No-Frills Flagship

Welcome to day 23 of 31 Days of Heterotopias: Motels and Hotels, a month of posts about how motels, hotels, and inns function as heterotopias and liminal spaces in society.  (More about heterotopias and liminal spaces.)  Each post will look at these ideas from its own vantage point, which may not obviously connect with the others, and which may mention motels and hotels only peripherally or may focus on them without referencing heterotopia or liminality. I won’t attempt to tie the posts together. They’ll all be listed here, as they are posted.


Another of the stand-bys today, the Flagship Inn in Boothbay, Maine.

It’s a roadside motel, no frills, two stories with outside corridors and stairs from the expansive parking lot. Outdoor ice and vending machines, picnic tables in the grass alongside the parking lot, breakfast included in a separate dining room that used to be a full-service restaurant.  A small pool and hot tub. Men in white T-shirts hunched in plastic white chairs outside their rooms, smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. It’s the kind of place short-haul truckers, motorcycle groups, and utility workers stay. It’s where families who can’t afford a hotel for a family reunion have their reunion, eating potato salad and grilling hot dogs at the picnic tables. It’s where people with multiple dogs can bring them all.

When we (spouse & I) started staying at the Flagship Inn, we had dogs who travelled with us. We had been staying at the charming Lawnmere Inn and cottages, on nearby Southport Island, but then it closed in 2008 (became a private residence) and we cast about for another spot.

Photo of Lawnmere as is was, by someone else (you can see the glassed-in dining room):


Our dog Petunia relaxing in one of the Lawnmere’s chairs, in the late 1990s:


spouse and dog enjoying the lawn and cove view


The Flagship Inn, in Boothbay, is in some ways the antithesis of the Lawnmere: It’s a basic motel, the Lawnmere was an old-fashioned inn and cottages; the Flagship fronts a busy commercial road, the Lawnmere fronted a winding country road and its back view was waterfront, onto a cove; the Flagship could never be called charming or elegant, whereas the Lawnmere could, with a hotel bar and a lovely dining room that served gourmet dinners on white tablecloths overlooking the water.

But the Flagship has merits of its own. It also accepts pets, which mattered to us once. It’s relatively inexpensive, from $100 to $160 depending on when you go and what kind of room you want.  Most important for us is its location: From the motel, we can walk into town — Boothbay Harbor — in 15 minutes, so we don’t have to drive through town and park a car there, saving a lot of frustration in the summer months.  And it sits adjoining one of the many Boothbay Region Land Trust preserves, Penny Lake, which makes it easy to walk the trails there — just by stepping out the door — mornings and evenings. We can also walk next door to the grocery store or across the street to the laundromat (handy when we had dogs with us); and driving to other land trust properties, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Southport, or perhaps the King Eider Pub in Damariscotta for lunch are all made easier by being already on Route 27, while getting to East Boothbay and Ocean Point is easy, too, because the intersection with Route 96 is a block away.


Here’s the exterior:

(photo by someone else, at Trip Advisor)
Flagship Inn, cleaning cart, June 2015
solar panels on the Flagship Inn, May 2014
dog walk area with lupines and maple, June 2015
view of Flagship Inn from Penny Lake Preserve lane, evening, May 2014
there are often warblers in the shrubs near the canal alongside the motel
canal (with bridge) between Flagship Inn and the Carousel Music Theater and Penny Lake Preserve, May 2012 … we saw a muskrat swimming in it once!
having wine with cheese and crackers outside on a picnic table, May 2014
spouse and Gretchen dog sitting outside near canal, May 2012


Interior (We’ve stayed here at least six times but I guess I haven’t taken many photos of the motel):

king bed room, with table, chairs (and plants bought at Coastal Maine Botanical Garden plant sale on the floor), May 2014
Gretchen dog in her spot in a pet-friendly room (no carpet) at the Flagship, May 2012


Penny Lake Preserve

We visited in 2004, 2006, and 2008, at least, but I took or preserved (get it?) few photos then. For one thing, we lived in Bath, only an hour away, from 2002-2009, so we didn’t need a motel when visiting Boothbay and probably only attended the area garden tour then. Upshot is that the photos here are from 2017, 2015, 2014, and 2012. All are in May or June, which is when the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens holds its plant sale.

Entrance and signs:




ash bloom with multiple bees, June 2015
meadow, two trails diverged, June 2015
grassy pathway, June 2015
evening meadow, May 2014
Eastern kingbird, May 2014
clover and hawkweed, June 2015
red clover, June 2015
bench among hawkweed, June 2015
yellow hawkweed, June 2017
hawthorn blooms, June 2015
Yellowrattle (Rhinanthus Minor), June 2017
dandelion, May 2012
cedar waxwing (part of a large flock), May 2012
red Admiral butterfly, June 2015
ChlosyneHarrisii HarrissCheckerspotbutterflyPennyLakePreserveBRLT14June2015
Harris’s checkerspot butterfly (Chlosyne harrisii), June 2015
anotherChlosyneHarrisii HarrissCheckerspotsidePennyLakePreserveBRLT14June2015
another Harris’s checkerspot butterfly (Chlosyne harrisii), June 2015
either silvery or Harris’s checkerspot butterfly, June 2017
meadow path, trees and shrubs, June 2015



trail, May 2012
bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), June 2015
ferns, June 2015
Clintonia flowering, May 2012
green Clintonia berries, June 2015
lady’s slipper (Cypripedium acaule), June 2015
pale pink lady’s slipper, June 2017
starflower (Trientalis borealis) blooming, June 2017
Indian cucumber root (Medeola virginiana), with goldthread (Coptis trifolia), June 2017
yellow trail marker, lichen, June 2017
small chipmunk, June 2017
sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis) flowers, June 2015
woods from the bridge, shaft of sunlight, May 2014
trail with roots, June 2015
sunlight in woods, June 2015



bridge connecting woods over the brook, June 2015
bridge over brook, June 2017
brook, marsh, June 2017
brook, marsh in the morning, May 2012
lily pads, May 2012
blue flag iris, June 2017
green frog in water, June 2017
green frog on log, May 2012
black-crowned night heron hunched above marsh, May 2014
one of many red-winged blackbirds in marsh, May 2014
phoebe with nesting materials, June 2017
phoebe with caterpillar mouthful, June 2015


There are lots of things to do in the Boothbay area. I posted a field trip to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in June 2015 and May 2014, and also in May 2014 field trips to the Porter Preserve, Singing Meadows Preserve, Zak Preserve, and Ocean Point Preserve (I see I have a lot of postings to do from more recent visits). It’s fun to walk in Boothbay Harbor, which has lots of good restaurants. There are lots of hotels, inns, B&Bs, and a few motels in Boothbay Harbor, too, but the Flagship, just a mile outside, has been handy and comfortable for us.


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