Tucked away behind quaint street of shops and lobster-filled eateries lies the Shore Path Cottage, an oceanfront bed-and-breakfast – but don’t look there for lobster.
Inviting, filled with antiques, and within walking distance to Bar Harbor’s shorelines and shops, it operates as a full, functioning B&B serving any and everyone. But it’s also a retreat for in-the-know Jews traveling through Maine.
Roberta Chester, an observant Jew from South Orange, New Jersey, is the inn’s proprietress. She moved to Maine when she decided she wanted to raise her children in a less materialistic environment. She has always kept a kosher home and inn, and receives her certification from the Orthodox rabbi in nearby Bangor. (Fish is also available.)
About five years ago, she decided to let the Jewish world know via a link on her website about her kitchen. Word of mouth does the rest.
“My family and I are shaliachs (messagers) to our non-Jewish guests who can learn something about Judaism and experience Judaism in a positive way while they are here,” Chester said. We want our guests to leave feeling our warm hospitality and know that we are open to who they are as well.”
Shore Path Cottage on Friday night is full of Shabbat’s warmth, spirituality, and welcome. On one such night earlier this month, 12 people of all ages and religious denominations sat at the table, eating a home-cooked meal of vegetarian delights made with fresh summer produce culminating – naturally – in the fruit the area is famous for.
“We’re in Maine! We have to have blueberries for dessert,” proclaimed Melinda, Roberta’s daughter.
After the blessings over wine and challah, dinner started with homemade dips such as hummus, guacamole, and baba ganoush. A salad filled with summer veggies and feta cheese; poached salmon; potatoes, and a decadent dessert – a Bundt cake topped with those blueberries – followed.
“Shabbat here is lovely. We are in the midst of nature, on the ocean, surrounded by pine trees. It’s a very special and spiritual thing,” Robert said.
The cost for 3 Shabbat meals is $110.00 per person, whereas weeknight dinners are $45.00 a person. The Shore Path Cottage is open for business from May through November. As their website states, “All out guests who have been with us for Shabbat agree that Shabbat at the Shore Path Cottage in Bar Harbor, Maine is a truly rewarding spiritual experience.” This author could not agree more.
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