The Maine Course: The Brooklin Inn in Brooklin
From the food, to the atmosphere, even the location.When it comes to providing old New England charm, year-round, there’s a bed and breakfast in Brooklin that’s perfect for the Maine Course.When you come across the general store, it sets the tone for what to expect in this coastal town.About a country mile from Naskeag Point, even during the winter, this spot is like taking a step back in time.A great place to come in from the cold and cozy is the Brooklin Inn.In 1922, this building and several other properties were turned into a resort.Over the years, ownership changed several times, until 12 years ago, when Chip Angell and his wife bought it.”We sailed through here two years before, stopped one day in Brooklin. I wanted to see the wood boat school,” says Angell.After a couple more visits, the decision to come to Maine happened during a wintry March trip.”Snowed a foot, the pub was jumping. The food was awful. We can serve better food than this. We made the woman an offer and six weeks later, we were serving dinner,” says Angell.Brand-new to the restaurant business, they went looking for advice.”Somewhere I read about this guy who grew vegetables in the winter and he said you should always buy food within 50 miles. I said, ‘Okay, that’s what we’ll do.’ And, we’ve kept at it. We weren’t restaurant people, we’d never owned a restaurant before, so that’s what we did,” says Angel.”Right from the beginning, we decided to do something different and we decided to have everything local or organic, and we’ve kept at it. We like to know who made it, and who produced it, and we like to know who grew or raised or caught everything we serve here,” says Angell.Up in the dining room, it’s come as you are.”I always say the food is fancy and the dress is casual,” says Angell.They’re putting out colorful, inventive dishes, especially in mid-February.”We have fun on Valentine’s and last year and I think that we’ll run it all weekend. I’m not going to recite some of the dishes, they all have a Valentine’s hearts, lover’s theme to it,” says Angell.Their menu is always changing, and has someone for everyone.”I guess we serve more haddock than anything,” says Angell.For dessert, sous chef Elizabeth Barbato, has some sweet-treats up her sleeve.”The chocolate is flour-less chocolate cake and ricotta chocolate cheesecake and it’s delicious and very rich and yummy,” says Barbato.Looking for something more casual, or somewhere to hangout after dinner?You don’t have to go far.They have an underground pub, a local favorite.Tammy Andrews has been bartending here for 16 years.”I’ve met a lot of people. A lot of nice people, local people, and people that come here every year. It’s great for a little small town to have this, too. You know, that’s the best part, you go to a lot of little towns like this and they don’t have that. We’re lucky that we do,” says Andrews.”It’s just quaint. It’s small and quiet and it’s just not your everyday place to come and eat. It’s very New England, where a lot of places are more modern and 21st century, this is like going back in the day, but it’s still elegant and beautiful,” says Andrews.The Angell’s are looking to retire and sell the property, but the romance of this coastal village will keep them here.”It’s quiet. It’s pleasant. Brooklin’s a wonderful town. I don’t think I’d trade that for anything,” says Angell.You can find them on Facebook, or visit their website, BrooklinInn.com.