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July 26, 2013

Maine Makeover

The rebirth of Ogunquit's Colonial Inn.

When you’re renovating an historic hotel, it’s difficult to get the balance right between old-fashioned charm and modern amenities. But The Colonial Inn has hit the sweet spot.

After a $4-million renovation that brought the property down to its studs, the 125-year-old Maine inn has emerged for its first summer season as, really, a brand-new hotel. A wrap-around porch beckons with hanging flowers and comfy furniture, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy the hotel’s continental breakfast or a glass of wine in the evening (they serve wine through a little window in the parlor, near the piano). Take a dip in the pool or a stroll along Marginal Way — a stunning coastal pathway that’s minutes from the hotel.

While the unique shapes of the bedrooms (and the slopes of their floors) still recall the Victorian-era originals, they now boast gleaming seamless-glass showers and beach-chic decor that reminds you that you’re staying in a fashionable seaside village.

That village is Ogunquit — one of Maine’s coastal jewels. While its sandy 3.5-mile beach is the main attraction, the village also lures top performers — like Clay Aiken starring in Joseph at the Ogunquit Playhouse (through August 25), and comedienne Paula Poundstone at Jonathan’s restaurant (September) — and top art, including rarely-seen Andy Warhol photographs on display at the really fine Ogunquit Museum of American Art (through September 1).

This is not a village that’s trying too hard — you know, the kind that clings desperately to the quaintness of its seafaring past. This is a vibrant place whose momentum keeps families and young couples coming back to Ogunquit year after year. Truth be told, we’d return just to make a pilgrimage to Arrows, whose chefs have been honored by the James Beard Foundation. They forage and grow their own vegetables, cure their own meats, make their own cheese, bake their own bread — all within a farmhouse compound in the middle of the woods.

Just remember to leave your beachy attire back at the hotel: one in our party had worn his Nantucket reds, and though his shorts were New England-chic, he was made to dine in the house pants!

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read more: 02. Sleep | family | historic | 05. Eat | 07. Beach | 10. Culture | art | performance | 11. Family

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