The Topside Inn in Boothbay Harbor will offer a special package this summer, combining a stay at the award-winning inn with a cruise on the 118-year-old schooner Victory Chimes.
The 135-foot, three-masted schooner cruises out of Rockland from early June through early October, carrying 40 passengers and nine crew members.
Topside Inn owners Mark Osborn and Buzz Makarewicz are excited about the new venture. The package will include a two- or three-night stay at the inn, after which guests will drive to Rockland to embark on a three- to six-night cruise aboard the Victory Chimes.
The schooner is owned and captained by Sam Sikkema and his partner, Cara Lauzon, who bought it in August 2018 from Kip Files and Paul DeGaeta.
According to Osborn, goals for the partnership with Victory Chimes include historic preservation. “We want to help to promote and preserve these incredible historic schooners,” he said. “They are a part of our history and help to showcase a great aspect of Maine.”
Another goal is to promote Maine through a cruise on a historic sailing vessel. “It’s such a great way to experience Maine’s coast and coastal towns,” Osborn said. “It will make for a great story to tell and will attract even more visitors to our region.
“We think that combining a cruise on a schooner with a stay at our inn is a way to experience the best of both worlds: the coast of Maine, by land and by sea.”
Osborn said that in forming the partnership with the historic schooner, he and Makarewicz hope to promote other small businesses in Maine. “When we work together, we are able to reach more people and tell them about our communities and why they should be excited to visit Boothbay Harbor,” he said.
The inn owners have designed an itinerary for their guests to make it easy to explore Boothbay Harbor and the surrounding region. Osborn believes a schooner cruise will complement this experience and offer a new, different perspective.
“The Victory Chimes offers an authentic Maine cruising experience on an historic sailing vessel, with an intimate experience for its passengers and a show for onlookers on shore,” he said. “These historic schooners are celebrated and welcomed with oohs and aahs, with spectators lining up along the shore to watch these impressive ships make their grand entrance.”
Osborn said a big schooner like the Victory Chimes offers a great photo-op and a chance to witness a bit of history. “We should be proud of what our state has to offer to residents and visitors alike,” he said, “and this is one small way we can help spread the word.”
Sikkema and Lauzon will be available to help guests with cruise details, but guests can book the complete package through the inn.
Lauzon said Osborn approached her and Sikkema about the partnership. “The hope is that this will give Mark and Buzz and us a chance to work together a bit and hopefully arrange trips to Boothbay for the upcoming seasons,” she said.
“I think Mark saw it as a chance to help bring awareness to the traditional vessels in the Midcoast area, and hopefully in the future we can bring some of that magic to Boothbay,” Lauzon said. “For both of us, it’s a good opportunity to help out another small, local business, which I think is something many people in Maine hope to keep alive.”
Lauzon said the cruise will spend three to six days exploring “as much as we can of Penobscot Bay, depending on wind and tide.”
Topside Inn was recently named the top hotel in Maine and fifth most romantic hotel in the U.S. by TripAdvisor reviewers. It took ninth for best service in the country and received a Yankee Magazine Editors’ Choice Award for best water view. The inn will publish a cookbook in June.
The three-masted Victory Chimes is the largest original passenger-carrying sailing vessel under the American flag, and the last of its kind in the world, according to its website at victorychimes.com.
Topside Inn is at 60 McKown St. in Boothbay Harbor. For more information or to make a reservation, call 633-5404 or 888-633-5404, or go to topsideinn.com.