At the top of the lawn sits the main hotel, a stately yellow-and-red building dating back to 1884 and featuring attractive rooms and a common lobby. The lobby is full of comfortable chairs and a fireplace where a roaring hardwood fire is maintained whenever it's chilly outside. Tea is served after lunch, and there are plenty of chairs on the hotel's porch overlooking the water. Staying in the hotel is a good option, but for those who can afford them, the Claremont also rents luxurious cottages with hardwood floors, Franklin stoves, kitchens, and fantastic views of the Sound. These cottages are so popular that reservations must be made up to a year in advance.
Once you have settled into your room or cottage, the Claremont offers plenty to do. For starters, there are professional quality clay tennis courts, and the hotel rents rackets for free. There are also two croquet courts on the main lawn where you can play a quick game and enjoy a spectacular view of the water. Farther down the lawn is a path that leads to the Claremont's dock, where it keeps several small rowboats that the guests are free to use. The dock is also an excellent place to fish, though the water is cold enough to discourage all but the most determined swimmers. Rods, oars, and lifejackets are provided free of charge.
The dock has another nice feature, the Claremont's Boathouse Restaurant. Here you can sit a have a light lunch or a quick drink (try the fresh-baked brownies with vanilla ice cream). If you need something more substantial, the Claremont also runs a full-scale restaurant adjacent to the main hotel, which serves tasty but overpriced breakfasts and dinners. If you decide you'd rather venture farther afield, you can take the Mount Desert Island free shuttle service, which stops right at the hotel on the hour.
Overall, the Claremont is an amazing place to stay. It offers a chance to relax in luxurious down-east splendor, take in some beautiful views, and see the whole of Acadia National Park. You'd be hard pressed to find a better place.
July 14, 2005
From journal Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park