Linekin Bay Resort
Linekin Bay Resort is a beloved tradition for families who have been vacationing there for generations. They come from all over the country to enjoy the spectacular setting, the shade of pine trees, water activities and the welcoming, homey atmosphere. This idyllic spot, from the winding, shaded entry to the inviting lawn, is in the midst of a rejuvenation. Since 1909, LBR has operated as a camp for girls, a family camp and now, a summer sailing resort. Last December, it changed hands for the first time, passing from the Branch family to new owners Scott Larson and Steve Malcom. Larson and his wife, Corinne, have owned the nearby Newagen Seaside Inn for the past 16 years, and Malcom is the owner of The Knickerbocker Group, a design and construction company in Boothbay. “Steve and I had been wanting to do something together for a long time,” Scott tells me. “This was a very emotional sale for the Branch family, but they realized it was time. They saw what we were doing at Newagen, and they realized our intentions were true.” With Larson’s background in hospitality and event planning, along with Malcolm’s skill and design savvy, the pair have come up with a three- to five-year plan for the revitalization of the resort. “I have a habit of buying rundown places and hoping they work out,” says Larson.
A top priority has been elevating the food to a new level, and they’ve proven their commitment to culinary creativity with the hiring chef Brian Hough. During July and August, Linekin Bay Resort guests have an all-inclusive dining plan. Hough is putting some of his own touches on the all-inclusive menus, keeping in mind the traditional Maine dishes that longtime guests expect. But he’s created an entirely new menu for The Deck Bar and Grill, offering lunch or dinner to the public. Arriving by boat, if possible, is the most fun. The resort provides moorings and a launch service for “dock and dine” guests. Start with a well-crafted cocktail, like the Bloody Mary garnished with a fat strip of bacon or the Georgia Peach with fresh peach slices. Will Johnson is the friendly face at the bar, able to provide something delicious to sip on at all hours.
This afternoon, we settle in to chat on the interior balcony overlooking the lodge, decorated with bright nautical flags, hanging lanterns, and a huge stone fireplace. Linekin Bay stretches before us, and it’s fun to watch guests sailing in the bay. I look over the menu with Larson and Alyssa Allen, the food and beverage manager. Most offerings are a combination of coastal Maine fare injected with Hough’s own touch and experience. The chef is dedicated to making nearly everything from scratch, from the delicious, mild goat cheese served with blistered tomatoes, to flavorful sausages with irresistible creamed Brussels sprouts and his own pale ale mustard. Hough even goes so far as making his own flaky sea salt. “I’ve never lived on the ocean before,” he says, “and it felt lazy not to make it myself. It just made sense.” Allen is a big fan of Hough and the food he’s putting out. “Brian is very receptive to new ideas,” she says. “He brings some really neat things to the table.” Hough presents us a big bowl of clams and chorizo bathed in oregano butter. We use the accompanying baguette to sop it all up. “Dayboat fish of the day” is local halibut today, pan-roasted with first-of-the-season tomatoes, arugula pesto, and a little crispy prosciutto for contrast. It’s simple and full of seasonal flavor, letting the fresh ingredients take center stage. Hough is clearly enjoying his first full summer in Maine, but he’s also looking forward to the fall. “It’s going to be awesome,” he says. “We’ll have the fire going in the lodge, and there’ll be all kinds of new menu items.”
Taking on the ownership of such an iconic Maine resort is an exciting challenge for Larson. But he and his team are up for it. “Every time I wonder if I’ve done the right thing, I just look out at the view and know that it’s all going to be okay,” he says.
Linekin Bay Resort | 92 Wall Point Road |Boothbay Harbor | 207.633.2494 | linekinbayresort.com