By Jon Hudon
With its rugged beauty and wealth of outdoor attractions, Maine is a Bucket-List destination for a holiday. Famous for its mountain peaks, Instagrammable vistas, lobster rolls, lighthouses, and 5,000 miles of spectacular coastline, this New England state also has its share of fine resorts. The Samoset Resort is definitely one to visit.
Set on 230 acres overlooking Penobscot Bay in Rockport, the historic vacation place boasts jaw-dropping views and amenities to please all ages. It dates back to July 4, 1889, when it opened its doors as Bay Point Resort, and today the award-winning destination is part of the esteemed Opal Collection of luxury resorts and hotels. Its accolades have included the prestigious AAA Four-Diamond Award, and it has also been recognized by Condé Nast Traveler as one of America’s best golf resorts and by Travel + Leisure as one of the best family vacation destinations.
Samoset is undeniably a beautiful resort, offering loads of attractions for the whole family— pets included. Dogs 30 pounds and under are not only welcome, there are amenities set up to make your stay with your furry four-legged friend a stress-free enjoyable experience. The Samoset Kids Club, for guests aged five to 12, operates through the summer and captivates the younger set with a wide range of activities, from nature walks and Game Show Nights to sports and educational fun. Running Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., this program includes lunch, so the grownups can enjoy adult time elsewhere on the grounds.
If you want to spend a day together exploring the mid-coast region surrounding the resort, there’s plenty to see, including museums, wineries and lighthouses. You can go hiking at the Merryspring Nature Center of Camden and if you have a yen to set sail, there are numerous day outings available on schooners.
To hit the greens, though, you won’t need to go anywhere. Golfers in your family will love staying at Samoset. Its 18-hole championship golf course has views of the Atlantic Ocean. The golf complex offers a driving range, practice putting green, short game facility, clubhouse and a fully stocked pro shop. There are tons of activities available to keep kids going in between meals—when they aren’t making a splash in one of the two heated pools. With tennis, disc golf, ping-pong, basketball, shuffleboard, badminton, volleyball and more to choose from, youngsters will be excited to explore and have fun.
The unique outdoor pool is definitely a popular choice. Set on a hill so you can see the amazing coastal view, it has a “zero entry” edge on one side so you can simply walk in like you would at a beach, making it easy and fun for all ages to take a dip. Once you find the perfect spot on the multi-tiered decks, sandwiched between the pool and the Splash Pool Bar, you will find many poolside café staff members ready to take your order right from your lounge chair. Cocktails, casual fare and a kids’ menu are offered. You’ll definitely want to try the Splash Pool Bar’s lobster roll.
In fact the food at Samoset is excellent. There are several restaurants to choose from and we found all were top notch. Thanks to its ambiance, view and food, though, Le Bella Vita is definitely the star of the show. The resort’s signature restaurant, it has an Italian theme, an outdoor terrace where you can dine overlooking the ocean, and a wine bar called Enoteca. Le Bella Vita’s seafood stew is next-level good.
As for accommodations, there are some great choices to suit your needs and your numbers. Along with the 178 comfortable, recently updated guest rooms and suites, there also guest cottages and timeshare condominiums on site. Wherever you choose to rest your head, however, you’ll want to check out Samoset’s spa and its health club, featuring fitness facilities and classes, along with an indoor swimming pool, hot tub and steam saunas. For details and reservations, see samosetresort.com.