In 2009 I wrote a review of this resort on Tripadvisor and titled it, "We Had the Time of Our Lives." That review was written after our first summer vacation at Linekin Bay Resort, and I ended my comments by vowing that our family would return every year because we enjoyed it so much. Well, just a few days ago we returned from our 4th consecutive summer vacation at LBR. Four years is a drop in the bucket compared to the devotion of many guests who have vacationed there for decades. Every year the place becomes more magical and our attachment to it continues to grow.
My husband and I have three daughters, ages 11, 7 and 6. The first time we visited LBR, two of our kids were in diapers and one sat in a high chair, and we had the time of our lives. As the years go on, our summers at the resort just get better and better.
It's important to note that the unique experience offered at Linekin Bay Resort will not be appreciated by everyone, a fact made clear by the disparate comments in this review section. To give you some background on our style, I should mention that our family travels frequently, at least four vacations a year, often as part of my husband's work. In the past two years we have experienced two Club Med resorts (good values if you like a lot of entertainment), Maui's Westin Ka'anapali Resort (which is managed by my sister), a Celebrity cruise around the Caribbean (family obligation, not fond of cruises), the Rose Farm Inn on Block Island (charming, couples only), several large hotel resorts in Florida (Disney) and California (San Diego, San Francisco), and the Aventura Spa Palace in the Yucatan. All of these trips were very nice, but nothing compares to a week at our beloved Linekin Bay Resort. When we drive onto that property and breathe in the fresh, extra-salty air, all of our cares melt away. And every year when we pull our packed minivan away from the waterfront and head for home, we all shed a tear or two. It's always hard to leave.
So why do we love it so much? Why is it that the little things that seem to bother some reviewers, things such as spiders, sagging porches and "exhaustion fans" (whatever that means) seem utterly charming to those of us who love it there? It's true that the cabins aren't "renovated," but we don't want renovated when we stay in a cabin. If we wanted marble bathrooms and carpeted floors and key cards we'd check into the nearest Hilton. We go to Maine to stay in a cabin that was built in the 1940s with someone's bare hands, with wood floors and ceilings, cozy quilts, windows we keep open all night, and no electronics. We don't want chemicals and pesticides that keep spiders away, we want to experience nature. We want "Little House on the Prairie" but with hot running water and electricity.
All-inclusive resorts are especially gratifying for us, because the expense and hassle of trying to find a restaurant three times a day where everyone will enjoy something to eat, pulling out the credit card and figuring the tip - or the alternative, shopping and cooking in a rented vacation home - all will quickly turn a relaxing vacation into drudgery, especially for parents.
At Linekin, we waltz into the dining hall in shorts and flip-flops, take in a breathtaking view of the bay, and enjoy something delicious to eat within minutes of sitting down. Scallops, lobster, shrimp rolls, pulled pork, eggs benedict, pancakes, pumpkin ravioli, halibut ... these were just some of the choices available during our recent stay.
The children at the resort usually eat quickly and then run outside to play tag on the lawn, while their parents linger over meals and talk with each other or with the other guests. Adirondack chairs are scattered about the lawn and pool area, and people come and go as they please. There is no music and no manufactured entertainment piped into the scene, just the sounds of laughter, foghorns, lobster boat engines, the wind blowing against mainsails, and the flapping of seabird wings.
During the day, we usually take out a sailboat, a kayak, or my favorite new addition, the paddle boards, and do a little cruising around the bay. We've never before seen such an amazing, laid-back waterfront operation. The new sail shack is stocked with every size life jacket and paddle you need, plus an extremely helpful bunch of instructors who hail from all over the world. They are happy to take you on a sail, or, if you know how to sail, you're free to take out a boat on your own and explore the islands. It's all very easy-breezy. When we're not soaking up waterfront activities, we head into town for homemade ice cream or candy, a walk along the footbridge, a visit to some local artists, the aquarium or the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (fantastic for all ages). In the evenings, after dinner, we play games in the West Lodge with family or with other guests. One of my favorite memories of our recent trip was when I sat with my daughters doing a puzzle and listened to my husband play Trivial Pursuit with a hilarious bunch of multi-generation Linekin lifers. There were folks in their 80s and folks in their 20s, organized into teams, and they had a ball.
Other favorite moments I will always hold dear include: watching my children muck around the tide pools discovering baby lobsters and crabs; joining the other guests in jumping off the dock into that cool Maine saltwater; having a blast racing in the weekly sailing regatta; hitting tennis balls with our girls using the resort's vintage 1970s Bobby Riggs racquet; painting pictures with visiting local artists on a rainy day; listening to acorns falling on the roof of our cabin; identifying found caterpillars and other critters; snapping photos of my younger daughters on piggy back races with the sail shack crew; learning about life in China from our outstanding Mandarin waiters, Jin and Lili; playing shuffleboard - oldsters against youngsters; making s'mores at the bonfire or enjoying the outdoor lobster bake with Diederik, Maarten, Andrei, Mica, Kaan and Ermand; the feeling that we are greeting our favorite family members every year when we return to the same wonderful staff - Rupert the most interesting tour guide, Garry the affable manager, John the talented chef, Kirsten the patient sailing manager; Dan the friendly barkeep, Ross & Roxanne the keepers of the flame, and Mark the general manager, who has breathed new life into this national treasure of a resort.
There will always be those who focus on the negative, and of course there is plenty to complain about if rustic is not your bag. From our perspective, we couldn't care less about peeling paint, a few bugs or simple furnishings. We care more about sunsets, ocean breezes, awesome food and desserts, warm hospitality and the chance to sail our own boats. Take a look at the photos posted on the Facebook page for this resort and you'll see why the focus of Linekin Bay Resort isn't, and should never be, fancy accommodations and luxury. A vacation at Linekin Bay is the chance to experience a way of life that doesn't exist anymore. I hesitate to write all this because I don't want our special place to become overrun, but because I love it so much and want the resort to succeed for years to come, I'll go ahead and post this review. Give LBR a try. It'll be an unforgettable getaway for yourself and your family.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.