Learn More About Our Seaside Inn
Victorian by the Sea is perched on a hillside overlooking beautiful Penobscot Bay and is an ideal destination for a New England vacation. Located between Camden and Lincolnville Beach, the bed and breakfast offers a quiet getaway with easy access to in-town conveniences.
Guests who frequent B&Bs know that every stay is a unique experience, and they enjoy discovering those differences. We would like you to know a few things about our inn before your visit and have included some frequently asked questions (FAQs), information on how we came to be innkeepers, and the history of this very special place on the Maine coast.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How far is the B&B from Camden? We are four miles north of Camden on Route 1, Atlantic Highway, a short drive, and one mile south of Lincolnville Beach at 33 Sea View Dr.Are there restaurants within walking distance of Victorian by the Sea? No. There are several great restaurants in Lincolnville within one mile, but they are along Route 1 and we do not recommend walking or biking on Route 1 because there is no shoulder on the section of the road near the B&B.
Do you have free parking? Yes. Our onsite parking area will accommodate both standard and oversized vehicles. A garage offers out-of-the-weather parking for motorcycles and bicycles.How far are you from area cities? Drive times in the busy summer months may vary, but we are approximately 4 hours from Boston MA, 4 hours from Manchester NH, and a 2-hour drive from Portland ME. When you make your reservation, inquire about attractions not to be missed along your route!
What is served for breakfast? Our full breakfast is served each morning of your stay between 8:00 – 9:00 am. Fresh coffee, tea, milk, and a variety of fruit juices are offered as beverages. Main breakfast dishes are made with locally grown products whenever we can and may include an egg dish, pastries, muffins, and a breakfast meat. Special dietary accommodations are made with advance notice, ideally at the time of your reservation. Earlier “To Go” breakfast options are available with a full day’s advance notice.
Are refreshments available at other times? Yes. Fresh-brewed coffee is ready for you at 7:00 a.m. in the Guest Pantry. Tea, cocoa, and instant coffee are available at all times of the day/night in the Breakfast Room.
Do I have to eat breakfast at a table with other guests? No, we offer tables for two as well as a community table for larger parties. Those guests who enjoy meeting fellow travelers often socialize on the veranda with coffee before breakfast; however, most prefer their own table for the meal.
Are there televisions in the rooms or common areas? No. Victorian by the Sea is a special place, and we strive to preserve its peace and tranquility.
Is Wi-Fi available? Yes, we have free Internet in all guest rooms, common rooms, and on the veranda.
Do you have air conditioning in all rooms? No, the rooms are cooled by the fresh, cool ocean breezes and ceiling fans. As our coastal area cools considerably at night, it is seldom too hot. Most guests sleep comfortably with a light blanket, even in July and August.
Do you have refrigerators in the rooms? No, but we do have a common Guest Pantry, which has a full-sized refrigerator with freezer that most guests freely use and are respectful of other guests’ items. We also have glassware and corkscrews available for use with beverages. If you choose to bring your own snacks or food, a microwave, dishes, and silverware are available for your use.
Do all of your rooms have private baths? Yes.
How far are you from Acadia National Park? We are approximately 80 miles from the Park entrance. The 1-½ hour trip makes a great day excursion, and we highly recommend you plan a day trip. We do provide a “To Go” breakfast with advance notice.
After living in the west (Oklahoma, California, Colorado and Texas), Jeanne and Rob Short found a 7-bedroom, 1889 Victorian-era summer cottage here in mid-coast Maine. It was then that the dream of a bed and breakfast was realized.”We really liked the idea of owning our own business and also of meeting people from all over the country, the world, in fact, and welcoming them to our home,” said Rob.
In June 2008, Jeanne and Rob traveled cross-country to take ownership of this beautiful residence.
According to the Shorts, the transition to the Northeast was not as unusual as some may think. Rob was born and raised in New Hampshire. He left New England to obtain a geology degree from Michigan Technological University in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It was there he met Jeanne, a native of the U.P. and graduate of Northern Michigan University.
“We loved Oklahoma City – as well as the many other cities where we have lived,” said Jeanne. “But since we both grew up enjoying long and moderate summer days, Maine is somewhat of a ‘return to our roots’ with the bonus of the ocean!”
Before this career change, Rob was employed in oil and gas exploration as a seismic data analyst. His early career took the couple to North Africa, South America, Russia, and most recently China, as well as Oklahoma, Colorado, California and Texas domestically. Jeanne had been in fund development for a number of non-profit organizations for more than 25 years, most recently for Oklahoma City University and prior to that, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater.
Built in 1889 as a summer home for the wealthy Francis Sawyer family of New York City, Victorian by the Sea, like many old homes in the area, provides both an interesting history and a unique literary connection.
Francis Sawyer was a Boston importer who later made a home for his family on the Upper East Side of New York City opposite Central Park. Francis and his wife, Ethalinda, had five children – four sons and a daughter. The youngest, Ruth, would grow up to become a popular children’s author. Ruth’s love of storytelling came from her Irish nurse who taught her to always leave a story “better than you found it.”
We know much about the Sawyer family and their summer home, now known as Victorian by the Sea, from Ruth’s autobiographical novels for children.
Ruth was nine the year Francis built the family’s ‘summer cottage’ on the Maine coast between Lincolnville Beach and Camden. Ruth loved her summers in Maine, especially the surrounding woods. Through her later writings, we learn that her brothers teased her endlessly but allowed her to sail, camp, and hunt with them. She recalled some of the adventures of these summers in Maine in the book, Daddles, The Story of a Plain Hound-Dog (1964), which reflected her love of dogs and enjoyment of seaside pleasures.
When Francis died unexpectedly in 1894, the family, uncertain of their financial circumstances, closed their home in New York and moved to Maine. Because they had to dismiss all their servants and Ethalinda had never learned to cook, Ruth, who was just 14 at the time, became the family’s gardener and cook. Their kitchen is described in great detail in her book, The Year of Jubilo (1940), which chronicles the year spent in Maine.
The Sawyer family taught themselves how to live off the land. Salmon and lobster were bountiful right off the shore and even today, early risers can see the lobster boats pulling their traps. They planted and ate from a large vegetable garden, which the current owners have revived.
Ruth Sawyer traveled to Cuba in 1900 to teach storytelling to teachers organizing kindergartens for children orphaned during the Spanish-American War. She returned to New York to study folklore and storytelling at Barnard College where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1904.
Ruth’s first published work was The Primrose Ring (1915), of which a movie was made in 1917 starring Loretta Young. She won the Newberry Medal in 1937 for her best known book, Roller Skates. Another tale, Johnny Cake Ho!, written in 1953 and illustrated by Robert McCloskey, was a Caldecott Honor Book.
Sawyer also wrote non-autobiographical novels for children, such as The Enchanted Schoolhouse (1956) and The Year of the Christmas Dragon (1960), and a scholarly work, The Way of the Storyteller (1942). She published a number of collections of folktales, such as This Way To Christmas (1916), which featured an illustration by a young Norman Rockwell and My Spain: A Storyteller’s Year of Collecting (1967). In 1965 she was awarded the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for her work.
Ruth Sawyer married Albert Durand, a physician, and they had two children. Their daughter, Peggy, a children’s librarian, married Robert McCloskey, the beloved children’s book author best known for Make Way for Ducklings and Blueberries for Sal. Collections of both Sawyer’s and McCloskey’s books are available at the inn for guests to enjoy during their stay.
The Sawyer home has been a B&B since the 1980s, at which time the owners added the Cottage Room and the summer apartment above it, as well as the owner’s quarters on the back of the building.
Jeanne and Rob have been the ‘caretakers’ of the B&B’s fascinating past since June 2008 and are always interested in reviving the storytelling history associated with Victorian by the Sea.