Relais & Chateaux and Camden Harbour Inn 19 Nov 2013, 9:58 am
The last few days have been a whirlwind of extraordinary events. We’re very excited to announce that the Camden Harbour Inn, and Natalie’s, have become members of Relais & Chateaux. The Inn is one of only two Relais & Châteaux properties in Maine, the other is the White Barn Inn.
Established in 1954 by a small group of luxury hoteliers and restaurant owners in France, Relais & Chateaux has set the global standard for excellence in hospitality. Relais & Chateaux properties are one-of-a-kind destinations offering memorable experiences through world-class service. Today there are 515 properties worldwide.
To become a Relais & Chateaux property, hotels must have the equivalent of a 4-5 star rating and be focused on exceeding guest expectations. The hotel must contain a high quality gourmet restaurant with a focus on local cuisine. The rigorous selection process properties go through aims to find those that best embody the spirit of Relais & Chateaux through hospitality, kindness, generosity, and passion for their region. Relais & Chateaux properties redefine luxury hospitality by creating unique and personalized guest experiences, something we have worked very hard to accomplish, and have come to be known for.
We would like to thank all of our guests and our staff. We couldn’t have achieved this without your encouragement, loyalty and support. We are offering a special celebratory rate for rooms booked by November 30; details made it into the Globe. If you can’t access the story, give us a call at 207-236-4200.
We’re also happy to share a recent interview that ran in the Portland Press Herald about the Inn, the business of owning an Inn and Relais & Chateaux.
In other very exciting news, our mixologist, Seth Knowlton, was named Maine’s Best Bartender by Eater Maine. Come in to say hello and taste one of his delicious concoctions.
You’ll be glad you did. We hope to see you soon.
Spend Thanksgiving at one of the best places in the US to celebrate 5 Nov 2013, 10:10 am
Holidays can get hectic, but we’re here to help. Come relax with us at the Camden Harbour Inn this Thanksgiving and let us take care of all the prepping and planning. We’ve been fortunate to be named one of the best places in the US to celebrate this holiday, so you can be sure you are in good hands.
Our Thanksgiving Package offers a two-night stay at the Inn for guests to enjoy the holiday in beautiful Camden, Maine.
Guests are treated to our signature a la carte Champagne breakfast each day, featuring a selection of a la carte entrees and fresh pastries, prepared every morning. Enjoy the views of the bay from the dining room while you get ready for your day.
After breakfast, we’ll set you up with a map of Camden’s
historic buildings so you can stroll leisurely through the town,
taking in the sights. We’ll also arrange for you to enjoy a
complimentary wine tasting at nearby Cellardoor Winery.
On Thanksgiving Day, you can spend the day relaxing or maybe taking a hike on one of the nearby trails. You won’t have to worry about dinner, though. We will prepare a gourmet five-course menu featuring turkey – of course – and traditional sides as well as much more to delight.
If you live in the area, or aren’t staying with us, we welcome guests for Thanksgiving dinner as well. Reservations are accepted between 1 and 7 p.m. The full menu is online.
We hope you’ll join us this Thanksgiving, let the stress of the holiday melt away and be thankful that you’re in beautiful Camden, Maine.
For more information on the Thanksgiving Package, you can click
Will the Maine Lobster Chef of the Year be from Natalie’s 22 Oct 2013, 9:49 am
Lobster Chef of the Year Competition
Two of our very own will be represented in this year’s Maine Lobster Chef of the Year competition at the 2013 Harvest on the Harbor.
Each year in the competition, put on by the Maine Lobster Promotion Council, several Maine chefs compete for the title with their unique lobster dishes as part of Harvest on the Harbor.
This year, Executive Chef Jon Gaboric and Chef Chris Long have come up with dishes to outdo each other and astound audiences. Chef Gaboric will prepare butter poached lobster with a corn and miso puree, shaved radish salad, geoduck dressing, crispy quinoa, and yuzu foam. Chef Long has crafted a butter poached Maine lobster dish with grilled lobster mushrooms, corn and artichoke ragout, and tarragon butter.
This is the first time two chefs from the same restaurant have competed against each other, and we’re excited to see what the judges think about their different approaches. The competition is sold out but lobster is always on the menu at Natalie’s.
Harvest on the Harbor takes place October 23 – 26 and you can view other Harvest on the Harbor events at http://www.harvestontheharbor.com/.
A discussion of Maine hospitality 16 Oct 2013, 8:46 am
Camden Harbour Inn owner Raymond Brunyanszki recently appeared on the Dr. Lisa radio show, which airs in Maine on WLOB but is also available on iTunes. Raymond, a veteran of the hospitality world, joined Dr. Lisa Belisle to discuss what it takes to operate Maine’s most luxurious boutique hotel and nationally acclaimed fine dining restaurant, Natalie’s.
The interview included a focus on how the Camden Harbour Inn sets itself apart from other lodging facilities and how the industry will move forward in the future. Jonathan Cartwright of the White Barn Inn also appeared as a guest on the show, providing additional insight to Maine hospitality.
The Dr. Lisa Radio Show is focused on health and wellness, from an individual, family and community perspective. The show aims to create a peaceful oasis in the midst of a hectic world and encourages listeners to create their own joyful, happy and sustainable lives. In this way, Dr. Lisa supports a message we feel passionate about at the Camden Harbour Inn: it’s necessary to take time to slow down and appreciate the finer things in life.
You can listen for free via iTunes.
We hope you enjoy it!
Wizard of Oz Exhibit and Autumn Harvest Cooking Class 9 Oct 2013, 11:59 am
It’s hard to believe but it’s true, Camden, Maine is home to the largest private collection of Wizard of Oz memorabilia.
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, one local collector of memorabilia from the film is displaying his collection at Rockland’s Farnsworth Museum. Willard Carroll, a Camden resident, has spent the last 47 years building the world’s largest collection of Wizard of Oz merchandise and now he’s putting it on display at the Farnsworth for the public to enjoy.
The property that Willard shares with his partner Tom Wilhite will eventually house the National Oz Museum, but for now fans of the film can enjoy a portion of the collection at the museum. Willard’s collection consists of more than 100,000 items, and only a fraction of them will be displayed in the museum exhibit. Those that appear, though, will be well worth the trip for Oz fans. The displayed items will include the most complete costume remaining from the movie (that of the green Lollipop Guild Munchkin), rare posters from different productions, the hour glass that the Wicked Witch of the West used to show Dorothy how much longer she had to be alive, and several published versions of the original story.
Willard and Tom met while working at Walt Disney Studios and eventually left Disney in 1984 to start Hyperion Pictures, a production firm focused on children’s entertainment that they continue to run out of Camden today. Lovers of Hollywood and movies, the couple have a long history of collecting memorabilia.
After spending so many years hunting for the perfect Oz items, Willard is thrilled to be able to share them with the public.
The collection will be on display from October 12 through March
2014 in the Farnsworth’s Crosman Gallery. You can find more
information on the exhibit
here. The Camden Harbour Inn is a short drive from the museum
and we have many great packages to
enhance your stay.
Cellardoor Autumn Harvest Cooking Class
Also this month, 0ur friends at Cellardoor Winery are offering a special cooking class in their Farmhouse on Friday, October 18th from 5:30pm – 8:30pm with Chef Abigale Avey of Trillium Caterers. The class will focus on using the Autumn Harvest foods to create a hearty four course meal that you’ll prepare yourself and then enjoy paired with Cellardoor wines.
Tickets for the cooking class are $85 per person and reservations can be made by calling 207-763-4478.
We hope to see you soon, there is always a lot to do in Camden!
Fall Foliage Packages 26 Sep 2013, 10:20 am
Here in Camden, fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year. We’re sure you’ll agree, but if you need any convincing we have some fall stay packages that will show you all the season has to offer.
Our Camden Maine Fall Foliage Package includes a two-night stay at the Inn complete with A La Carte Champagne breakfast each morning and a welcoming glass of Prosecco and hors d’oeuvres when you arrive. We’ll pack you a delicious lobster picnic lunch to take with you on one of the colorful hikes in the Camden area, pamper you with a relaxing massage when you return, and treat you to a 5 course tasting menu at Natalie’s prepared by Executive Chef Jon Gaboric.
If two days in Camden just isn’t enough (we hardly think it is!) our Sea the Leaves Package might be what you’re looking for. During your four night stay with us, we’ll send you on a 2-hour sail on the Schooner Olad and set you up with a one-day kayak rental to explore the gorgeous lakes surrounding Camden. You’ll also have a chance to enjoy the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland and a wine tour and tasting at Cellardoor Winery in Lincolnville. To fully relax after all your exploring, we’ll provide an hour-long massage at our spa. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a meal at Natalie’s and we’re also including dinner at the award-winning Hartstone Inn.
Come visit us in Camden and see for yourself: Autumn in Maine is truly gorgeous.
The Camden International Film Festival and Vinfest 19 Sep 2013, 11:54 am
Two of Camden’s most popular events take place in one very busy weekend at the end of September. Vinfest, held by our friends at Cellardoor, is a two-day celebration of Maine wine, food, music and fun. There are still tickets available to the Wine Extravaganza on Saturday, September 28 and for dessert and a very special concert with Wavelength, The Company of Men and Taylor Dane the night before. If you’ve never gone to Vinfest you are missing an extraordinary event. It’s definitely an annual highlight for us, we go every year and always have a great time.
Beginning Thursday, September 27, Camden fills up with documentary filmmakers and fans from across the country and even around the world. The Camden International Film Festival, or “CIFF”, began in 2005 as an event dedicated solely to bringing together nonfiction artists to celebrate documentary filmmaking. Today, CIFF is recognized as one of the top 25 documentary film festivals in the world, one of the 12 best “small town” film festivals in the US and New England’s most respected documentary event. The Festival takes place in beautiful and unusual venues in Camden, Rockport and Rockland, Maine. Screenings are followed by intimate Q&A sessions with directors and industry professionals. Festivities over the weekend include panels, workshops, photographic exhibits, musical concerts and exclusive parties.
The Points North Documentary Forum is a particularly interesting portion of the Festival. It provides skilled filmmakers an opportunity to pitch their ideas to filmmakers. New this year, CIFF is teaming up with the New York Times to offer the first Op-Docs pitch in North America, with winners receiving the opportunity to produce an Op-Doc for the New York Times.
We’re proud sponsors of CIFF and look forward to what promises to be a great festival and a very busy weekend!
Natalie’s, a culinary destination 6 Sep 2013, 11:54 am
The cuisine in Maine sells itself; seafood right off the boat, local ingredients and influences from all around the world can be found in many restaurants. When that is paired with a skilled kitchen staff with vision and an understanding of balance the food takes on an entirely new level.
Writer John Golden visited Natalie’s recently, calling it “world-class dining in Camden” and remarked on the experience saying, “The menu respects the use of local ingredients from area farms and purveyors, and the chef has wrapped it all up in glorious ways to make it visually triumphant,” and that “ Natalie’s is at the forefront as a haven for civility and stylish dining–in a coastal town where visitors now come not only for the scenery but for the delights of this region’s new culinary energy.” The hard work of our Executive Chef, Pastry Chef, waitstaff and others did not go unnoticed in his review; we are very proud of our team.
To experience Natalie’s for yourself, consider our Gourmet Dinner Package. This package includes a two night stay in one of our luxurious guestrooms, our infamous a la carte Champagne breakfast every morning, hors d’oeuvres and a glass of Prosecco when you arrive. What sets this experience apart from any other, however, is that we include a 5-course tasting dinner at our award winning Natalie’s Restaurant.
Executive Chef Jon Gaboric will prepare a 5-course menu especially for you while you enjoy the breathtaking views of Camden harbor and the mountains.
Since opening in 2007, Natalie’s has received numerous awards and has earned the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.
We could tell you more about the mouth-watering meals prepared by Executive Chef Jon Gaboric, but it wouldn’t do them justice. You might have to check out the menus yourself.
Don’t take our word for it; call 800-236-4266 to make your reservation and experience the best flavors Maine has to offer.
Windjammer Festival in Camden August 30 26 Aug 2013, 9:17 am
2013 Annual Camden Windjammer Festival
There is no better way to experience Camden’s history than to spend the weekend learning about its maritime traditions, heritage and skills, touring the schooners during the open house or perhaps listening to a professional diver share his experiences and finds.
Each Labor Day weekend, the town of Camden holds the Windjammer Festival in celebration of its maritime heritage. This August 30th, schooners from all around Maine will sail into and dock in the Camden Harbor. Throughout the evening, take part in the silent auction for dinner aboard one of the schooners in the harbor, listen to the Bay Winds North Wind Ensemble and even stay until after dark when the fireworks kick off the weekend celebrations.
This year’s festival takes place Aug 30th-Sept 1st, and it is an all-volunteer, community-led celebration put together by Camden Windjammer Festival Inc., a non-profit organization. All donations and sponsorships directly support the Festival’s mission of preserving the relationship between Camden and its maritime history.
Please check out the schedule for more information about the event. If you’d like to experience sailing yourself, Camden Harbour Inn offers a 95th Anniversary Summer Sail Package that includes a relaxing two hours on board the Schooner Surprise in Camden and Penobscot Bay.
The Schooner Surprise is the oldest day sailing windjammer in Camden, and Captain Jack and his wife Barbara are undoubtedly the most experienced sailors. You can read an earlier interview with them below in our blog.
Captain Jack sails out three or four times daily, but we especially love the sunset trip in the evening. Whether you look forward to soaking up the sun or discovering Maine’s wildlife, this is certainly a memorable trip down the stunning coastline of Penobscot Bay.
If you book our two night Summer Sail Package you will be welcomed to our Inn with a glass of Prosecco and a selection of hors d’oeuvres, treated to a three course dinner at Natalie’s Restaurant and enjoy to our a la carte Champagne breakfast.
To reserve your stay, give us a call at (207) 236-4200.
An introduction to Camden’s Schooner Surprise 12 Aug 2013, 11:50 am
Meet Captain Jack and Barbara Moore
Did you grow up sailing? How did sailing become a passion?
Neither of us grew up sailing. We began sailing on a whim two years after we got married, started out learning the basics and then dove into it with both feet. We were renting little sailboats for $3.50 an hour on the weekends, and definitely didn’t take formal sailing classes like our grandchildren do at the Camden Yacht Club. We learned to sail by going out and doing it, but took navigation, piloting and seamanship courses through local organization like The United States Parlor Squadron, a group of volunteers who teach courses through schools about sailing rules, charts and navigation. We wish everyone with a boat was required to take these kinds of courses. We also took sailing courses with the U.S. Coastguard Auxiliary. Even though we were already sailing, learning the theories, names and parts of the boat helped fill in the gaps as we went. We’re both certified secondary school teachers, and it’s normal for us to first read about it, then go to the black board and learn about it.
Newly married, our children came rather quickly. The whole family enjoyed sailing together. Being on the water with the quiet and the sails…it quickly became a passion and still is for all of us. We have four kids, two boys and two girls, and three of those four make their living today full time in the sailing industry. We started off living in Boston and sailing in Boston Harbor. We started by buying a little 16 foot boat, and eventually graduated to a 30 foot boat we could sleep and eat on, and lived off of for three summers in Boston Harbor. We were leaving the boat in the morning for work and coming back to the boat at night.
I’ve heard a lot of about the boat called the Milky Way- can you tell that story?
In 1978, we took our two week vacation from teaching and went to the Caribbean in the middle of February. We stayed in a guest house up coast of Puerto Rico, found a boat that a man was taking care of and fell in love with it. We spent the whole week checking it out and exploring it, eventually bought it and paid for it by selling our house. We lived on that boat every day for about seven years total. Four years in the Caribbean, sailed home to New England in 1982 and then spent three years sailing and lived on the Boston Harbor- summers in New England and winters in FL. We started our business 30 years ago with that boat. Milky Way was eventually sold to a writer after we purchased the Surprise; he sailed off into the sunset and we’ve never really encountered either of them again.
Why Camden? You’ve clearly explored so much of the world.
Our business of day sailing expanded with the growth of tourism in Camden. We were very fortunate that we discovered Camden Harbour early in the tourism years. There weren’t as many little inns and B&Bs as there are today, and the Camden Harbour Inn is one of the oldest inns in Camden. We were working in Newport, RI at a place that ran boat shows, and the manager of a wooden boat show came onto our boat for dinner and told us we should be in Camden making more than our $5 an hour wage. Next year, we applied for a license and were in Camden by the summer starting up our business. Camden is one of the few places where you can park your car and the boats are right there- plus, when you leave the harbor and put the sails up, you have limitless places to explore and pretty protected water.
Did you participate at all in this year’s Great Schooner Race?
Many years ago, when we first came here with Surprise, the first year of the Great Schooner Race started on Islesboro, a nearby island with a year round population, off the lawn of what would become Kristy Alley’s house. We raced the Surprise two or three times, even successfully won our class twice, but the changing location makes it difficult to participate. The problem is that the location of the race changes every year, so you never know if it will be close to Camden or not. As a day sailing business, it’s more advantageous to stay close to where we operate. If it’s held in Penobscot, like this year, the finish line is so close that locals can practically touch the boats on the landing and it turns into a wonderful public event. We’ve started sailing passengers alongside the race so they can get close to different sections of the fleet and take pictures. If we were racing, it wouldn’t be as much fun for the passengers because we would want to be in front, far away from the other boats.
Camden Harbor is one of the biggest windjammer ports on the coast of Maine. Surprise is the perfect small windjammer to compliment the bigger, overnight windjammers. It’s pretty exciting to be in the middle of all of that on the Surprise, and while we’re taking pictures of them, they’re taking pictures of us because the Surprise is 95 years old and much older than a lot of the larger boats- the Surprise is actually the only one on the national historical register.
How did you get involved with the Camden Harbour Inn?
Oscar and Raymond were visiting Maine years ago, already falling in love with Camden and the concept of owning a gracious inn. They sailed with us on occasion, and we like to think we contributed to the delightful disease of falling in love with Camden. Now of course the irony is they’re doing such a great job running such a great place as the Camden Harbour Inn that they don’t have much time to sail.
We were working with Camden Harbour Inn from the beginning- we take a lot of their staff as well as their guests on the Surprise, independently as well as through the Summer Sailing package. Of the whole fleet of boats in Camden, we take the fewest people. Oscar and Raymond like the fact that we maintain a more relaxed atmosphere for adults. It’s a very congenial trip- we even pass around a basket of fresh fruit and cookies. People often get off the boat and say they feel like they’ve just visited a friend’s home- that really means we did our job right. After 30 years in this business, we think that besides making a living, our job is to give people such a great experience that they want to return to Camden. This is the entertainment business, the having fun business and that has become our reputation. Folks like Oscar and Raymond aren’t afraid to send people to us because they know we focus on building a lasting relationship between our customers and Camden.
Can you recount one really extraordinary trip you made in Camden? Have you encountered a lot of wildlife on your trips?
We’re fortunate to see an abundance of wildlife. Porpoises are not uncommon, as well as harbor seals lying on the rocks as the tide is going out. We never promote it, but we have occasionally seen a whale, which is always an extraordinary and rare experience. The best experience is on Friday afternoons when the large, overnight windjammers are back from a week of sailing. They’re out on the bay finding a place to spend the night before coming in on Saturday morning. We sail close and get great pictures, and one of the most frequent comments we get from people is they can’t believe the beauty that we live with every day. We are constantly going– sail four times a day. We barely have time to grab a bite to eat between trips. I like to think our enthusiasm is contagious; we genuinely love our boat, which is clear in how well we maintain it, and we appreciate the sailing ability of Surprise in a wide variety of situations. It’s the ultimate compliment when a repeat customer leaves the boat and says they had their best trip yet- that’s what you always strive for. We genuinely enjoy living here year round, and we love sharing beautiful Camden.
If you could recommend one place to visit on shore in Camden, where would it be?
Everyone recommends Mount Battie- that’s logical answer because it gives you a terrific perspective. But another place we send people is the Camden Public Library. It’s a beautiful, historic building that overlooks the harbor. There are amazing views from the upstairs, and downstairs the historical society has a computer tutorial about Camden through the ages with plenty of amazing black and white photos. It truly is the heart of a great year round community.