Travel Tips

The Historic Inns of Rockland, Maine

Locations in this article:  Portland, OR

Rockland Harbor MaineThe four historic inns of Rockland, Maine, are examples of how fusing modern comforts with traditional elements, exceptional food and hospitable hosts (especially when they’re escaped city slickers) can make a difference between a place to sleep, and a place to stay.

It’s one thing if your hotel is simply a place to crash at the end of the day.

But if you want to get more out of your travel dollars, why not make the hotel part of the experience? Sandra Kennedy investigates …

Friendly and sincere greetings from locals are a constant. Warm welcomes, well-preserved buildings, upscale restaurants, and first-class museums, abound. Am I inside a Norman Rockwell painting? Nope, I’m in the heart of historic Rockland, Maine.

Rockland Maine breakwaterOnce known as a quiet fishing village with lime-quarry, Rockland’s current claims to fame include its four renowned Historic Inns, its status as the “Lobster Capital of the Universe,” and a collection of may be the world’s largest historic windjammer fleet.

Townspeople have created boutique and funky shops, distinctive cuisine and renowned attractions such as the Farnsworth Art Museum and Wyeth Center. Yet, this mid-coastal town on Penobscot Bay still maintains its small-town appeal.

The four Historic Inns of Rockland are the LimeRock Inn, Berry Manor Inn, Old Granite Inn, and Captain Lindsey House. Each one is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places and all have been certified by the state of Maine as environmental leaders in the hospitality industry.


Located in the Historic District, this Victorian mansion is a classic example of Queen Anne architecture. It’s a stately structure from the 1900s, with jade-green exterior, cream and purple trim, whimsical turret, and slate and copper roof. Under the eaves, a wraparound porch is graced with green wicker furniture and a garden swing.

Built in 1892 for U.S. Congressman Littlefield, Dr. Lawry later purchased it in 1950 for his home and medical practice. In 1994, Kathryn and Jerry Dougherty purchased it and created the town’s first bed and breakfast. Most likely, they saved the mansion from being developed into apartments or deterioration. Current owners P.J. Walter and Frank Isganitis purchased the building, in 2005 leaving behind six-figure salaries and corporate gigs in Boston and New York to try their hands at innkeeping.

While in Maine, why not visit the source of one of America’s most popular waters: Poland Spring in Bottled Water: Traveling Straight to the Source.

LimeRock Inn roomThis 6,500 square-foot Victorian Mansion has eight spacious, comfortable and luxurious guestrooms and common areas such as the high ceiling parlor, dining area and living room with fireplaces, 19th-century antiques and stained-glass windows. Chandeliers reflect on the oak-carved winding staircase that lead to the upstairs guestrooms, with décors true to the era. Walter’s distinctive photographs adorn several walls.

Guest wake up to the aroma of Rock City Roaster coffee, and room rates include breakfasts with homemade bread, fresh fruit, jam and hot dishes prepared by Isganitis (think buttermilk pancakes, Belgian waffles and eggs Benedict.) After all, according to the owners, “There are two kinds of people in this world: those who eat to live and those who live to eat.”

Get more Maine travel tips in America the Beautiful: Postcard from the Edge.


In a story that seems all-too-familiar in this little town, Berry Manor’s owners Cheryl Michaelsen and Mike LaPosta left behind prestigious careers in New York to run a Rockland inn.

The Pie Moms - Berry ManorBut Berry Manor has something that the other inns do not: the Pie Moms. Both Mike and Cheryl’s mothers have developed a huge following with their sumptuous berry pies and lively personalities.

Berry Manor is situated in the Historic District, near downtown and the harbor. It features a Marion berry-colored exterior with turrets, dormers, and pillared-porches in a grand Victorian style.

Built in 1898, Charles Berry presented the home as a wedding present for his bride. The Berry family kept it in their family for four generations, and another local family owned it for 50 years after that. Michaelsen and LaPosta bought it in 1998, and within 90 contractor days, converted the inn from a private residence to an elegant bed and breakfast.

It wouldn’t be a Maine travel article without lobster, would it? Click here for the Maine Lobster Festival in 10 Culinary Festivals for the Foodie Traveler.

Berry Manor InnUpon entering the 6,800-square-foot Victorian mansion, I noticed a chart at the bottom of the winding staircase, indicating times and places for manicures, pedicures and hair styling. Each year, Michaelsen and LaPosta sponsor a beauty day to honor breast cancer survivors.

Up the winding staircase are eight elegant guestrooms with rich-colored fabrics, Victorian antiques and period reproductions. Common areas include the foyer with wooden floors, a formal parlor, drawing room, library, and dining room with lace-curtained windows. Oddball additions include boisterous dancing toy hamsters acting out on the mantel.

The food here is top-notch, with those famous berry pies, and full, gourmet breakfasts including Maine lobster breakfast pie, shirred eggs with Havarti cheese, and poached pears with yogurt sauce, plus juices, coffee and tea.

Find tips and ideas on where to stay in our Hotels & Accommodations section.


Old Granite InnTrue to its name, the Granite Inn is distinguished by its granite façade and expansive porch. Situated across from the ferry terminal and Knights Marina, guests can get an unobstructed view of the active harbor with lobster boats, windjammers and docks.

Owners Joan and Ed Hantz are hearty and welcoming, and are happy to share their own story of moving to Rockland after living and working in New York for 30 years. As owners of an adorable Springer Spaniel named Zack, the Hantzes have opened their inn to welcome pets and families with small children.

Dating back to1840, the structure was built in the Federal Colonial style from granite quarried in nearby St. George. Later, it became the Elk’s Clubhouse and after that, it became a home and office for two physicians.

After purchasing the building in 2006, the Hantzes did a total renovation and redecoration of each room. Joan, a graphic designer who was born to a pair of architects, pairs a modern Scandinavian look while retaining the historical character. The eight guestrooms are vividly painted, each unique in its contemporary and inviting style.

The front porch was expanded to the full length of the building; family antiques   adorn their home; a brightly lit dining room is dominated by a family-style, banquet-length dining table. Ed is the chef who makes gourmet breakfasts including quiches, crepes and apple pancakes, accompanied by baked muffins, scones and fresh fruit.

For more, try Historic Hotels: Unusual Stays With a Unique Past.


Somewhere between an English country home and Maine sea captain’s abode is Captain Lindsey house. Located in the historic seaport area, the Captain Lindsey House has a simple exterior: yellow-painted bricks, green awnings, and a poppy-red door. After walking up a few stairs, guests enter a world of nautical displays, antiques and Oriental rugs.

Lindsey HouseAnother renowned sea captain, George Lindsey, built the house in 1835. He turned it into an inn with a livery stable and tavern, and in 1924, it became home to a water company. One hundred and fifty-years later, Captains Ken and Ellen Barnes took it over and restored it to its 19th-century grandeur.

Captains Ken and Ellen Barnes, married for more than 46 years, are world travelers with a lifetime of stories, including the stint as full-time sea captains of the Windjammer Stephen Tabor. Ellen is the author of A Taste of the Taber, Classic Maine Coastal Cooking, complete with illustrations by her husband, which features several of the breakfast dishes served daily.

The inn tends to attracts business travelers as well as tourists and caters to both audiences with amenities such as free Wi-Fi. Also of note is the well-stocked library which features a 41-year-old collection of National Geographic.

In the afternoon, guests have a choice of port wine or tea, along with baked goods, served fireside or in a private walled-in garden.

Can’t get enough of historic hotels? There are hotels and inns around the country that are steeped in history—you just have to know where to look. Check out the Historic Hotels of America, part of the National Trust for Preservation.

From the 150-room boutique Heathman Hotel in Portland, Oregon, to the Hotel El Convento in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico housed in a 17th century convent, the Historic Hotels of America are listed in, or are eligible for, the National Register of Historic Places, are housed in buildings at least 50 years old, and have local historic significance.

By Sandra Kennedy for

For more, try Historic Hotels: Unusual Stays With a Unique Past.

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Get more Maine travel tips in America the Beautiful: Postcard from the Edge.