“Surrounded on three sides by the sea …” – historic Newagen Seaside Inn brochure, c. 1920
The historic, oceanfront Newagen Seaside Inn began welcoming guests to the Boothbay Harbor region in 1816. An exclusive summer colony had sprung up around the beautiful old Preble homestead and its breathtaking views of Cape Newagen in the coastal village of Newagen (from Capmanwagan, or “Cape of Good Trading”). On the tip of a wooded cape jutting five miles out to sea, famous and distinguished guests – from Frank Sinatra to Maine governors – enjoyed sea water baths, fresh Maine seafood, and unparalleled views of the sea. By the time the famous tempered saltwater pool was built in 1925, Newagen had become one of the most prestigious oceanfront resorts on the Maine coast.
Generations of Newagen residents and guests were shocked when the beloved original inn burned to the ground in 1943. The fire was rumored to have been deliberate – set to signal German U-boats that it was safe to come ashore. What is certain is that the community immediately set themselves to restoring a local landmark. Within three months, the Inn was rebuilt in the grand Colonial Revival style, with white clapboards, signature black shutters and rows of sparkling windows facing the sea; and guests returned to find their Maine coastal retreat better than ever.
Over the next 60 years, the Inn’s reputation grew. No longer just the playground of the privileged few, Newagen had become the insider’s choice in Boothbay Harbor. Just minutes from the attractions of Maine’s midcoast but far from rapidly increasing crowds, the Inn was a way into not just The Way Life Should Be, but the way life was. With its emphasis on simple pleasures centered around the sea, the Inn reintroduced guests to the authentic Maine coast lifestyle while restoring balance to their own lives.
Environmental activist and marine biologist Rachel Carson (Silent Spring) was often among them. A frequent guest at the Inn, Rachel wrote lovingly of hearing “the hollow boom of the sea, striking against the rocks” as she relaxed on the Inn’s plank porch overlooking Cape Newagen, met friends at the Restaurant, or explored the pristine woods on the estate. Today, many guests come to the Inn to see the unique environment that so inspired and sustained her, and to make a contemplative pilgrimage down the rocky path to where Rachel’s ashes were scattered – “here at last returned to the sea.”
Scott and Corinne Larson purchased the Inn in 2000 after falling in love with its historic charms. “We know we are stewards not just of a tremendous view or a grand old resort, but of a tradition,” Scott explains. “A tradition of authentic Maine hospitality. When we build a new cottage or add a new event or put a new dish on the menu, we always make sure it is true to that tradition.”
“Our guests trust us with their precious free time and their precious memories,” adds Corinne. “Like the generations of owners before us, our family is committed to keeping that trust.”