March 1, 2017

MAINE // Samoset Resort (Winter)

After the holiday bustle died down, we found ourselves suffering from a family-wide case of cabin fever. A few back-to-back illnesses and blizzards resulted in too many weekends spent indoors. Our friends, the Burnells, were feeling similarly cooped up, so Super Bowl Sunday we hatched an escape plan.

Saturday morning that plan was put into action and we ventured 70 miles up the coast for an overnight getaway to the Samoset Resort in Rockport. Neither family has school-aged kids yet, so we didn't intentionally pick the tail-end of February vacation week for our trip. I was a little worried that the resort would be too crowded, but there was just the right amount of guests for a good energy without feeling like we were on top of everyone else.

It was unseasonably warm this past weekend (almost 50 degrees on Saturday!), so we walked the property after dropping our stuff off in our rooms. The resort is perched on a hill overlooking Penobscot Bay. An 18-hole championship golf course fills the stretch between the hotel and the shoreline. The warm temps and fog had cleared most of the snow from the greens, so there was plenty of room for the older kids to run around. The babies hitched rides in Baby Bjorns strapped to the Burnells (thanks for carrying our kid, Shawn!).

The Samoset is usually only open on weekends in the winter. However, they're open every day for February school vacation week and offer a bunch of different kid-entertainment options. A whole conference room had been converted into a rec room complete with board games, corn hole (emblazoned with lobsters), a ping pong table, and a CedarWorks indoor playground. The staff also hosts an arts & crafts activity a few times a day, which is how we became the proud owners of a baggie of green slime.

Unfortunately we couldn't take advantage of the temporary ice skating rink they had set up on the property. The warm temps had turned it into a 100' x 50' puddle with a pretty view. We also missed out on their Glacier Ice Bar. It's an outdoor bar that's carved each January out of 20,000 pounds of glacial ice (we might need to head back without the kids for that one).
The majority of our time was spent at the indoor pool. The 4-year-olds were equipped with swimming aids and the babies were popped into floats, making multi-kid lifeguard duty a little easier to manage. It was W's first time in a pool and he loved it! I think it's safe to say both our boys have the fish gene, boding well for future family beach vacations.

The one time we did feel the fullness of the resort was at dinner. The onsite restaurant, La Bella Vita, was completely booked until 8pm when we inquired around 4pm. We should have made reservations in advance, but we honestly expected to go to dinner somewhere in Rockland. Instead, we were all so comfortable that eating at the hotel was most appealing. Thankfully the hostess was super helpful and recommended the adjoining Enoteca Lounge as another dinner option. The seating in the lounge is first come, first served so we arrived promptly at 5pm and snagged a spot next to the wine display. The full restaurant menu is available in the lounge, but there were also some lounge-only options. Everything sounded good, but flatbread pizzas wound up being the most popular order at our table. I had the Rustica Pizza (grilled chicken, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella, ricotta, garlic-olive oil, Parmesan cheese) and it was delicious.

Sunday morning the guys picked up an easy breakfast from Hole in the Wall Bagels in Rockland. We ate in the room then clocked in some more pool time. We originally had hopes of walking around outside again, but the temps had dropped back down into the 30's and high wind gusts made an outdoor stroll seem a little less appealing. Instead, we wrapped up our 24 hours at the Samoset before lunchtime to time the drive home with the babies' nap schedules, ensuring a peaceful ending to our trip.

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