Why, good morning!
You’re just in time for breakfast at the Inn at Tanglewood Hall. This charming 1880’s Victorian “cottage” in York Harbor is where Len and I spent our first two nights in Maine.
It was a good spot to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary (obviously I was a child bride :)). During our early years as a couple in England we stayed at many, many B&B’s — everything from a farmhouse serving bacon so fresh it oinked when you bit into it, to a tiny room above Haworth’s Black Bull Pub, where Branwell Brontë pretty much drank himself to death.
No matter where it’s located, staying at a B&B is always an adventure — it feeds my interests in history, architecture, interior design, food and hospitality. With fond memories of our long ago stays in Yorkshire, it was good to fast forward to the Yorks in Maine.
Tanglewood Hall is “casually elegant,” probably what you’d picture a B&B to be like if you’ve never stayed in one before. Andy and Su, the innkeepers/owners, live on site and offer a relaxed, personalized experience for their guests. Andy and his dog Pippin warmly welcomed us, showed us around, and provided suggestions for dining and sightseeing. The inn has six guestrooms and was a York Historical Society Decorator Show House with its floral painted floors, period furniture, antiques, rich wallpaper, fireplaces, and interesting curios tucked in every nook and cranny.
We stayed in the York Harbor Suite, which has a separate parlor and sunroom adjacent to the bed and bath. Lots of room to spread out and make yourself at home with a nice view of the back garden.
I quickly noted the suite had some of the same architectural trim we have in our current house — same door casings with corner rosettes, same baseboard mouldings, same wainscoting in the bathroom. Cornelius made quick friends with the porcelain rabbits and enjoyed trying out all the different chairs.
At the breakfast buffet, guests can eat in the dining room or take a tray of fruit, homemade granola, yogurt, bread, bagels, or muffins and a serving of cheese/sausage/veg strata out to the veranda along with their wake-up cup of coffee or tea.
I’m not a morning person, but a delicious breakfast will get me out of bed in a flash. Making conversation with strangers before 9 a.m. is not my strong point either, but you never know when you’ll encounter an interesting character for your next story. It’s also a good chance for a writer with cobwebby brains to brush up her social skills.
The second morning Andy served us something special: Egg on a Cloud. The “cloud” appeared to be a type of meringue — it rested atop a slice of ham or Canadian bacon on an English muffin. Great fuel for a busy day of sightseeing!
Of course there were always homemade cookies in the cookie jar for a quick snack anytime, along with tea, lemonade and wine.
It rained on the day I’d planned to take exterior pics, so I borrowed some from Tanglewood’s website. No ocean views from this inn, but it has a quiet woodland setting (with very cool twinkling “fairy lights”/laser fireflies at night), and it’s ideally located for easy access to the beach, York Village, Ogunquit, Cape Neddick, et. al. This is a lovely place to stay if you’re looking for a relaxing getaway with friendly innkeepers.
People I can envision staying at Tanglewood: Miss Rumphius, Anne Shirley, Mrs. Beeton, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Oscar Wilde, the Alcotts, Jeanne Birdsall, Barbara Cartland.
Nice touches: naturally scented glycerin soap, York Peppermint Patties, personal fridge. Wish I’d been brave enough to play the piano!
If you’re ever in the area: Dine at Frankie and Johnny’s (Cape Neddick) and meet the delightful Dessert Fairy. She’s 15 and has been a Dessert Fairy for about 7 years. She comes to your table to describe the day’s scrumptious offerings in mouthwatering detail, and will almost be able to convince you to try some blueberry cheesecake, bread pudding or an almond-mocca semifreddo. If only you hadn’t eaten that big bowl of seafood chowder and that huge plate of stuffed haddock with lobster tail, potatoes, veggies and polenta! Everything’s all natural and very fresh and the staff is the friendliest anywhere.
* * *
THE INN AT TANGLEWOOD HALL
611 York Street
York Harbor, ME
#1 B&B in York Harbor (Trip Advisor)
* * *
NEXT UP: Captain Jefferds Inn, Kennebunkport
Copyright © 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.