Freeport, Maine, and the Harraseeket Inn
Most of us know Freeport, Maine, as the home of L.L. Bean or as the site of all the factory outlet stores, but the town has a lot more to offer visitors than great shopping. Overflowing with antiques and home to more than 20 wood-burning fireplaces, the Harraseeket Inn is loaded with traditional New England charm and is within walking distance of downtown Freeport.
My husband, Rob, and I arrived at the Harraseeket on a recent Thursday afternoon just in time for the inn’s afternoon tea, which is included in the room rate for guests who book with the hotel directly and offered daily from 3:30 to 4:30. Served in a large parlor just off the main lobby, the spread included a beautiful fruit platter, a variety of cheeses, and fresh pastries. We had skipped lunch, so it was a more than welcome surprise. Just be careful not to overdo it and spoil your dinner. We almost did.
With 84 guest rooms, the Harraseeket is large enough that you don’t feel like you’re on top of the other guests every time you turn around, but small enough to still feel intimate. The antique furniture and paintings give the place a homey atmosphere, but the inn manages to avoid the cringe-inducing clutter that’s found in so many other family-owned inns and bed and breakfasts.
We stayed in Room 214, which features a wood-burning fireplace and is furnished entirely with pieces by renowned Maine cabinetmaker Thos. Moser, whose workshop is across the street. One of our favorite things at the Harraseeket, though, was the Broad Arrow Tavern. Decorated to the nines with a Maine-themed decor (moose heads, antique prints, even a handmade wooden canoe), the Broad Arrow sources all of its produce, meats and seafood locally. Most dishes are cooked in a massive wood-fired oven, which gives them a unique and delicious flavor.
On holidays, including Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Harraseeket serves a grand buffet that includes appetizers, soups, entrees and desserts, all made with the same locally sourced ingredients served at the Broad Arrow. Breakfast in the Maine Harvest Dining Room is included in the room rate for guests who book their stay directly with the inn.
If you stay at the Harraseeket over Thanksgiving weekend, you’ll be able to take advantage of the many Black Friday deals happening in downtown Freeport, where you can buy anything from mountain bikes to designer jeans to high-end cookware. But if shopping and the crowds that can come with it aren’t for you there are a lot of other worthwhile things to do and see in the area.
Just a half hour by car from Portland or Brunswick, and about an hour from Boothbay Harbor, Freeport makes a great home base for exploring local lighthouses, beaches, historic attractions and museums, including the Portland Museum of Art, the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, and the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum at Bowdoin College in Brunswick.
For the more outdoor-minded, L.L. Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Schools, based in Freeport, offer a huge variety of classes and excursions, including archery and outdoor photography lessons, snowshoeing and bird-watching trips, guided hikes, and courses in hunting safety.
Of course, you can always visit Freeport and not do much of anything. The next time I’m there, I plan to curl up beside one of the Harraseeket Inn’s cozy fireplaces with a book and a cup of tea — and maybe make just one small trip to L.L. Bean.
L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools