innbythesea-bedroomWhich of these words belong together? Maine. February. Romance. Tricked you—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 haven’t in a pool since August, dragging out the MiracleSuit is probably the quickest romance killer you can think of.

Nah, I’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 I’m not a fan of olde timey country inns with communal breakfast tables—they’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 “vacancy” signs on creaky porches. The Inn by the Sea is more resort than inn, with 61 rooms decorated in chicly organic style—polished teak, smooth rattan, marble baths. Lamps are make out of tree branches, ceramic vases, burled wood—I wanted to stuff them all into my suitcase. The do-not-disturb signs are adorable tin lobsters. There’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. There’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 who’s going to forget to call the sitter and check on the kids?

You can get a great room for $230 a night right now—it’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 Nast’s Brides magazine, Kilbridge writes about travel, food, weddings, and home for national and foreign print and digital publications.