The White Barn Inn – Kennebunkport, Maine, U.S.A.

A Maine Mainstay

The summer retreat of the first president George Bush (and sometimes of the second, though W. more commonly heads to his ranch in Texas), picture-perfect Kennebunkport is the setting for The White Barn, one of New England’s most special inns.

The con­verted 19th-century farm is comprised of four buildings dating to the 1820s, including a gatehouse, carriage house, May’s Cottage (where the inn’s original owner once lived), and the main building, a classic autumn-gold clapboard with white trim. Spread among these buildings, twenty-five meticulously appointed European-style guest rooms are done up with four-posted, canopy, and sleigh beds, and modern amenities including Jacuzzis. A pool offers an alternative to sandy Gooch’s Beach, within walking distance but with water that’s almost always too cold for swimming.

A highlight of any stay is the inn’s restau­rant, widely considered the best dining room north of Boston. Rustic and refined blend seamlessly in a setting of two lofty barns (one relocated here from the surrounding country­side), with creaky floorboards and locally crafted antiques, all glowing with candlelight.

Succulent lobster appears in many guises on the menu, sometimes center-stage as an entrée and sometimes as a base for chunky mine­strone soup. For a more casual feast, try the old-fashioned Mabel’s Lobster Claw, near the Bushes’ secluded compound on Ocean Avenue. Sit outside on a little porch with your simple feast of seafood or their legendary lobster roll, and be sure to save room for the homemade peanut butter ice cream.

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