By Brian Swartz
BDN Maine Special Sections Editor
The welcome mat is out for pets and pet-lovers alike at the Winter Harbor Inn, located in Down East Maine and owned by Pam and Arnold Di Ruggiero.
Built in 1854 and recently remodeled, the inn provides the perfect place for people to relax and enjoy the quiet pace of life found Down East. With its four guest bedrooms and four bathrooms, the inn stands in the heart of Winter Harbor Village, less than 3 miles from the entrance to Acadia National Park’s Schoodic Point, only a boat ride from Bar Harbor and scenic Mount Desert Island, and just a short drive from the natural beauty and cultural and historic attractions of Down East Maine.
“People like to travel with their pets,” Pam said. “We invite them to stay with us and experience Maine at its best. We invite cats and dogs, too.”
Located at 298 Main St. and on the Schoodic National Scenic Byway, the Winter Harbor Inn sleeps eight people comfortably. Guests can relax in the sunny living room, on the front porch, in the backyard or at the bar, which features a new and beautiful tin ceiling. The inn has a full laundry facility for guests to use and, “if they take over the entire inn,’ a full kitchen for preparing meals, Arnold said.
Guests can use the free Wi-Fi via high-speed Internet access, enjoy a full continental breakfast each morning, and spend the day exploring Winter Harbor, Schoodic Point or other points in Down East Maine. Nearby lighthouses are visible from shore, and cruise operators offer trips in coastal waters.
The free Island Explorer bus stops just a block from the inn and connects guests with Birch Harbor, Prospect Harbor and Schoodic Point. The bus can carry bicycles.
Just a few blocks in the other direction, guests can catch the Bar Harbor Ferry, which crosses Frenchman Bay and puts passengers ashore at Bar Harbor. The ferry can carry bicycles for guests planning to explore Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island on two wheels; or guests can catch the Island Explorer in Bar Harbor and ride free to all major Acadia and MDI destinations.
Families and groups can rent the Winter Harbor Inn for such events as baby showers, birthday parties and bridal showers, and businesses can rent the facilities for meetings. The inn can accommodate up to 50 people for such activities.
And for those pets planning a Maine vacation, the Winter Harbor Inn is the perfect destination. Pam Di Ruggiero offers traveling cats and dogs the opportunity to enjoy a bath and a trim and other grooming services at 1-800-GROOMER (476-6637), a salon located at the inn.
Pam “is an extraordinary expert in cat-and-dog grooming,” Arnold said, pointing to Pam’s more than 20 years’ pet-grooming experience. A lecturer at such industry shows as Groom Expo and Intergroom, Pam co-owns 1-800-GROOMER; she co-founded Professional Mobile Groomers International.
Located behind the inn in a well-equipped building, the salon emphasizes full grooming services that help pets relax and look their best. Pets can exercise in the enclosed, sunny backyard. The salon and grooming services are open to the public, and pet owners can relax in the inn’s bar and enjoy a complimentary beverage and use the inn’s free Wi-Fi.
Besides pets vacationing in Maine, Pam grooms cats and dogs living from Bangor to Milbridge. “I provide an exclusive service not found anywhere else,” Pam said.
Vacationing cats and dogs can stay at the Winter Harbor Inn while their humans spend a day touring. And for the fun-loving pup seeking a good time in the great Maine outdoors, Pam offers exciting adventures at “Out Dog Bound.” Depending on its owner’s wishes, a vacationing pup can cruise Winter Harbor with Pam and her kayak, hike in the Maine woods, and frolic and swim at the seashore.
For information about the Winter Harbor Inn, go to winterharborinn.com. To make reservations, call 207-LOBSTER (562-7837).
For information about pet-grooming services or “Out Dog Bound,” go to 1800groomer.com or call 866-PET LOVER (738-5683).