Waldo Emerson Inn

108 Summer Street, Kennebunk, Maine 04043
Innkeeper(s): Hana Pevny
  • Introduction

    Waldo Emerson Inn

    Waldo Emerson Inn is a colonial style inn listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Inn is the oldest remaining house in Kennebunk, Maine and has had several famous owners. The original Dutch gambrel was constructed by one Waldo Emerson in 1753. Waldo, great-uncle of Ralph Waldo Emerson, the poet/essayist, made a tidy profit building clipper ships on the river behind the house. It was inherited through marriage by Theodore Lyman, who made a fortune building ships on the site and added the enormous addition in 1784 as a wedding gift for his second wife.

    The 'guests' parlor is a spacious, comfortable room with sofas and wing chairs. You're welcome to kick back and relax with a good book in front of the fire, watch cable TV, or enjoy a game of chess. Complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, and snacks are available.

    The Waldo Emerson is truly a four-season inn. In spring, the inn and the town are abloom with tulips and daffodils. The air is brisk, the shops and restaurants are open, and the crowds are light. In summer, flowers abound in the inn's gardens. We are just moments from the beach with parking permits and chairs provided. There are dozens of excellent restaurants nearby. In autumn, the Kennebunks put on a spectacular show of fall color followed by lots of winter activities nearby. Enjoy a mug of fresh-pressed apple cider beside a roaring fire in the parlor.

  • History of the Inn

    Waldo Emerson Inn Bed Breakfast history

    THe homes original owner was Waldo Emerson, great uncle of noted essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. A later owner, Theodore Lyman sold the home in 1804, to build the now-famous Lyman Estate and Greenhouses in Waltham, Mass. The house was purchased by John Bourne, father of 15 children, one of whom was George Washington Bourne, the builder of the famous Wedding Cake House next door. When George moved out with his new bride in 1826, he sold the home to his brother-in-law, Henry Kingsbury, and it remained in the Kingsbury family until 1979. George and Henry teamed up to form the Bourne Kingsbury Shipyard. They ran a West India goods store and built 33 vessels behind the house between 1820 and 1850.

    Waldo Emerson Inn is a wonderful recollection of the past. You enter directly into the keeping room dating back to 1753 with its hand-hewn oak timbers hung with pewter, and copper. The Inn offers six guest rooms each with handmade quilts, antiques, and private baths. 

  • Breakfast Room

    Waldo Emerson Inn

    Our Guests Enjoy a 3-Course Breakfast

    The breakfast room is unchanged since it was built the year that George Washington was inaugurated, with a handsome fireplace used every morning during the autumn and winter months.

    The signatures in the windowpanes were scratched with diamond rings by many of the inhabitants who lived here between 1800 and 1850. A massive oak table seats all of our guests for a bountiful, three-course breakfast served between 8:00 and 9:30 each morning with the menu changing daily.

  • How To Find Us


    1. From the general Boston direction take Route 95 North
    2. On the Maine side, take exit #3 to Kennebunk/Kennebunkport on Route 35
    3. After passing through downtown Kennebunk continue to follow Route 35 to Kennebunkport
    4. You are now on Summer Street
    5. After approximately 1.8 miles, you will see the "Wedding Cake House" on the left side
    6. Waldo Emerson Inn is the first driveway past the Wedding Cake House on the left

    You will see the Carriage House, home of Mainely Quilts, in front of you with the Inn on the right side of the driveway.