YORK, Maine - Sandy beaches are what draw most tourists to "the Yorks," as the four villages - York Harbor, York Beach, York Village, and Cape Neddick - that make up this southern coast town are collectively known.
Not surprisingly, the majority of York's inns and bed-and-breakfasts are clustered by the coast. Many boast harbor views, private peninsulas, and short walking distances to a beach.
The Morning Glory Inn doesn't have any of those amenities.
It's tucked in the woods in a residential neighborhood about a mile and a half from Harbor Beach. It is more of a woodsy oasis, a secluded getaway that somehow feels both spacious and cozy, like a cross between a ski lodge and a country cottage.
"The reason we bought this place is because it's secluded and has this peaceful setting," said Bill Alstrom, who with his wife, Bonnie, owns the Morning Glory.
They are a warm, accommodating pair. When we asked whether they knew the Red Sox score from the previous night, they went online and printed the game results for us. They have a phone line that allows guests to make free long-distance calls.
And their property is lovely. To reach the front door, guests follow a short pathway that winds through a riotous wildflower garden. Behind the inn, the back yard extends about 400 feet, far enough that there's hardly a neighbor in sight through the trees.
When you walk inside, you step into a beautiful, high-ceilinged, wood-beamed family room with skylights, ceiling fans, and a wood-burning stove. It's my second-favorite room in the house. My favorite is the charming library loft, its shelves lined with a wide-ranging selection of interesting titles.
In the morning, the family room doubles as the breakfast room, although guests can eat on their private outdoor patios or at tables in the front garden. Our room was directly off the breakfast area, and we assumed that meant we'd be kept awake too late - or awakened too early - by the noise of other guests congregating just outside our door.
That didn't turn out to be a problem. In fact, we ended up enjoying our room's easy access to breakfast; when we rolled out of bed, we were just a few steps away from the buffet.
All three guest rooms are on the first floor. Each has a private bath, television, carpeting, DVD player, mini-fridge, wireless Internet access, air conditioning, and individual heat. We stayed in the Sandpiper room, which was furnished with a comfortable bed, bureau, two end tables, two sitting chairs, and a small round table. It also has a big walk-in closet that feels like a changing room.
When we arrived, the closet contained a surprise: a snack basket of chips, pretzels, crackers, and a granola bar. Our room also had a back entrance leading to a small private patio. We wondered whether our room would feel too small, but skylights and windows on two sides let in lots of natural light, keeping it from seeming cramped.
The Heron room and Rachel's Suite are a bit roomier and fancier; the suite, for example, has a handsome walk-in shower as well as an "air massage" bathtub; our bathroom had only a shower.
We especially loved the inn's abundance of common areas - not only the family room and library loft, but also a separate living room with fireplace, and even a small bar where guests can uncork their own wine. The Morning Glory has lots of spots - the whole first floor, really - where visitors can enjoy quiet time alone.
And even though it isn't on the ocean, the Morning Glory offers easy access to other nature spots, like 16-acre Steedman Woods, a nature preserve where you can walk, bird-watch, boat watch, and cross a short suspension bridge fittingly named the Wiggly Bridge.
The Alstroms, who live in separate quarters attached to the inn and run the Morning Glory from May through November, put out a great self-serve breakfast spread. It typically includes fruit, sliced breads, English muffins, bagels, pastries, cereals, juice, coffee, and tea.
There's also at least one hot item. We had cheddar scrambled eggs with sausage, oatmeal cooked with chopped apples, and baked blueberry French toast that was sweet, buttery, and caramelized. In a word, delicious.
Sacha Pfeiffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.