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A Summer Getaway to Boothbay Harbor, Maine

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Boothbay Harbor is a small town on the rugged Maine coast defined by tradition, salty air, foggy mornings and pine needle paths.

For many people, mentioning of Maine conjures up an image of a sweeter world. The state famously known as Vacationland offers summer camps, lobsters, L.L. Bean, and outdoor adventures.

Boothbay Harbor is one of a handful of mid-coast Maine small towns where certain families have come or lived for generations. The village is big on casual, alfresco dining, small shops with made in Maine crafts, windjammer sailing, concerts in the park and craft shows. From Portland, it takes just under an hour's drive to reach this little haven.

A pining for the pine tree state led me to Boothbay Harbor over Memorial Day weekend. I had an image of a peaceful setting on the water with a clapboard inn and maybe a fireplace or gas burning stove for cool spring evenings. I found all of this and more at Spruce Point Inn Resort.

The main inn, built in 1892, is situated on 57 acres hugging the coast. Guests sit back on the front porch with a non-stop entertaining view of yachts filling their sails and lobstermen making their daily rounds. The inlet to Boothbay Harbor is in sight where bustling summer activity is heightened from late June through Labor Day.

Just a few steps away from the inn's entrance is the ocean, and, in classic Maine style, fog rolls in creating a sense of being "at sea." A fog horn, a sailor's soothing safety net, sounds gently but persistently, bringing added charm to a scene bookended by Burnt Island Lighthouse and Squirrel Island.

Steps from the Inn's porch is a terrace on the water's edge where a heated saltwater pool and Jacuzzi are elevated above the ocean. On clear days, sea- kayaks are available for exploring the shoreline and the nearby boat launch takes guests into town. (During summer months, parking can be a challenge in town, so it's easier and more fun to arrive by boat.) Onsite activities include tennis, chess on a life-size board, shuffleboard, and hiking through the surrounding woods.

After Labor Day, there's a little bit of a lull before leaf-peeping combined with antiquing weekend getaways. And when the glorious leaves finally fade and fall, Boothbay Harbor, as the locals say, becomes quiet. Many of the restaurants, shops and businesses go into hibernation, and some of the locals go south, only to return after the thaw.