My wife and I have been taking our annual summer vacation to Boothbay Harbor Maine for over 20 years now. For the last five years we’ve been staying at the Spruce Point Inn Resort & Spa (SPI) where in prior years we rented houses throughout the area. Our typical vacation stay is about one week during Independence Day holiday.
Let me start by first giving my impressions of the Boothbay Harbor region and the areas within close driving distance. Since we’ve been coming to Boothbay Harbor for such a long time we pretty much know most of the places to go but some sites come and some sites go (we’ll miss the duckpin bowling at Romar’s and the I’ll miss the lattes at the Moosehead Coffee Shop).
Within the town of Boothbay Harbor there are numerous places to eat whether it’s breakfast at the Ebbtide or Mama D’s Cafe, lunch at Dunton’s Doghouse, or dinner at Andrew’s Haborside. Dessert is the peach cobbler back at the Ebbtide or blue moon ice cream at Downeast. You can also venture out to towns like Wiscasset where I have my yearly lobster roll at Red’s Eats. They have a long line but it’s worth it especially when they bring out piping hot fried shrimp for everyone waiting in line.
For family activities we usually spend most of our time at the resort because there are so many things to do (I’ll get back to that in a minute). After we take the SPI motor launch into town (yes you can drive but who wants to), we walk around to all the small shops and do some pocket booking. By the way I have two girls ages 9 and 10. Some of our favorite shops are Sherman’s Books & Stationary, Orne’s Candy store, Christmas Magic, Daffy Taffy, Shirts by the Bay, etc… If we get tired walking we might take a ride on the trolley or stop in for a cold drink at the Bridge Street Café. If it rains (in the over 20 years that we’ve been going to Maine we have not had more than a day or two of rain for the week) we’ll go to the Maine State Aquarium in Boothbay Harbor or catch a movie at the Harbor Theatre. Some of the other nearby activities are mini-golf at Dolphin Mini Golf, or visit the Boothbay Railway Village. We’ll take a train ride and see the vintage car museum. On previous vacations I played golf at the Boothbay Harbor Country Club but I rarely get to play while on vacation (did I mention I have two young girls?). A little further out we visit Pemaquid Point or go shopping at the outlets in Freeport (again two young girls).
Now onto the Spruce Point Inn Resort & Spa! There is so much to talk about I don’t know where to start. I’ll give a rendition of a typical day at SPI. The girls wake everyone as the sun comes up ready to start their day. If we’re not running into town that morning my wife will get breakfast ready while I take the girls on a walk around the resort. But it’s more like a run down to the dock to swap sea stories with Cap’n Nate who sails the Sarah Mead and Cap’n Shawn who drives the SPI motor launch. While on the way down to the dock I go into the lobby for a quick coffee or pastry. When the sea stories are over and after Cap’n Nate shows the girls his catch from his lobster traps we go look for sea glass. Next up after breakfast is to go bike riding around the resort. We usually bring our own bikes but numerous bikes are available to ride courtesy of the resort. On our bike trip we usually stop at the game room and play some ping pong, candy crane, or one of the video games. We might step outside by one of the pools (yes they have two) and play some shuffleboard as well. Although we usually spend a lot of time in the pool some of the other activities are fishing, kayaking, tennis, badminton and many others. Everything you need is provided by the resort. I have to say that I was a little nervous taking the girls kayaking on the harbor but the kayaks are so buoyant that you really aren’t in any danger of tipping over. For the parents that want to have a little alone time the resort provides supervised activities for the kids to do like Lighthouse Camp or Kid’s Night Out. The last thing we do before everyone goes to bed is the S’mores Station! Here the kids talk to all the new friends that they’ve met throughout the vacation while eating some delicious s’mores. We sit around the fire (yes July can get chilly in Maine) cooking marshmallows and talking with new found friends. We’ve even had the opportunity to meet one of the owners (Joe) and his lovely family at the S’mores Station. Joe was even nice enough to tell us what they were planning for next year and to ask our opinion of the resort and if we had any suggestions for them to improve.
Our accommodations were fabulous. Although we have always ask for the same room in Bluebird I believe most of the rooms are outfitted the same. The beds are nice and comfortable and there is a nice sitting area. Our room comes with a kitchenette which is the perfect size for our needs. The cleaning staff is always courteous and takes care of any need that we may have. But I would have to say my favorite part of the room is the porch. It is a nice place to sit and watch the sailboats while drinking a cold beer or glass of wine. There is something comforting about sitting on the porch and hearing the fog horn from Burnt Island while observing the beautiful resort grounds and harbor.
The resort also has a few restaurants. We’ve eaten at 88 and Bogies a few times and have always found the food excellent. 88 is chic while Bogies is more casual. I usually go for the lobster roll or Haddock sandwich with a nice Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. The wait staff is very courteous and we’ve always had a pleasant time.
I wanted to discuss the staff for a moment. Even with all the great things to do and see I think the main reason we always come back to SPI is the people. Whether it’s the staff or the other guests we’ve met at the resort, everyone makes you feel wanted. From the moment you checked in to the day that you leave you just never met a better group of people. My daughters talk nonstop about their vacation and how they can’t wait to go back, even 6 months later. The whole time they are on vacation they don’t break out the electronics or watch too much television. It’s all about their experience and interactions with the staff and guests. If they miss their sea stories in the morning and we’re out and about the first thing they want to do when we return to the resort is share their day with Cap’n Nate and Cap’n Shawn.
Lastly, I think the most lasting experience is the 4th of July boat trip. Right before dusk each year the Novelty pulls up to the SPI dock and takes on passengers. After the 60-70 passengers embark the Novelty takes us on a tour of the nearby islands, sharing with us some local lore. Soon after the Novelty pulls into Boothbay Harbor about a quarter mile from the fireworks barge. The fireworks show is simply spectacular with many ohhhs and ahhhs. When the show is over the Novelty heads back to SPI but on the way you can see fireworks going off from nearby towns. Needless to say my girls will talk about the 4th of July boat trip for months to come.
All in all I cannot imagine a better family vacation. Even the five and a half hour drive to and from Boothbay Harbor is a pleasant experience. The drive up is all about anticipation of what is to come and the drive home is discussing all the wonderful things that we’ve done.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.