If you’ve done your time overnighting in nondescript motels and piling into the car to sightsee, it might be time to book a vacation where the place you stay is the real treat. Choose a long weekend aboard a houseboat, or play lightkeeper for a few days at a Maine lighthouse. You can vacay old-school-style in a vintage Airstream or chill out in a yurt in the woods. One thing is for sure: You’ll never forget spending the night in these unique places.
Camp in retro style
Whether you remember the glory days of the Airstream or just have a hankering for camping in retro style, there’s a trailer with your name on it at Chewonki Campground in Wiscasset. The 1967 Caravel Airstream is going to be parked at Chewonki this summer for short-term rentals on a site with full hookups. It’s a restored “couple’s camper”—a back-to-the-basics way to satisfy your urge for nostalgia.
Airstream at Chewonki Campground in Wiscasset, $150 per night, flat fee, including campground fees. FMI: www.vintagemainevacations.com; Info on Chewonki Campground, which is taking the actual reservations for overnight stays this summer: www.chewonkicampground.com.
Hike to a backcountry yurt
If you want a backcountry camping experience, but your travel partner wants a bed, a roof over her head and French pressed coffee, Frost Mountain Yurts in Brownfield is just the solution. You can’t ask for a better location for hiking to the summit of Frost Mountain with stunning views of Mount Washington. Yes, you’ll “hike in,” but for three out of four yurts, we’re talking just one-tenth of a mile from the parking area, just far enough to be surrounded by nothing but western Maine woods. It’s camping because there’s no running water, electricity or indoor bathroom and you supply food, drinking water, bedding and headlamps. Otherwise, each yurt is well appointed with bunk beds and futons, a cook stove and cooking utensils, wood stove, games, hammock, wine glasses and even a fondue set. Frost Mountain Yurts is just south of Fryeburg, close to Mount Washington Valley.
Frost Mountain Yurts, Brownfield, $105–$125 per night for two people, depending on the season, and a bit more for larger groups or to bring a pet. FMI: www.frostmountainyurts.com and (207)?935–3243.
Spend the night in a lighthouse
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to a be a lighthouse keeper, Little River Light Station at the entrance of Cutler Harbor is an ideal place for your summer getaway. The Friends of Little River Lighthouse have fully restored the 1888 keeper’s house and rent three bedrooms separately. Guests share the kitchen, living room and bathrooms, which have a rustic, old-fashioned charm you’d expect of a place that can only be reached by a 12-minute boat ride (you’ll meet the Friends at the public boat ramp in Cutler to get a lift). While on this 15-acre island overlooking the Bay of Fundy, climb the steps to the top of the lighthouse for spectacular views. The Coast Guard light—now automated—continues to shine. The rest of the island, far from city lights, is the perfect place to stargaze.
Little River Light Station, Cutler Harbor, $150–$225 per night, depending on the room, June 16 through Sept. 17. FMI: www.littleriverlight.org and (877)?276–4682.
Vacation like…a monk?
The Franciscan Guest House, next to St. Anthony’s Monastery in Kennebunk, is an economical way to enjoy the Kennebunks. Situated between Kennebunkport’s shopping-and-dining center and Kennebunk’s beaches, this nonprofit is an ideal home base. What more do you need than a bed, a private bathroom and a TV? Guests at the nonprofit hotel rave about the buffet dinners, outdoor saltwater pool, riverside walking path and views of the monastery’s English country garden. In keeping with the heritage of the friars, you’ll find a little touch of Lithuanian in the food, décor and summer staff. The monastery grounds are open to visitors from sunrise to sunset.
Franciscan Guest House, 26 Beach Ave., Kennebunk, standard rooms are $89–$139 through June 27, then $119–$189 through August 24. FMI: www.franciscanguesthouse.com and (207)?967–4865.
Rent a houseboat
The floating cottages at Derecktor Robinhood at Riggs Cove bring new meaning to the phrase “on the water.” Moored in a naturally protected inlet, you don’t even need boating experience to let the waves lull you into some true R&R. Just breathe and watch the seals, the lobster boats and the sunsets. The houseboat sleeps up to five—typically one family, but two couples could share the space cozily. Amenities include a propane stove and refrigerator, solar-paneled lights and 200 gallons of water. Rental includes kayaks and a motorboat you’ll use to get to the marina’s amenities, including a restaurant, library, historic galleries and live music on Friday nights. Riggs Cove is in Georgetown, 10 minutes from Bath and 45 minutes from Portland.
Floating cottages at Derecktor Robinhood at Riggs Cove, Georgetown, $265+ per night in spring/fall shoulder seasons; $325–$425 per night during peak season with a three-night minimum. FMI: robinhoodmarinecenter.com/riggs-cove-rentals and (207)?371–2525.
Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer from Scarborough. This article is a roundup of her Maine getaway vacation wish list.