Coastal Maine has recently seen a spate of older hotels transformed for more sophisticated visitors. Now it’s getting yet another hipster hideaway this summer with the mid-June opening of The Wanderer in Kennebunk. Located near some of Maine’s best beaches, this 17-cottage compound has a lounge pool, a “complimentary breakfast treat bags” and classic cruiser bikes for guests to use. As a signal for the kind of traveler who’s expected to come, there’s a 1965 Land Rover Series ll 88 packing surfboards and parked on the property, an irresistible Instagram backdrop.
This roadside cottage enclave is a far cry from the accommodations your grandparents may have stayed in on a summer vacation in Maine. The Wanderer offers two styles of white clapboard cottages – studios and one-bedrooms – and some of them are dog-friendly. They have queen beds with custom upholstered headboards, modern bathrooms, wet bars for preparing coffee or cocktails, as well as outdoor living spaces. The one-bedroom cottages have a separate seating area. Each cottage is slightly different, thanks to the use of fabrics and locally-made furniture from Maine Woodworks.
“We created The Wanderer for people who want it all – a luxurious retreat with the amenities of a resort that’s close to everything,” said Tim Harrington, co-owner of The Wanderer. “We want our guests to get out and explore all the amazing things to do that are either a short drive or bike ride away.”
Harrington’s signature projects celebrate nostalgia for a 1950’s-era Maine coupled with 21st-century improvements and luxuries. He made his mark as a Founding Partner of the Kennebunkport Resort Collection, which includes The Tides Beach Club, Cape Arundel Inn & Resort, and Hidden Pond Resort in Kennebunkport. Of late, his Atlantic Hospitality company has transformed two Maine properties that I’ve covered in Forbes, The Claremont in Southwest Harbor, and the soon-to-open Salt Cottages in Bar Harbor. He’s also behind The Lincoln Hotel and Batson River Brewing & Distilling in Biddeford.
While Maine cottages traditionally had fairly utilitarian interiors, these cottages have been transformed by Mark Cotto, creative director at Atlantic Hospitality. He’s taken the existing cottages and reimagined them as “a laid-back surf lodge meets nostalgic New England aesthetic.”
Design elements include exposed wood walls, shiplap, brass lighting and vaulted ceilings. Favored materials include bamboo, sisal, jute and rattan. The bed linens are in coastal blues. He’s unearthed vintage bamboo nightstands and utilized black and white surf photos.
Some pieces were sourced from Kennebunkport’s Hurlbutt Designs. There are also custom rope-wrapped surfboards by Kennebunkport’s Gold Standard Woodworking inside the cottages. The landscaping favors seagrass and white hydrangeas.
Beyond the design is The Wanderer’s location in Kennebunk. Three of Maine’s best beaches are a few minutes’ drive away: Parsons Beach is known for sun-bathing and striper fishing; Kennebunk Beach is great for beach walks; Gooch’s Beach is where surfers go. Swimming in Maine is for the hardy, at least until the water warms up – a little – by August. There are also opportunities for kayaking, especially along the nearby Mousam River. Trails for hiking and biking are also close by. The dining and shopping in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport are legendary along this coast.
The Wanderer is expected to open on June 17, 2022. Visit The Wanderer for details.