innbythesea-bedroomWhich of these words belong together? Maine. February. Romance. Tricked youโ€”all of them.

The standard scenario for a sexy weekend away from the kids may involve a tropical beach, pina coladas, and moonlit walks through the surf. But how many parents have the bucks to jump on a plane spur of the moment? Not to mention the fact that if you havenโ€™t in a pool since August, dragging out the MiracleSuit is probably the quickest romance killer you can think of.

Nah, Iโ€™ll take my getaway a car-ride from home, with a wardrobe of nice thick sweaters.

I was suspicious at first when I heard of Inn by the Sea, in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The location was great (just outside of Portland, not a bad drive from New York), but Iโ€™m not a fan of olde timey country inns with communal breakfast tablesโ€”theyโ€™re almost as big a romance killer as the swimsuit scenario. So just how sensual could it get at a waterside inn in Maine in mid-January?

inn by the sea1Very.

First, forget those frumpy images of flapping โ€œvacancyโ€ signs on creaky porches. The Inn by the Sea is more resort than inn, with 61 rooms decorated in chicly organic styleโ€”polished teak, smooth rattan, marble baths. Lamps are make out of tree branches, ceramic vases, burled woodโ€”I wanted to stuff them all into my suitcase. The do-not-disturb signs are adorable tin lobsters. Thereโ€™s a full-fledged spa, a lounge-y bar, and a fabulously inventive restaurant serving sustainable seafood and produce as local as it can get it (albeit, not so simple in winter).

Second winter prices are genuine bargains. Thereโ€™s a package that includes fun extras like an LL Bean blanket and a hot stone massage, but all you really need is one of these gorgeous rooms (go for one with a fireplace), a fully loaded Kindle, and dinner reservations. Bundle up and take a walk on the beach; the driftwood collecting is great this time of year. Head back to your room for an hour in your soaker tub. A glass of wine in front of the fire, grilled gaucho steak frites in the dining room, and guess whoโ€™s going to forget to call the sitter and check on the kids?

You can get a great room for $230 a night right nowโ€”itโ€™s no roadside motel quickie, but honestly, this is the kind of weekend that can warm up a marriage all winter.


This post was written by Sally Kilbridge. As the country’s foremost expert on destination weddings and romantic travel, Sally is the creator and editor-in-chief of a new website,, as well as the go-to resource for, the website of Conde Nast Traveler magazine. Formerly the deputy editor at Conde Nastโ€™s Brides magazine, Kilbridge writes about travel, food, weddings, and home for national and foreign print and digital publications.