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Whitehall Inn Camden Maine

October 5, 2010

Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay’s presence lives on at the Whitehall Inn in Camden, Maine.  In 2011 it will be one hundred years since the waitress recited her famous poem “Renascence” before enraptured guests in the dining room.  A New Yorker with connections at Vassar College put Edna on the road to a scholarship and an illustrious writing career.  Eleven years after her performance in the dining room, she won a Pulitzer Prize.  She died in 1950 in Austerlitz, New York.

The Edna St. Vincent Millay Room is just off the front entrance.  Many stop by to look at the photographs, handwritten copies of her poems, and  the scrapbooks of Millay memorabilia, and are pulled in by atmosphere.  The piano has a book of music set up, and often guests slide into the set and begin to play.

The Whitehall is is old Maine, with expansive porches for reading, reproductions of nineteenth century wallpaper, and rolling lawns with gardens.  The dining room serves an eclectic menu of traditional American and international cuisine.  On a recent impromptu visit we got the only room left because the U.S. Treasury Department was having their annual conference.  The next day a wedding party arrived, and were well taken care of by the innkeepers.

Though Edna no longer recites here, guests can experience the “three long mountains and a wood” and the “three mountains of a bay,” lines from “Renascence.”  The trails of Mount Battie, Penobscot Bay, and the town of Camden, arguably the prettiest town in Maine are within walking distance.  Guests can walk to the Shakespeare performances at the Bok Amphitheater or the Opera House, or drive a few miles to concerts in surrounding towns.


by Emilie C. Harting

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