Craignair Inn – a secluded MidCoast Maine waterfront hotel

by Aug 4, 2020Maine

Top Mid Coast Maine Waterfront Inn

Searching for a great Maine waterfront hotel? Look no further than the Craignair Inn in MidCoast Maine, ideally located on the St. George peninsula, historic, cozy, secluded and yet so close to great sights.

The Craignair Inn on the St. George peninsula is a secluded MidCoast Maine waterfront hotel that is so much more: cozy, homey, historic, unbeatable ocean views, great food, and yet not far from any number of sights.

Since current owners Lauren and Greg Soutiea bought the inn in December 2018, they have endeared themselves to the tiny Spruce Head village and slowly expanded the inn’s offerings – without harming any of its historic charm. Of course, sitting at the edge of the water across a short causeway to a newly minted island preserve can’t be beat.

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Imagine yourself in this vacation photo now: Lounging in an Adirondack chair on the Craignair Inn’s expansive rear waterfront lawn, enjoying some Craignair Inn homemade ice cream, watching the ocean waves or birds, and getting ready for the Milky Way to make its appearance over the Clark Island Preserve.

Forget bustling, tourist-filled beaches, or streets lined with trinket shops, the Craignair has the honor of being the only inn (or business really) within a few miles. You get safe seclusion, yet you are only 10-30 minutes from great villages, ferry landings, towns like Rockland or Camden, lobster shacks, historic business districts, and one of the best lighthouses in Maine (Marshall Point).

Maine Waterfront Hotel Lawn Party

The view out my room at the Craignair Inn, across its expansive lawn to the island preserve (The anti-mosquito window screen is a must, thus the mesh you see in the photo).

Safety protocols and cozy vibe at this Maine waterfront hotel

It doesn’t hurt that Lauren and Greg are simply the nicest owners who treat guests like family and bend over backward to ensure you have precisely what you need. One unfortunate situation is that they bought the inn in time to have one good tourist season (2019) – then the COVID-19 pandemic struck. What doesn’t hurt at all is that Lauren worked in public health and epidemiology prior to their move to MidCoast Maine from Boston. Meaning she has all the safety and cleaning protocols in place and sticks to them precisely, as we also discussed with her for our story on hotel safety.

Covid Hotel Safety Craignair Inn

Owner Greg Soutiea serves a customer a soda at the outdoor window for the new Clark Bar, masked for safety in 2020.

Although there is no shortage of inns and bed and breakfasts in Maine or New England, especially with the coveted ocean view, in today’s times, being a little more secluded in an intimate environment with a public health expert at the helm is not too shabby. (Note: In 2022, Lauren and Greg were named Maine’s Innkeepers of the Year by Maine Hospitality! Maine Hospitality noted they had “turned this rustic locale into a green, arty, culinary retreat on the edge of Spruce Head.”)

Craignair Inn has history, cool breezes, dramatic tides, and all the amenities

In the beginning, the clapboard building (circa 1928) was a boarding house for the Scottish workers at the quarry on what is now the 120-acre Clark Island Preserve across the causeway. (Note: “Craignair” translates loosely from the Scottish as “black rock.”) In 1944, the building was transformed into an inn, which it has been ever since. Lauren and Greg are the 6th owners since then, with three of the prior owners still either in Spruce Head or in Rockland!

The main house has 13 rooms, five of which share a hall bathroom, meaning the couple can at this time only rent a couple of those rooms that share a bath since sharing would not be safe with the risk of coronavirus. In a small house across the street – the “Vestry,” which used to be the community church — there are eight additional rooms, which have decks, air conditioning, and are a bit more spacious, and are also pet-friendly. A parking lot between the two is convenient for your road trip travel and for stashing all the things you need to stay safe and healthy while traveling.

Craignair Inn Maine Room

Craignair’s St. George room in the main house.

At this MidCoast Maine waterfront hotel, I stayed in the St. George room on the 3rd floor of the main house, a corner room with three windows for superior cross breezes and never-ending views of the ocean, tides, stars and island. The rooms are not expansive suites, but have a clean, tidy, historic feel that is all you need. My room has a ceiling fan, and all rooms have full amenities, extra ports for USB charging and more plugs, and plenty of plushy towels. Oh, and the Wi-Fi worked fantastically (although I certainly didn’t stream movies – too much great outdoors stuff to do!).

Breakfasts are included, and you get to choose from a menu with a nice variety. Plus, Greg (the usual morning chef) and Lauren will be happy to modify or change up something for you as needed or desired. Since both are vegan, choices include a variety of healthier options, too, along with the traditional. For example, a breakfast burrito with sweet potato hash can also have served over a bed of greens (my fave!), and Maine blueberry pancakes come with local Maine maple syrup. You also get a choice of sides, juice, and all the locally roasted dark coffee you want.

Mid Coast Maine Inn Breakfast

Breakfast with a view on the deck of the Craignair Inn in Maine.

Normally, during the high tourist season, the Craignair Inn serves dinner much of the week in its newly branded “Causeway Restaurant,” but this year it was curtailed to just Friday and Saturday. A community living room stuffed with plushy furniture begs for guests to hang out, read, or play games. Since the Craignair is open all year, the comfy living room and dining room are perfect for winter days when the weather may make the deck less comfortable.

Craignair Inn Mid Coast Maine Living Room

New as of late June 2020 is the “Clark Bar,” which is a newly created bar area in the main dining room of this MidCoast Maine waterfront inn with a window to the deck for outdoor ordering. Guests, community members, or visitors to Clark Island can saunter over, order soft drinks, hard drinks, ice cream, or snacks and take it away or enjoy it on the back lawn.

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All in all, the Craignair Inn is a delightful choice for top MidCoast Maine waterfront lodging with a personal feel for travelers that are either passing through, dashing from sight to sight, or just wanting to relax in a secluded setting.


Shopping for the best Made in Maine souvenirs

In Maine, you’ll fall in love with lobster, lighthouses, beaches and mountains, all the things the state is famous for, but they don’t really make the best Maine souvenirs or travel gifts. To find the best Made in Maine gifts, read Best Maine souvenirs – Maine Made products for the perfect travel gift.

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Disclosure: Therese was fully hosted at the Craignair Inn by Visit Maine. The review, opinions and ratings here are our own, and are not approved, provided, or otherwise endorsed or influenced by the hotel or Visit Maine.


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Rating The Craignair Inn


Our Rating Our hotel ratings will tell you what we think of an individual property and are not a comparison to other hotels in the area. They are valid at the time of our visit, which in this case was during the COVID-19 pandemic. That meant no daily housekeeping and some limitations on dinner service. Things can – and will -- change, of course, but we hope only back to pre-pandemic operations and not overall with properties like this that we love! We frequently pay for our hotel stays and will disclose whenever we receive discounts or comped room nights as a part of a hotel stay. Our ratings are a percent, with 100% being perfect and 0% someplace not even a rat would stay. We rate cleanliness/upkeep (e.g. dust on the windows, dirt under the beds, unclean bathroom fixtures, need of repairs/maintenance, etc.), comfort (e.g. taking into account quiet, how comfy the bed is, if there is a nice robe, a comfy chair, etc.), amenities (e.g. free parking, breakfast included, free Wi-Fi, free bikes, fitness gear, workout room, pool, etc. -- and we are not fans of hotels that say they include things, but then charge a facilities fee!), location (e.g. how easy is it to get around by foot, bike, and car), and value (e.g. how much we feel we got in return for the amount charged).