Gourmet locally sourced dining and well-chosen wine list in the Maine Dining Room (try oysters and the Pinot Blanc); immense wood-fired ovens prepare everything in the atmospheric tavern; high-count Egyptian cotton sateen sheets on pillow-top mattresses; "Old New England" atmosphere with all modern comforts, meeting rooms, etc.; if the staff were any more friendly or helpful it would be embarrassing (especially to us New Englanders). But that's just the routine stuff.
We arrived Friday night before St. Patrick's day. Transmission in our 99 Ford was skipping. Overnight the car bled to death -- wouldn't move. All local mechanics apparently Irish, not working that Saturday. I expected to nurse the car to Mt. Desert with continuous transfusions of transmission fluid. Asked at the desk for location of nearest gas station. I was informed that the general manager had more mechanical apptitude than she and would be summoned.
"Chip" Gray appeared forthwith, asked to see the "patient," diagnosed loss of transmission fluid, dismissed my concerns about leaking into the crankcase, and more or less demanded that I accompany him to a not-too-distant parts store to get more fluid, fill up the transmission, and figure out what was leaking. We did that (in his truck fueled by used vegetable oil from the kitchen; he also admitted during the drive that he's an experienced airplane engine mechanic, among many other things), filled the transmission, found the leak, visited his stockpile of used hose and tools in a part of the hotel I am forbidden to admit having visited, and returned to the car. With Swiss Army knife, mini-tube-cutter, and hose clamps, he fixed the problem (I'm making a long story short), prescribed a series of test drives so he could make sure leaks had stopped, and sent us on our way after showing me the trailor he would use to come get us and lug our car back to Freeport if we called and said the fix hadn't held. Chip said this was all in fulfillment of his vision of a "Full-Service Inn."
Turns out the Harraseeket is family-owned, Chip's mother Penny is the Owner who responds to all these Trip Advisor reviews, who had greated us heartily several times that morning on the stairs and elsewhere, and to whom Chip had apologized that taking care of us clients would make him late to lunch. The Tavern (and I'm sure much of the rest of the fine features) are fulfillment of her visions and dreams, and she can surely count on Chip to continue this.
Also important to me, who spent teenage years on a Massachusetts dairy farm fixing machinery with baling wire so we could make hay before the sun stopped shining: not only was a dreadful start to a week-long break for us Grandfolks averted -- IT WAS FUN!
So, besides that it's a great place to stay on the way Down East, our experience at the Harraseeket had a big impact on our joy in living and our faith in the good-will of mankind. And in technology -- the ablity to use what you know, and what you have at hand, to do or get what you need. True from the stone age until today.
I expect I've embarrassed Chip with these comments, and would request that you NOT save your routine auto repairs for your visit to the Harraseeket.
Thanks for reading!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Inn in Freeport,Maine ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Harraseeket Hotel Freeport
- Harraseeket Inn Freeport, Maine