Hidden Pond blends Maine cottage living with its own quirky, Instagram-worthy take on luxury. The enclave of 14 colorful one- and two-bedroom clapboard bungalows is spread over 60 acres of birch groves and balsam fir, just a 10-minute drive from downtown Kennebunkport. Each private house comes with a full kitchen that practically begs to be used, with first-rate cooking equipment and serving pieces and, for guests staying in the two-bedroom cottages, the option to send along a grocery list prior to arrival. However, dining at Hidden Pond’s farm-to-table Earth restaurant, with its awe-inspiring chandelier made from a preserved apple tree, shouldn’t be missed. For an even more memorable experience, guests can supper in one of two private garden sheds, which are outfitted with a sole table surrounded by hurricane lanterns, pitchforks, and potted plants, and situated steps from a chef’s garden that supplies ingredients for every meal. The Tree Spa is aptly named: Treatment rooms are nestled in the treetops eight feet above ground and are reached via wooden footbridges.
Summer Camp for Grown-Ups
I’m fairly certain Peter Pan may be behind Hidden Pond, a fantasy-like retreat in Kennebunkport Maine. It’s perfect for families and just as fun for a getaway with friends. Each cottage has its own unique decor. We stayed in Morning Glory which had a fire place and a screened in porch and a retro-chic kitchen stocked with coffee, trail mix, and fruit. Each morning a picnic basket was delivered to our door with a thermos of coffee, homemade pastries, quiche, and the New York Times. The bike barn is stocked with complimentary cruiser bikes which can be used around property, to nearby Goose Rocks Beach, or we rode ours an hour to town on a lobster roll mission. It’s easy to lounge poolside all day or relax in your cozy cabin but Hidden Pond satiates active guests with yoga, SUP and kayaking, morning boot camp at Goose Rocks Beach, and guided hikes to Timber Point. I needed all of the exercises after indulging in Hidden Pond’s awesome restaurant, Earth. Overseen by Boston chef Ken Oringer, Earth uses just-picked ingredients from the hotel’s farm and sources from the area’s top producers. Standouts of our meal included wood-fired asparagus, salsify, spring garlic, cracklings, and pickled chiles and diver scallops with fiddle heads, smoked potato puree, and baby fennel. The restaurant also has a stellar craft beer selection (ask for the locally made Peeper Ale). And of course there’s always room for S’mores, which guests roast over a bonfire.
Camp Hotels: Hidden Pond, Maine
Explore nearby Goose Rocks Beach by cruiser bike or in the hotel’s 1956 Ford station wagon. Mixology classes, treehouse spa treatments, and hammock lounging are other good bets. After dark, settle next to the bonfire—marshmallow stick in hand. From $798 for two nights, May through October. This appeared in the July/August 2012 issue.
S'mores in Maine
Earth, a collaboration with James Beard Award-winning Boston celebrity chef Ken Oringer, serves sensational local seafood as well as house-made pasta and charcuterie. Ingredients are locally harvested, foraged, and caught; herbs, vegetables and edible flowers are plucked from the resort’s magnificent organic gardens. I loved the crab toast made from locally-caught crabmeat and topped with savory herbs and edible flowers. Maltagliata (literally pasta scraps — maltagliata means “badly cut”) is served with Maine lobster that’s perfectly paired with wild mint and fennel. The piece de resistance, however, is the s’mores served at the nightly bonfire. Hidden Pond is a luxurious overnight camp where you can feel like a kid again (but, this time with wine).