The Dining Poet

Back in June we received a poem that was written by one of our dinner guests while dining at the Inn. It was so nice that we thought we would share it with everyone.

Kendall Merriam, Rockland’s Poet Laureate at Hartstone Inn 6/6/11 8:45 pm, listening to Diana Krall.

The Revolution (for the Chef, Manager, Waitress on Almond Branch’s Birthday)

The best meal of a lifetime
on a sacred day
we were tempted to lick
the platters clean
but being urbane Rocklander’s
we resisted through politeness
We agreed on her natal day
that the meal was lovely, lovely
with the taste of old Europe
and the Caribbean
a combination we’ll remember
Life can be a journey
of goodness, flavored elegantly
to honor Phyllis’s
dedication to the lives of children
a celebration of life
that has meant so much to me
and hundreds of others
So thank you all
for your creation of taste!

Thank you Kendall!

Lobstah Winner

We are so proud to announce that our long time guest Suzie Jobes (previously featured on our blog) was just named the winner of the Maine Lobster Festival Cooking Contest with her dish “Lobstah Puff.” Suzie (pictured at the far left) and her husband Bob visit us at the Inn several times a year. They are both avid “foodies” and are always experimenting with new recipes, expanding their repertoire. I often receive emails from them with pictures and descriptions of their latest ventures.

Suzie entered the contest after talking to one of our cooking class participants during my “Dim Sum” cooking class this spring and created this recipe especially for the Lobster Festival competition. The day it was announced that she was one of the five finalists she called us at the Inn and was so ecstatic. When Suzie arrived in Camden last week she revealed that she had not slept much in the past few weeks, attributing it to anxiety over the contest. Well, now that it is over and she won, we hope that Suzie has settled back into her regular sleep pattern. Before her return to Florida I asked her if she planned to enter the competition next year and she smiled, nodded and whispered to me her ideas. Congratulations Suzie, my lips are sealed!

Guest Letter and Photo

Lobsters and Hartstone Inn Cookbook

We received this email and photo from some recent guests:


Hi Mary Jo and Michael,


Two days after our return to Newfoundland we were at our ocean side old fisherman’s home, where a local lobsterman (a friend) sets his pots around our dock, as a result, of course, we had our first meal of the year, fresh from the ocean.


I have already used one recipe and looking forward to completing the whole book.


Our stay was wonderful, and be assured we will return.


Regards, Albert and Karen


Chef (Marla) for a Day in Camden!


Our “Chef for a Day” program continues to be a very popular way for guests to experience the Hartstone Inn kitchen firsthand. Recently, a couple from Pennsylvania came to visit us and they joined me for two days in the kitchen, assisting in the preparation of dinner. It was a true pleasure working with Marla and Doug and their passion for cooking was very apparent. Following is a brief story that Marla wrote on her experience:

“From the time I was young, I wanted to be a chef.  My career path ultimately led me in a totally different direction, but I never lost the desire to work in a professional kitchen.  A last minute opportunity for some vacation time arose, and I found the Hartstone Inn’s website.  Not only did they offer group cooking classes at the Inn, but private “chef for a day” programs with award winning chef Michael Salmon.  I immediately signed up for 2 days.

From the moment I called, the staff at the Inn couldn’t have been more accommodating.  Lots of things to do and see in the area, friendly advice, lovely rooms, and the FOOD!!!!  Chef Michael’s gourmet breakfasts were a delight each morning, but don’t even think about eating anywhere else for dinner.  A delectable five course meal each night that shouldn’t be missed.  And working side-by-side with Chef Michael to prepare the meals!  For the home cook who still wants to be a chef when (if) she grows up, it was a dream come true.  Fun for foodies doesn’t begin to describe it.  I’m still hoping Michael will call me if he needs a sous chef (sorry, Zeph!)

Can’t wait to go back.  In the meantime, I’ll keep working on my knife skills, and preparing the recipes from Chef Michael’s cookbooks.  And dreaming of the Hartstone Inn.”

Cooking Class Comment

Every February I run a “Romantic Dinner for Two” cooking class, attempting to inspire students to create a special Valentine’s dinner of their own. George, a repeat attendee, sent the following comment (sorry about your financial loss George) and the above photographs (Honey-Seared Duck Breast with Peppered Squash and a Walnut Dressing and Hartstone “Beef Wellington” with a Smoked Tomato Choron Sauce)…  

Thanks Michael for another fun and informative class – the recipes were delicious, and we’ll thrill and amaze our friends when we next cook for them! 

It doesn’t matter that earlier today I failed the weight requirement with 3 other fellows, all of whom have pledged to lose a pound a week for ten weeks – I ended up paying a $100 penalty but frankly it was worth it. I was the only one of the 4 who didn’t make their goal…next week’s another matter!


Catch you later, I am sure.


Thank you for your contribution George and I hope to see you in an upcoming class!


Dave the Photographer

Over the years we have enjoyed meeting so many interesting guests. Last weekend we had a conversation with a repeat guest “Dave” and we realized how passionate he is about photography, so we asked him to write something for the blog and to share some photographs with us. Check out his website, link is below.

Greetings Mary Jo and Michael,
Deb and I want you to know how much we have enjoyed  the Hartstone Inn over the past ten years. We really love the Camden area, spending simple time on nature walks, hikes and enjoying the local eateries. Best of all we enjoy our long weekends spent with our friends during our annual get together at your Inn. The five course gourmet dinner served in a most professional manor with such amazing flavors and attention to detail in the beautiful orchid rich environment is an event that can’t be missed. As an amateur photographer and nature lovers, we especially like having the Hartstone Inn as a base of operation, if you’ll allow us to have that illusion of grandeur. There are many opportunities just outside your door. Deb and I have hiked Mt. Battie, Maiden Cliff, Ocean Lookout and Mount Megunticook summit, all the while gathering photos and drinking in the wonderful scenery. Just a leisurely walk up Chestnut Street past the cemetery and back on Bayview provides some wonderful exercise and great scenery. Often, we sit at the harbors edge and enjoy the antics of the sea birds, the arrivals and departures of the schooners and some great  ice cream. Deb and I would like to share the attached photos with your readers and guests. Please feel free to visit my web site: if  you would like to see some additional Maine wildlife and scenery.
Thank you for your kind and elegant service.
Best regards,
Dave and Deb

Newsletter Comments

We just published our winter 2007 newsletter and have been receiving a lot of great feedback. Thank you for your notes!

Michael and Mary Jo

Just to let you know, I still have a postcard of the Heartstone Inn at my desk at home. I paid you a visit about two years ago, in the winter, and came away saying that it was about the best inn I had ever visited, and I have been to many. It was not just the look of your place, but the warm friendly nature of the staff that made me feel as if I was visiting their home as a welcome guest. I still think about my visit, to this day.

I will be back again.

My husband and I stayed at your inn for our 5th anniversary in 2001. We’ve continued to get your e-mails, although we’ve not been back to Maine since then. This weekend, my sister and her husband are there for their 5th anniversary. Their names are Mike and Mary _____.
When we were together at Thanksgiving, they mentioned that they were thinking of Maine for their anniversary and asked if we had a recommendation. In addition to your e-mails, we had just received your postcard at home. I thought of the Hartstone immediately. Your updated and informative Web site provided all they needed to know. The trip to the James Beard House and the recent Boston Globe coverage were terrific endorsements.
I’m sure they’ll have a wonderful weekend.
Just thought I’d let you know how your e-mails were making a difference five years later. We hope to make it back to Camden one day.

Patti and Ritchie

Dear Michael,

We had such a wonderful time at your inn to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary last May (2006). Brian and I were dazzled by the meals you prepared and your famous souffles. My husband was thrilled with the tour you gave us of your kitchen and was looking forward to feeling well enough to return to the Hartstone Inn for your cooking classes. As a heart transplant recipient with a compromised immune system, there were many complications. My Brian passed away on September 23, 2007. I just wanted you to know that we had very happy memories of our trip to Camden, Maine and that it was a pleasure to meet you and your lovely wife.