.barharborvacations.com.


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