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The Boston Globe


Kennebunk surprise where frugality and artistry meet

KENNEBUNK — When we arrived at the breakfast buffet at the Franciscan Guest House the Lithuanian cook was beaming as she carried out a big tray of hot, round doughnuts. She set the tray on the table and dusted the doughnuts liberally with powdered sugar. It turns out that we had hit the breakfast jackpot. She doesn’t make doughnuts every day (although she does make great muffins and breads) and they are a favorite with both guests and staff, who debate the secret ingredient (almond extract, perhaps) that makes them so delicious. The hot little treats were just one of the simple pleasures and small surprises of our stay at this modest lodging.

Sometimes frugality really pays off. On the recommendation of a friend who visits regularly, we had booked a stay at the Guest House as an alternative to more expensive lodgings on this pricey stretch of the Maine coast. The Guest House sits literally across the street from the White Barn Inn and Spa, a Relais & Châteaux property known for luxurious pampering. With modest, clean rooms and cheerful, friendly staff, the Guest House enjoys the same great location near beaches, dining, and shopping. It also shares a beautiful 47-acre property on the western side of the Kennebunk River with the St. Anthony Monastery. The estate has a quirky back story.

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