Ah, the Maine coast, with its rough-hewn granite shores, crisp, misty mornings, and tall pines that emit scents reminiscent of primeval forests. It’s the perfect setting for those drawn to the seashore, to American history, and to the unpredictable vagaries of Mother Nature. But you don’t have to forsake luxury to enjoy the state’s rugged coastline. Venture less than two hours north of Boston to Kennebunkport, where a certain presidential family has hosted several high-profile weddings at its sprawling compound. If you don’t happen to be tight with the Bush clan, just reserve the 26-room WHITE BARN INN, one of Maine’s few luxury hotels (207-967-2321, whitebarninn.com). Beautifully appointed and seamlessly managed, the property includes a top-notch restaurant housed in two restored timber-frame 1820s barns, as well as a full-service spa.
A wedding at the White Barn’s sister property, the BREAKWATER INN, offers riverfront views and porch dining (207-967-5333, thebreakwaterinn.com). For a more-rustic feel, LAUDHOLM FARM in nearby Wells features a Colonial-era farmstead surrounded by hundreds of acres of protected land (207-646-4521, laudholm.org).
Whether you’re adventurers or spa-goers, there’s no shortage of area amusement. Kennebunkport has plenty of boutiques to entice urbanites, as well as stellar restaurants like the quirky, organic-leaning BANDALOOP (207-967-4994, bandaloop.biz) and GRISSINI, a Tuscan bistro perfect for rehearsal dinners (207-967-2211, restaurantgrissini.com). Those who want to experience Maine’s natural wonders, meanwhile, can head out on a classic excursion: the ever-popular whale-watching trip. RACHEL LEVITT