The White Barn Inn
The White Barn Inn
Address: 37 Beach Avenue
Web Address: http://www.whitebarninn.com
"HALL OF FAME"
The White Barn Inn has long had a reputation as one of the finest in the country. A member of the prestigous Relais & Chateau group, the Inn exhibits all the wonderful traits savvy travelers have come to expect from a Relais property....amazing service, exceptional accommodations and wonderful food. Recent renovations have brightened the rooms and the renowned Spa is a haven for the tired and weary. Outside there's a wonderful pool with cabanas where you can have lunch or cocktails. Dinner in the converted barn is a magical experience with amazing food and a spectacular wine list. This is truly a Special Occasion destination.
The Traditional rooms are kind of small so you’ll want to opt for the Superior category or better. The Superior rooms have recently been redecorated in soft shades of grey, blue or green and are located on the second and third floors of the main house. The Queen Deluxe category and up also have fireplaces and some have two person Jacuzzis.
Fresh flowers and fruit greeted us upon arrival in our Superior room decorated in a soothing sea foam palette. The comfortable room had balloon shades, a Queen down topped bed with wonderful linens, a fabric covered headboard and a reading chair and ottoman. The oversized marble and granite bath had a fantastic free standing claw foot soaking tub and a separate walk-in rain shower. Plush terry cloth robes, heated floors and Molton Brown toiletries completed a wonderful experience.
Dinner in this Mobil Five Star and AAA Five Diamond restaurant is an event you will not want to miss when you are in the area. It is an over-the-top experience under the direction of Jonathan M. Cartwright, Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux. The menu changes weekly to accommodate the freshest ingredients available and it is fun to just sit back and enjoy the multiple courses and crisp, efficient service.
Rustic barn wood walls, wide plank floors, stunning oil paintings splashed with light, a wonderful copper topped bar and music from a cherry grand piano create an enchanting ambiance. Fresh flowers, table sculptures (ours was a lobster),crisp white linens over a dark green tablecloth, brown leather chairs, flickering candles and sparkling tableware add to the intimate mood.
Our table, #52, sat in front of a large window showcasing a beautiful outdoor terraced garden that changes with the seasons and is lit with spotlights in the evening. Gorgeous. Table #50 sits in a cozy corner in the front of the room.
We were offered a glass of champagne while we perused the menu and decided on the four course prix fixe ($95) paired with wines ($48).
Our meal began with lobster bisque with fried lobster wonton matched with Domaine Weinbach 2006 Riesling and a pan seared quail breast and foie gras paired with Chateau St. Michelle 2007 Riesling.
We caught our breath with a Granny Smith sorbet and a delicious fresh pea soup before an amazing Maine lobster over homemade fettuccine served with a cognac coral butter sauce, paired with a Domaine Caneros 2006 Pinot Noir and a pan seared tuna steak matched with Two Hands Angels Share 2007 Shiraz.
A Chateau d’Arch 2003 Sauternes was a perfect accompaniment for a strawberry orange gelee with white chocolate, a “tree” of chocolate treats and a mango souffle with passion fruit sorbet.
Servers in short white jackets, black pants and ties waited tables in teams and never missed a trick. They even replaced candles when they had burned halfway down. Our primary server, Megan, was excellent and actually selected the wines for each course.
The wine list is quite extensive starting with nearly 32 wines by the glass and 21 half bottle choices. All the major regions are represented as well as some from lesser known areas like Provence,and Langudoc. Lots of big guns on this list also also plenty of choices under $50 to satisfy just about anyone.
As with virtually every Relais property, the service here is impeccable and the staff friendly and helpful. You barely have to lift a finger for anything. Nice touches abound as well; port and brandy in lobby, early morning coffee and newspapers, small portable book lights with the evening turndown service.
Rates from $340 off season to $470 in season for Traditional rooms. Other categories higher.. All accommodations include a European style continental breakfast and afternoon tea.
WHAT OTHERS SAY:
“It’s “worth a detour from anywhere” to this “beautiful” barn in Kennebunkport, but “leave the kids at home” because it’s “the ultimate romantic getaway” with a “wonderful” full-service spa and “one of the best” restaurants (chef Jonathan Cartwright’s Relais Gourmand “gem”) that offers a “once-in-a-lifetime” dining experience; a renovation in 2008 elevates the already “gorgeous” accommodations, while the “top-notch” staff lives up to the rest with “pampering beyond” belief.” ZAGAT
WHILE YOU ARE THERE:
There is much to do in the area and probably as much to do in winter as in the prime summer months. The Inn has an acclaimed Spa with terrific treatments, there’s a wonderful outdoor pool with cabanas and lunch and drink service and if you are off for a hike or a day at the beach, have the Inn prepare one of their amazing picnics for you that will be packed in a wicker picnic basket that is yours to keep.
There are beaches close by (we like Goose Rocks), you can shop in town or at the nearby outlets (L.L. Bean) in Freeport and Kittery, lots of water activities from sailing to kayaking to whale watching, golf at Cape Arundel Golf Course, biking along Ocean Ave. (past the Bush compound), cross country skiing and snowshoeing in winter and antiquing (don't miss Antiques on Nine).
In early June, Kennebunkport presents Pairing, Palates + Palettes a wonderful celebration of food, wine and artwork that we thoroughly enjoyed during our visit. The White Barn Inn participates in this great event.
DRIVING DISTANCE: Boston: 1 hour 45 minutes, Hartford: 3 hours, Albany: 4 hours, NYC: 5 hours, 30 minutes